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See also: múnus


Alternative forms[edit]


From Proto-Italic *moinos.

Like mūnia (duties), it is derived from Proto-Indo-European *moy-nós, from *mey- (change, swap). As is the case with such derivatives as "municipality", and "immunity", the concept of trading goods and services in a way that conforms to a society's laws is quite pertinent to this term. From the addition of the "com-" prefix came commūnis (common, public), which is cognate to Proto-Germanic *gamainiz (shared, communal, public).

The semantic shift to 'gift' is explained by Sextus Pompeius Festus thus:

  • 1839 [8th century CE], Paulus Diaconus, edited by Karl Otfried Müller, Excerpta ex libris Pompeii Festi De significatione verborum, page 140:
    Mūnus sīgnificat officium, cum dīcitur quis mūnere fungī. Item dōnum quod officiī causā datur.
    Mūnus means office, when someone is said to perform his office. Also 'gift', since it's given because of the service.



mūnus n (genitive mūneris); third declension

  1. a service, office, employment
    Synonyms: ministerium, negōtium, officium, cūra, cūrātiō
    • c. 84 BCE – 54 BCE, Catullus, Carmina 61.41–45:
      [] ut lubentius, audiēns
      sē citārier ad suum
      mūnus, hūc aditum ferat
      dux bonae Veneris, bonī
           coniugātor amōris.
      [] so that with more pleasure, hearing
      himself being hurried to his
      office, towards here might come
      the herald of the good Venus, of the good
           love uniter.
  2. a burden, duty, obligation
  3. a service, favor
  4. a spectacle, public show
  5. (in the plural) a public building made at the expense of an individual
    • 43 BCEc. 17 CE, Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1.67–70:
      Tū modo Pompeiā lentus spatiāre sub umbrā,
           cum sōl Herculeī terga leōnis adit:
      aut ubi mūneribus nātī sua mūnera māter
           addidit, externō marmore dīves opus.
      Just slowly take a walk under the shadow,
           when the sun goes towards the back of the Herculean lion;
      or where the mother to her son's buildings her own buildings
           has added, a work rich by its exterior marble.
    • c. 81 CE, Martial, Dē Spectāculīs 2.7–8:
      Hīc ubi mīrāmur vēlōcia mūnera thermās,
           abstulerat miserīs tēcta superbus ager.
      Here where we wonder at the speedy public building of a bath,
           a vain tract of land had taken the houses away from the poor.
  6. a gift
    Synonyms: praemium, datum, donum
    • 43 BCEc. 17 CE, Ovid, Fasti 3.185:
      in stipulā placidī capiēbat mūnera somnī
      On stubble he was enjoying the gifts of peaceful sleep


Third-declension noun (neuter, imparisyllabic non-i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative mūnus mūnera
Genitive mūneris mūnerum
Dative mūnerī mūneribus
Accusative mūnus mūnera
Ablative mūnere mūneribus
Vocative mūnus mūnera

Derived terms[edit]


  • Italian: muno
  • Portuguese: múnus


  • munus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • munus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • munus 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)
  • munus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to give a gladiatorial show: munus gladiatorium edere, dare (or simply munus edere, dare)
    • to live a perfect life: virtutis perfectae perfecto munere fungi (Tusc. 1. 45. 109)
    • banished from public life: rei publicae muneribus orbatus
    • to perform official duties: munus administrare, gerere
    • to perform official duties: munere fungi, muneri praeesse
    • to appoint some one to an office: muneri aliquem praeficere, praeponere
    • to fulfil the duties of one's position: munus explere, sustinere
    • to remove a person from his office: abrogare alicui munus (Verr. 2. 57)
    • a man who has held many offices: honoribus ac reipublicae muneribus perfunctus (De Or. 1. 45)
  • munus”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • munus”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin




  1. Romanization of 𒊩 (munus)