genius loci

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From Latin genius (lar) + locī (of (a) place), genitive singular form of locus (place, location) = “(guardian) spirit of a place”.


  • (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/


genius loci (plural genii loci or genii locorum)

  1. The spirit or one of the spirits presiding over or guarding a particular place, such as a glade or pool.
  2. The geist, distinctive atmosphere, or characteristic spirit of a place, especially when regarded as an artistic muse.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The c in loci is usually hard (pronounced k), retaining pronunciatory similarity with locorum and with the related noun locus.
  • The plural form genii loci is used for multiple spirits of a single place, whereas genii locorum refers to multiple spirits of multiple places; the rare related singular noun genius locorum refers to a single spirit having presidency or guardianship over multiple places.