38 votes
Accepted

Is Cola "probably the best-known" Latin word in the world? If not, which might it be?

Cola is a Latinized form of kola, taken from some Niger-Congo language (it's not clear which) and applied to a genus of plants. It isn't a native Latin word and would have been unfamiliar to the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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28 votes
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Do *Mundi* and *Mundum* mean different things?

These are the exact same word, and yes both mean "world" but no you cannot substitute them for each other. Latin is a fully inflexional language, which means that the words have endings which change ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 53.7k
24 votes

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

In Republican and early Imperial Latin, mulier was more common, and fēmina was more markedly respectful Although it might seem surprising to speakers of modern languages where using the word "...
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 28.5k
21 votes

Is Cola "probably the best-known" Latin word in the world? If not, which might it be?

My impression is that "Latin name" here means "scientific name (of a species)". Many people seem to conflate scientific names and Latin names, although the two are different concepts. The way I see it,...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
20 votes
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Are the two cums related?

The similarity is a coincidence; these words are unrelated. Etymological dictionaries such as De Vaan's give the following account of the two words: The earlier form of the conjunction cum is quom; ...
TKR's user avatar
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20 votes
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Distinguishing house from home

A word for “house” is probably the easy part: aedes, -ium, f. literally means “rooms.” Only fits if your dwelling has more than one room, although, if it has only one, you could call it aedis. ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
20 votes
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cunnilingus vs cunnilinctus

Cunnilingus is an actual classical Latin word, used several times by Martial and once in the Priapea. It is formed from cunnus (the vulva, but it is an obscene word), and the verb lingere (to lick), ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
19 votes
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Why are the words for "children" (liberi) and "book" (libri) so similar?

These words are unrelated: they developed independently from different Proto-Indo-European roots, according to Michiel de Vaan's Etymological Dictionary (337–38). First, liber or librī, meaning "book,...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

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

The thesauri and dictionaries offer marvelous help with some of these. Adapted from Döderlein's Hand-book of Latin Synonymes: Interficere and perimere are the most general expressions for ...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
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17 votes
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How does forem compare to essem?

For my answer, I will use material from a 1931 article written to address this very issue: "The Use of Forem and Essem" by Winnie D. Lawrence, available on JSTOR. Abstract: While essem was always ...
brianpck's user avatar
  • 40.1k
17 votes

Most accurate Latin word for "book" in this context

Liber is that Latin word for book, and my first inclination is to go there. However, further context is needed to make an actual decision. Other options include libellum and codex. Monumentum is most ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 53.7k
15 votes

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

Well, this may obviously be outdated, but G.M. Messing banged out a 3-page treatment of "The Etymology of Lat. Mentula" for the Oct. 1956 Classical Philology (Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 247–249). His ...
lly's user avatar
  • 776
15 votes

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

Aster and astrum are borrowings from Greek ἀστήρ and ἄστρον. The former is also a name given to e.g. a plant and some type of clay, but you can find it used for any given star, too. The latter is the ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 53.7k
14 votes

What is the distinction between gaudium and laetitia when both denote "joy"?

Laetitia is a state of being, from laetus happy. Someone who is laetus has gaudium, in the sense that someone who is rich has money. It more generally should be translated as happiness instead of joy. ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 53.7k
14 votes

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

The Latin word used for "world" here is mundus. This word has several forms (singular/plural): nominative: mundus/mundi accusative: mundum/mundos genitive: mundi/mundorum dative: mundo/mundis ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Comparison of omnes, cuncti, and universi

Certainly there are differences between the three, which I hope the following will demonstrate with sufficient clarity. The roots of universus indicate 'turned into one', which describes a group ...
Tom Cotton's user avatar
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14 votes
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Saints: sanctus or divus?

Superb question! Divus is a term used to refer to Roman deities or highly esteemed individuals (e.g. emperors). L&S give some classic Latin quotes, and you can also see books about Divus ...
luchonacho's user avatar
  • 12.4k
13 votes

What is the difference between suus and eius?

All forms of se, including suus, normally refer to the subject of the main clause of the sentence. Eius, however, normally does not refer to this subject, but to someone else. So the two words have ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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13 votes
Accepted

Are "sex" and "sexus" etymologically related?

The gist of Au101's answer is confirmed by de Vaan's Etymological Dictionary. First, regarding sex, in Proto-Italic and Proto-Indo-European, he gives: PIt. *seks 'six', *seks-to- 'sixth' PIE *(s)...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Minimal pair for hidden quantity

The example I feel most certain about is various forms of sum “be” and edo “eat”, in particular the infinitives esse and ēsse and the third-person singular forms est and ēst.
Asteroides's user avatar
  • 28.5k
13 votes

Minimal pair for hidden quantity

lustrum 'a mud pit, den' ≠ lūstrum 'a purification ceremony' (prob. from luere 'to expiate') are not to be mixed. To quote Festus from Paulus: lŭstra significant lacūnās lutōsās, quae sunt in silvīs ...
Unbrutal_Russian's user avatar
12 votes

Breakfast, lunch, dinner?

Classical Latin Roman Republic According to the Guide Romain Antique, by Jean Dautry, Georges Hacquard and Olivier Maisani, from the second century BC the Romans had 3 meals a day only one of which ...
Luc's user avatar
  • 2,332
12 votes
Accepted

Niveus and nivosus

In general, the -osus ending indicates plenty. Lacrimosa isn't just "teary-eyed," but weepy. Same with nivosa. Niveus is often used with mountains to describe the snow-topped peaks, and from the ...
cmw's user avatar
  • 53.7k
12 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

Another partial answer. Tl;dr: kissing had a social role in Judaism that was inherited into Christianity (as osculum in the Vulgate), where it even had/acquired a ceremonial role (not sure if this ...
Rafael's user avatar
  • 11.4k
12 votes

Was "oscŭlum" a cultured word in Latin?

I cannot provide a complete answer either, but perhaps a few points one the subject of kissing, and the semantics of the words for it. I cannot, unfortunately, provide immediate literature references ...
kkm -still wary of SE promises's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

When to use ae vs a for plurals?

In Latin, nouns belong to different groups, which are called declensions. The word insula is of the first declension, whereas the word oppidum is of the second declension. Each declension has its own ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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11 votes
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When were trivialis and quadrivialis introduced?

I believe the cursory etymology you stated is inaccurate. Here is what my research shows: Medieval Latin meaning of trivium / trivialis In the Middle Ages, the liberal arts were divided into the ...
brianpck's user avatar
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11 votes
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Is the -que in quinque at all related to the conjunction -que?

None, and here's why. Meaning If you look at -que cognates (Hittite -kku 'now, even, and'; Sanskrit -ca 'and'; Greek Gr. -τε 'and' etc.), you will see that the meaning is virtually the same (and). ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
  • 11.6k
11 votes

Are "sex" and "sexus" etymologically related?

No, I don't think so, and for this I can actually rely on etymonline which is a fine resource, even if linguistics students are discouraged from using it for their homework. The entry for the English ...
Au101's user avatar
  • 323
11 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between amare and diligere?

I will start with my comments. Quotations follow after the line. As you wrote, diligere is about esteem, amare is about passion. With this in mind, I would not consider diligere colder than amare. A ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar

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