Latin

[lat-n]
|

noun

adjective


Origin of Latin

before 950; Middle English, Old English < Latin Latīnus. See Latium, -ine1
Related formsan·ti-Lat·in, adjectivenon-Lat·in, adjective, nounpre-Lat·in, adjective, nounpro-Lat·in, adjectivequa·si-Lat·in, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for latin

Latin

noun

the language of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire and of the educated in medieval Europe, which achieved its classical form during the 1st century bc. Having originally been the language of Latium, belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European family, it later formed the basis of the Romance groupSee Late Latin, Low Latin, Medieval Latin, New Latin, Old Latin See also Romance
a member of any of those peoples whose languages are derived from Latin
an inhabitant of ancient Latium

adjective

of or relating to the Latin language, the ancient Latins, or Latium
characteristic of or relating to those peoples in Europe and Latin America whose languages are derived from Latin
of or relating to the Roman Catholic Church
denoting or relating to the Roman alphabet

Word Origin for Latin

Old English latin and læden Latin, language, from Latin Latīnus of Latium
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for latin

Latin

adj.

Old English latin, from Latin Latinus "belonging to Latium," the region of Italy around Rome, possibly from PIE root *stela- "to spread, extend," with a sense of "flat country" (as opposed to the mountainous district of the Sabines), or from a prehistoric non-IE language. The Latin adjective also was used of the Roman language and people.

Centurion: What's this, then? ‘People called Romanes they go the house?’
Brian: It ... it says, ‘Romans, go home.’
Centurion [thrashing him like a schoolboy]: No, it doesn't. ‘Go home?' This is motion towards. Isn't it, boy?
Brian: Ah ... ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the ... accusative! Domum, sir! Ah! Oooh! Ah!
Centurion [pulling him by the ear]: Except that domum takes the ...?
Brian: The locative, sir!
[Monty Python, "Life of Brian"]

Used as a designation for "people whose languages descend from Latin" (1856), hence Latin America (1862). The Latin Quarter (French Quartier latin) of Paris, on the south (left) bank of the Seine, was the site of university buildings in the Middle Ages, hence the place where Latin was spoken. The surname Latimer, Lattimore, etc. is from Vulgar Latin latimarus, from Latin latinarius "interpreter," literally "a speaker of Latin."

Latin

n.

"the language of the (ancient) Romans," Old English latin, from Latin latinium (see Latin (adj.)). The more common form in Old English was læden, from Vulgar Latin *ladinum, probably influenced by Old English leoden "language."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

latin in Culture

Latin

The language of ancient Rome. When Rome became an empire, the language spread throughout southern and western Europe.

Note

The modern Romance languages — French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and a few others — are all derived from Latin.

Note

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Latin was the universal language of learning. Even in modern English, many scholarly, technical, and legal terms, such as per se and habeas corpus, retain their Latin form.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.