Are there any attested Classical Latin words whose meanings are unknown to us?

Given the intensive study of the Classical Latin corpus and the many methods of getting at the meanings of words (including etymological relations either to modern Romance or to other Indogermanic languages) I wonder if some such words are left. What are examples of such words?

  • 2
    Have you seen this question about words we don't understand?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Dec 22, 2018 at 15:01
  • @JoonasIlmavirta No I haven't seen it (and it wasn't suggested while typing my question in, but maybe I was just too fast) Dec 22, 2018 at 15:03
  • I'd say to keep this question, as it's not exactly a duplicate of the previous one and it leads in a different direction. This one leads me to think that words for colors might provide some good examples, e.g. caeruleus: sky blue, sea blue (dark blue), dark green, dark regardless of color? Similarly words for elements of rituals, offices, and foods—words whose meanings likely shifted over centuries and have little documentation. Someone more knowledge might know a definitive collection of these.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Dec 23, 2018 at 23:49
  • I was wondering if I could edit this slightly to give a different emphasis from the other thread and revive it in doing so. The other thread certainly is fine for words we don't completely understand, but still have a vague idea of what they do. Perhaps this question could be about words we don't know at all? (Although brianpck's answer works here, too, I suppose.)
    – cmw
    Aug 31, 2021 at 22:54
  • When you have a good idea for an edit and revival of the question, feel free to do so. Otherwise I won't mind marking this question as a duplicate of the linked question. Sep 1, 2021 at 8:10


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