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See also: fêlés and fêles


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fēlēs (cat)

Alternative forms[edit]


Unknown; maybe cognate with Welsh bele (marten).[1] Other sources say that it is related to Latin fulica, fulix, with the etymological meaning of "animal with a shiny coat", but this theory is doubtful. The connection with Latin fēlix (happy) and Latin fēllō (to suck), with the (hypothetical) etymological meaning of “animal that sucks the blood [of its prey]”, was also proposed. This word could be cognate with Latin mēlēs (badger), under the assumption of a very unusual alternation of /f/ and /m/.



fēlēs f (genitive fēlis); third declension

  1. cat
    Synonyms: cattus, mūriceps, mūrilegus, pilax
    • c. 45 BCE, Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 5.27:
      Quorum inbutae mentes pravitatis erroribus quamvis carnificinam prius subierint quam ibim aut aspidem aut faelem aut canem aut corcodillum violenti quorum etiamsi inprudentes quippiam fecerint, poenam nullam recusent.
      Their minds being tainted by pernicious opinions, they are ready to bear any torture rather than hurt an ibis, a snake, a cat, a dog, or a crocodile; and should any one inadvertently have hurt any of these animals, he will submit to any punishment.
    • 1528, Desiderius Erasmus, Adagiorum opus, page 773:
      Ut feles quoties fugitat, male pedere sueta est.
      Whenever the cat runs away, she is accustomed to fart badly.
    • 1556, Conrad Gessner, Aeliani de natura animalium, Liber VI, Cap. XXVII, p. 336:
      Quemadmodum ex felibus mas est libidinosissimus, sic amantissima catulorum femina; quae veneream idcirco maris consuetudinem refugit, quod is calidissimum ignisque simile semen emittat, genitale ut feminae conburat.
      Just as out of the cats, the male is most libidinous, so too is the female of kittens most affectionate; and on that account she runs away from sexual intercourse with the male because he emits the hottest semen like fire, and so burns up the genital organ of the female.
    • 1607, Antoine Mizauld, Opusculorum pars secunda, page 72v:
      Capitale fuisse apud Aegyptios felem sponte, vel casu occidisse, Diodorus perpulchram demonstrat historiam, suos oculos ac fidem in testimonium adducens, ne putetur esse fabula.
      Diodorus describes, bringing his eyes as well as his faith into the telling lest it be thought a fable, a very beautiful account that among the Egyptians it was punishable by death to deliberately or by accident kill a cat.

Usage notes[edit]

Fēlis is the genitive singular form of fēlēs, but it is also an alternate nominative and vocative form of fēlēs.


Third-declension noun (i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative fēlēs fēlēs
Genitive fēlis fēlium
Dative fēlī fēlibus
Accusative fēlem fēlēs
Ablative fēle fēlibus
Vocative fēlēs fēlēs

Derived terms[edit]


  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
  • feles”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • feles”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • feles in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.


5 terms


Apparently from Arabic فَلْس (fals, fish scale).



feles m (plural ifilsa or filsa)

  1. wedge
  2. (archaic) a splinter or any small piece




  1. second-person singular present subjunctive of felar