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See also: canís and Canis


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canisa dog

Etymology 1[edit]

From earlier canēs. Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwṓ, *ḱun- (dog),[1][2][3][4][5] from earlier *ḱwón-s, whence also Ancient Greek κύων (kúōn), Sanskrit श्वन् (śván), though the expected outcome was formally much altered.

The -a- gained a number of ad hoc explanations, such as a shift of *-wo- to *-wa- in open syllables,[n 1][5] or of *-n̥- to -an- before vowels.[n 2][1] The initial unrounded c- must have been levelled early into the rest of the inflection from the expected nominative outcome *cō, as *ḱw- would have regularly delabialised before a rounded vowel.[1][2]

Alternative forms[edit]



canis m or f (genitive canis); third declension

  1. a dog, a hound (animal)
  2. a ‘dog’ constellation or ‘dog’ star: either Canis Major, its brightest star Sirius; or Canis Minor, its brightest star Procyon
    • 8 CE, Ovid, Fasti 4.939–940:
      ‘est Canis, Īcarium dīcunt, quō sīdere mōtō
      tosta sitit tellūs, praecipiturque seges’
      ‘‘There is a Dog – they say [of?] Icarius – a star (or constellation), [and] where it has moved, the earth thirsts, [it] having been scorched, and the crop is seized beforehand.’’
      (Maera (hound) found the body of Icarius (Athenian) and became the constellation Canis Minor with the bright ‘‘dog’’ star Procyon; it, along with Canis Major, the other celestial dog with its brighter ‘‘dog’’ star Sirius, were believed to cause late summer heat and drought.)
  3. a dog, a hound, a bounder, a blackguard, a cad, a heel (foul person)
  4. a dog, a creature (human parasite or follower who depends on someone with great power and resources and bends to their will)
  5. a tiger, a dragon, a savage (a fierce or enraged person)

Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative canis canēs
Genitive canis canum
Dative canī canibus
Accusative canem canēs
Ablative cane canibus
Vocative canis canēs
Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Compare possible parallel *-o- > -a- shifts in lacus, mare, manus, lanius, etc. This assumes relevelling from the stem of the accusative canem, which would have regularly reflected *ḱwónm̥.
  2. ^ Now mostly rejected, as this assumes a relevelling on a genitive stem *ḱwn̥-, which is actually largely attested as *ḱun- in all the word's cognates.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Walde, Alois, Hofmann, Johann Baptist (1938) “canis”, in Lateinisches etymologisches Wörterbuch (in German), 3rd edition, volume I, Heidelberg: Carl Winter, pages 152–153
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ernout, Alfred, Meillet, Antoine (1985) “canēs, canis, -is”, in Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine: histoire des mots[1] (in French), 4th edition, with additions and corrections of Jacques André, Paris: Klincksieck, published 2001, page 92
  3. ^ Pokorny, Julius (1959) “k̑u̯on-, k̑un-”, in Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch [Indo-European Etymological Dictionary] (in German), volume 2, Bern, München: Francke Verlag, pages 632–633
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sihler, Andrew L. (1995) New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, § 100c, page 98
  5. 5.0 5.1 De Vaan, Michiel (2008) “canēs, -is”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 87

Etymology 2[edit]

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.




  1. dative/ablative masculine/feminine/neuter plural of cānus

Etymology 3[edit]

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.




  1. second-person singular present active indicative of canō

Further reading[edit]

  • canis”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • canis”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • canis 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)
  • canis in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[2], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) to keep horses, dogs: alere equos, canes
  • canis”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898), Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers





canis m

  1. plural of canil



canis m pl

  1. plural of cani