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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Uses of Diēs

Lewis and Short have a different take on the masculine/feminine division of diēs. They claim that diēs is properly masculine, but appears in poetry (metrī gratiā) as a feminine noun to mean ‘day’ in prose to mean ‘time’ or ‘date.’

They pull a number of examples from Ennius, Ovid, Horace and Vergil to support this, but then also lay bare that Julius Caesar (feminine) and Sallust (masculine) use the two genders of diēs for the same phrases. What are your thoughts on this?

Caesar actually uses a variety of diēs phrases:

postridiē eius diē : after that day

diem ex diē dūcere : to lead (troops) day by day

The phrase in diēs is generally translated ‘every day.’ Cf. cotidiē and in diem, which mean roughly the same.

The feminine uses of diēs in prose are generally of a piece: dictā, edictā, cōnstitūtā, praestitūtā, pacta, statā, annuā… you get the idea.

A few more phrases:

  • dicere diem alicuī : to bring a charge against someone (by specifying a court day)
  • diēs natālis : birthday
  • in diem vīvere : to live day-to-day (paycheck-to-paycheck, so to speak—hopefully few of my readers!)

Compound Verbs with Intrā—

You would think, given the vast tribe of verbal compounds with inter- as a prefix, that a few species of intrā-compounds would also inhabit that wood of the Latin dictionary. In fact, they are highly endangered, perhaps even extinct. Here are a few compound adjectives and nouns that I discovered; the verbs were nowhere to be found.

  • intrābilis (adj)—possible to enter
  • intrāclusus (adj)—shut in, enclosed
  • intrāmeātus, -ūs (n)—a journey within
  • intrāmūrānus (adj)—within the walls
  • intrāneus (adj)—within

Greek Patronymics in Latin

Patronymics are generally Greek-derived Latin nouns with special endings, appearing frequently in epic poetry and rarely elsewhere. They may be masculine or feminine, but always one or the other, depending on the specific ending:

  • -adēs, idēs, īdēs and -eus are masculine
  • ās, is, and -ēis are feminine

In Greek, these are usually adjectives; in Latin, they are usually nouns.

Exempla:

  • Tydareus, -ī (the Spartan king) —> Tyndaridēs, -ae (either Castor or Pollux, the twin sons of Tyndareus)
  • Tydareus, -ī (the Spartan king) —> Tyndaris, -idis (Helen, the daughter of Tyndareus)
  • Anchīsēs, -ae (Anchises, the Dardanian prince) —> Anchīsiadēs, -ae (Aeneas, the son of Anchises)
  • Tydeus, -ī, (Tydeus, the Aeolian hero) —> Tydīdēs, -ae (Domedes, the son of Tydeus)
  • Oīleus, -ī (Oileus, the Locrian king) —> Aiāx Oīleus, Aiācis Oīleī (Ajax Minor, the son of Oileus)
  • Hesperus, -ī (the Evening Star) —> Hesperis, -idis sg. (a daughter of Hesperus) —> Hesperides, -um pl. the Hesperides (not Hesperidēs, -ae, which would be masculine)

The Essential AG: 244

Uses of Ambō

Ambō is sometimes decline to match its respective noun, like a fully-functional adjective, but otherwise remains fixed as ambō

  • Ambās mānūs lavit: he washed both hands.
  • Consulēs alter ambōve prōgredientur: either one or both of the consuls will march on
  • ūna salus ambobus erit: both were healthy (this is Virgil—a very Greek declension!)

Effectively, there is no rule. Both A&G and L&S present freeform variation between the two options.

A Reader’s Diēgest

Here are a few notes on the Latin for day—diēs.

1. Diēs is a fifth-declension noun.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 4.34.41 PM(photo credit: Wiktionary)

2. Diēs is typically masculine (like most fifth declension nouns), but is occasionally feminine, especially in fixed phrases and general reference to time or dates.

  • cōnstitūtā diē : on a fixed day
  • longa diēs intervēnit : a long time had passed

3. Diēs is one of only two nouns in the fifth declension that is entirely declined. Rēs is  the other such noun—all other fifth declension nouns are wanting in the plural (or at least the plural genitive, dative and ablative) in extant Latin literature.

The Essential AG: 96, 97, 98a

-ānus, or Relating to Old Women

A number of adjectival endings denote what Allen and Greenough refer to as a ‘gentile’ relationship—demonstrating ‘relation to’ or ‘belonging to’ the corresponding class of nouns. One of these is -ānus, -a, -um.

  • montānus, -a, -um, of mountains (mōns, montis, mountain)
  • veterānus, -a, -um, of veterans (vetus, veteris (adj), old)
  • antelūcānus, -a, -um, before daylight (ante lūcem, before light)
  • Rōmānus, -a, -um, Roman (Rōma, -ae, Rome)
  • Sullānī, -ōrum, of Sulla’s veterans (Sulla, -ae, Sulla)

Some of these derived adjectives have furthermore been transformed to new nouns.

  • Silvānus, -ī, Silvanus, a woodlands deity (silva, -ae, the wood)
  • membrāna, -ae, the skin (membrum, -ī, limb)

The Essential AG: 249.1, 249.2, 249.2a