Tag Archives: Latin grammar

200 Latin Roots to Improve Your Vocabulary

Posted on 09. Apr, 2014 by in Latin Language


Whenever learning a new language, students are often overwhelmed by the fact that they must study the grammar and vocabulary. Vocabulary can be tough for anyone, but especially for those learning a new language for the first time or one like Latin which not spoken. However, the vocabulary in Latin should be easier since Latin is integrated into many modern languages: French, Italian, Spanish, English, etc.

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Here is a wonderful list of the most basic roots any Latin learner should know! This list is also helpful to anyone wishing to improve their vocabulary along with test taking skills. So, if you are studying for the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, or even the SATs; this is a great chart for you to study, make flash cared and improve your ability to dissect words to discover their meanings!

ab-, a-, abs- away from, without abnormal, absent, abstain, avert
acu- sharp acupuncture, acute,
ad-, a-, ac-, af-, ag-, al-, ap-, ar-, as-, at-  movement to or toward; in addition to accept, adapt, affect, aggression, approximate, ascend
ag-, act- do act, agent
am-, amat- love amatory, amorous
ambi- both sides ambidextrous, ambivalent
ann-, -enn- year, yearly anniversary, annual, millennium
ante-, anti- before, against antebellum,antediluvian anticipate,
aqu- water aquamarine, aquarium, aqueduct
audi- to hear, hearing audio, auditorium, audible
aug-, auct- grow, increase augment, augend,
bell- war antebellum, bellicose, belligent
ben- good, well benefit, benevolent
bi- two bicycle, binoculars, binary
brev- short, brief abbreviation, brevity,
cad-, -cid-, cas- fall cadence, accident, case
caed-, -cid-, caes-, -cis cut scissor, incision, incisor
cand- glowing, brilliant, shiny candle, incandescent, candor,
cap-, -cip-, capt-, -cept- take, hold capture, captive, recipient,
capit-, -cipit- head capital, precipitation, decapitation
carn- flesh carnal, carnivore
carp- wrist carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal
cav- hollow cavity, cave
ced-, cess- go proceed, procession, succession,
celer- quick(ly) celerity, acceleration
cent- 100 century, cent,
ceter- other “et cetera” = “and the rest, others”
circum- around circumference, circumnavigate,
clar- clear, distinct clarity, declare
con-, co-, col-, com-, cor- together community, coalesce, conjoined,
corn- horn cornucopia, unicorn
cred- believe, trust credulous, credit, incredible
curr-, curs- run current (river), cursive
de- away from descend, dementia
dent- tooth, teeth dental, dentures
dict- speak, say dictate, predict, dictionary
doc-, doct- teach doctor, doctrine
duc-, duct- lead conduct, produce, abduct,
dur- hard durable, obdurate, duress
ed-, es- eat edible, obesity
ego- I, myself, the self egocentric, ego
err- stray error, aberration
extrem- outer most extreme, extremities,
fac-, -fic-, fact, -fect- make, do manufacture, factory,
fer- carry, bear transfer
fin- end finish, finite
form- shape form, formation, conform, deformity
fort- strong fort, fortification
frang-, -fring-, fract-, frag- break fracture, fragment, infringe
fug-, fugit- flee fugitive, refuge
fund-, fus- pour fusion, profuse, profusion, transfusion
gen- race, kind genes, genetics
glob- sphere globe, global
grad-, -gred-, gress- walk, step, go transgress, gradations, regress
grand- grand, big grandiose, grandeur
graph- write, draw telegraph, graphite,
grat- thankful, pleased gratitude, gratuity, grateful,ingrate
grav- heavy grave, aggravation
hab-, -hib-, habit-, -hibit- have habit, inhibit, prohibition,
hom- same homogeneous
hospit- host hospitality, hospital
ign- fire, firey ignite, igneous rocks, ignition
in- (1), im- in, on invite, incur, immitate
in- (2), il-, im-, ir- not, un, no impossible, irrational, inappropriate, illegal
inter- between intermission, intersection
intra-intro- within intramural, introspection
irasc-, irat- be or grow angry irate, irascible
is-, iso- equal isometric, isosceles triangle
jac- lie adjacent
ject- throw eject, reject
janu- door, begin janitor, january
jus-, jur- law jury, justice
juven- youthful juvenal
labor- work labor, collaboration
lacer- tear laceration
lact- milk lactate, lactose
lamin- layer laminate
larv- mask larva,
lax- not tense relax, laxative, lax,
leg- send legate, relegate
lev- lift, hold elevate, lever, levitation
liber- free liberty, liberation
libr- book library, librarian
lig- bind ligament
lingu- language, tonigue bilingual, linguistics,
liter- letter literal, literacy,obliterate
loqu-, locut- speak, speech colloqual, eloquent,
luc- light, bright lucent, lucid, Lucifer (bearer of Light)
lumin- light luminous
lun- moon lunar, lunatic
magn- large magnitude, magnanimous
manu- hand manual, manufacture
man- stay permanent, remanence,
medi-, -midi middle middle, medieval, median
merc- reward, wages, hire mercenaries, mercantile
min- small minute, minority
moll- soft mollify, emollient
morph- shape morph, morphology
mov-, mot- move, motion motive, motivation, movie, motor,
mult- many multiple, multiply, multitude
nasc-, nat- born natal, native, nascent
necr- dead necrophilia, necropolis
noct- night nocturnal
nu- nod innuendo
nunci- announce pronunciation, enunciation
ob-, o-, oc-, of-, og-, op-, os- against obstinate, obstreperous, occur, offend, omit, oppose, ostentatious
oct- 8 octagon, octopus,
-oid -like asteroid (like a star)
-onym name antonym, pseudonym
orn- decorate ornament, ornate
oss- bone ossification
ov- egg ovum
pac- peace pacifism
pal- stake impale
pand-, pans- spread pandemic
pasc-, past- feed repast
pati-, pass feel, suffer patience,passive
pauc- few paucal, paucity,
pecun- money pecuniary
ped- feet quadruped, pedal
pell-, puls- drive propellant,repellent
pen- almost peninsula, penultimate, penumbra
pent- 5 pentagon
per- through permeate, persistence, pervade
pessim- worst pessimistic
pet- strive towards appetite, competition
pil- hair depilatory, epilator
ping-, pict- paint depiction, picture
phon- sound microphone
plas- mould plastic
plac-, -plic- please placid,
plan- flat explanation, planar, plane
plaud-, -plod-, plaus-, -plos- approve, clap, applaud explosion, implode, plaudits, plausible
plur- more plural, surplus
pole-, poli- city metropolis, politics
pon-, posit- put component, position, postpone
prehend-, prend-, prehens- grasps prehensile, comprehend
prem-, -prim-, press- press pressure
prim- first primary, primeval, primitive
priv- separate deprivation, privilege
pro- forward procrastinate, propulsion, produce
propri- property, ownership appropriate, property, propriety
prot- first protoplasm, prototype
proxim- nearest proximity
pub- sexually mature pubescent, pubic
pugn- fight pugnacious, repugnant
pung-, punct- prick puncture, pungent
puni- punish punishment, impunity, punitive
purg- cleanse expurgate, purge
qui- quiet quiet, requiem
quot- how many, how great quotient
rad-, ras- scrape abrade, erasure
reg-, -rig-, rect- straight direct, erect
retro- backward, past retrospect, retro,
rid-, ris- laugh ridiculous, ridicule, derision
rod-, ros- gnaw erosion, rodent
rog- ask interrogation, derogatory
rump-, rupt- break eruption, rupture, interrupt
sacr-, secr- holy sacred, sacrosanct
scand-, -scend-, scans-, -scens- climb ascend, descend, transcend
scop-, scept look, examine telescope, microscope
sec-, sect-, seg- cut dissect, section, segment,
sed-, -sid-, sess- sit reside, supesede
serv- save, serve conserve, serve, servitude
sign- sign design, signal, signature
sol- alone desolate, solitude
spec-, -spic-, spect- look, see speculation, suspicious
st- stand stasis, stable, station
stingu-, stinct- apart distinguish, exstinct
stru-, struct- build construe, structure
sub-, su-, suf-, sug-, sup-, sus- under submarine, suppress,
tac-, -tic- be silent reticent, tacit
tang-, -ting-, tact-, tag- touch tangible, tactile
tempor- time temporal, temporary
tend-, tens- stretch extenuate, tension
termin- end, boundary terminal, terminate
terr- earth terra, terrain, subterranean
test- bear witness testimony, testament
tex-, text- weave (literal or words) textile, subtext, context, texture
tim- be afraid timid, timorous
torn-, tourn- turn, rotate tournament, tornado
tot- whole, all total, totality
trans-, tra-, tran- carry transport, transfer
traum- wound trauma, traumatic
tri- three triangle, trivia
trin- three of each trinity, trinary
ultim- farthest ultimate
un- one unicorn, unicycle
urb- city suburban, urban,
ut-, us- use use, utility
vad-, vas- go evade, pervasive
vag- wander vagabond
ven-, vent- come circumvent, convention
ver- true, truth aver, veracious, verify, verisimilitude, verity
vi- way via, deviate
vid-, vis- see visual, vivid, video
vinc-, vict- conquer victory, victor
vit- life vital
viv- live vivid, survive
voc- voice vocal, invocation,

Gerunds vs. Gerundives

Posted on 20. Feb, 2014 by in Latin Language

Have you long struggled with knowing the exact forms and uses of the Latin Gerund or Gerundive? Well, this post was created in order to aid you in all your questions about forms, translations, and grammatical uses.


If you are studying Latin, I would recommend the following site for your references (the image is a link):



A gerund is a verbal noun.


The Gerunds ends in “-ing” and is usually translated as “walking,” “dancing,” “speaking.”



You may see the forms of the Gerund: here.


(1) GENERAL USE:  The gerund in Latin is used whenever you need to make a verb into a noun.

  • Ars amandi est difficilis. The art of loving is difficult.
  •  Puellae studiosae sunt amando. Girls are eager for loving. (studiosus takes a dative)
  •  Libri propensi sunt ad amandum. Children have a propensity toward loving.
  •  Amor crescit amando. Love grows by loving.

(2) OBJECTS:  When a gerund takes an object, the object is in the same case that the verb which the gerund comes from normally takes.

  • viros interficiendi causa: for the sake of killing men
  •  libris studendi causa: for the sake of studying books;

(3) PURPOSE:  The gerund can be used to express purpose with the prepositions ad or in.

  • Lego ad discendum. I read in order to learn. (I read toward learning.)



The gerundive is a verbal adjective:  a form of the verb that acts like an adjective. The gerundive is the adjectival form of the gerund. Remember:  gerundIVE = adjectIVE


There is no English equivalent to the gerundive. But, the best way would be as a passive form “to be ___,” but this again depends on the tense (as you will see in the grammatical uses).


You may see the forms of the Gerundive: here.


(1) PASSIVE PERIPHRASTIC:  The gerundive with a form of “sum” comprises the passive periphrastic (also called the gerundive of obligation).  It conveys a strong obligation in the past, present, or future, depending on the tense of “sum“.

  • amandus erat. He had to be loved. (past)
  • amandus est. He must be loved. (present)
  • amandus erit. He will have to be loved. (future)

Karthago delenda est!  Carthage must be destroyed!  (deleo, delere, delevi, deletus to destroy)

(2) DATIVE OF AGENT:  Because the gerundive is passive, there has to be a special way to show the agent.  Most passive verbs show agent with “ab + agent-in-the-ablative.”   The gerundive DOES NOT!  It shows agent with the DATIVE.  This is innovatively called a “dative of agent”.

  •   Ex.)  puella basiatur ab puero. The girl is kissed by the boy.
  •  Ex.) Puer amandus est puellae. The boy must be loved by the girl.

(3) REPLACE THE GERUND:  The gerundive is often used to replace the gerund, because the Romans found it prettier.  This can be tricky, so pay careful attention.

  •   gerund: Puer vivit puellas basiandi causa.  The boy lives for the sake of kissing girls.
  • gerundive: Puer vivit puellarum basiandarum causa. The boy lives for the sake of kissing girls.


I do hope this helps for all your Latin endeavors and needs.

Ancient Roman Super Stars: Charioteers

Posted on 28. Jan, 2014 by in Latin Language, Roman culture

Good Day Readers! So, let’s talk about some sports since the Olympics and the Super Bowl are just around the corner. While the Olympic Games were “the” competition of Ancient Greece; the chariot races were the oldest and most popular spectacle of Ancient Rome. So, we all know the iconic chariot scene from Ben Hur, but how many of you know what is inaccurate about it? Read on! YouTube Preview Image

An Average Race

Model of Rome in the 4th century AD, by Paul Bigot. The Circus lies between the Aventine (left) and Palatine (right); the oval structure to the far right is the Colisseum

Model of Rome in the 4th century AD, by Paul Bigot. The Circus lies between the Aventine (left) and Palatine (right); the oval structure to the far right is the Colisseum

They normally began with a pompa (procession) which started atop the Capitoline Hill and went through the Forum and Sacred Way and back towards Form Boarium, The carceres (starting gates) of the Circus Maximus (which could hold 250,000 people) abutted the Forum Boarium. The emperor or triumphator headed up the pompa riding in a biga or quadriga (2 or 4 horse chariot) and dressed as a triumphant general. Then the editor presiding over the games would follow along with a group of elites, then the drivers and chariots. These were usually serenaded by musicians. Then the priests with their ritualistic displays would enter last with statues of the gods on carts (depending on which festival and god was being honored).

Groundplan of the Circus Maximus, according to Samuel Ball Platner, 1911. The staggered starting gates are to the left.

Ground plan of the Circus Maximus, according to Samuel Ball Platner, 1911. The staggered starting gates are to the left.

Once the pompa was finished. The racers in their chariots would take their places behind the carceres. The races began at the dropping of a mappa (cloth) by a magistrate from the imperial box or above the starting gates. Races were held between quadrigae (four horse chariots) ;although other sizes were also used like the two horse chariot or even the rare ten horse chariot. Chariots were made from wood and leather in order to be light and maximize handling. Accidents were known as naufragia or shipwrecks. Naufragia and last-minute surges from behind were the most exciting features of a race.


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Roman drivers steered their chariots using their body weight. They would tie the reins around their torso and lean to whichever side they desired to turn. This was done in order to free up their hands in order to use a whip or whatnot. Once the race had begun, the chariots (sometimes teams belonging to the same color faction) could move in front of each other in an attempt to cause their opponents to crash into the spinae (the long divider with statues and the obelisk). On the top of the spinae stood small tables or frames supported on pillars, and also small pieces of marble in the shape of eggs or dolphins (as seen in the Ben Hur video). At either end of the spina was a meta (turning point) in the form of large gilded columns; this is where commonly crashes happened. Colors

A white charioteer; part of a mosaic of the third century AD, showing four leading charioteers from the different colors, all in their distinctive gear.

A white charioteer; part of a mosaic of the third century AD, showing four leading charioteers from the different colors, all in their distinctive gear.

There were factions (factiones) or teams for chariot racing (each color allowed 3 chariots in a race): russata(Red), albata (White), veneta (Blue), and prasina (Green). The origins of these colors and their meanings have been lost over time, but their original use was so that charioteers would be discernible from afar.  The groups were broken into rivals of Reds vs. Whites and Blues vs. Greens. These rivals ultimately sparked hate, destruction, and intense competition between racers and fans.  Slowly through the empire, the Reds and Whites were overshadowed by the popularity of the Blues and Greens in artifacts, inscription, and literature. Emperor Domitian created two new factions, the Purples and Golds, which disappeared soon after he died. To see the entire mosaic click here.

Racers or Charioteers

Mosaic from Lyon illustrating a chariot race with the four factions: Blue, Green, Red and White.

Mosaic from Lyon illustrating a chariot race with the four factions: Blue, Green, Red and White.

Racers were color coded in accordance to their faction or team. The charioteer wore a short tunic wrapped with a fasciae (padded bands) to protect the torso as well as around his thighs. They also wore a leather helmet and carried a falx (a curved knife) which they could cut the reins and keep from being dragged in case of an accident.  Roman charioteers themselves, the aurigae, were considered to be the winners, although they were usually also slaves. They received a wreath of laurel leaves, and probably some money; if they won enough races they could buy their freedom( as could gladiators). Drivers could become celebrities throughout the Empire simply by surviving, since the life expectancy of a charioteer was not very high.

Winners & Famous Charioteers

A winner of a Roman chariot race, from the Red team.

A winner of a Roman chariot race, from the Red team.

Victorious racers were awarded prize money in addition to the contractual pay arranged in advanced (by the sponsor of the games). Racers also performed and raced in more than one race per day (on a festival or ludi), so some charioteers could earn a fortune!  Pliny the Elder recounts the unusual result of a team of horses winning the race even though the driver was knocked off. Pliny attributes the winning to “equine pride” and Pliny’s example shows the benefits to repetitive training. One celebrity driver was Scorpus, who won over 2000 races before being killed in a collision at the meta when he was about 27 years old. The most famous of all was Diocles who won 1,462 out of 4,257 races. When Diocles retired at 42( after a 24 year career and switching from White to Green to Red) his winnings reportedly totalled 35,863,120 sesterces ($US 15 billion), making him the highest paid sports star in history!


Mosaic with Polydus the charioteer and his lead horse: Compressor. Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier.

Mosaic naming Polydus the charioteer and his lead horse, Compressor. Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier.

Horses were worthy of reputation and respect for their prowess in a race. Even the famous charioteer Polydus’ horse, Compressor, was depicted in mosaics( above).  A quadiga‘s lead horse was the focus of attention for fans, charioteers, and gamblers. If a racer’s lead horse seemed unsteady or skittish then fans and sponsors would less likely bet or support that particular charioteer. However, if a horse was well respected they would receive honors or even curses by competitors. [Sources for curses against charioteers and their horses can be found here]. Examples of horses being honored include Emperor Caligula’s Incitatus (once a race horse), the horse known as Volucer (meaning winged one) was a favorite of Emperor Lucius Verus, and Tuscus who was favored by Diocles (with whom he won 429 races).  Mares were rarely used for the lead horse, but they were used for the inside positions. The Romans kept detailed statistics of the names, breeds, and pedigrees of famous horses.

Fans & Fan Clubs

Just like the loyalty of modern day fans, Ancient Roman fans or supporters of the Red, Blue, Green or White factions were intense.  Pliny records one Red fan threw himself unto the funeral pyre of a Red charioteer known as Felix, and how the opposing fans tried to prevent this story to be recorded and asserting that the man fainted and fell in.  Furthermore, each faction color had their reserve seating for their color so that fans could in engage in chanting, activities, and sneers uniformly. Eventually extreme fans became an issue in the Empire when their color lost; riots would ensue. Sometimes these riots and revolts were sparked by a loss (or blamed on one), but often had political undertones such as the Nika Revolt.