General Uses of Ūsus, -ūs

As a (fourth declension masculine) noun, ūsus can adopt a variety of closely-related but powerfully particular meanings:

1. Ūsus + genitive typically refers to the use, exercise or enjoyment of something.

  • ūsus ocūlōrum: eyesight
  • ūsus pectōrālis : push-ups
  • ūsus unguentis: the delights of cologne (I highly recommend getting this at TJ Maxx—half-price!)

2. On its own, ūsus can either refer to ‘exercise’ or ‘wear and tear’

  • Fidēs nōn ad ūsum tendit: the insurance does not cover wear and tear.
  • Musculōsa ūsū cotidiānō exstitit: she became very buff through daily exercise
  • (the more straightforward exercitātiō is more common, at least in my experience)

3. It can also reference a ‘habit’ or social ‘custom’

  • ūsum loquendī populō concessī; scientam mihi reservāvī: I have give up my habit of making speeches to the people, but I have retained my habit of learning (Cicero in old age)
  • populum auctōritāte suā ad ūsum frūgalitātis vocāvit: by his authority, he brought the people to a habit of moderation (Lycurgus)
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It Won’t Always Be Summer

I was tracing a Latin quote from Erasmus and it went a little deeper than expected, so I thought it best to share—

The quote from Erasmus: nōn semper erit aestās (Adagia, 4.3.86)

The immediate comparison to this in Latin would be Seneca’s dicēbam vōbīs: nōn semper erunt Satūrnālia (Apocolocyntosis, 12)

The general sense here is “winter is coming,” and therefore scholars have rightly traced these sentiments back to Hesiod, Work and Days 503:

“οὐκ αἰεὶ θέρος ἐσσεῖται—ποιεῖσθε καλīάς!”

The καλιά is a storage barn, though searching for καλιάς on Google I found this little gem: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=kalias