I hope that my question won't seem too flippant or strange... I'm not any sort of Latin scholar or student, but I am trying to coin a term based on Latin. I've been trying through several routes to come up with a term with some linguistic basis to mean "that which should/must be awaited". Noodling around with grammar and so on led me to the Latin gerundive, and while that leaves something that, in Latin, is a grammatical adjective, as I plan to use it in English that isn't really important.

My problem, as one often faces when trying to use references to translate into a non-native language, is figuring which of the words that can be translated back into English as the word you want is most appropriate. Normally, my approach at this point is to find a native speaker and ask them, but that's not really an option for Latin. So, instead, I look to the internet to find people who are the nearest I can get without bothering a university lecturer (professor) or a Catholic priest... though I wouldn't be surprised if some people on this StackExchange were either of those things.

So, I've come up with three verbs that all seem to relate to what I want to say.

  • Exspecto, which as far as I can tell seems to carry the strongest implication of expectation - but all of the verbs have some of that.
  • Oppperior, which doesn't seem to have much more to say about it.
  • Maneo, which seems to carry an implication of remaining in one place while waiting.

Is there anything anyone can add to help me figure out which one would be most appropriate? Without getting too specific (because that would require reams of explanation), the situation in question is where people are waiting, with a sense of expectation but no expectation as to when something will happen, with great patience, for something that they are looking forward to largely positively but perhaps with some sense of apprehension.

  • Welcome to the site! Nice question!
    – Rafael
    Jan 28, 2019 at 11:48
  • 1
    I suppose I should add that I feel reluctance to use exspecto because people will associate it with things - both English "expect", which carries different connotations, and the awful mock Latin of spells in Harry Potter.
    – SamBC
    Jan 29, 2019 at 13:33
  • Hahaha, I thought the same
    – Rafael
    Jan 29, 2019 at 14:05

3 Answers 3


I'd say opperior and maneo are only obliquely related to waiting.

To exspecto, I'd add spero, to hope, to look for, expect.

Regarding the verbal form, I think you are right about the gerundive.

Additionally, in Latin you have to worry about gender—a gerundive may be feminine, masculine or neuter, depending on what is to be awaited—and number—whether there is one thing to be awaited, or many. Additionally, if you want to use it in a sentence (or make it sound as extracted from a sentence), you may want to add a case (an ending to mean a specific grammatical function, like object or different kinds of complements).

  • If you want to talk about things in general that have to be awaited, a neuter plural is a good option: expectanda, speranda.
  • If it is a man, a masculine singular expectandus, sperandus. If it is a woman, a feminine singular expectanda, speranda (just as the n. pl.)
  • If it is several people that may include both men and woman, a masculine plural: expectandi, sperandi.
  • All of the above could be modified to add meaning by giving them a more specific grammatical function. For example, you could use expectandis, suggesting the term was extracted from a sentence with a verb that is now missing, like mementote expectandis (remember [you all] about those who have to be awaited).

An example that quickly comes to mind is

Est autem fides sperandorum substantia, rerum argumentum non apparentium (Heb 11:1),

here, sperandorum is a genitive neuter plural: of the things that have to be expected.

I hope it helps.


The verb to use here is exspectare. Opperior means to wait for, loiter about, etc. and implies a lesser level of anticipation. Maneo, as you say, has more the sense of remaining, without implying a need.

Book V of the Aeneid has a famous description of a boat race, part of the funeral games held after the death of Aeneas's father, Anchises. As you might imagine, the race was much anticipated and eagerly fought.

The scene is set at line 104, which begins Exspectata dies aderat, 'the long-awaited day was at hand'. The phrase seems to me to encapsulate precisely what you need. I would suggest exspectandum est. You can modify the phrase in gender and number to match whatever is being anticipated, e,g. to the plural exspectanda sunt.


Just to add to the other answers:

  • I agree that exspecto is the right verb to use here.
  • To say "a thing that must be X", you use the gerundive form, which typically has a -nd- before its ending.
  • If this is a single thing that should be expected, it's an exspectandum. Multiple things that should be expected are exspectanda.
    • For some English comparisons, see memorandum "something that should be remembered" (hence the short form "memo"), pudendum "something that you should be ashamed of" (an archaic word for genitals), addendum "something that should be added", agenda "things that have to be done".
  • An English-speaker will probably reduce this from exspectandum to expectandum, dropping the s. This is fine; the Romans often did this too.

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