Are We Us? — Nouns

The same suffixes—ārius, tōrius, and sōrius—that formed a number of adjectives in this post can also be put to use as nouns with a regular range of meanings. This meaning is often restricted to the gender of the noun formed. Again, these denote a kind of belonging.

-ārius (m.) employee in a particular field

  • argentārius, -ī silversmith, broker
  • coriārius, -ī leather worker
  • Corinthiārius, -ī Corinthian bronze worker (for those not in the know, Corinthian bronze had Gucci bag status in antiquity)
  • mirābiliārius, -ī miracle worker
  • operārius, ī worker, day-laborer

-ārius (f.) thing associated with a particular field

  • aerāria, -ae copper mine
  • argentāria, -ae bank
  • arēnāriae, -ārum sandpits (arēna, sand)
  • Asināria, -ae the play The Ass (with fabula, -ae implied)

-ārium (n.) thing (often a place) associated with a field

  • aerārium, -ī treasury
  • tepidārium, -ī warm bath
  • sūdārium, -ī towel
  • salārium, -ī salary
  • calendārium, -ī notebook (calendae, calends)

-tōria / -sōria (f.) and -tōrium / -sōrium (n.) thing (often a place) associated with a field

  • Agitātōria,ae The Driver by Platus (agitātor, driver, with fabula, -ae implied)
  • auditōrium, -ī lecture room
  • tentōrium, -ī tent (tendō, stretch)
  • tēctōrium plaster (tectus, covered)
  • portōrium toll (portus, harbor)

The Essential AG: 254.1-5

Nomina Castrata

The following is a list of nouns that features both a masculine and neuter form, each with the same meaning. Allen and Greenough hint that there are “many others of rare occurrence” beyond this list, suggesting neuter-for-masculine is a comfortable poetic standard, but these are the most common instances, or the ones used most widely in classical literature.

  • balteus/um, -ī sword belt, girdle
  • cāseus/um, ī cheese (also, in comedy, term of endearment)
  • clipeus/um, ī round brazen shield
  • collum/us, ī neck
  • cingulum/us, ī waistband, waist strap
  • pīleus/um, ī liberty cap
  • tergum/us, ī back
  • vāllum/us, ī wall, rampart

By the way, the Allen and Greenough term for these guys is heterogeneous. This term also covers the plūria transexuālia and plūria aliēna that I discussed in earlier posts.

Plūrālia Aliēna

The follow is a list of nouns whose standard semantic meaning is altered when the noun is made plural.

  • aedēs, is (f) temple —> aedēs house
  • aqua, ae (f) water —> aquae mineral springs, watering hole
  • auxilium, -ī (n) help —> auxilia auxiliary forces
  • bonum, ī (n) a good —> bona goods, property
  • carcer, -ēris (m) dungeon, prison —> carcerēs race course barriers
  • castrum, -ī (n) fort —> castra military camp
  • comitium, -ī (n) place of assembly —> comitia election
  • cōpia (f) plenty —> cōpiae stores, troops
  • fidēs, -is (f) harp-spring —> fidēs, um lyre
  • fīnis, -is (m) end —> fīnēs boundaries
  • fortūna, -ae (f) fortune —> fortūnae possessions
  • grātia, -ae (f) favor —> grātiae thanks, the Graces
  • hortus, -ī (m) garden —> hortī pleasure-grounds
  • impedīmentum, -ī (n) hindrance —> impedīmenta baggage
  • literra, -ae (f) letter —> litterae literature, epistle
  • locus, -ī (m) place —> locī topics (but loca (n) places)
  • mōs, mōris (m) habit, custom —> mōres character
  • nātālis, -is (m) birthday —> nātālēs descent, origin
  • opera (f) work —> operae day-hands
  • ops, -is (f) help —> opēs resources, wealth
  • pars, -tis (f) part —> partēs stage role, party
  • rōstrum, (n) beak of a ship —> rōstra speaker’s platform
  • sāl (m/n) salt —> salēs (m) witty jokes
  • tabella (f) tablet —> tabellae records

The Essential A & G: 107

Plūrālia Tantum

I’ve discussed this phenomenon in parts in places, but I have never full described the phenomenon of plūrālia tantum—Latin words that appear categorically as plural nouns.

The plūrālia include—

  • names of cities: Athēnae, Thūriī, Philippī, Veiī
  • names of festivals: Olympia, Bacchānālia, Quīnquārtrūs, lūdī Rōmānī
  • names of social classes: optimātēs, maiōres (ancestors), liberī, penātēs, Quirītēs (citizens)
  • words that are plural in nature, like the English ‘jeans, scissor, contents, etc.’: arma, artūs (joints)dīvitiae, scālae (stairs), valvae (folding doors), forēs, angustiae, moenia, dēliciae (beloved), faucēs (throat), īnsidiae (ambush), cervīcēs (neck), viscera (flesh).
  • words that are popular plural poetical tropes: sceptra (for sceptrum), ora (for ōs), silentia (for silentium).

Where these appear in the singular, they often have meanings slightly distinct from their plural forms:

  • Optimās, optimātis: aristocrat
  • Foris, foris: gate

The Essential A & G: 101-2

Compounds of Fīō

Compounds of faciō vary between passives in -fīō and passives in -ficior. The distinction? Check the vowel a (faciō) in the compound. In the rare case that this is retain in the compound, then –fīō is also retained.

benefaciō, benefacere, benefēcī, benefactum (in place of the expected beneficio/ficere/fēcī/fectum, and hence the English ‘benefaction’ but also ‘infection.’)

  • benefīō, benefierī, benefactus sum

Several of the faciō compounds that feature -ficiō/-ficior forms will also feature passive -fīō forms, with separate meanings.

  • cōnfit, it happens
  • dēfit, it lacks
  • īnfit, he beings (to speak)
  • interfit, he perishes
  • superfit, there remains

The Essential AG: 204b-c