Wiktionary:About Latin

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
(Redirected from Wiktionary:ALA)
Jump to: navigation, search
Accessories-text-editor.svg This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. Specifically it is a policy think tank, working to develop a formal policy.
See also Category:Latin language

(based on Wiktionary:Entry layout explained)

Note 1: This guide is intended to provide guidelines both for creating Latin entries on English Wiktionary as well as for adding Latin translations to English words. The main guidelines for creating any entry on English Wiktionary is set forth in Wiktionary:Entry layout explained; this page is an addition to that page, not a replacement.

Note 2: If a change occurs in the basic wiktionary template (currently at Wiktionary:Entry layout explained that affects Latin entries, then that change should be reflected here.

Creating Latin entries[edit]

Orthography for Latin entries[edit]

Latin script[edit]

Throughout history, Latin has been written in a variety of scripts and writing systems due to its influence across Europe. However, only entries in the Latin script are currently accepted in Wiktionary; words may be attested with quotes from other scripts, but the pagetitle itself must be in the Latin script.


Liguratures such as æ and œ only appear post-Classical Latin. When attested, these entries should use {{alternative form of}} or {{alternative spelling of}} to point to the non-ligatured spelling.

I and J[edit]

The distinction between I and J only appears post-Classical Latin. When attested, forms using the J these entries should use {{alternative form of}} or {{alternative spelling of}} to point to the non-J spelling.

Prefer V for consonantal form, but prefer U for the vowel form[edit]

In Latin, the letter written as V in ancient times represented either a vowel or a consonant depending on its position and the word. These two forms had distinct pronunciations and different metrical treatment in poetry.

A modern typographical convention is to write U for the vowel and leave V as the consonant. Generally speaking English textbooks and dictionaries always write U this way and the majority of reprints of classical texts adapt them and show U too. The use of V for the vowel in new works is usually a consciously classical style or appearance, and that includes for example in inscriptions on new monuments and the like.

Since the vast majority of modern dictionaries, textbooks, and texts distinguish between U and V in printed forms, Wiktionary will adhere to the same distinction.

Example: The word eqvvs is usually presented in modern texts as equus – using a U to represent the vowel form of the Latin letter V. This is done to assist in pronunciation, and to conform to English expectations concerning the letters U and V. Even though the spelling equus never occurred in Classical Latin, it is the preferred form for Wiktionary both because it is the form used in textbooks and Latin dictionaries and because it is the form typically used in Later Latin texts.

Do not use diacritical marks in page names[edit]

Most Latin dictionaries and textbooks use macrons (such as ā, ē, ī, ō, ū) in the headwords for entries. While these forms are traditional for reference works and useful to students, macrons do not appear in written Latin or in reproductions of literature and texts. Some older dictionaries and textbooks make use of breves (such as ă or ĭ), but these marks are not used in most textbooks nor in reproductions of literature. They appear in only a few modern dictionaries. Additionally, typing macrons or breves is difficult in many browsers and systems. Their use would make it difficult for users to search for words. For these reasons, the page name for Latin entries should not contain diacritical marks. However, macrons should be used within the body of pages. (see below)

Macrons should be used only within pages[edit]

It is conventional for printed Latin dictionaries to mark vowels that are pronounced long by placing a macron (a short horizontal bar, as in ā or ū) over such vowels in the headword. Such marks never appeared in written Latin, but are useful guides to pronunciation and are standard forms in textbooks. On Wiktionary, macrons should never be used in the names of entries, so the word līber would appear on the page liber. However, within the text of the page, macrons should be used wherever appropriate. For example:


'''līber''' {{m}}, '''[[libera|lībera]]''' {{f}}, '''[[liberum|līberum]]''' {{n}}

# [[free]]

In this example, the forms that would normally appear in the headers of a printed dictionary appear in the line immediately following the part of speech header. Notice that the linked forms are linked to pages named without macrons, while forms that will be displayed on the page are presented with macrons. Also notice that the (masculine) form matching the entry page is not linked, and so only needs to have the macron. Note that līber now uses {{la-adj-1&2}}.

Macrons should also be used on a page when linking to a Latin word entry from an Etymology, from a set of Translations, from Related terms, and from similar sections.

Breves should not be used at all[edit]

Some older dictionaries and textbooks make use of breves (such as ă or ĭ), but these marks are not used in most textbooks nor in reproductions of literature. They appear in only a few modern dictionaries. The purpose of including breves was to note the vowels whose pronunciation is short. However, if the long vowels are marked, it is unnecessary to mark the short ones since any unmarked vowel will be short. On Wiktionary, breves should not be used either in the names of pages for Latin words, nor in any of the text associated with Latin entries.

Note that Romanian, a language derived from Latin, does make use of breves, and for that language breves should be used as appropriate.


The inclusion or exclusion of attested forms featuring circumflex, such as duûm, is yet to be clarified. See e.g. Talk:duûm, after WT:RFD#duûm gets archived, for a discussion.

Formatting Latin entries[edit]

The format of Latin entries follows several guidelines. The various section headers are considered here in three groups: the pre-POS headers, the POS headers and Inflection headers and the post-POS headers.

Section headers are properly capitalized as shown here, namely only having the the first word capitalized, such as "Derived terms".

General formatting[edit]

Lemma and basic format[edit]

Lemma:   albus    
Non-lemma: albis

Wiktionary will contain all words in the Latin language. Since Latin is a highly inflected language, this will eventually include all the inflected forms. The term lemma is used to refer to that basic or main form of the word—that which is usually listed as a headword in bi-lingual dictionaries. The entry for the lemma form (eg albus) will give the main English meaning of the word and other grammatical information. Other forms, the non-lemma entries (eg albīs), will refer back to the lemma form.

It is possible for a single page to include the lemma for one word and non-lemma for another word. In the entry for geminō, the verb section is the lemma for that verb, but the adjective section is not the lemma for that adjective (whose lemma is geminus).

The particular form that serves as the lemma is specific to each part of speech. For nouns, the lemma is usually the nominative singular; for adjectives, it is the masculine nominative singular; and for verbs, it is the first-person singular present active indicative (first principal part). For information about choosing the correct form as lemma for other parts of speech, see the various sections on parts of speech below.

Each entry must contain at least two headers ==Latin== and a POS, where "POS" is shorthand for "Part of speech header". The "Latin" header identifies the language and must be at level 2 (L2). The POS subheader is usually at L3, but may appear at a deeper level in some circumstances. The entry below shows this portion of the text for a noun, further details will follow below, but first the pre-POS headers will be considered:

----(used to produce a horizontal line when not the first language.)
===Noun===     (the POS header)

When a single page contains both Latin and non-Latin entries (such as the page for elate), the languages are listed in alphabetical order, but with English coming before other languages. Each language is separated from the preceding language by an horizontal line, produced by typing four dashes as shown above.

Sequence of sections[edit]

Latin entries will eventually include several sections, although not all sections are always needed. Each section has standard requirements, an invariant header and a sequence followed in all languages (See WT:ELE and this vote).

The following is the preferred sequence for standard sections. Note that the Noun header is only one possible part of speech that may appear as the header. If the entry being created were for a Latin verb, then "Verb" should appear in place of "Noun".

===Alternative forms===
===Noun===       (the POS header)
====Usage notes====
====Derived terms====
====Related terms====
====See also====

Some entries may modify the structure when there is more than one word with the same spelling. In these cases, there may be more than one Etymology section and/or more than one Pronunciation section. (See Multiple etymology or pronunciation sections.)

Formatting lists[edit]

Lists of terms are used in several sections, mostly Post-POS, and follow formatting guidelines. They can generally contain terms of any part of speech. A form with macrons may optionally be piped into the link. The terms are ordered alphabetically in a bullet-list. For short amounts of terms, they may instead be placed each on a separate line, without requiring a bullet-list format. Longer lists may be broken into two columns using the templates {{top2}}, {{mid2}}, and {{bottom}}. Similar templates may be used to create three or four columns.

Pre-POS headers[edit]

Details are given below for each of the three common pre-POS headers and the {{also}} template. These items should appear in the following sequence with exceptions only as described below under Multiple etymology or pronunciation sections.

===Alternative forms===
===Noun===     (the POS header)


Examples: canō, augustus

This is not a header, and is not placed under any header. It uses the template {{also}}, providing a navigational aid in the form of links to words in any language with a very similar spelling.

The template is used only when additional pages exist with the same basic sequence of letters or characters, but with differences in capitalization, accents, other diacritical marks, hyphenation, etc. When it is used, the Also template should appear at the very top of the page, before all languages on that page. There, it will be easily seen by a user who has mistyped or is uncertain of the capitalisation, hyphenation, or accents in a word. For example, on the page for pan, the template displays as:

See also Pan, PAN, pan-, and Pan-

This template should never appear within a language section as it is placed at the head of the page. As a result, only one such template should be used per page. Additional documentation may be found at Template:also/documentation.

Alternative forms[edit]

This section contains a list (see Formatting lists) of words of identical meaning and etymology, but different spellings, such as inlūminō and illūminō, or libēns and lubēns.

This section cannot be used to list terms belonging in other sections. Words of similar etymology, but different meaning, should appear under Related terms. Unrelated but similarly spelt words should appear under See also if potentially confusing.

In cases where there is more than one part of speech in an entry, but the alternative forms apply only to one part of speech, then the Alternative forms section may instead be placed under the appropriate POS as a subheader.


Further guidance is given in the main article Wiktionary:Etymology.

This section specifies when it is known that a Latin word is derived from another Latin word. A simple example from the entry for dūriter is shown below. The syntax on the following line will give the output in grey that follows:

From {{term/t|la|dūrus||hard, rough}}

  From dūrus (hard, rough)

Latin words from Greek[edit]

Likewise, when it is known that a Latin word is derived from Ancient Greek, the Greek word from which the entry word is derived should be given, as in the following example for the word cōmoedia:

From {{etyl|grc|la}} {{term|κωμῳδία||comedy|lang=grc}}

  From Ancient Greek κωμῳδία (kōmōidía, comedy)

The key points to note are (1) the Greek word is written with Greek letters (and is linked), (2) the {{term}} template is used for words mentioned in the etymology, (3) a transliteration of the Greek is provided using tr=, (4) the code sc=polytonic is used to correctly display Ancient Greek script, and (5) the meaning in the original Greek is noted.

In addition, there is a special category for Latin derivations from Greek: Category:Latin terms derived from Ancient Greek. This category is added automatically by use of the template {{etyl}} when the ISO parameters are added. This template requires the parameters grc and la, as {{etyl | grc | la}} to indicate the language of origin first and then the language of the entry. Without the grc parameter, the template will be broken. Without the la parameter, the template will assume the word is English.


Multiple etymology or pronunciation sections[edit]

Occasionally, a single Latin entry will include more than one word with the same spelling. When the words include more than one etymology or more than one pronunciation, the standard names or sequence of pre-POS headers will change. There are three situations in which this happens.

  1. Homographs: Words with separate etymologies, but that happen to be spelled the same way. These are known as homographs. Homographs may have the same or different pronunciation. An example is gestus, which is not only a participle of gerō (bear, carry) but also a masculine noun ("posture, gesture") in its own right.
  2. Heteronyms: Words pronounced differently. When with different etymologies, they are called heteronyms. An example is līber (free, unrestricted) and liber (book).
  3. Macron forms: Inflected forms of the same word having the same spelling but different pronunciations. The placement of macrons differs between the two forms. An example is alba and albā, both forms of the adjective albus (white). This situation occurs regularly in first/second declension adjectives.

In each of the three cases listed above, the normal formatting is modified as described below.

The simple case[edit]

The simple case includes only a single etymology and pronunciation for two or more different words. For these simple cases, the standard sequence of headers will suffice as shown in the example. The example below is taken from the entry for geminō.

===Adjective===      (first POS header)
===Verb===           (second POS header)

The details of the section of homographs have not been specified here yet.

Macron forms[edit]

This situation occurs when there is a single etymology for two identically spelled inflections of the same word that differ in pronunciation. This situation occurs regularly in nouns of the first and fourth declensions as well as in first/second-declension adjectives and among certain verb forms. An example is alba and albā, which are different inflections of the same adjective albus. The ablative feminine form albā is pronounced differently from all other forms spelled the same way. For such cases, the standard sequence of headers is modified slightly as shown in the example. The example below is taken from the entry for ūva.

===Pronunciation 1===      (first pronunciation header)
===Pronunciation 2===      (second pronunciation header)

If the lemma form is part of the entry, it should be included in the first pronunciation section. If there is no lemma present in the entry, then the first pronunciation section should include the larger number of senses or definitions.

More complex cases[edit]

Rarely there is more than one etymology for identically spelled words, where they have differently pronounced inflections spelled the same. An example is palma and palmā, different inflections of two identically spelled nouns, palma (hand) and palma (shield) originating from separate root words. A sequence of headers may be used as shown in the example below taken from the entry for palma.


===Etymology 1===        (first etymology header)
====Pronunciation 1====      (first pronunciation subheader)
====Pronunciation 2====      (second pronunciation subheader)

===Etymology 2===        (second etymology header)
====Pronunciation 1====      (third pronunciation subheader)
====Pronunciation 2====      (fourth pronunciation subheader)

Part of speech headers[edit]

The details of this section have not been specified here yet.


Lemma:   amō    
Non-lemma: amāre

The lemma form for Latin verbs is the first principal part, that is, the first-person singular present active indicative, as is usual in dictionaries. All other forms are non-lemmata.

Infinitives and other non-lemmata[edit]

Infinitives and other forms of Latin entries are non-lemma forms.

The minimal entry for a Latin infinitive is:


# {{inflection of|amō||pres|act|inf|lang=la}}


  1. present active infinitive of amō

The template {{la-verb-form}} adds the entry to Category:Latin verb forms. It requires the macron-bearing form of the entry as its only argument. If the entry has no macrons (for example: tenere), the argument must still be included for clarity.

The template {{inflection of}} identifies the lemma form and particular inflected form of the entry.

Post-POS headers[edit]

The post-POS headers should appear in the following sequence.

===POS===     (the POS header)
====Usage notes====
====Derived terms====
====Related terms====
====See also====

Except for References, these headers will normally appear under a POS header and thus within a POS section. However, in certain cases, they will appear at the same level as the POS header. This will occur when there are two or more parts of speech with a shared etymology, and when the particular post-POS section applies to both of these. For example, a given spelling may have both an adjective and noun use, with a list of etymologically related terms that pertains to both. Rather than duplicating the Related terms section and listing it under both POS headers, the section is instead raised one level and placed after the second POS section.

Usage notes[edit]

The section of usage notes details some term's further complex usages that cannot be expressed in the definitions. Usage notes should be brief and include oddities of meaning, clarification of shades of meaning and comparison to other Latin words with similar meanings. Terms are described how they were used in Latin sources, not how editors defend they should be used.


The Inflection section should always use the Inflection header, and never the alternatives Declension or Conjugation. It reduces the number of section names, improving the accessibility of Latin entries for learners of Latin or English. It also sidesteps the problem created by participles, which are technically verbs but decline like adjectives. In entries with irregular inflections a short sentence identifying the irregularities is added. An introductory message may be included to identify particular inflection patterns for nouns or adjectives. A list of these may be found at Wiktionary:Latin inflection templates. However, for most regular inflection patterns, it is unnecessary. The information is already incorporated into the verb conjugation tables and may eventually be incorporated into the declension tables as well.

The primary component of the Inflection section is a declension or conjugation table. Most regular patterns have templates, listed in Category:Latin verb inflection-table templates, Category:Latin noun inflection-table templates, Category:Latin adjective inflection-table templates, and others at Category:Latin inflection-table templates. Refer to a template's talk page for instructions and examples of use.


Further guidance is given in the main article Wiktionary:Quotations.

A section with quotations should be added whenever possible. Quotations importantly prove that the word was in existence at some point in time, point to the time periods during which a word sense was active and hint at usage rules, such as if a verb takes an accusative or a dative form.

Quotations cannot be made up. The Latin language is only documented, not invented. Find a quotation that uses any sense and any inflection of the word, and reproduce it in the definition section at the appropriate word sense. Be sure to include a translation into English.

Quotations can be found using tools such as:

  • Lewis and Short's A Latin Dictionary online at Perseus. Note that L&S tend to modify the inflection of the word from the actual quote and do not include the full quote. Find the full quote in the source and use it instead.
  • Google Books. Restrict your searches by selecting Free Google eBooks and change the time period to end at 1500. If there are no suitable books, increase the ending period by 100 years until 1900. Also try a different inflection.
  • Web search engines. The basic method of search.

Determine the original year of writing for the quote. For example, a book from 1750 reproducing the words of Vitruvius should not be quoted as being from 1750, but rather "prior to 15 BCE". Quotes from Virgil are particularly important to get right, since writers might pepper their works with quotes from Virgil ("as the Poet says..."). Find the original year of writing, attribute the quote to Virgil, find the name of Virgil's work that includes the quote, and whatever section information is necessary to find the quote. The exception, however, is works translated into Latin (for example, from Greek). In this case, indicate the original author, include "tr. by" and the translating author, and use the date of the translation, not of the original work.

Link writers to Wikipedia if possible using [[w:Wikipedia Entry|]]. Link sources to la.wikisource.org if possible using [[:la:s:Page Name|Name of Work]].

If you plan to use the same source repeatedly, consider writing a template following the pattern in {{RQ:Caesar Bello Gallico}}. Existing templates for Latin sources can be found at Category:Latin quotation templates.

In the Latin quote, adhere to the following orthographic rules:

  • Do not use the ligatures æ or œ, use ae and oe instead.
  • Do not use the letter j, use i instead.
  • Do not use macrons, straight bars (¯) above letters, or breves (˘).
  • If the original quote uses an accent over a final letter a (whether mācron, ácute, ma᷄cron-acute, dȯt, circûmflex, or any other mark) to indicate a feminine first declension ablative, use the acute accent: á. Authors often did this because the ablative would otherwise be ambiguous and possibly confused with the nominative (or with neuter plurals). This is an aid to interpretation, not an aid to pronunciation, which is why it does not conflict with the prohibition of macrons and breves.
  • If a word has ae or oe broken across syllables (as in, for example, aer or poeta), then put a diaeresis over the e: aër, poëta, regardless of whether the source does it. Again, this is done for disambiguation. For example, aëris (genitive of aër (air)) versus aeris (genitive of aes (copper)).
  • Use the letter v for the consonant form, and the letter u for the vowel form.
  • Use the letter s when you encounter ſ (long s). Otherwiſe thine writing doth look effuſively old-faſhioned and unſuitable.
  • Do not "correct" words with nonstandard spellings. These are valuable and deserve to be treated as alternative forms.
  • Expand the & character to et.
  • Expand scribal abbreviation. For example, aute᷄ (e with macron-acute) becomes autem, ꝙ (q with a diagonal stroke) becomes quia, and so on. While these are much more prevalent pre-Gutenberg, the macron-acute indicating a dropped -m or -n is often seen in post-Gutenberg works to save space.


The section of synonyms contains a list (see Formatting lists) of Latin synonyms to the term in question. The details of this section may have not been fully specified here yet.

This section cannot be used to list terms belonging in other sections, notably, non-Latin words must not be listed here.

Derived terms[edit]

The section of derived terms contains a list (see Formatting lists) of Latin words with an etymology traceable directly back to the term in question only. Thus, the terms listed are those whose etymology section of their entries would identify the term in question as the direct etymological progenitor of the term.

This section cannot be used to list terms belonging in other sections, notably, non-Latin words must not be listed here. Such words should instead be listed under Descendants. Other related terms that are not derived etymologically and directly from the current entry should be placed under Related terms.

This section is an L4 header nested under a part of the speech header. There is an example below from the entry for īnsula.

Related terms[edit]

The Related terms section contains a list (see Formatting lists) of only Latin words with a shared etymology, and therefore usually with a spelling that is at least partially similar.

This section cannot be used to list terms belonging in other sections, notably, words of similar meaning (unless related by etymology) must not be listed here. Any related terms that are also derived etymologically and directly from the current entry should instead be placed under Derived terms.

This section is an L4 header nested under a part of speech header. However, when a Latin entry has more than one part of speech to which the same list of words is related, this section is raised to L3 and placed after any L4 headers in the entry.

The example below comes from the entry for īnsulārius.

Note that the list includes īnsula, the word from which īnsulārius derives, as well as other island-related words derived from īnsula, which are thus related to īnsulārius but not derived from that word.


The Descendants section contains a list (see Formatting lists) of only non-Latin words with an etymology traceable directly to the Latin entry in question. Thus, the terms listed are those whose etymology section of their entries would identify the term in question as the direct etymological progenitor of the term. Borrowings from Latin words should be marked with "(borrowed)" in order to clarify the nature of the etymology. Note that descendants may have acquired a different meaning from that in Latin.

This section cannot be used to list terms belonging in other sections, notably, Latin words must not be listed here. Any Latin terms derived from the current entry should instead be placed under Derived terms. Words descending from Latin derivatives of the term must be listed on their page's section of descendants instead and cannot be listed here.

"Descendants" is a Level 4 header, nested under a part of speech header. The example below comes from the entry for gallus.

When linking to a page with entries in more than one language, such as galo, it is good practice to link directly to the corresponding language section. To link to the Portuguese section of galo, use the code * [[galo#Portuguese|galo]] or the template {{l}}, as * {{ l | pt | galo }}, which produces the same result.

See also[edit]

The "See also" section is a rare optional catch-all section that contains a list (see Formatting lists) of terms and items that should be linked from an entry, but that do not fit under other headers.

This section cannot be used to list terms belonging in other sections, notably, non-Latin words, inflected forms, synonyms, antonyms, derived terms and related terms must not be listed here.

Items properly placed under this header include:

  • Unrelated Latin words often confused with the current entry.
    Example: The entry for servō (I save, protect) links to serviō (I serve), which is an unrelated but often confused word.
  • Latin words with a closely related meaning, but which are not synonyms or otherwise related.
    Example: The Latin entry for gallus (rooster) links to pullus (chick), since pullus is a term applied to the young of a gallus, but neither term is related to the other nor is a synonym of the other.
  • An appendix containing additional information.
    Example: The entry for centum (hundred) links to Appendix:Latin cardinal numbers.
  • The corresponding article on Latin Wikipedia.
    Example: The entry for leō links to Leo on the Latin Wikipedia. The template {{pedialite}} can be used for this by including the named parameter lang=la.


This section always appears at level 3 as ===References===. It should conclude the language section, and should never be placed within any subheader. It includes all references for the Latin section as a group.

The template {{R:L&S}} can be used in this section to identify the reference: Charlton T. Lewis & Charles Short (1879), A Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press). The template will automatically create an external link to the corresponding entry at Perseus, where the source is available on-line.

The current list of reference templates may be found at Category:Reference templates#Translation dictionaries. If you find more references, please don't hesitate to add them.


As a language with limited documentation, Latin entries may qualify for inclusion based merely upon a mentioning in certain sources. A mentioning in one or more of the following sources is sufficient for this minimal-attestation purpose:

  1. Paulus Diaconus’ epitome (AD 8th C.) of Sextus Pompeius Festus’ epitome (late AD 2nd C.) of Marcus Verrius Flaccus’ encyclopaedic dictionary, De verborum significatu (ante AD 20) — See {{RQ:Paul.Fest.}}.
  2. Nonius MarcellusDe compendiosa doctrina (early AD 4th C.)
  3. Isidorus HispalensisEtymologiae (circa AD 600–625)

This list of acceptable sources may see expansion in the future.

Latin in non-Latin entries[edit]

Besides Latin entries, Latin words frequently appear in two places within entries for words in other languages: the Translations section of English entries, as well as the Etymology section of non-Latin words derived from Latin.

Latin translations for English words[edit]

Further guidance is given in the main article Wiktionary:Translations.

Latin words will appear in the Translations sections of English words. In general, only the lemma form of the Latin translation should be given, as described for each part of speech listed above.

An abbreviated table from the entry for example is shown below: (Click [Show] to expand the translation table.)

The template {{t}} should be used, it speeds up entry and will enable any later, global changes in format to be made.

The syntax below will give the output in grey which follows:

* Latin: {{t|la|mūlus|m}}
* Latin: mūlus m

The {{t}} template is explained at Template:t/documentation; it has the following arguments:

  1. la – the ISO code for Latin
  2. mulus – the word (its page name, without macrons)
  3. m – the gender: n, m, f, mf (m & f), c (the lemma applies to all three genders)
  4. (optional) p – the number: p for plural; this is not used for singular words
  5. (optional) alt=mūlus – the form of the word with macrons with the prefix alt= (this is a named argument).

Note that the line actually provides links to two other entries. The text mūlus links to the entry for the Latin word mulus in the English Wiktionary. The following superscript (la)   provides a link to the entry for mulus on the Latin edition of Wiktionary (Victionarium), specifically to the relevant word should it exist there.

Two variants of the {{t}} template exist. These are {{t+}} and {{t-}}. The + or - in the name indicates whether Victionarium does or does not have a corresponding entry with this name. It is not necessary to check this. A bot automatically checks the entries, so if you are not sure, you may simply use {{t}} and the bot will adjust the template as necessary.

Although the alt= argument is optional for proper functioning of the template, its inclusion is preferred for Latin words that include macrons in their dictionary form. This assists in the disambiguation of words such as liber (book) and līber (free) when they appear as translations.

Etymology of non-Latin words[edit]

Many words in English derive from Latin. Moreover, the Romance languages (French, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, etc.) are directly descended from the Latin language, and so include many words derived from Latin ones. These words will appear in the Descendants section of the Latin entry (as described above), but the Etymology section of each of those words should also link back to the Latin word from which they descend.

The general case[edit]

A simple example from the French entry for nerveux is shown below. The syntax on the following line will give the output in grey that follows:

From {{etyl|la|fr}} {{term/t|la|nervōsus||nervous}}
From Latin nervōsus (nervous)

The first template {{etyl}} uses the parameter la to identify the word as having a Latin origin, and links to the Wikipedia article about the Latin language. This template takes two arguments: the ISO code for the language or origin, in this case la, and the ISO code for the language of the entry, in this case fr to indicate French. For English words that come from Latin, the second argument is optional (e.g. nervous). For all other languages, this argument is required, since the template will categorize the entry by etymology. In the example above, the template adds the entry to Category:French terms derived from Latin. Since the template builds the category name directly from the given ISO code, a missing or incorrect argument will cause to entry to be categorized incorrectly. More on the use of this template and others like it is available at Wiktionary:Etymology/language templates.

The second template {{term}} is explained at Template_talk:term. In the example above, it has the following arguments:

  1. nervosus – the word without macrons
    The first argument identifies the name of the page to be linked. Since Latin entries are created without macrons in the page name, the first argument should never include macrons.
  2. nervōsus – the word with macrons (see "Omitting arguments" below)
  3. nervous – the English translation (see "Omitting arguments" below)
  4. lang=la – specifies the word is Latin
    This is a named argument that ensures the link will lead to the Latin section of the target page. Technically, this argument is optional, but if it is omitted, the link will lead to the top of the target page rather than to the Latin entry on that page. Therefore, it is better practice to include this named argument.

The first argument is required, as it is the target for the link generated by {{term}}. The final, named argument lang=la should always be included as a courtesy to users, even though it is not required for the template to function. The second and third arguments are not required for the template to function, and may be omitted in some cases. Despite this, it is good practice to include them both under most circumstances.

Omitting arguments[edit]

The second (macron-bearing) argument may be omitted from the template {{term}} whenever the Latin word does not use macrons. However, the English translation cannot simply be moved forward to this location. The pipe (|) that normally follows this argument must still be included if an English translation follows.

The etymology from the Portuguese entry vez is shown below. The syntax on the following line will give the output in grey that follows:

From {{etyl|la|pt}} {{term|vicis| |change, alternation|lang=la}}
From Latin (change, alternation)

The second argument has been omitted, but the following pipe has not been dropped. The pipe cannot be dropped, or the translation would appear as the display name of the link. A space has therefore been left as a placeholder for the second argument. The space itself is not required—the two pipes may follow sequentially with no intervening space—so long as both pipe characters are included.

The third (translation) argument may reasonably be omitted whenever the meanings, of both the entry and its Latin source word, are nearly the same.

The etymology from the Romanian entry iluzie is shown below. The syntax on the following line will give the output in grey that follows:

From {{etyl|la|ro}} {{term/t|la|illūsiō}}
From Latin illūsiō

The third argument has been completely omitted, including the following pipe (|). Omitting the English translation is acceptable because the Romanian and Latin words have such similar spellings and meanings ("illusion"). The etymological connection between the two words is thus readily apparent without a translation. However, in cases where the meaning differs significantly between the entry word and its Latin source word, preferred practice is to include the English translation for clarity.

Romance language verbs[edit]

In some cases, the etymology must extend a bit further. The most common case in which this happens is that of Romance language verbs. On Wiktionary, modern Romance languages use the infinitive form as the lemma, just as most print dictionaries do for those languages. Such infinitive forms derive from the Latin present active infinitive form of the verb (second principal part); however, the lemma form for Latin verbs is the first-person singular present active indicative (first principal part). As a result, linking a French, Italian, or Spanish verb to the Latin infinitive from from which it derives will link it to a non-lemma that lacks most information a user will seek. To prevent this problem from occurring, the etymology should trace the word back to a lemma form whenever possible.


The Spanish verb esperar (to hope) derives from Latin spērō (I hope), but descends indirectly via the present active infinitive form spērāre. If the etymology for esperar merely gave spērāre as the origin, a user would be forced to follow an additional link from spērāre to get to the information on the lemma page at spērō. So, the etymology of esperar should extend one step further to the lemma form spērō.

The etymology from the Spanish entry esperar is shown below. The syntax on the following line will give the output in grey that follows:

From {{etyl|la|es}} {{term/t|la|spērāre}}, present active infinitive of {{term/t|la|spērō||hope, expect}}
From Latin spērāre, present active infinitive of spērō (hope, expect)

Again, each etymology should trace the word back to a lemma form whenever possible

Additional help[edit]

Help from the community[edit]

Sometimes, we know there is a problem, but don't know what to do to correct the problem. If you should find a Latin entry with a problem that you do not know how to correct, there are several ways to approach the situation.

  1. Mark the page with {{attention|la}}. This template will add the entry to Category:Latin terms needing attention, where another user can then find and correct the problem. It helps if you include comments on the entry's talk page explaining what the problem is or why you think the page needs attention.
  2. Raise the issue on Wiktionary talk:About Latin. Note that this approach is primarily for issues of style, formatting, categorization, and not for specifics of content.
  3. Mark the page with {{rfc}}. this is a more general cleanup tag, and it allows the user to include reasons or concerns as an argument in the template. Be sure to also add an entry to WT:RFC concerning the word so that other editors will be made aware of the problem.

Other Latin aids[edit]

See also[edit]