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

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Fractions in Latin

This was totally new to me, but apparently they are the same as in English.

cardinal / numeral = 3 / 4 = three / fourths.
All fractions use the feminine gender nouns (as though partēs).

  • 2/7 = duae septimae
  • 3/11 = trēs ūndecimae
  • 19/13 = ūndēvīgintī tertiae decimae
  • 5/104 = quīnque centēnsimae quartae

Here’s one exception: fraction with 1 in the numerator

  • 1/2 = dīmidia pars or dīmdium
  • 1/3 = tertia pars
  • 1/4 = quarta pars
  • 1/6 = sexta pars
  • 1/8 = octava pars

1/2 is altogether exceptional, but the rest of 1/x fractions all read neuter plural + pars

Ok, now here’s another exception:

When the fraction is x / x + 1, the fraction reads ordinal (agreeing with partēs) + partēs

  • 2/3 = duae partēs
  • 12/13 = duodecimae partēs
  • 56/57 = quīnquāgēnsimae sextae partēs

But weight, there’s more! There are also a host of special nouns used to describe fractions of weight, coin value or land distribution. (A&G aren’t explicit if they can be used to measure other fractions—does anyone know?)

There are a lot of them. Sorry.

  • 1/12 uncia, -ae
  • 1/6 sextāns, -antis
  • 1/4 quadrāns, -antis
  • 1/3 triēns, -entis
  • 5/12 quīncunx, -unctis
  • 1/2 sēmis, -missis
  • 7/12 septunx, -unctis
  • 2/3 bēs or bēssis, bēssis
  • 2/3 dōdrāns, -antis
  • 5/6 dextāns, -antis
  • 11/12 deunx, -unctis
  • 12/12 as, assis

The Essential AG: 135e, 637