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Borrowing from Latin lustrum (period of five years).



lustrum (plural lustra or lustrums)

  1. (Roman religion) A lustration or ceremonial purification of all the ancient Roman people, performed every five years, after the taking of the census.
  2. A period of five years.
    • 1835, Edgar Allan Poe, Morella, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Folio Society 2007, p. 31:
      Thus passed away two lustra of her life, and, as yet, my daughter remained nameless upon the earth.
    • 1985, John Fowles, A Maggot:
      Q. Now, sir, if you would be so kind as to guess upon his age. A. Forty five years are certain. I would guess a lustrum more.




Etymology 1[edit]

Alteration from earlier *dustrum, from Ancient Greek *δύστρον (*dústron) from δύω (dúō, to plunge).


lustrum n (genitive lustrī); second declension

  1. bog, morass, place where boars and swine wallow
  2. (usually in the plural) den of wild beasts; wood, forest
  3. (usually in the plural) (a place of) debauchery

Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative lustrum lustra
genitive lustrī lustrōrum
dative lustrō lustrīs
accusative lustrum lustra
ablative lustrō lustrīs
vocative lustrum lustra

Etymology 2[edit]


lūstrum n (genitive lustrī); second declension

  1. a purificatory sacrifice or lustration performed every five years by the censor
  2. a period of five years

Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative lūstrum lūstra
genitive lūstrī lūstrōrum
dative lūstrō lūstrīs
accusative lūstrum lūstra
ablative lūstrō lūstrīs
vocative lūstrum lūstra

Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • lustrum in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • lustrum in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “lustrum”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
  • lustrum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français [Illustrated Latin-French Dictionary], Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to complete the censorship (by certain formal purificatory ceremonies = lustro faciendo): lustrum condere (Liv. 1. 44. 2)
  • lustrum in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • lustrum in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin
  • Sihler, Andrew L. (1995) New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195083458
  • Pokorny, Julius (1959) Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch [Indo-European Etymological Dictionary] (in German), Bern, München: Francke Verlag


  1. ^ “lustro 3” in: Alberto Nocentini, Alessandro Parenti, “l'Etimologico — Vocabolario della lingua italiana”, Le Monnier, 2010, ISBN 978-88-00-20781-2