Redeeming Words for Whitaker’s

I may have been too harsh on Whitaker, in an earlier post, where I defined his dictionary as inferior alternative to Wiktionary. I still believe Wiktionary is the top Latin dictionary online, but here are a few redeeming qualities that Whitaker revealed upon closer inspections.

What I said:

What I found:

First, there are two online interfaces:

If you type a word into this interface, a new tab pops up, and you need to return to this page in order to search a new entry. It’s incredibly (ok, mildly) annoying. However, if you click the title, which is actually a link, you get this:

Which allows you to switch between Latin to English and English to Latin with a single click, and operates in one window with a search bar on the entry page so you don’t have to keep flipping back and forth.


There’s also the extra-web application, Latin WORDS (available for all platforms), which has the same features.

I’m not a fan of the extra window, but this interface is incredibly straightforward, and supposedly “more powerful” than the online resource. I’m doubtful, since the website would receive constant updates, but for my purposes it’s fine.

Whitaker’s still lacks (a) etymologies, (b) related terms, (c) conjugations and declensions, and (d) derived terms, but these features secure its position as a reliable English-to-Latin Thesaurus, and not ‘what we’re stuck with’ in the absence of something better.

However, a Wikisaurus is in the works, and when it arrives (if it’s a multi-lingual thesaurus, which is still be debated)–bye-bye Whitaker’s.

Resources for Latin Quotes

I attach a Latin phrase or quote to the end of every post I make, one which is (usually) a direct example of the grammar discussed in the post. I’d like to share my two usual online sources for these quotes.

(I use the quotes within A&G within the post itself.

First, there’s this basic looking wikipedia page, which is useful because I can use control+F to search the entire collection for the particular word or feature I’m seeking.

The wikipedia page is a small collection, so for more obscure posts I’m generally forced to look elsewhere. A much larger collection is available at the European Dictionary. Here’s what a search for longior (they had one!) produces:

The trouble with both of these (and, it seems all) databases of Latin quotes is imprecise quotation. The quotes are often (i) prepared with a pretty sad translation and (ii) not properly sourced. For instance, here, there’s no further information about what work of Pubilius Syrus is quoted, which I consider a bare minimum before I’d be willing to throw this thing on my post.

These resources force me to further research the quote online, often within the Latin Library.

I wish I had an online source of Latin quotes not designed for the title page of high school English papers.

The Latin, or There and Back Again

I thought I should share two resources dear to my study of Latin. These are twin tools I use when searching for English words with Latin roots, or Latin words with English derivatives.

Certainly, I profit immensely from becoming tongue-tied between the two languages—if that makes sense.

There’s some danger here. Certain common Latin words, like prōspiciō, have comparatively rare English derivatives like prospicient. Naturally, after a few weeks of reading Cicero, prospicient feels like an ordinary word because you encounter its root relative so often in the text. It’s not, and I get looks for letting it loose in casual conversation. Beware.

For finding English derivatives, I use this Wikipedia page.

Now, with a simple [ command/control+f ], it’s easy to search for either Latin roots or English derivatives.

However, for finding Latin roots of English words, I prefer this handy etymology dictionary, which reveals the precise history of many English words.

Neither of these tools is nearly comprehensive—so if there’s a particular world you’re interested in, a simple Google search might work. That said, if the words you’re after aren’t on either of these sites, (in my experience) they probably aren’t on Google, either.

If readers have any additional sites to suggest, I’m all ears!

Happy Hunting!