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The title page of Digestorum seu Pandectarum libri quinquaginta ex Florentinis Pandectis repraesentati (The Digest or Fifty Books of the Pandects, represented from the Florentine Pandects), a version of the Pandects (sense 1) published in Florence, Italy, by Lawrence Torrentinus in 1553
An 11th-century manuscript of the pandects (sense 3) of Antiochus of Palestine, a compilation of moral statements.[n 1]

Sense 3 (“comprehensive treatise”) is from Latin pandectēs (book that contains everything, encyclopedia), from Ancient Greek πανδέκτης (pandéktēs, encyclopedia, literally all-receiver), from παν- (pan-, prefix meaning ‘all’) (from πᾶς (pâs, all)) + δέκτης (déktēs, receiver, recipient) (from δέχομαι (dékhomai, to receive) (from Proto-Indo-European *deḱ- (to take; to perceive)) + -της (-tēs, suffix forming agent nouns)).[1][2]

Sense 1 (“compendium of writings on Roman law”) in the plural form Pandects is from Late Latin pandectae (the Pandects), the plural of pandectēs, modelled after (Byzantine) Ancient Greek πανδέκται (pandéktai, the Pandects), the plural of πανδέκτης (pandéktēs): see further above.[1]



pandect (plural pandects)

  1. (Ancient Rome, law, historical) Usually in the plural form Pandects: a compendium or digest of writings on Roman law divided in 50 books, compiled in the 6th century C.E. by order of the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I (c. 482–565).
    • 1734, John Ayliffe, “[Dedication]”, in A New Pandect of Roman Civil Law, [], London: Printed for Tho[mas] Osborne, [], →OCLC:
      After upwards of Thirty Years Study, and a painful Induſtry, in compiling A New Pandect or Complete Body of the Roman Civil Law; the Firſt Volume of this Undertaking craves Leave to appear in the World under the Patronage and Protection of your Lordſhip, [...]
    • 1750 January, “We See in a Monthly Book Published at Paris, with the Royal License, an Advertisement with a New Print of a Remarkable and Famous Hermaphrodite, [...]”, in Sylvanus Urban [pseudonym; Edward Cave], editor, The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, volume XX, London: Printed by Edw[ard] Cave, [], published January 1755, →OCLC, page 20, column 2:
      And altho' there are many relations of perfect hermaphrodites, creatures that poſſeſſed the power of both ſexes, and could both beget and conceive children, yet theſe relations are treated as fabulous, notwithſtanding ſome laws concerning them are found both in the Roman and Gallic pandect.
    • 1788, Edward Gibbon, chapter XLIV, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, volume IV, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, [], →OCLC, page 361:
      But the juriſprudence of the Pandects is circumſcribed within a period of an hundred years, from the perpetual edict to the death of Severus Alexander: [...]
    • 1824 June, [Walter Scott], “Letter II. Alan Fairford to Darsie Latimer.”, in Redgauntlet, [], volume I, Edinburgh: [] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., →OCLC, page 27:
      And now, upon this third morning after your departure, things are but little better; for though the lamp burns in my den, and Voet on the Pandects hath his wisdom spread open before me, yet as I only use him as a reading-desk on which to scribble this sheet of nonsense to Darsie Latimer, it is probable the vicinity will be of little furtherance to my studies.
  2. (by extension, rare) Also in the plural form pandects: a comprehensive collection of laws; specifically, the whole body of law of a country; a legal code.
    Synonym: digest
  3. (by extension, also figuratively) A treatise or similar work that is comprehensive as to a particular topic; specifically (Christianity) a manuscript of the entire Bible.
    • 1750 November, “Art. XV. The Œconomy of Human Life, Translated from an Indian Manuscript, Written by an Ancient Bramin; to which is Prefixed an Account of the Manner in which the Said Manuscript was Discovered. [] [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, New Literary Journal. [], volume IV, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths, [], →OCLC, page 64:
      The table of contents which we inſert here will give a juſt idea of the method with which this ſmall pandect of morality is compoſed.
    • 2003, Carmella Vircillo Franklin, “Bilingual Philology in Bede’s Exegesis”, in Richard F. Gyug, editor, Medieval Cultures in Contact (Fordham Series in Medieval Studies; 1), New York, N.Y.: Fordham University Press, →ISBN, →ISSN, page 3:
      During a visit to Rome in 679–80, the Anglo-Saxon monk Ceolfrith from Northumbria acquired a magnificent pandect, an entire Bible bound as one volume, and brought it back to England with him, to his monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow. We now know that the book that Ceolfrith bought in Rome was the so-called Codex Grandior, a pandect written under the supervision of Cassiodorus, the scholar-monk founder of Vivarium, in Calabria in the sixth century.
    • 2006, Francis Cairns, “The Nomenclature of the Tiber in Virgil’s Aeneid”, in Joan Booth, Robert Maltby, editors, What’s in a Name?: The Significance of Proper Names in Classical Latin Literature, Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, →ISBN, page 68:
      At 8.330–2, which will be treated again below, Virgil seems to be offering some guidance about part of this tangle of 'problems' (although he was at the same time a pandect when it came to the Tiber and its nomenclature).
    • 2006, Mary Dove, “The Middle Ages”, in John F. A. Sawyer, editor, The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture (Blackwell Companions to Religion), Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, →ISBN; republished Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, →ISBN, page 39:
      Pandects, manuscript-volumes containing all the books of the Old and New Testaments, were enormous and very rare.

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  1. ^ From the collection of the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


  1. 1.0 1.1 pandect, n.1”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2005.
  2. ^ pandect, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

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