The verb quire is conjugated like ire, and there are some forms that look like an interrogative or relative pronoun. Those forms are quīs and quī. Are these attested in classical literature?

These are awfully hard to search due to the ubiquitous pronouns. I find it possible that these forms were avoided — and perhaps there wasn't much use for the imperative in the first place — so it is not clear whether they would have been used.

  • I didn't even know quīre existed until I saw this question…
    – Draconis
    Jul 3 '18 at 3:58
  • Plautus uses quivi quite often, but I can't find qui.
    – brianpck
    Jul 3 '18 at 14:12

Generally, such forms were rare and were used mostly used with negative particles ne or non. After all, queo was backformed from nequeo.

cf. Kühner and Holzweissig 1912/1994: "Viele Formen von diesen Verben [queo and nequeo - Alex B.] kommen nur selten vor und in der guten Prosa gar nicht" (para 200), the forms quis and quit are given in [square brackets] there, which means they were very infrequent;

also "Das Verbe queo wird von den guten Klassikern nicht haüfig gebraucht (nie von Cäsar), cf. Leumann "bezeugt vorwiegend bei Plautus und Terenz und noch bei Lukrez, also altlateinisch" (p. 512).

From Leumann 1977:

“age, iam mitto, ignosco: aetate non quis optuerier.” (Plautus, Mostellaria 840)

“tu, ut occepisti, tantum quantum quis fuge atque Herculem inuoca.” (Plautus, Mostellaria, 527)

Kühner and Holzweissig 1912/1994 also mention that non quis is found in Pl. Pers. 287 Truc. 2 3, 5 Lucr. 1, 751 and Hor. Serm. 2. 7, 92; non quit Pl. Trin. 504. Aul. 2. 8, 21 and Ter. Hec. 183.

A quick search on LASLA gives the following (NB: I didn't manually check the examples):

CATULLUS Carmina 61,66 quit

HORATIUS Sermones 2,7,92 quis

LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 1,751 quis
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 3,554 quit
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 3,646 quit
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 4,1164 quit
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 4,1166 quit
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 5,152 quit
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 6,431 quit
LUCRETIUS De Rerum Natura 6,555 quit

PLAUTUS Aulularia 391 quit PLAUTUS Curculio 173 quit

SENECA Agamemnon 130 quit

For a more comprehensive analysis we'll have to look it up in the TLL and Neue and Wagener (volume 3).

  • Thanks! this is very thorough. Two questions: (1) Is quit relevant? Additional information is not harmful, but it does not quite look like a pronoun, unless it is a variant of quid. (2) What is LASLA?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 3 '18 at 15:10
  • 1
    LASLA Opera Latina
    – Alex B.
    Jul 3 '18 at 15:25

L&S give a reference to Horace for "non quis".


  • I'm surprised he didn't use nequis, which is very common.
    – brianpck
    Jul 3 '18 at 14:04
  • 1
    Cicero never used nequire, although he used "non quire" often, according to L&S:queo.
    – Figulus
    Jul 4 '18 at 1:43

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