Archaic and Derived Superlatives

Recall the standard stem for Latin comparatives is -issimus. However, most student of Latin are familiar with a  variety of alternative, irregular forms. For instance:

  • Bonus, melior, optimus
  • Malus, peior, pessimus
  • Magnus, maior, maximus

These are all more archaic forms of the superlatives. (Hence there appearance in very basic, common adverbs, which we can predict would be more resistant to phonological change due to frequency of use.)

  • timus
  • īmus
  • summus

Furthermore, A&G note that certain superlative adjectives are derived from their comparative forms, not from their positives. They aren’t explicit about how this works, but the example they offer is extrēmus, which might go exterior –> *exterīmus –> extrēmus.

  • A&G compare this to the derivative development of ‘childish’ superlatives like the English furtherer and furtherest. Again, this is all a little mysterious to me, as a non-phonologist. If anyone has thoughts, I would love to hear them.

The Essential AG: 130an2

Verbs Found Chiefly In the Imperative

A few verbs (some of which you’re already familiar with) appear chiefly in the imperative, and only rarely in other forms.

  • salvē, salvēte, salvētō : hail! [the forms salvēre, salveō, salvētis and salvēbis are also found.]
  • avē/havē, avēte, avētō : hail! or farewell! [the form avēre is also found.]
  • cedo, cedite/cette : hand it over! tell! (not cēdocedo is a second person imperative; cēdo is a first person indicative)
  • apage : begone! (cf. Gk. ἄπαγε)

A Lewis and Short search suggests that the latter two (quite reasonably given their Greek roots) are found principally in Roman comedy.

The Essential AG: 206g