Definition: Latin

From New World Encyclopedia

Etymology 1

From Middle English Latyn, Latyne, Latin, from Old French latin, latyn, from Latin latīnus, from Latium (the region around Rome) + -īnus (adjective suffix). Displaced or merged with Old English Lǣden.


Latin (not comparable)

  1. Of or relating to Latin: the language spoken in ancient Rome and other cities of Latium.
  2. Of or relating to the script of the language spoken in ancient Rome and many modern alphabets.
  3. Of or relating to ancient Rome or its Empire.
  4. Of or relating to Latium (modern Lazio), the region around Rome.
  5. Of or relating to the customs and people descended from the ancient Romans and their Empire.
  6. Of or from Latin America or of Latin American culture.
  7. (Christianity) Roman Catholic; of or pertaining to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.

Derived terms

  • Latin alphabet
  • Latin America
  • Latin cross
  • Latin script
  • Traditional Latin Mass
  • Vulgar Latin

Etymology 2

From Middle English Latin, Latyn, from Old English Lǣden, from Vulgar Latin *ladinum (Latin) and Old French latin (Latin); all from Latin Latinus (belonging to Latium). Later influenced in form by the Latin word. Compare Dutch Latijn (Latin), German Latein (Latin), Swedish Latin (Latin).

Proper noun

Latin (countable and uncountable, plural Latins)

  1. The language of the ancient Romans, other Latins and of the Roman Catholic church, especially Classical Latin.
  2. The Latin alphabet or writing system.
  3. (printing) The nonsense placeholder text (often based on real Latin) used as a filler in various computing tasks.

Derived terms

  • Anglo-Latin
  • Biblical Latin
  • Classical Latin
  • Church Latin
  • Contemporary Latin
  • Ecclesiastical Latin
  • Early Latin
  • Late Latin
  • Latinate
  • Latiner
  • Latinism
  • Latinist
  • Latinization
  • Latinize
  • Low Latin
  • Medieval Latin
  • Middle Latin
  • Neo-Latin
  • New Latin
  • Old Latin
  • Recent Latin
  • Renaissance Latin
  • Vulgar Latin

Related terms

  • Latinity
  • Latino
  • Latium
  • latus
  • Lazio


Latin (plural Latins)

  1. (historical) A person native to ancient Rome or its Empire.
  2. (historical) A member of an Italic tribe that included the early inhabitants of the city of Rome, and from about 1000 B.C.E. inhabited the region known as Old Latium.
  3. A person from one of the modern European countries (including Italy, Spain etc.) whose language is descended from Latin.
  4. A person from Latin America.
  5. (Christianity) A person adhering to Roman Catholic practice.


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