Questions tagged [word-usage]

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19 votes
4 answers
5k views

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 ...
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13 votes
5 answers
1k views

Causatives in Latin

Many languages I know of have a way of making causative constructions. For example, English uses "make" or "have": I make you do something or have you do something, or even cause you to do something. ...
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13 votes
1 answer
292 views

Use of Greek article in Latin to clarify use of foreign indeclinable nouns

This question concerning the pluralization of letter names has led me to ask a somewhat related question on the use of Greek to clarify indeclinable nouns in Latin. The background to this question is ...
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11 votes
3 answers
485 views

Can "alea" refer to a physical die, or only the game of dice?

(Inspired by this question.) The common English understanding of Caesar's famous "alea iacta est" is "the die is cast", using a metaphor from the throwing of a (physical) die. The ...
  • 37k
9 votes
2 answers
750 views

Why is the comparative of "sacer" not attested?

The comparative of sacer (sacra, sacrum) should be *sacrior (-ius), but it is not attested (1, 2), even though its superlative sacerrimus (-a, -um) is attested 7 times (3). Is there a reason why the ...
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

When can "qui" mean "how"?

From brianpck's comment on another answer: "qui" quite often means "how" in Plautus This took me by surprise, since I'd never seen that use before. In what contexts can quī mean "how"? And where ...
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

What is the opposite of 'sui generis'?

Just wondering if there is an accepted opposite of this term, maybe something like 'generalis generis'?
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

When to use "ac" instead of "et"?

What's the difference between the conjunctions: "et", and "ac"? Which one corresponds to what kind of situation? Allow me to elaborate for clarification, and to distinguish from similar questions. ...
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8 votes
1 answer
348 views

Why does Müller read "accusatius" in Satyrica 119.11?

Petronius' Satyrica 119.11-12, in Konrad Müller's Teubner edition (1995), reads: hinc Numidae †accusatius†, illinc nova vellera Seres, atque Arabum populus sua despoliaverat arva. What reasons could ...
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was the term "firmamentum" used outside of Christian or Jewish texts?

In a common Jewish or Christian view of the world, the sky is a support for something. I don't recall much of anything about this, but I know that explains the English term firmament. However, did ...
8 votes
1 answer
100 views

Can conjunctions be used to join prepositions with the same object?

It is a characteristic of a certain kind of academic writing (or amateurish misconceptions thereof) to join prepositions by conjunctions with only one object. Some examples: The realization of the ...
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8 votes
1 answer
112 views

Usage of "Have to" before The Middle Ages

Medieval-esque phrases like "habeo abire" and "is habet scire" do not break the rules of Classical Latin, but I know that they were much more common afterward. This construction interests me greatly, ...
8 votes
0 answers
85 views

Does the indefinite pronoun/determiner "quă" only exist as an enclitic?

I recently learned that there is an indefinite determiner and pronoun quă used in the feminine nominative singular and neuter nominative/accusative plural with the sense "any(one)" (...
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7 votes
2 answers
257 views

Should you repeat the same verb twice in a ὁ μὲν ... ὁ δέ construction?

Let's say you want to translate the following English sentence to Attic Greek. We believed that they were good friends, for whithersoever this one went, that one also went. The first clause calls ...
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7 votes
2 answers
470 views

When does si mean "that"?

In the Vulgate (Acts 26:22-23), I came across the following: ...nihil extra dicens quam ea quæ prophetæ locuti sunt futura esse, et Moyses, si passibilis Christus, si primus ex resurrectione ...
7 votes
1 answer
290 views

Is there a Ancient Greek or Latin equivalent to "steely eyed"?

I'm looking for parallel idioms related by vocabulary and/or meaning. This is in reference to a question on Mythology regarding the "gray eyed" translation of an epithet of Athena: Why is Athena “...
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7 votes
2 answers
146 views

A curious use of "temere"

I am reading Erat olim …, a selection of twelve fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers translated from the original German by Franz Schlosser (whose translation style was previously discussed on this site)....
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "et alibi" mean?

Here are few definitions, which I found, of what "et alibi" means: And elsewhere; used to terminate lists of passages in a text (link). In lists of places, et alibi (meaning "and elsewhere") is used ...
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6 votes
1 answer
146 views

Can valeo be used transitively?

Looking through the entry in Lewis & Strong, I couldn't find any mention of the accusative being used with valeo, except as the object of certain prepositions. However, the following use of magna ...
6 votes
1 answer
151 views

Opposing meanings of the suffix -gena

I recently came across the word "deigena" while reading c. 2, lectio 4 of Aquinas's Commentary on the Divine Names of [Pseudo-]Dionysius. This led me to discover what seems to be a productive suffix ...
  • 37k
6 votes
1 answer
148 views

Can the adverb nunc be used in apposition?

For a textbook exercise, I translated this sentence from English into Latin. The terrified Callisto, now a wild animal, avoided men and beasts (animals). (Latin via Ovid) Here's my ...
  • 11.2k
6 votes
1 answer
153 views

Ubī ūtar verbō "queō" prō "possum"?

The word queō ("I am able") is back-formed from nequeō ("I am not able") and, to the best of my knowledge, is equivalent in meaning to possum. When would one use queō over possum, or vice versa?
5 votes
2 answers
156 views

Where does the ablative go in a Latin sentence ? Does it even matter?

I'm learning Latin on my own with the book "Beginner's Latin" by Collar & Daniell, I recently reached Chapter IV where the ablative is introduced with the preposition In, my problem with ...
5 votes
1 answer
433 views

When to use βλέπω versus ὁράω?

In Attic Greek, where is it appropriate to find βλέπω instead of ὁράω, and vice versa? Do the verbs have different connotations, or different shades of meaning? As far as I know, they both mean "to ...
  • 11.2k
5 votes
2 answers
163 views

What is "Lux Belli"?

In a certain old text dealing with the Spanish conquest of the Americas, I found the following phrase: El restituirle el derecho, y acciones de Patron, que le tiene quitado, y el Titulo de ...
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5 votes
1 answer
76 views

Can "sequi" be used to indicate that I "follow" an argument?

I would like to know if sequor can be used to translate a sentence like the following: Do you follow my argument? The linked L&S entry does not have anything equivalent, though it does ...
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4 votes
3 answers
190 views

Is "Stanford populi" bad Latin?

In their "Open Loop University" concept vision, Stanford introduces "populi" as the next conceptual step after "alumni". Examples of usage follow. "...we now have a populi of 215,000 ongoing students....
4 votes
1 answer
235 views

Latin usage & perfect passive finite verb forms

I understand that a perfect passive finite verb is formed by combining the perfect passive participle with the correct form of 'esse'. My question is this: Does it ever happen that the second ...
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4 votes
2 answers
122 views

Was there any difference between "grātĭa" and "făvor"?

The Lewis & Short dictionary defines gratia as: grātĭa, ae, f. gratus; lit., favor, both that in which one stands with others and that which one shows to others. I. Favor which one finds ...
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4 votes
1 answer
64 views

What is the meaning of "salvus" in this sentence about music?

Instituta Patrum de modo psallendi is a High Medieval document, allegedly based on circulated precepts of Bernard of Clairveaux, and perhaps other church figures as well. It enjoins church communities ...
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4 votes
1 answer
92 views

Were "meridiem" and "mediam diem" in free variation in Latin?

Both "meridiem" and "mediam diem" seem to have carried both the meaning "midday" and "(the) south" in Latin, if their Romance descendants are any indication. From "meridiem", we get apparently ...
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4 votes
0 answers
66 views

How do you phrase didactic statements in Latin?

In English, if we want to state rule or some didactic principle, we use the indefinite article. So, for example, we might say "A car drives on the right side of the road." meaning that we ...
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3 votes
1 answer
351 views

When does the letter s after ex- get omitted?

I ask this since there is so much variation in this situation. For example, s after ex- prefixed words mostly gets omitted in later period texts, but can also be found in Vergil's work, despite also ...
3 votes
1 answer
124 views

Can the adjective "paucus" carry this meaning?

According to Wiktionary, the adjective paucus, although typically found in the plural, with a meaning typically pertaining to quantity, can mean: 1. few, little Usually plural; very rare in ...
3 votes
1 answer
439 views

Is "intrum" a word?

There is a company called Intrum, which was called Intrum Justitia from its founding in 1923 to a merger in 2017. This strikes me as a clear attempt at making a name sound more prestigious by making ...
3 votes
2 answers
188 views

Did the Romans ever use 'decimatio' in a generalized sense?

Decimātiō was a Roman term for a military punishment where a group was reduced by a tenth. But in modern English, decimation is used generically to mean 'greatly reduced or damaged', often in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
404 views

Do these two phrases mean something different?

I need assistance in correctly identifying which statement makes sense: Nostrae Cor Jesu Fons Sapientiae or Nostrae Cor Iesu Fons Sapientiae There is a debate that the second statement is the correct ...
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0 votes
1 answer
78 views

How to determine when a noun is an objective genitive versus a subjective genitive?

St. Augustine writes in Soliloq. i, 10: nihil esse sentio quod magis ex arce deiiciat animum virilem quam blandimenta feminæ, corporumque ille contactus sine quo uxor haberi non potest. Is the ...
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