In Galatians 2:9 there is a reference to a handshake between Paul and other Apostles:

So, James, Cephas and John, these leaders, these pillars, shook hands with Barnabas and me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the pagans and they to the circumcised.

On this respect, the Nova Vulgata reads:

Iacóbus et Cephas et Ioánnes, qui videbántur colúmnæ esse, déxteras dedérunt mihi et Bárnabæ communiónis, ut nos in gentes, ipsi autem in circumcisiónem;

(texts are taken from here)

So, they are not equivalent. The English one expresses the type of act, with the Latin expressing the way the act is performed. The latter is more akin to the Spanish case, where a handshake (apretón de manos) is also said dar la mano (dare manum). Is there a more general way to describe a handshake in Latin than that of the action performed?

  • Just for the sake of clarification: you are asking for an appropriate noun (or noun phrase) that roughly approximates the English noun "handshake"? Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 18:59
  • @EthanBierlein That's certainly the ideal case, but might not exist.
    – luchonacho
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


A cursory search of Smith & Hall provides no results for "handshake." A quick search for dextrās or dextrās~iungere on PHI's online word search tool, however, will provide a plethora of results. It generally seems that there are two accepted ways of expressing to shake hands: either dext(e)rās jungere or dext(e)rās conjungere. E.g:

"Avidī conjungere dextrās ārdēbant"
"They burned, eager to join hands"

Vergil, Aeneid 1.514-515

If you need to express the word "handshake" or discuss the act of shaking hands, an expression utilizing the gerund of jungere or conjungere would be acceptable; i.e: dext(e)rās jungendum or dext(e)rās conjugendum.

The phrasing provided in your original question, dext(e)rās dare, also works equally well. If you wish to express the word "handshake" or discuss the act of shaking hands with the verb instead, you'd again utilize the gerund: dext(e)rās dandum.

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