genius loci

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A borrowing of Latin genius loci (tutelary deity of a/the place), from the singular genitive form of locus (place).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (General American) enPR: gĕʹnĭo͝os' lōʹki, jēʹnyəs lōʹkī, jēʹnyəs lōʹsī, IPA(key): /ˈɡɛnɪˌʊs ˈloʊki/, /ˈd͡ʒinjəs ˈloʊkaɪ/, /ˈd͡ʒinjəs ˈloʊsaɪ/
  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: gĕʹnĭo͝os' lōʹki, jēʹnyəs lōʹkī, jēʹnyəs lōʹsī, IPA(key): /ˈɡɛnɪˌʊs ˈləʊki/, /ˈd͡ʒinjəs ˈləʊkaɪ/, /ˈd͡ʒinjəs ˈləʊsaɪ/

Noun[edit]

genius loci (plural genii loci or genii locorum)

  1. (Roman mythology) The minor deity or spirit watching over a particular place.
  2. (figuratively) The spirit or atmosphere of a place, especially conceived as a source of artistic inspiration.

Usage notes[edit]

In English, genius loci is often italicized as a Latin phrase. It employs the Latin nominative plural but is usually not otherwise grammatically declined. The plural form genii loci describes multiple spirits overseeing a single place; the plural form genii locorum describes multiple spirits overseeing multiple places; and the latter should be confused with genius locorum, which describes a single spirit overseeing multiple places.

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