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)

Superable

The Latin superābilis, -e may be broadly defined as “possible to overcome,” and falls into two distinct uses within the extant literature:

Of military enemies encampments, regions and territories:

  • scīlicet ut nōn est per vim superābilis ūllī / clearly, he cannot be overcome by anyone through force (Ovid, Tristia 5.8.27)
  • murūs superābilies ad dextrā adoriēmur / we will attack the weakened wall at the right

Of diseases and calamities:

  • caecitās et calivitium opē hūmānā nōndum superābilēs sunt / blindness and baldness cannot yet be cured by human aid

The L&S entry—http://goo.gl/bXJ1UW

Constructions with Abstineō

Abstaining from an object in Latin can leave you with one of three grammatical constructions, given here in the order of frequency:

  • abstinēre aliquid/sē + ablative of object
  • abstinēre aliquid/sē (absolute)
  • absintēre aliquid/sē + genitive of object (cf. Greek ἀπεχἐσθαι τινός)

Here some examples of how and from what the Romans refrained—

  • virgō nuptā abstinet — virgins abstain from marriage
  • vir sapit quī urbis rēbus abstineat — the wise man holds off from politics
  • mē ostreīs et muraenīs facile abstinēbam — I easily abstained from oysters and eels — Cicero, Ad Familiārēs 7.26 (they make him nauseated)
  • mihi abstinē invidere! — don’t bother pitying me!
  • animum coluit abstinentem pecūniae — she cherished a frugal mind

Chewing One’s Nails—In Latin

unguēs praerōdō — I chew my nails

or perhaps—

digitōs meōs praerōdō — I chew my nails (literally, ‘I gnaw at the tips of my fingers.’

This second one is conjecture. The phrase is sourced in Plautus, Pseudolus, where the image is of guests literally gnawing at their fingers because they are enjoying a feast so mindlessly that they lose track of where the ham ends and the hands begin. That said, ‘chewing the tips of one’s fingers’ could easily fit with the image of gnawing at one’s nails—don’t you think?

There’s nothing in the L&S entry for unguis to settle the case, but here’s the L&S entry for praerōdō—http://goo.gl/pYh68p

The Latin Dual

Don’t worry—it’s extinct! However, it’s insightful to see that ambō the long ō ending that is characteristic of Greek duals and dual-related adverbs: ἄμφω, δύω, κτλ.

The Essential AG: p.59, ftn.

Ūsus est maiōre usū

The phrase ūsus est + ablative is the rarer counterpart to the well known opus est + ablative, signifying need.

 

  • Nunc vīribus ūsus est: now there is need of strength.
  • Quid istīs cōnscrīptīs ūsust: what is the use of getting these in writing?

Ūsus vēnit is another still rarer alternative.

The Essential AG: 411

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

Reminder: The Double Comparative with Intrā

This is just a quick reminder (of what I covered briefly in March 2012) that intrā gives rise to one of the few comparative / superlative adjectival pairs that is not derived from an adjective.

  • intrā, within —> interior, -ōris, inner —> intimus, a, -um inmost

A&G offer this fascinating footnote:

“The forms in -trā and -terus were originally comparative (cf. alter), so that the comparatives in -terior are double comparatives.” (my emphasis)

  • Like this: in + accusative —> intrā + accusative —> interior, -ōris

The Essential AG: 130a

Ordinal Numerals

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

Ordinals are derived from cardinals, and operate as declining adjectives, in the manner of bonus, -a, -um

  • The suffixes attached to cardinals are often very similar to superlative suffixes (e.g. ūndēvīcēnsimus, 19th)

The Ordinals 1st-10th

  • 1st: prīmus, -a, -um
  • 2nd: secundus, -a, -um or alter, altera, alterum (remember alterīus is the genitive for all genders)
  • 3rd: tertius, -a, -um
  • 4th: quārtus, -a, -um
  • 5th: quīntus, -a, -um
  • 6th: sextus, -a, -um
  • 7th: septimus, -a, -um
  • 8th: octāvus, -a, -um
  • 9th: nōnus, -a, -um
  • 10th: decimus, -a, -um

A few fun notes on these:

  • The cardinal prīmus is an archaic superlative from prō
  • The cardinal secundus is exactly what it appears to be—the future passive participle of sequor (to follow)
  • The cardinal alter is a comparative form (like with the Greek -τερος)
  • The cardinal nōnus is a contraction of novenus

Cardinals 11th-19th

  • 11th: ūndecimus, -a, -um
  • 12th: duodecimus, -a, -um
  • 13th: tertius, -a, -um decimus, -a, -um or decimus et tertius or decimus tertius
  • (thus, both words decline and have three double-declining variations with 14th-19th)
  • 14th: quārtus decimus
  • 15th: quīntus decimus
  • 16th: sextus decimus
  • 17th: septimus decimus
  • 18th: duodēvicēnsimus, -a, -um or octāvus decimus, etc.
  • 19th: ūndēvicēnsimus, -a, -um or nōnus decimus, etc.

Cardinals 20th-100th

  • 20th: vīcēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 21st: vīcēnsimus, -a, um prīmus, -a, -um or ūnus et vīcēnsimus 
  • (thus, we have two distinct options from 11th – 19th, with (a) cardinal tens -> cardinal ones reversed or (b) ordinal ones -> cardinal tens; both terms will decline, where possible, for all cardinals 22nd-99th)
  • 28th: duodētrīcēnsimus, -a, -um or the other two options
  • 29th: ūndētrīcēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 30th: trīcēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 40th: quadrāgēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 50th: quīnquāgēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 60th: sexāgēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 70th: septuāgensimus, -a, -um
  • 80th: octōgēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 90th: nōnāgēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 100th: cēntēnsimus, -a, -um

A few fun notes on these:

  • Again, note the distinct sets of options for the 11th-19th crowd and the 21st+ crowd: with 21st+, you get a mix of ordinals and cardinals, which can only lead to a really bad hangover…
  • Whitaker’s Words suggests ūnetvīcēnsimus, -a, -um is an alternative form of 21st, though that may be Medieval only
  • A few only sources suggest that the (n) in the 40th/50th/etc. is optional: quadrāgē(n)simus, -a, -um, though I should note that A&G don’t mention this

Ordinals 101st -1000th

  • 101st: centēnsimus, -a, -um prīmus, -a, -um or ūnus et centēnsimus
  • 113th: centēnsimus et tertius decimus or centēnsimus et decimus tertius
  • (basically, we have a pattern very similar to 21st-99th, though recall that once we have three words in play, that et will only appears between the two highest denominations, so you will never see centēnsimus et decimus et tertius)
  • (also, to be explicit, everything continues to decline, where possible)
  • 200th: ducentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 300th: trecentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 400th: quadrigentēnsimus-, -a, -um
  • 500th: quīngentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 600th: sescentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 700th: septigentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 800th: octigentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 900th: nōngentēnsimus, -a, -um
  • 1000th: mīllēnsimus, -a, -um

I’ll get to the 1000+ crowd eventually, though it involves multiplicative forms, so brace yourself.

The Essential AG: 133