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Alternative forms[edit]


From an earlier *hasēna (compare Sabine fasēna), possibly from Etruscan. Compare Etruscan 𐌚𐌀𐌑𐌄𐌍𐌀 (faśena, sand, ashes, human remains).
Otherwise, as de Vaan suggests, it might be from a verb suffixed with *-es-no-, but none fits and so the etymology is unknown.



harēna f (genitive harēnae); first declension

  1. sand
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid 1.106–107:
      Hī summō in flūctū pendent; hīs unda dēhīscēns
      terram inter flūctūs aperit; furit aestus harēnīs.
      Some [sailors] hang on a wave crest; for others the sea is gaping [and] the sea-bed is revealed between the waves; the surge churns with sand.
      (The ablative plural “harenis” is often translated here as singular. The description of the sailors’ experiences in the storm exemplifies hyperbole.)
  2. (poetically) slime, mud, līmus
    • 29, Virgil, Georgica, book IV, ed. by John E. Sheridan, London: Machen, published 1856, page 71, lines 287–294, notes from page 218:
      Nam qua Pellaei gens fortunata Canopi/ Accolit effuso stagnantem flumine Nilum/ Et circum pictis vehitur sua rura phaselis,/ Quaque pharetratae vicinia Persidis urget,/ [Et viridem Aegyptum nigrá fecundat arená,/ Et diversa ruens septem discurrit in ora/ Usque coloratis amnis devexus ab Indis,]/ Omnis in hac certam regio jacit arte salutem.
      For where the fortunate people of the Pellaean Canopus dwell close by the Nile, that swells into a lake with its inundating stream, and are carried round their farms in painted barges; and where the vicinity of the quiver-armed Parthia is contiguous, and the river rolling down all the way from the swarthy Indians separates, as it rushes along, into seven different branches, and fertilizes the verdant Egypt with its black slime; the entire region places implicit confidence in this art.
  3. (metonymically) sand, sands, a sandy place, especially—
    1. a sandy desert, waste
    2. the shore of the sea, the beach, coast, strand
    3. the place of combat (strewn with sand) in the amphitheatre, the arena
    4. (transferred) a combat in the amphitheatre; the combatants in the arena
    5. volcanic fire, lava.
  4. (figuratively) the place of combat, scene or theatre of any contest (war, a single battle, a dispute, etc.)


First-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative harēna harēnae
Genitive harēnae harēnārum
Dative harēnae harēnīs
Accusative harēnam harēnās
Ablative harēnā harēnīs
Vocative harēna harēnae


Derived terms[edit]


  • harena”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • harena”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • harena 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)
  • harena in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • harena”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898), Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 279