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The oculus at the top of the dome of the Pantheon in Rome
English Wikipedia has an article on:


Borrowed from Latin oculus (eye). Doublet of occhio.



oculus (plural oculi)

  1. (architecture) A window or other opening that has an oval or circular shape (as of an eye).
    1. The central boss of a volute.
    2. An opening at the apex of a dome.
      One can glimpse the sky through the oculus of the Pantheon in Rome.





oculus m (plural oculus)

  1. oculus

Further reading[edit]


Latin Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia la
oculus humanusa human eye

Alternative forms[edit]


From the Proto-Indo-European root *h₃ekʷ- (eye; to see) with the diminutive suffix -ulus.[1] Compare Sanskrit अक्षि (ákṣi, eye), Ancient Greek ὄσσε (ósse, eyes), ὤψ (ṓps, eye).



oculus m (genitive oculī); second declension

  1. (literally, anatomy) eye
    Synonym: (Ecclesiastical Latin) palpebra
    • 63 BCE, Cicero, Catiline Orations :
      Quam diū quisquam erit quī tē dēfendēre audeat, vīvēs, et vīvēs ita ut nunc vīvis, multīs meīs et firmīs praesidiīs obsessus nē commōvēre tē contrā rem pūblicam possīs. Multōrum tē etiam oculī et aurēs nōn sentientem, sīcut adhūc fēcērunt, speculābuntur atque custōdient.
      As long as one person exists who can dare to defend you, you shall live; but you shall live as you do now, surrounded by my many and trusty guards, so that you shall not be able to stir one finger against the republic: many eyes and ears shall still observe and watch you, as they have hitherto done, though you shall not perceive them.
    • 405 CE, Jerome, Vulgate Isaiah.64.4:
      ā saeculō nōn audiērunt neque auribus percēpērunt oculus nōn vīdit Deus absque tē quae praeparāstī expectantibus tē.
      For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
  2. (transferred sense):
    1. sight, vision
    2. (poetic, literary) luminary of the sun and stars
    3. spot resembling an eye, such as on a peacock feather
    4. (botany):
      1. eye, bud, bourgeon
      2. bud, bulb or knob on many roots, on the reed, etc.
      3. great houseleek
        Synonym: aizōum majus
  3. (figuratively):
    1. principal ornament
    2. eye of the soul, mind's eye
      • 8 CE, Ovid, Fasti I.305–306:
        admōvēre oculīs distantia sīdera nostrīs aetheraque ingeniō supposuēre sūō.
        • Translation by Anne and Peter Wiseman
          They brought close the distant stars with the eyes of the mind, and made the heavens subject to their intellect.
This entry needs quotations to illustrate usage. If you come across any interesting, durably archived quotes then please add them!


Second-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative oculus oculī
Genitive oculī oculōrum
Dative oculō oculīs
Accusative oculum oculōs
Ablative oculō oculīs
Vocative ocule oculī

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


All inherited forms are via the syncopated form oclus, already attested in the Appendix Probi.


  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) “oculus”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 425

Further reading[edit]

  • oculus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • oculus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • oculus 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)
  • oculus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to raise the eyes to heaven; to look up to the sky: oculos tollere, attollere ad caelum
    • I am losing my eyesight and getting deaf: neque auribus neque oculis satis consto
    • to turn one's gaze on; to regard: oculos conicere in aliquem
    • to look in every direction: oculos circumferre
    • to gaze intently all around: in omnes partes aciem (oculorum) intendere
    • to draw every one's eyes upon one: omnium oculos (et ora) ad se convertere
    • to turn one's eyes (ears, attention) towards an object: oculos (aures, animum) advertere ad aliquid
    • his eyes are always fixed on some one's face: oculi in vultu alicuius habitant
    • to keep one's eyes on the ground: oculos figere in terra and in terram
    • to feast one's eyes with the sight of..: oculos pascere aliqua re (also simply pasci aliqua re)
    • to turn one's gaze away from an object: oculos deicere, removere ab aliqua re
    • to close the eyes of a dying person: oculos operire (morienti)
    • to dazzle a person: oculorum aciem alicui praestringere (also simply praestringere)
    • to lose one's sight: oculos, lumina amittere
    • to deprive a person of his eyes: oculis privare aliquem
    • to be blind: oculis captum esse (vid. sect. IV. 6., note auribus, oculis...)
    • something presents itself to my vision: ante oculos aliquid versatur
    • to picture a thing to oneself; to imagine: oculis, ante oculos (animo) proponere aliquid
    • picture to yourselves the circumstances: ante oculos vestros (not vobis) res gestas proponite
    • to see with the mind's eye: oculis mentis videre aliquid
    • to cherish as the apple of one's eye: in oculis aliquem ferre
    • to cherish as the apple of one's eye: aliquis est mihi in oculis
    • to go out of sight, disappear: abire ex oculis, e conspectu alicuius
    • to come within the sphere of the senses: sub sensum or sub oculos, sub aspectum cadere
    • the world of sense, the visible world: res sensibus or oculis subiectae (De Fin. 5. 12. 36)
    • the world of sense, the visible world: res quas oculis cernimus
    • I haven't had a wink of sleep: somnum oculis meis non vidi (Fam. 7. 30)
    • a vague notion presents itself to my mind: aliquid animo meo obversatur (cf. sect. III, s. v. oculi)
    • to bring a thing vividly before the eyes: ante oculos ponere aliquid
    • to represent a thing vividly: oculis or sub oculos, sub aspectum subicere aliquid
    • to scrutinise, examine closely: perlustrare, lustrare oculis aliquid
  • oculus”, in The Perseus Project (1999) Perseus Encyclopedia[2]