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Recent loanword, as shown by intact intervocalic -s- which otherwise rhotacized to -r- in native words. Formally incompatible with Ancient Greek ὄνος (ónos). Just like other IE words for "ass", asinus traces back to an unknown substrate source in Asia Minor (compare Hieroglyphic Luwian tarkasna, Sumerian 𒀲 (anšu), Old Armenian էշ (ēš)).



asinus m (genitive asinī); second declension

  1. a donkey, an ass
    • c. 191 BCE, Plautus, Pseudolus, act 1, scene 2:
      Neque ego homines magis asinos umquam vidi.
      At no time did I ever see human beings more like asses.
  2. (figuratively) an ass, an idiot, a dolt, a simpleton, a blockhead
    • c. 160 BCE, Publius Terentius Afer, Adelphoe :
      Quid tu autem huic, asine, auscultas?
    • c. 70 BCE, Cicero, 'In Pisonem', chapter 73:
      Quid nunc te, asine, litteras doceam? Non opus est verbis, sed fustibus.
      Why should I now teach you letters, idiot? I want not for words but instead cudgels.


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative asinus asinī
Genitive asinī asinōrum
Dative asinō asinīs
Accusative asinum asinōs
Ablative asinō asinīs
Vocative asine asinī



Derived terms[edit]

  • asinus in tegulis (of an odd appearance; literally: a donkey on roof tiles)
  • asinus ad lyram (of an awkward man; literally: the donkey at the lyre)
  • sepulturā asini sepelietur (of a contemptible and unworthy man, that somebody will not merit any kind of burial; literally: he will be buried in a donkey's grave)



asinus (feminine asina, neuter asinum); first/second-declension adjective

  1. (relational) ass, donkey
  2. stupid, asinine


First/second-declension adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative asinus asina asinum asinī asinae asina
Genitive asinī asinae asinī asinōrum asinārum asinōrum
Dative asinō asinō asinīs
Accusative asinum asinam asinum asinōs asinās asina
Ablative asinō asinā asinō asinīs
Vocative asine asina asinum asinī asinae asina