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Borrowed from Latin clāvus (a nail). Doublet of clove.



clavus (plural clavuses or clavi)

  1. A callous growth, especially on the foot; a corn.
    • 1988, Shepard R. Hurwitz, Foot and ankle pain (page 331)
      In a review of over 1000 interdigital clavuses, 65% were found in the fourth interspace, while the first and third web space clavuses were found in 17% and 16% of the patients respectively []



From Proto-Italic *klāwos, from Proto-Indo-European *kleh₂u- (nail, pin, hook - instruments, of old use for locking doors). Cognate with Ancient Greek κλείς (kleís, key) and Old Church Slavonic ключь (ključĭ, key). Latin clāvis (key) is either a secondary i-stem derivation, or a loanword from Ancient Greek κληΐς (klēḯs).



clāvus m (genitive clāvī); second declension

  1. a nail (metal spike)
  2. rudder
  3. helm (of a boat)
  4. purple stripe on the tunic
  5. callus, wart, tumor


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative clāvus clāvī
Genitive clāvī clāvōrum
Dative clāvō clāvīs
Accusative clāvum clāvōs
Ablative clāvō clāvīs
Vocative clāve clāvī

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  • clavus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • clavus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • clavus 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)
  • clavus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to hold the reins of government: clavum rei publicae tenere
    • to steer: clavum tenere
  • clavus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • clavus in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin