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Etymology 1[edit]

From Proto-Indo-European *kneygʷʰ- (to bend, to droop). Cognate with nicō, connīveō, nictō, Proto-Germanic *hnīwaną.



nītor (present infinitive nītī, perfect active nīsus sum or nīxus sum); third conjugation, deponent

  1. I bear or rest upon something, lean on; I am supported by; I am based on.
  2. I press forward, advance.
  3. I mount, climb, ascend; fly.
  4. I strain in giving birth; bring forth.
  5. (figurative) I strive, struggle, exert myself, make an effort, labor, endeavor.
    • 86 BCEc. 35 BCE, Sallust, Bellum Catilinae :
      Omnīs hominēs quī sēsē student praestāre cēterīs animālibus summā ope nītī decet nē vītam silentiō trānseant veluti pecora
      It is suitable for all who wish to be better than animals to struggle with their best effort in order not to go through life in silence like cattle.
  6. (figurative) I try to prove, contend in argument, argue.
  7. (figurative) I rest, rely, depend upon.
   Conjugation of nītor (third conjugation, deponent)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present nītor nīteris, nītere nītitur nītimur nītiminī nītuntur
imperfect nītēbar nītēbāris, nītēbāre nītēbātur nītēbāmur nītēbāminī nītēbantur
future nītar nītēris, nītēre nītētur nītēmur nītēminī nītentur
perfect nīsus or nīxus + present active indicative of sum
pluperfect nīsus or nīxus + imperfect active indicative of sum
future perfect nīsus or nīxus + future active indicative of sum
subjunctive singular plural
first second third first second third
active present nītar nītāris, nītāre nītātur nītāmur nītāminī nītantur
imperfect nīterer nīterēris, nīterēre nīterētur nīterēmur nīterēminī nīterentur
perfect nīsus or nīxus + present active subjunctive of sum
pluperfect nīsus or nīxus + imperfect active subjunctive of sum
imperative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present nītere nītiminī
future nītitor nītitor nītuntor
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives nītī nīsum esse, nīxum esse nīsūrum esse, nīxūrum esse
participles nītēns nīsus, nīxus nīsūrus, nīxūrus nītendus, nītundus
verbal nouns gerund supine
genitive dative accusative ablative accusative ablative
nītendī nītendō nītendum nītendō nīsum, nīxum nīsū, nīxū
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From niteō (I shine) +‎ -or.



nitor m (genitive nitōris); third declension

  1. brightness, splendor, lustre, sheen
  2. sleekness, good looks, beauty, glamour
  3. neatness, smartness, elegance, brilliancy
  4. (of speech) splendor, elegance, polish, grace
  5. (of character) dignity, excellence

Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative nitor nitōrēs
Genitive nitōris nitōrum
Dative nitōrī nitōribus
Accusative nitōrem nitōrēs
Ablative nitōre nitōribus
Vocative nitor nitōrēs
Related terms[edit]


  • nitor in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • nitor in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • nitor in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • it is a matter of conjecture, supposition: aliquid coniectura nititur, continetur (Div. 1. 14. 24)
    • to cherish a hope: spe duci, niti, teneri