Hold the Quam, Please

The comparatives plūs, minus, amplius, and longius may be seen operating without the use of quam while performing the same semantic work. Generally, these operate with a measure or number and no change in case.

  • Plūs septigentī captī sunt. More than seven hundred were taken.
  • Plūs teriī parte interfectā, nos perditī esse putāvimus, With more than one-third slain, we thought ourselves done for.
  • Aditus in lātitūdinem nōn amplius ducentōrum pedum relinquēbātur. An approach of not more than two hundred feet in width was left. (Genitive of measure.)

The Essential AG: 407c


More Latin Numeral Adjectives

Mutliplicative Adjectives

  • simplex, simplicis, single
  • duplex, duplicis, double
  • triplex, triplicis, triple
  • quadruplex, -plicis, quadruple
  • quīnquiplex, -plicis, quintuple
  • sesiplex, -plicis, sextuple
  • septemplex, -plicis, septuple
  • octoplex, -plicis, octuple
  • nonaplex, -plicis, nontuple(?)
  • decemplex, -plicis, decemtuple(?)
  • centuplex, -plicis, centuple(?)
  • sēsquiplex, -plicis, 1 and 1/2 … ple (?)
  • multiplex, -plicis, manifold

Proportional Adjectives

These are the adjectival forms of numeral adverbs.

  • duplus, -a, -um, twice as large
  • triplus, -a, -um thrice as large
  • quadruplus, -a, -um, four times as large
  • decemplus, -a, -um, ten times as large
  • centiplus, -a, -um, 100 times as large

Temporal Adjectives

  • bīmus, -a, -um, two-years old
  • trīmus, -a, -um, three-years old
  • biennis, -is, lasting two years
  • triennis, -is, lasting three years
  • bimēstris, -is, occurring every (or lasting) two months
  • trimēstris, -is, occurring every (or lasting) three months

Partitive Adjectives

  • bīnārius, -a, -um, two-parted
  • ternārius, -a, -um, three-parted

Other Numeral Adjectives

  • prīmārius, -a, -um, of the first rank
  • bīnārius, -a, -um, of the second rank
  • (note, these are the partitives, but with a distinct meaning)

Temporal Numeral Nouns

  • biduum, -ī, two days
  • triduum, -ī, three days
  • biennium, -ī, two years
  • triennium, -ī, three years

Other Numeral Nouns

  • ūniō, -ōnis, unity
  • bīniō, -ōnis, a pair (often of dice)

Latin Distributives

These are difficult, and I’m not sure I grasp all of their aspects. If you’d like, feel free to expand or correct me in comments.

There are four central aspects to the Latin numeral:

  • The cardinal: ūnus, duo, trēs, quattuor
  • The ordinal: prīmus, secundus, tertius, quārtus
  • The distributive: singulī, bīnī, ternī, quaternī
  • The adverb: semel, bis, ter, quater

The distributive describes how many each or how many apiece. It’s a numeral of rate.

  • The children received candy, one each: puerī mellīta accēpērunt, singula singulīs

Note a few things:

  • The distributive numerals are plural adjectives, here matching mellīta (singula) and puerī (–> puerīs) (singulīs)
  • They decline like the plural of bonus, -a, -um

The distributive are used to multiply, featured in the formula numeral adverb + distributive:

  • 2 x 2 = bis bīna
  • 3 x 7 = ter septēna

The poets also use distributives in place of cardinals, to express sets.

  • He threw two shafts (in a set): bīna hastīlia torsit.

Distributives 1-10

  • one each, singulī, -ae, -a
  • two each, bīnī, -ae, -a
  • three each, ternī, -ae, -a or trīnī, -ae, -a
  • four each, quaternī, -ae, -a
  • five each, quīnī, -ae, -a
  • six each, sēnī, -ae, -a
  • seven each, septēnī, -ae, -a
  • eight each, octōnī, -ae, -a
  • nine each, novēnī, -ae, -a
  • ten each, dēnī, -ae, -a

Distributives 11-99

  • eleven each, ūndēnī, -ae, -a
  • twelve each, duodēnī, -ae, -a
  • thirteen each, ternī dēnī, ternae dēnae, etc.
  • eighteen each, octōnī dēnī or duodēvīcēnī, -ae, -a
  • nineteen each, novēnī dēnī or ūndēvīcēni, -ae, -a
  • twenty each, vīcēnī, -ae, -a
  • twenty-one each, vīcēnī singulī, vīcēnae singulae, etc.
  • thirty each, trīcēnī, -ae, -a
  • fourty each, quadrāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • fifty each, quīnquāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • sixty each, sexāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • seventy each, septuāgēnī, -ae, -a
  • eighty each, octōgēnī, -ae, -a
  • ninety each, nōnāgēnī, -ae, -a

Distributives 100+

  • 100 each, centēnī, -ae, -a
  • 200 each, ducēnī, -ae, -a
  • 300 each, trecēnī, -ae, a
  • 400 each, quadringēnī, -ae, -a
  • 500 each, quīngēnī, -ae, -a
  • 600 each, sescēnī, -ae, -a
  • 700 each, septingēnī, -ae, -a
  • 800 each, octingēnī, -ae, -a
  • 900 each, nongēnī, -ae, -a
  • 1,000 each, mīllēnī, -ae, -a
  • 2,000 each bīna mīlia
  • 100,000 each centēna mīlia

The Essential AG: 136

Really BIG Numbers in Latin

How do you say 4, 800, 000 in Latin?

Large numbers in Latin work with numeral adverbs + units of mīllle.

  • 4,800,000, octīens et quadrāgiēns centēna mīlia
  • 5,900,487, noviēns et quīnquāgiēns centēna mīlia quadrigentī octōgintā septem.

Note that, because we don’t happen to possess a large number of fifth-grade math books from Rome, the most common place you’ll see numbers this large are records describing large sums of sestertia.

In these descriptions, the centēna mīlia is often omitted.

  • 3,300,000 sestertia = ter et trīciēns sestertium = ter et trīciēns (centēna mīlia) sestertium = thrice and thirty times 100,000
  • 2.7 billion sestertia = vīciēns ac septiēs mīliēns sestertium

(If anyone can explain why it’s sestertium and not sestertia, I’m all ears.)

For more on money matters, see my post on money.


The Essential AG: 138a

Numeral Adverbs

There are four central aspects to the Latin numeral:

  • The cardinal: ūnus, duo, trēs, quattuor
  • The ordinal: prīmus, secundus, tertius, quārtus
  • The distributive: singulī, bīnī, ternī, quaternī
  • The adverb: semel, bis, ter, quater

What is are numeral adverbs?

  • Like English numeral adverbs, Latin numeral adverbs answer the question ‘how many times was something done?’
  • How many times does Scylla engulf the strait each day? Thrice. [She does action x three times.]

[Side note: I first discovered the word ‘thrice’ while reading Homer in 6th grade. It’s probably the only moment of ‘word recognition’ that I can remember having. Does anyone else have stories about learning new words as a kid? I’d love to hear them in the comments.]
Here are the Latin adverbs (they answer quotiēns / quotiēs? How many times?).

  • once, semel
  • twice, bis
  • thrice, ter
  • four times, quater
  • five times, quīnuiēns (or quīnquiēs, and sic for all numeral adverbs in -ēns)
  • six times, sexiēns
  • seven times, septiēns
  • eight times, octiēns
  • nine times, noviēns
  • ten times, deciēns


  • eleven times, ūndeciēns
  • twelve times, duodeciēns
  • thirteen times, terdeciēns
  • fourteen times, quaterdeciēns
  • fifteen times, quīndeciēns
  • sixteen times, sēdeciēns
  • seventeen times, septiēnsdeciēns
  • eighteen times, duodēvīciēns
  • nineteen times, ūndēvīciēns


  • twenty times, vīciēns
  • twenty-one times, semel vīciēns or vīcīens et semel or vīciēns semel (and sic for all numbers 21-99)
  • twenty-two times, bis vīciēns
  • twenty-nine times, ūndētrīciēns
  • thirty times, trīciēns
  • forty times, quadrāgiēns
  • fifty times, quīnquāgiēns
  • sixty times, sexāgiēns
  • seventy times, septuāgiēns
  • eighty times, octōgiēns
  • ninety times, nōnāgiēns


  • 100 times, centiēns
  • 200 times, ducentiēns
  • 300 times, trecentiēns
  • 400 times, quadringentiēns
  • 500 times, quīngentiēns
  • 600 times, sescentiēns
  • 700 times, septingentiēns
  • 800 times, octingentiēns
  • 900 times, nōngentiēns
  • 1000 times, mīliēns
  • 2000 times, bis mīliēns
  • 10,000 times, deciēns mīliēns

Cardinal Numerals, 11-100,000’s

There are four central aspects to the Latin numeral:

  • The cardinal: ūnus, duo, trēs, quattuor
  • The ordinal: prīmus, secundus, tertius, quārtus
  • The distributive: singulī, bīnī, ternī, quaternī
  • The adverb: semel, bis, ter, quater

The numerals 11-19 are indeclinable:

  • note that 18 and 19 start counting back from twenty, while the others count up from ten
  • French and Spanish (and other Romance languages?) also seem to freak out and shift form somewhere after 15; I’m not sure why no one thought a standardized 11-19 was a good idea

The numerals 20-100 are expressed as follows; bases of ten do not decline:

To achieve a number like 85, the Romans have two preferred methods:

  • tens+ ones= (octōgintā quīnque mīlitēs)
  • ones + et + tens =(quīnque et octōgintā mīlitēs)
  • note that octōgintā et quīnque (a third option) is less common, but may appear
  • also, note that numbers like 28 and 29 nine subtract as 18 and 19 above: duodētrīgintā, ūndētrīgintā, ūndēoctōgintā (79), etc.

The hundreds above 100 decline as adjectives like bonus, bona, bonum

Mille is an odd bird: it’s indeclinable as a singular (mīlle mīlitēs) but declines as a neuter plural (tria mīlia mīlitum)

  • Note that there’s no typo here (though I am prone to typos): the singular mīlle has two l‘s; the plural mīlia/mīlium/mīlibus/mīlia/mīlibus has only one.
  • He came with a thousand soldiers: cum mīlle mīlitibus vēnit.
  • To express this sentence with three thousand, we decline tria mīlia and make mīles a partitive gentive
  • He cam with three thousand soldiers: cum tribus mīlibus mīlitum vēnit.

To express numbers with three digits or more:

If et appears anywhere, it appears only between the two highest demoninations:

  • 1776: mīlle (et) septigentī septuāgintā sex
  • 2012: duo mīlia (et) duodecim