The word "analysis" is found in some form in a number of languages, and it is of Greek origin. I could not think of a Latin term meaning "analysis" (as the word is used today, which may or may not be the same as the original Greek meaning). The word can be adapted to Latin easily enough, but I am looking for a more Latinate word, if any. I would assume that at least Cicero found a word for this purpose. What classical Latin word would be good for "analysis"?

  • How about intellego/intellectio, from inter+lego? Just a guess, though – Rafael Apr 12 '18 at 19:07
  • Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis mentions the word partitio. – Alfie González Apr 13 '18 at 6:50
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    Everyone: Can you please post suggestions as answers? Any suggested translation is an answer (it doesn't have to be perfect to be worthy), comments are intended for requesting clarifications and otherwise improving the question. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 13 '18 at 7:13
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    But opinions alone sholudn't be answers, that's what makes this site better than Yahoo answers or Quora. I know a sister site where people upvote opinions, and people with honest questions get the wrong answers b/c the right ones arrive later. Maybe I should move this to meta, but I'm on the phone now – Rafael Apr 13 '18 at 22:11
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    @Rafael That is a good topic to bring up on meta. I think opinions make good answers, as long as they are more expert opinions than personal ones and are clearly marked as such. If an answer is prefaced with "I found no sources to back this up, but my intuition as a Latin teacher suggests", I know where it's coming from. I prefer a suggested translation to be given in an answer, so that we can vote and comment on that suggestion. (I know not all will agree with me.) Admittedly, it is a problem across the entire network that fast and easy answers come first and rank higher than they should. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 14 '18 at 7:36

Smiths shorter English:Latin has an odd extended vocabulary designed to help Sixth-formers compose Hexameters on any given subject.

It mentions explicatio, but suggests the field of the 'unfolding' of complications needs to be specified. As ...

subtilis alicujus rei; Cic.

For Chemical analysis, Bacon: 'corporum separatio et solutio.' also M.L. 'compositum ad principia redigere.'
Analysis, -eos is appropriate in the context of analysis, and synthesis.


The first thing to note is that the meaning of "analysis" has developed considerably from its Greek origin. Etymonline notes that its use for a "statement presenting results of an analytic process" started in the 1660s.

The Greek verb, ἀναλύω, means, "unloose, undo." It was used, for instance, of Penelope's "undoing" of her web every night in the Odyssey. From this it developed the extended meaning (provided by the LSJ) of "resolution of a problem by the analysis of its conditions." It is opposed to σύνθεσις ("synthesis"), which is a kind of composition.

In terms of its component parts, the precise Latin equivalent is resolutio:

  • re- = ανα- (ana-)
  • solvo = λύω (lyō)

Unfortunately, resolutio cleaves much more closely to the original, literal meaning of ἀναλύω. The dictionary entry provided glosses it as "an untying, unbinding, loosening" and only provides a couple entries that approach the "solution" meaning we expect in English. Solutio is a little more promising, and, in medieval Latin, meant pretty much the same thing as English "solution." (Reading Latin manuscripts, a common trope is to get a long list of objections, after which comes a "solutio" in which the author answers the objections.)

If you want something more akin to the current (post-1660s) meaning, which emphasizes the "statement of the results" rather than the actual "breaking down process," the first word that comes to mind is expositio.


The adjective analyticus seems perfectly acceptable in modern Latin. If I'm allowed to introduce a personal note, the first paper that I ever published (in 1960) was in the journal Analytica Chimica Acta.


  • The word analysis has indeed made its way to modern Latin, but presumably not classical. Euler's Introductio in analysin infinitorum is a classic. (The personal note is interesting; perhaps I should find out what p-dimethyl-aminobenzylidenerhodanine is...) – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 16 '18 at 17:07
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    @joonas Ilmavirta I'm surprised that you even found it. That must be just about the longest word ever to find its way on to the LLSE! – Tom Cotton Apr 17 '18 at 9:20

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