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Of uncertain origin. May stem from Proto-Indo-European *h₃erbʰis (circle, orb) or from *h₁órǵʰis (testicle).



orbis m (genitive orbis); third declension

  1. circle, ring
  2. of things that return at a certain period of time, a rotation, round, circuit
  3. an orb (sphere)
  4. a country, territory or region
  5. a disc or disc-shaped object
  6. the Earth, the world, the globe [often written as orbis terrarum]
    totus orbis terrarum
    the whole wide world
    • Caesar, de Bello Gallico VII, 29:
      Ne orbis quidem terrarum possit obsistere
      Not even the whole world could withstand


Third-declension noun (i-stem, ablative singular in -e or occasionally ).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative orbis orbēs
Genitive orbis orbium
Dative orbī orbibus
Accusative orbem orbēs
Ablative orbe
Vocative orbis orbēs


Derived terms[edit]


  • English: orb
  • French: orbe
  • Italian: orbe
  • Portuguese: orbe
  • Spanish: orbe


  • orbis”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • orbis”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • orbis 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)
  • orbis in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • the earth; the glob: orbis terrae, terrarum
    • the horizon: orbis finiens (Div. 2. 44. 92)
    • the milky way: orbis lacteus
    • the zodiac: orbis signifer
    • a zone: orbis, pars (terrae), cingulus
    • the temperate zone: orbis medius
    • the empire reaches to the ends of the world: imperium orbis terrarum terminis definitur
    • to form a square: orbem facere (Sall. Iug. 97. 5)
    • to form a square: in orbem consistere
  • orbis”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • Watkins, Calvert, ed., The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.
  • Online Latin Dictionary, Olivetti