• synonyms


[os-kuh n]
  1. one of an ancient people of south-central Italy.
  2. the Indo-European, probably Italic, language of the Oscans, written in an alphabet derived from the Etruscan.
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  1. of or relating to the Oscans or their language.
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Origin of Oscan

1590–1600; Latin Osc(ī) the Oscans + -an1
Related formsnon-Os·can, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for oscan

Historical Examples

  • From this language the name of the city came; for pompe in Oscan meant 'five.'

    Pompeii, Its Life and Art

    August Mau

  • This building, however, is not old enough to have been mentioned in an Oscan inscription.

  • Beyond this are the Oscan graves (31-32), several of which have been explored.

  • We have now to notice the points in which Umbrian has diverged from Oscan.

  • It is difficult, too, to say whether some of them were Latin or Oscan most.

    The Ethnology of Europe

    Robert Gordon Latham

British Dictionary definitions for oscan


  1. an extinct language of ancient S Italy belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European familySee also Osco-Umbrian
  2. a speaker of this language; Samnite
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  1. of or relating to this language
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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 oscan



of or pertaining to the ancient people of southern Italy, 1590s, from Latin Osci, Opsci (plural) "Oscans," literally "worshippers of Ops," a harvest goddess, the name related to Latin ops (genitive opis) "abundance, plenty, wealth, riches," from PIE *op- "to work, to produce in abundance" (see opus).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper