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See also: -alium


Alternative forms[edit]


Unknown according to de Vaan (2008). May be connected to āla (wing), on the image of the garlic bulb being divided into "wings"; for a similar derivation from garlic being "cloven" cf. the etymology of German Knoblauch (garlic). It has also been compared with the Greek gloss of ἄλλην (állēn) as 'vegetables' "among the Italians", which may stem from another Italic language, and if so, has no direct bearing on the etymological consideration of Latin ālium.[1]

Based only on the form allium, Kroonen (2012) suggests that it may be a borrowing from the root of Ancient Greek ἄγλις (áglis), specifically via a byform *adlī-. See the Ancient Greek entry for more.[2]

According to Roberts, from Proto-Indo-European *ālu- (bitter plant).[3]



ālium n (genitive āliī or ālī); second declension

  1. garlic, onion


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative ālium ālia
Genitive āliī
Dative āliō āliīs
Accusative ālium ālia
Ablative āliō āliīs
Vocative ālium ālia

1Found in older Latin (until the Augustan Age).


  • Eastern Romance
    • Aromanian: alj, aljiu
    • Megleno-Romanian: al'
    • Romanian: ai
  • Gallo-Italic
  • Italo-Dalmatian
  • Old French:
    • French: ail
      • Haitian Creole: lay (from l'ail)
      • Mauritian Creole: lay (from l'ail)
      • Moore: lay (from l'ail)
    • Picard: al
    • Walloon: a
  • Old Occitan:
  • Rhaeto-Romance
    • Friulian: ai
    • Romansch: agl
  • Sardinian: àllu, azu
    Campidanese: allu
  • Venetian: ajo
  • Ibero-Romance:
    • Aragonese: allo
    • Asturian: ayu
    • Old Portuguese: alho
      • Galician: allo
      • Portuguese: alho (see there for further descendants)
    • Spanish: ajo (see there for further descendants)

See also[edit]

  • ālum (wild garlic)



  1. accusative masculine singular of alius


  • alium”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • alium”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • alium 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)
  • alium in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[3], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) he is a young man of great promise: adulescens alios bene de se sperare iubet, bonam spem ostendit or alii de adulescente bene sperare possunt
  • alium”, in William Smith, editor (1854, 1857) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, volume 1 & 2, London: Walton and Maberly
  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7)‎[1], Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN
  2. ^ Kroonen, Guus (2012), “An Akkadian loanword in Pre-Greek: on the etymology of Greek ἄγλις and γέλγις 'garlic'”, in The Journal of Indo-European Studies[2], volume 40, page 295
  3. ^ Roberts, Edward A. (2014) A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Spanish Language with Families of Words based on Indo-European Roots, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, p. 725