Questions tagged [vocabulary]

This tag is for questions concerning the meaning and usage of individual words or a few words in conjunction with each other.

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56
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5answers
8k views

Are “-que” and “et” equivalent?

I was taught that one can use the '-que' suffix to string together multiple words, in a similar way to putting 'et' between them. Are these two equivalent? Did one have a connotation in classical (...
49
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3answers
17k views

Why is the language of ancient Rome called “Latin” instead of “Roman”?

Nearly every human language is named after the people who spoke it, from ancient Egyptian, Hebrew and Greek, to modern tongues such as English, German and Chinese. And then we have the language of the ...
45
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17answers
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Which online Latin dictionaries should I use and why?

What good online Latin dictionaries do you know? What are their benefits and drawbacks? Please give only one dictionary per answer. If you have many dictionaries to suggest, give multiple answers &...
36
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1answer
9k views

Did the Romans use any swear words?

I was reading the book Lingua Latina, Per Se Illustrata by Hans H. Ørberg, and I often saw scenes in which persons were angry. In the book, the writer doesn't use any swear words or anything to that ...
29
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7answers
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How do you say “please” in Classical Latin?

I'm wondering how to say "please" in Classical Latin like "please" as in "can I PLEASE have that?" or "PLEASE go away" or something like that.
28
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4answers
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How do you say “yes” and “no” in Classical Latin?

I'm wondering how the Romans would have said "yes" as in "yes please" or "no" as in "no thank you". I don't know if they would have said it exactly like that, but what would they have said if they had ...
28
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2answers
7k views

What's the difference between vel, aut, -ve, et cetera?

So I see "vel", "aut", and "-ve" being used (mostly) interchangeably in the Latin I read. Is there any idiomatic difference, or can they be used interchangeably? For ...
27
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4answers
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ATM in Vatican City: “Inserito scidulam quaeso ut faciundam cognoscas rationem”

The automated teller machines in Vatican City show this screen when awaiting a card: Could someone, quaeso, break this down word by word? There are a number of things here that I find puzzling or ...
26
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1answer
4k views

Why hippopotamus instead of potamohippus?

Judging by this dictionary entry for hippopotamus, the Romans knew this animal and used the name we currently use in English. This word has an obviously Greek origin: hippos is a horse and potamos is ...
25
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3answers
9k views

What is bullshit in Latin?

If a statement is blatantly wrong or shows lack of interest in the truth, one can call it bullshit in English. But how about Latin? Is there something more strong and colorful than falsus? I am not ...
24
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3answers
9k views

“Oh no!” in Latin

Are there idiomatic Latin exclamations similar to the English "oh no!" used when one finds oneself in an unfortunate situation? The only thing that I came up with is that I might want to use vae or o ...
24
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4answers
12k views

How do I say “Brexit” in Latin?

Londinium, Britannia, 284 AD. The military commander Carausius is leading a movement to take Britannia out of the Imperium Romanum. He thinks there is a conspiracy between locals and foreigners to ...
22
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3answers
2k views

What did Romans call their language?

I was taught that Latinus is an adjective related to the area of Latium. Latin would be called lingua Latina, "the language of Latium", never merely Latina. There is a single-word expression referring ...
20
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3answers
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What is the most common classical Latin word that we don't understand?

I assume that we do not know the meaning of every single word attested in classical and older Latin (literature, inscriptions, and other material). If this assumption is false, it makes this question ...
19
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2answers
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What are the moon phases in Latin?

Here is a list of phases that we distinguish in English (taken from here): Full Moon Waning Gibbous Moon Last Quarter Moon Waning Crescent Moon New Moon Waxing Crescent Moon First Quarter Moon Waxing ...
19
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5answers
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Examples of “homo” used for a woman

Any beginning Latin learner discovers that English "man" has two translations: homo, when referring to a man as opposed to another species, and vir, when referring to a man as opposed to a ...
19
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3answers
270 views

What is the meaning of “suffragio” at the time of Calvin?

In the 1559 edition of Calvin's Institutes, he writes: Quare dum illam recipit, ac suffragio suo obsignat, non ex dubia aut alioqui controversa authenticam reddit Ford L. Battles renders it this ...
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6answers
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Difference between “Lacrimosa” and “Lacrymosa”

This movement from Mozart's Requiem is known as either "Lacrimosa" or "Lacrymosa" (see for instance the Wikipedia article, which uses both spellings). Why is there two different spellings and which ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Are there Latin words known only by reconstruction from Romance languages?

I presume that many Latin words made it to the Romance languages, but were never attested in writing, whether because they were limited to Vulgar Latin or just because by chance no writer used them ...
17
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6answers
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Is Cola “probably the best-known” Latin word in the world? If not, which might it be?

I found this in an ecological park: Cola is actually a Latin word (a scientific one, referring to the plant), albeit its etymology is African. I am curious about whether it is "probably" the best-...
17
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3answers
3k views

The best way to say *interesting* in Latin

It's sometimes difficult to convey some meaning in such an old language as Latin. I have trouble with the word interesting. I've heard someone say iucundus in this meaning, but it's not an accurate ...
17
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1answer
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Are there feminine and neuter versions of “professor”?

From many verbs one can derive an agent noun for each gender: computare > computator (m), computatrix (f), computatrum (n) scribere > scriptor, scriptrix, scriptrum Some of these derivatives ...
17
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2answers
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What is the distinction between gaudium and laetitia when both denote “joy”?

Both gaudium and laetitia denote joy, but appear to be used differently depending on the circumstances. What is the distinction between the two (or more) Latin words for joy?
17
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2answers
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What is the most neutral word for “shield”?

As you know, Latin language has several terms for what we call "shield", namely clipeus, scutum, parma, pelta etc. I'm just wondering which among them is the most "neutral" or "common" word that ...
17
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1answer
5k views

Why are the words for “children” (liberi) and “book” (libri) so similar?

While working in class, I came across this. They have a similar spelling, yet mean completely different things. Is this just random or does it have an actual purpose in the Latin language? Book = ...
17
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2answers
1k views

In Classical Latin, what was the geographic extent of “Asia”?

On the first page of Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, students review a map of the Roman Empire, which is marked with the names of three continents and several smaller regions. The borders of the ...
17
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1answer
731 views

How can I say “undo” in Latin?

The question of how to express my username, Undo, in Latin recently came up in chat. As Ben Kovitz notes, Latin seems to lack the word 'defacio' or similar. How can I say my name, the verb "undo", in ...
17
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1answer
4k views

What's the difference between amare and diligere?

In honor of the day (at least in the US): what specific differences can we point to in the usage of amo and diligo, as well as their corresponding nouns amor and dilectio? Lewis and Short indicates: ...
17
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1answer
1k views

How can I use “quippe” properly?

Lewis & Short gives the following definition: surely, certainly, to be sure, by all means, indeed, in fact certainly, indeed, forsooth for, for in fact for, because, inasmuch as for ...
16
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1answer
1k views

What are the key differences between the main Latin verbs meaning “to kill”?

I'm a student and my class laughs when we learn a new verb for "to kill". Just to list some of them: necare interficere extinguere There are of course many others. What are the key differences ...
15
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7answers
9k views

Can you say “the” in Latin?

I'm reading Collar and Daniell's First Year in Latin right now and they mention that Latin has no articles such as "a", "an", and "the". Is this true? I have heard the book be inaccurate before.
15
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2answers
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In Romans 3:22, why did Jerome prefer to use crēdunt rather than fīdunt?

The Greek text of the Textus Receptus (1550) states, ΚΒʹ δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς πάντας καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή TR, 1550 which Jerome ...
15
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3answers
604 views

Was the plural future imperative ever used?

In Latin today, we ran across the word "esto", which our teacher told us is the future singular imperative of "sum, esse". When I half-jokingly asked what the plural was, he thought for a few seconds ...
15
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2answers
875 views

Is the usage of “id est” in Latin exactly like the usage of “i.e.” or “that is” in English?

There was a question a little while back on the English SE asking about the "plural form of i.e." (unfortunately, it got closed because the author didn't clarify what they meant). While I was trying ...
15
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2answers
216 views

Is there a difference between 'a' and 'de' when the meaning is 'from'?

The Latin preposition de takes an ablative object and has several different translations including 'about', 'of', 'down from' and 'from'. The preposition a/ab also has multiple meanings including '...
14
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3answers
1k views

Why do Latin nouns (like cena, -ae) include two forms?

So I recently learned the first declension nouns concept and my list of new vocabularies to learn suddenly changed. Words were usually presented as: sagitta pecunia etc. Now, they indicate the ...
14
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3answers
992 views

How should I pronounce 'ait'?

I'm interested in the proper Classical pronunciation of the word 'ait'. I've been pronouncing it as 'ate', /eɪt/. Should it instead be pronounced as /a.it/ or even /aɪ.it/? What evidence is there ...
14
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3answers
8k views

Why doesn't Latin have words for “Yes” and “No”?

I mean, it seems like pretty elementary words that can occur in different type of situations. Why wouldn't they exist ?
14
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2answers
1k views

What would an election campaign be called in Latin?

Our site has its first election now and the voting period starts in 12 hours. Therefore it is a good moment to figure out some of the election vocabulary in Latin. What would be a good Latin word for ...
14
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2answers
3k views

What do animals say in classical Latin?

It is well known that the way animals "speak" is amusingly different in different languages. (See lion below.) This makes it hard to guess what kinds of words the Romans would have put in the mouths ...
14
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2answers
18k views

What did the Romans use to close their letters?

As anyone who's written a proper letter knows, one begins with a salutation and ends with a valediction (or, in normal English, opens with "hello" and ends with "goodbye"). Right ...
14
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1answer
1k views

What does the suffix -mentum add to a word's meaning?

Lewis and Short lists 275 words ending in -mentum, many of which have come into English: argumentum augmentum documentum fragmentum pigmentum segmentum etc. Wiktionary (cited as an example, not as ...
14
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1answer
836 views

Did Romans distinguish between black and blue?

Did the Romans distinguish between black and blue? Or, more generally, what do we know about their color system? I was wondering because many of the modern Roman languages use either Arabic or ...
14
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1answer
469 views

Bullying vocabulary

I am not familiar with any mentions of bullying in Roman literature, so I would like to ask for good words for the phenomenon in classical Latin. I would like something that is suitable for bullying ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Origins of the word “hodie”

Hodie is a Latin adverb meaning "today" or "at the present time". I am rather curious as to how this word developed. Was it originally a compound of hōc and diē, which would be translated as "on this ...
13
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3answers
3k views

Does liberi only refer to free children?

This issue came up in an answer and comments to this earlier question about comparing liberi and filii, and I think it's important enough to be treated in a separate question. Also, the answer to this ...
13
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6answers
559 views

“Mind the gap!”

I am currently in London, and the Underground has been kind enough to repeat this warning numerous times: Please mind the gap between the train and the platform! Having heard the same phrase over ...
13
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2answers
4k views

What does “quidem” REALLY mean?

The Lewis Elementary Latin Dictionary (via latinlexicon.org) gives the following definitions: quidem [expressing emphasis or assurance] assuredly, certainly, in fact, indeed [in answers] certainly, ...
13
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2answers
892 views

When and how was “bombax!” used?

I found the exclamation bombax! in Plautus' Pseudolus (Pl. Ps. 1.3.131), where note 19 specifies it is a Greek loanword (βομβάξ in fact) used as an interjection of contempt. This agrees with what is ...
13
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2answers
11k views

Ars gratia artis

I would like to know the meaning of the following Latin expression, as well as a grammatical analysis of the individual words in this context: ARS GRATIA ARTIS as it appears in the following logo ...

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