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Borrowed from Latin aciēs (edge, sharpness).


acies (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) The full attention of one's sight, hearing or other senses, as directed towards a particular object.
    • 1658: And therefore providence hath arched and paved the great house of the world, with colours of mediocrity, that is, blew and green, above and below the sight, moderately terminating the acies of the eye. — Sir Thomas Browne, The Garden of Cyrus (Folio Society 2007, p. 204)




From Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱ- (sharp, pointed). By surface analysis, aceō +‎ -iēs. Cognate with Ancient Greek ἀκίς (akís, point, pointed object), ἀκή (akḗ, point) and Proto-Germanic *agjō (whence English edge).

See also word origin of ace.



aciēs f (genitive aciēī); fifth declension

  1. sharp edge or point
  2. battle line
  3. battle, engagement
  4. (Late Latin) steel
  5. sharpness of sight, keeness of a glance
  6. the pupil of an eye
  7. a fixed look
  8. acuteness of mind
  9. a verbal contest


Fifth-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative aciēs aciēs
Genitive aciēī aciērum
Dative aciēī aciēbus
Accusative aciem aciēs
Ablative aciē aciēbus
Vocative aciēs aciēs

Derived terms[edit]


  • Extremaduran: haci (merged with haci < fasces)
  • Old Galician-Portuguese: az
  • Old Spanish: azes, az
  • Sardinian: (< *acia)
    Campidanese: atza
    Logudorese: atta, atha
  • English: acies
  • Italian: acie
  • Portuguese: ácie


  • acies”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • acies”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • acies in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • acies in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to gaze intently all around: in omnes partes aciem (oculorum) intendere
    • to dazzle a person: oculorum aciem alicui praestringere (also simply praestringere)
    • to lead the army to the fight: exercitum educere or producere in aciem
    • to enter the field of battle: in aciem descendere (Liv. 8. 8)
    • to draw up forces in battle-order: aciem (copias, exercitum) instruere or in acie constituere
    • to draw up the army in three lines: aciem triplicem instruere (B. G. 1. 24)
    • to extend the line of battle, deploy the battalions: aciem explicare or dilatare
    • the centre: media acies
    • to fight a pitched battle: acie (armis, ferro) decernere
    • to fight a pitched battle: in acie dimicare
    • to break through the enemy's centre: per medios hostes (mediam hostium aciem) perrumpere
    • the line of battle gives way: acies inclīnat or inclīnatur (Liv. 7. 33)
    • the enemy's line is repulsed: acies hostium impellitur
  • acies”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • acies”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin