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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. to bear or rest upon something, lean on; to be supported by; to be based on
    • Cicero, De Officiis I, 122:
      Quorum consilio atque auctoritate nitatur
      [so as to] be supported by their advise and their reputation
  2. to press forward, advance
  3. to mount, climb, ascend; fly
  4. to strain in giving birth; bring forth
  5. (figuratively) to strive, struggle, exert oneself, make an effort, labor, endeavor
    Synonyms: lūctor, certō, cōnītor, cōnor, temptō, ēlabōrō, appetō, īnsequor, affectō, tendō, quaerō, studeō, contendō, pugnō, molior, perīclitor, ēnītor, adnītor, labōrō, spectō
    • c. 42 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. (figuratively) to try to prove, contend in argument, argue
  7. (figuratively) to rest, rely, depend upon
   Conjugation of nītor (third conjugation, deponent)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present nītor nīteris,
nītitur nītimur nītiminī nītuntur
imperfect nītēbar nītēbāris,
nītēbātur nītēbāmur nītēbāminī nītēbantur
future nītar nītēris,
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,
nītātur nītāmur nītāminī nītantur
imperfect nīterer nīterēris,
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,
verbal nouns gerund supine
genitive dative accusative ablative accusative ablative
nītendī nītendō nītendum nītendō nīsum,
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