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Questions tagged [word-comparison]

For questions about comparing two or more words, not for comparative forms of adjectives.

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20 votes
6 answers
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Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

The Spanish language has two words for kiss: Beso, from Latin basium. Ósculo, from Latin oscŭlum. The second one is very seldom used, and only in literature as it is a cultured word. Nonetheless, it ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 2,219
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are the two cums related?

In short, is there a relation between the preposition cum and the conjunction cum? It makes some sense that the conjunction would come from the preposition. One could interpret some cum clauses so ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
5k views

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?
Mark M.'s user avatar
  • 197
17 votes
2 answers
10k views

Do *Mundi* and *Mundum* mean different things?

I came across this expression in the book: The Invisible Man, (H.G. Wells) Griffin contra mundum...with a vengeance From my very basic knowledge of Latin (I'm a Bio. student) I take it that contra ...
paracetamol's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Distjubo's user avatar
  • 273
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

How does forem compare to essem?

The verb esse has two sets of imperfect conjunctive forms: essem, esses, esset… and forem, fores, foret… What is the difference between these two, in meaning and in use? Are there cases ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
6k 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: ...
brianpck's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
818 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 '...
LJD200's user avatar
  • 271
16 votes
1 answer
4k views

Both "fēmina" and "mulier" mean "woman": what's the difference?

The word fēmina is used with the meaning "woman": Of human beings, a female, woman (cf.: uxor, mulier, matrona; conjux, marita) (Lewis and Short) (Fēmina also means "female" when ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
6k 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 = ...
Tmanzz122's user avatar
  • 183
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the difference between "ac" (or "atque") and "et"?

What is the difference between ac (or atque) and et? And how do I know when to use atque instead of just ac? It seems that ac "binds more tightly" than et. Is this true? Or is the difference between ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 3,700
15 votes
6 answers
10k views

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-...
luchonacho's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
811 views

Are there many irregular adjectives for the Latin comparison?

I just learned the comparison for adjectives. Most adjectives have regular conjugations (every case/grammatical gender has its own output). But I learned a few irregular adjectives as well (all in ...
L. Peters's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
21k views

Most accurate Latin word for "book" in this context

The English word "book" has many potential Latin translations, such as liber, monumentum, carta, codex, and volumen. If, in this context, the book refers to a textbook or collection of stories, what ...
Sapphira's user avatar
  • 2,093
14 votes
5 answers
3k views

Saints: sanctus or divus?

I was in Bologna last week, and a couple of churches had an inscription about their dedication to a saint. To my surprise, they used the word divus instead of sanctus. For example, a church may be ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does mentula ("penis") derive from the same root as mens ("mind"), and if so why?

The Latin word mentula isn't properly defined in the Lewis & Short dictionary, but it does show up on Latin-Dictionary.net and Wiktionary. Both those dictionaries define mentula as "penis". But ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 12.1k
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Pulvis aut Favillae in 'Dust and Ashes' in the Book of Job?

The famous phrase "Dust to Dust, Ashes to Ashes" does not come from the Bible but from the English Burial Service of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, reading: "we therefore commit his body to the ...
Johan88's user avatar
  • 1,095
13 votes
2 answers
8k views

Breakfast, lunch, dinner?

How to translate 'breakfast', 'lunch', and 'dinner' into Latin? I gather cena is an adequate translation of 'dinner', but google translate produces many possibilities for 'breakfast' and 'lunch', and ...
davidrmcharles's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
5k views

cunnilingus vs cunnilinctus

I'm interested in the morphology of these two words. How are they structured and does their structure affect their meaning at all?
Bill Heap's user avatar
  • 333
13 votes
1 answer
6k views

Usage of nihil and nihilum

I know that nihil is an irregular noun, being undeclinable and used only in the nominative and accusative cases. I know that nihilum is a more regular 2nd-declension neuter word, with all the usual ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 631
12 votes
2 answers
5k views

Distinguishing house from home

The common word domus can mean both "house" and "home". How can I make a distinction between a house and a home in Latin? For example, I might buy a house but it doesn't feel like ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
4k views

How do you say "perhaps" or "maybe"?

I have a very good guess about how to say "perhaps" or "maybe". But I suspect there are several ways of saying it, with varying degrees of certainty. I wanted to get a better idea. ...
ktm5124's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
6k views

What is the difference between Spiritus and Anima?

Both spiritus and anima seem to have the definition of soul, but it is mentioned on numerous sites that they are different from one another. What is the difference?
slsl3079's user avatar
  • 345
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Comparing ius sacrum and fas

I would like clarification on two related divine and legal terms: ius sacrum and fas. They can both be translated as "divine law", but I do not think they are the same thing. I have an idea of what ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
17k views

Difference between super and supra?

Is there a difference in meaning between super and supra (both with accusative)? Would one indicate motion and the other one position?
user18798's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
3 answers
6k views

What's the difference between aster, stella, sidus and astrum in Latin?

aster, stella, sidus and astrum are are all nearly means or related to stars. But are there any key differences between these words ?
imdevskp's user avatar
  • 219
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between aula and atrium?

When researching for the living room question and the question that inspired it, I came across some dictionary definitions of aula and atrium. Aula is a Greek thing and atrium is Roman, but otherwise ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Comparison of omnes, cuncti, and universi

The three adjectives omnis, cunctus, and universus appear to be essentially synonymous. They are often used in the plural. The entries in L&S suggest very strong similarity, but I find it unlikely ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
969 views

Difference between filiī and liberī

I was reading Orberg's Lingua Latina per se Illustrata and I found the following sentences: Marcus et Quīntus sunt dūo filiī. [...] In familia Rõmāna tres līberī sunt. Now I deduce both words ...
Pablo Ivan's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
976 views

Differences between cano and canto

In Cap. X of LLPSI, Ørberg introduces the verb cano, having introduced canto in a previous chapter. The usage of both so far is just sing, but are there more nuanced differences between the two? From ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 8,652
11 votes
2 answers
10k views

Are there any subtle differences in the greetings, "Ave" and "Salve"?

When greeting someone, are there any subtle differences between "Ave" and "Salve"? Can both be used to greet and respond? E.g. Marcus: Ave, Cicero. Cicero: Salve, Marce. Or, vice ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 12.1k
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the difference between "novi" and "scio"?

Latin has at least two words that straightforwardly translate to English "know": novi (perf. of nosco) scio Plautus combines the two pleonastically: nec vos qui homines sitis novi nec scio Here'...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.7k
11 votes
1 answer
653 views

Is there a latin word for 'plausible deniability'?

Plausible deniability in English is a condition in which a subject can safely and believably deny knowledge of any particular truth that may exist so as to shield the subject from any responsibility ...
Awn's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
2 answers
722 views

Minimal pair for hidden quantity

Is there an example where the quantity of a vowel makes a difference in a syllable that is heavy by position? For a concrete example, this does happen in Finnish (where long vowels are written as ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

Are "sex" and "sexus" etymologically related?

Are sex (the number 6) or sextus (⅙ or ordinal sixth)(From where the English word "sextant" comes.) and sexus (sex or gender) etymologically related?
Geremia's user avatar
  • 3,700
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the difference between niger and ater?

L&S gives descriptions of niger and ater, but the difference is is not clear to me at all. Both mean black, but there appears to be a difference in nuance — as practically always when two ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
192 views

"To shed blood" – profundere or effundere?

In a 1957 encyclical titled Invicti Athletae, Pope Pius XII wrote: ... non solum profuso sanguine fidei nostrae testimonium Deo praebetur ... which the official translation renders ... not only ...
Matt Gutting's user avatar
  • 1,051
10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is there a difference between septimana and hebdomas?

My dictionary gives two translations for "week": septimāna and hebdomas (gen. hebdomadis, feminine). Is there a difference between these two words? Are there contexts where only one of them is ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
4k views

Prae- & Ante- (before)

The prefixes prae- and ante- both have the same meaning of 'before' in place or time. Why is the existence of both words necessary?
andersj's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
1 answer
333 views

Lonely vs. alone

A person is alone when there are no other people around. A person is lonely when the presence of other people is missed. Neither implies the other; you can be lonely but not alone or alone but not ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
599 views

Comparing per- and de- as intensifying prefixes

Both per- an de- can be used as intensifying prefixes. It seems that per- is far more common, but also de- occurs (detritus, defetisci, deplorare…). There is also deperire, where de- seems to ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
553 views

Comparing quicumque, quilibet, quisquis, quivis

The pronouns quicumque, quilibet, quisquis and quivis have a somewhat similar meaning, roughly "anyone". What exactly are their differences? The dictionary entries I have seen do not provide a clear ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the difference between "lux" and "lumen"?

Latin has two common words for "light": lux and lumen. What are the differences between these two words? Are there any contexts in which one would be appropriate while the other would not? It would ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 41.7k
9 votes
2 answers
8k views

Anima vs. Animus

I keep mixing up animus and anima, and it seems their meanings overlap somewhat. For example, Wiktionary gives the following: animus: mind, soul, life force; courage, will anima: soul, spirit, life; ...
Expedito Bipes's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
944 views

Difference between 'urbe' and 'oppidum'?

I have found that LLPSI uses oppidum to describe cities (at least in the early chapters) while Duolingo uses urbe. What is the difference, and which should I usually use?
James's user avatar
  • 529
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the difference between plus and magis?

The dictionaries I have checked give translations for both plus and magis, and they seem to have a different tone. However, I have found no comparison between the two. They both mean "more" one way or ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
212 views

Aut *celer* aut *vēlōx*?

Celer and vēlōx are often treated as synonymous. I feel certain that I learned the technical distinction between them once: that celer was potential speed, while vēlōx was actual speed. So Usain Bolt ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 68.1k
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are "vir" and "virgo" etymologically related?

Are vir and virgo etymologically related? St. Isidore says, in his Etymologies p. 242, that virago and vir are related: A ‘heroic maiden’ (virago) is so called because she ‘acts like a man’ (...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 3,700
8 votes
2 answers
343 views

Is the -que in quinque at all related to the conjunction -que?

I noticed that quinque ends in -que. I asked my teacher if this was sheer coincidence or so reason for it. He didn't know but he thought it was coincidental. I, however, think that they probably share ...
tox123's user avatar
  • 1,623
8 votes
1 answer
151 views

Niveus and nivosus

I would like to compare the two adjectives niveus and nivosus derived from nix, "snow". My prior understanding of these words was that niveus is "snow-white" and nivosus is "snowy", but L&S tells ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar