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Uncertain; often cited as borrowed from Gaulish *kaballos,[1] from Proto-Celtic *kaballos, perhaps ultimately an Asiatic borrowing or Wanderwort, compare Ancient Greek καβάλλης (kabállēs, nag), Proto-Slavic *kobýla (mare), Persian کول (kaval, second class horse of mixed blood), and possibly Karakhanid kevel (at) (well-bred fast (horse)).[2][3]

Alternatively, borrowed alongside Greek from Proto-Iranian *kabah, *kabalah, compare Khotanese [script needed] (kabä, horse), Persian کول (kaval), and possibly cognate with Latin cabō (gelding), perhaps ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *kebʰ- (worn-out horse, nag).[4][5]





caballus m (genitive caballī); second declension[6][7][8][9]

  1. pack-horse, jade, hack
  2. (Old Latin, Classical Latin, Late Latin) nag

Usage notes

  • In Classical Latin, the word equus is used for a horse, and caballus is used only by poets. It is only later, in Vulgar and Late Latin, that caballus appears in prose.



Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative caballus caballī
Genitive caballī caballōrum
Dative caballō caballīs
Accusative caballum caballōs
Ablative caballō caballīs
Vocative caballe caballī

Derived terms





  1. ^ Delamarre, Xavier (2003) “caballos”, in Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise: une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental [Dictionary of the Gaulish language: A linguistic approach to Old Continental Celtic] (Collection des Hespérides; 9), 2nd edition, Éditions Errance, →ISBN, page 96
  2. ^ Beekes, Robert S. P. (2010) “6l1”, in Etymological Dictionary of Greek (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 10), with the assistance of Lucien van Beek, Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page καβάλλης
  3. ^ Sakhno, Serguei (2017–2018) “Chapter XIII: Slavic”, in Klein, Jared S., Joseph, Brian D., Fritz, Matthias, editors, Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics: An International Handbook (Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft [Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science]; 41.2), Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, →ISBN, § The lexicon of Slavic, page 1582
  4. ^ Simon, Zsolt (2005) “Die Etymologie von caballus”, in Calboli, Gualtiero, editor, Latina Lingua! Proceedings of the Twelfth International Colloquium on Latin Linguistics (Bologna, 9-14 June 2003), Roma, pages 405-416
  5. ^ Hyllested, Adam (2014) Word Exchange at the Gates of Europe: Five Millennia of Language Contact (PhD. dissertation)[1], Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, pages 91-97
  6. ^ caballus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  7. ^ caballus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  8. ^ caballus 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)
  9. ^ caballus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.