Guide to the dictionary

Conventions used in the text


Main senses indicated by numbers may be followed by a subsection or subsections; these are introduced by letters thus: 1 . . b . . c, etc. Some senses consist of two or more equally important elements, and in these the letter a is also employed, e.g. 2a . . b, etc.

Alternative spellings, declensions, etc. are sometimes indicated by Greek letters, Again, equally important forms are shown by α, β, γ, etc., minor variants by β, γ, etc.


Consonantal and vocalic i and u respectively are not distinguished. Where assimilation of consonants takes place in a compound word, the more common form, as printed in the editions, is normally used for the lemma. For example, compounds of ad-and p-appear under app-, while compounds of ad-and n-, in which assimilation is not common, appear under adn-.

Normally only long vowels in a metrically indeterminate position are marked (e.g. audītus, auē). Final ‘o’s, though frequently scanned short in Silver Latin, are regularly given their original value.

Variants and Cross-References

Variant spellings are printed in bold either immediately after the headword, preceded by a comma:


or following the part of speech and preceded by ‘Also’:

Abȳdos,~us ~īf. Also ~um ~īn.


Works are shown in italics and quotations from them in roman, unless they are inscriptions, in which case small capitals are used. When an author remains the same for two or more consecutive quotations, he is cited only before the first one:

compendium ‥ 2b ‥ Pl. Rud. 180 ‥ St. 194 ‥ Capt. 965


The articles on suffixes are not intended as a complete historical account of all Latin formations; they are no more than an indication of the principal elements regarded from a synchronistic point of view. One of the most characteristic features of Latin suffixes is their growth by misdivision: for instance, the elementary suffix -nus gives rise to a group of secondary suffixes -ānus, -īnus, -ernus, -tinus. All such, if sufficiently common, are listed separately; where there may be doubt about the correct allocation, words are treated as containing the more specific, or longer, form of the suffix (e.g. urbānus is analysed as urbs + -ānus, even though a historically more correct analysis might be + -nus). It is in many cases impossible to determine the historical facts, since in the classical period -anus was clearly felt as a living suffix, whereas -nus was no longer employed in new formations. Some apparent discrepancies in the analysis of suffixes will be explained in the articles in question: thus the analysis of defensio as defendo + -tio depends upon the historical fact that two dental sounds in contact developed into a sibilant. The examples quoted in the articles on suffixes are only a small selection.

Signs and symbols

indicates an omitted part of a quotation.
indicates a subdivision within a section as specified in a parenthesis immediately following, or corresponding to a semicolon in the definition. Also, when spaced, it indicates a change of speaker in passages of dialogue.
~ represents a fixed (unchangeable) portion of a word throughout an article. It has no etymological significance. In other cases a hyphen indicates a detached part of a word.
* indicates a hypothetical word, or a word no longer extant.
< indicates a root form.
[ ] enclose etymological remarks.
[ ] enclose author’s name in case of doubtful ascription.
<> enclose restored portions of text. (Supplements to abbreviations are shown by ordinary parenthesis.)
†† enclose portions of text which cannot be right, but it is not known what they should be.

General abbreviations

Note: Many abbreviations appear in plural form with the addition of ‘s’, e.g. abbrevs., compars., gds., phrs., qus. They are not listed separately below.

absol. absolute(ly)
ad fin. ad finem, towards the end
arg. lib. arguementum libri, the synopsis or summary (of a book)
c. circiter, about
cf. confer, compare
cj. conjecture
cjj. conjectures
codd. codices
dub. doubtful
ed. edited by
Ed. edict
ellipt. elliptical(ly)
expr. expression, expressing, expressed
ext. extera, foreign
f. feminine
f.l. falsa lectio, false reading
facet. facetious(ly)
fig. figurative(ly)
gram. grammar, grammatical
hyperb. hyperbolic, hyperbolically
inc. incerta, incertorum, uncertain
intr. intransitive, intransitively
l. line
l.c. loco citato, in the passage already cited
leg. legal(ly), in legal use
m. masculine
mil. military
neut. neuter
pass. passive(ly)
pl. plural
poet. poetic
praet. praetor
pred. predicate, predicative(ly)
ref. reference, referring
rhet. in rhetoric, rhetorical
S.C. Senatus Consultum
s.v.l. si uera lectio
s.vv.ll. si uerae lectiones
sc. scilicet
scr. ex. scriptura exterior, outer writing
scr. int. scriptura interior, inner writing
sg. singular
sim. similar/similarly
spec. specific(ally)
sq. et sequens, and following
tr. transitive/translating
transf. (in) transferred (sense)
usu. usual(ly)
v.l. uaria lectio
var. variant (of), various
vv.ll. uariae lectiones