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From ob- (prefix meaning ‘against; towards’) +‎ noxa (harm, hurt, injury; crime, fault, offence) +‎ -ius (suffix forming adjectives). Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *neḱ- (to disappear; to perish).



obnoxius (feminine obnoxia, neuter obnoxium); first/second-declension adjective

  1. (Old Latin, chiefly Late Latin) punishable, liable, guilty, referring to:
    1. (rare) the injured party
    2. (with dative, ablative or genitive) a fault
      • c. 42 BCE, Sallust, Bellum Catilinae 52.21:
        [] animus in cōnsulundō līber neque dēlictō neque lubīdinī obnoxius.
        [] a spirit free in counsel, guilty of nether crime nor passion.
      • c. 550 CE, Cassiodorus, Historia ecclesiastica tripartita 6.14.5 in Patrologia Latina (volume 69), Jacques-Paul Migne (editor), Paris 1865, column 1040:
        Proptereā ergō in suspiciōnem et odium veniēns pāgānōrum, quoniam pūblicē sacrificantēs inspiciēns stābat, et ingemiscēns ōrābat atque clāmābat, nē ūllus Chrīstiānōrum huiusmodī errōre tenērētur obnoxius.
        He came to be suspected and hated by Pagans, because he stood looking at those sacrificing in public while praying and shouting in a groaning manner, so that none of the Christians would be held guilty of this sort of error.
    3. a punishment
      • 412 CE – 426 CE, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, City of God 13.3:
        Quāpropter fatendum est prīmōs quidem hominēs ita fuisse īnstitūtōs, ut, sī nōn peccāssent, nūllum mortis experīrentur genus; sed eōsdem prīmōs peccātōrēs ita fuisse morte multātōs, ut etiam quidquid dē eōrum stirpe esset exortum eādem poenā tenērētur obnoxium.
        Therefore it must be said that the first humans were taught that, were they not to have sinned, they wouldn't have experienced any kind of death, and that the first sinners were rewarded with death so that whatever is born of their kind be held liable to the same punishment.
  2. obliged, indebted
    • 165 BCE, Publius Terentius Afer, Hecyra 3.1.22–23:
      Tum uxōrī obnoxius sum: ita ōlim suō mē ingeniō pertulit,
      tot meās iniūriās quae numquam in ūllō patefēcit locō.
      Then I am indebted to my wife: such has she, in her good-naturedness, put up with me
      and with all my injustices which she's never made known anywhere.
    • c. 303 CE, Arnobius, Against the Pagans 6.2.1:
      [] existimāmus nōs eōs [] nōn vōtōrum dēbitīs habēre obnoxiōs et obligātōs []
      [] we reckon them [] not to hold men obliged and indebted for the vows they owe []
  3. subject to someone, under one's authority
    • 30 BCE, Horace, Satires 2.7.6–8:
      Pars hominum vitiīs gaudet cōnstanter et urget
      prōpositum; pars multa natat, modo rēcta capessēns,
      interdum prāvīs obnoxia.
      A portion of men constantly takes joy in vice and stays true to
      their purpose; a great portion wavers, now engaging in rightful things,
      other times subject to sin.
    • 59 BC–AD 17, Titus Livius, Ab urbe condita libri 9.5.8:
      Aliī aliōs intuērī, contemplārī arma mox trādenda et inermēs futūrās dextrās obnoxiaque corpora hostī.
      They looked at one another, contemplated the weapons soon to be given up and the right hands soon to be unarmed and the bodies subject to the enemy.
  4. susceptible to danger, misfortune, or weakness, vulnerable
    Synonyms: dēbilis, fractus, aeger, tenuis, inops, languidus
    Antonyms: praevalēns, fortis, potis, potēns, validus, strēnuus, compos
  5. liable or addicted to a fault or failing, guilty of it
    Synonyms: noxius, reus, cōnscius
    Antonyms: īnsōns, castus, innocēns, innoxius
    • c. 140 CE, Marcus Cornelius Fronto, Epistles 4.1.3:
      Invidia perniciōsum inter hominēs malum maximēque internecīvum, sibi aliīsque pariter obnoxium.
      Envy is a pernicious and most deadly evil along men, just as harmful to oneself and to others.


First/second-declension adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative obnoxius obnoxia obnoxium obnoxiī obnoxiae obnoxia
Genitive obnoxiī obnoxiae obnoxiī obnoxiōrum obnoxiārum obnoxiōrum
Dative obnoxiō obnoxiō obnoxiīs
Accusative obnoxium obnoxiam obnoxium obnoxiōs obnoxiās obnoxia
Ablative obnoxiō obnoxiā obnoxiō obnoxiīs
Vocative obnoxie obnoxia obnoxium obnoxiī obnoxiae obnoxia

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  • Catalan: obnoxi
  • English: obnoxious
  • Portuguese: obnóxio
  • Spanish: obnoxio


  • obnoxius”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • obnoxius”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • obnoxius in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to be subject to some one, under some one's dominion: subiectum esse, obnoxium esse imperio or dicioni alicuius (not simply alicui)
  • obnoxius” in volume 9, part 2, column 124, line 25 in the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL Open Access), Berlin (formerly Leipzig): De Gruyter (formerly Teubner), 1900–present