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From quis + quam (any). Compare to quisque.



quisquam (neuter quidquam or quicquam); relative/interrogative pronoun with an indeclinable portion

  1. (masculine, chiefly in the negative) anyone
  2. (neuter, chiefly in the negative) anything
    • 70 BCE, Cicero, In Verrem
      Qui cum in convivium venisset, si quicquam caelati aspexerat, manus abstinere, iudices, non poterat.
      When he came to a banquet, if he saw anything engraved, he could not keep his hands off, judges.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Typically used in clauses that contain a preceding negative word (often the conjunction nec/neque; in Classical Latin it is preferred to use "nec quisquam" instead of "et nēmō").[1] Like other negative polarity items, quisquam can also occur with no preceding negative word in certain contexts, possibly connected by the concept of downward entailment. Other words that can licence its use include vix (scarcely) and sine (without). It it also used with comparatives. It can be used in conditional or interrogative clauses, but its usage here may overlap with other pronouns, especially the indefinite pronoun quis. After , , num, an, it is more usual to find quis, but quisquam can also occur; it may have more of a sense of "any at all" or "any whatsoever". Quisquam is not used in nisi-clauses.[2]
  • Plural forms are probably unattested in Classical Latin (as with nēmō and nihil or nihilum). The 4th-century grammarian Charisius says the plural is not used: "unum autem adest quam semper singulare. non enim ut quisquam quemquam, sic utique quiquam quosquam dicimus" (Charisius 2, 7).[3][4][5]
  • Most often used substantivally as an indefinite singular pronoun, either masculine with the sense "anyone" or neuter with the sense "anything". Like other pronouns, it may take a partitive genitive. But it is also used in apposition, or as an attributive adjective, with a singular noun of the same case, especially one referring to a person (compare the adjectival or appositional uses of the pronouns quis (who) and nēmō (no one)). There is some overlap with ūllus (any) in both the substantival and adjectival uses.
    • It seems that in combination with personal masculine nouns such as scrīptor, Cicero preferred to use quisquam rather than ūllus in the nominative, genitive, and dative cases (i.e. quisquam scrīptor, cuiusquam scrīptōris, cuiquam scrīptōrī).[6]
    • Although adjectival quisquam typically accompanies a masculine word that denotes a person, it is sometimes found with a masculine, feminine or neuter noun used collectively of a group of people, or rarely, a noun that denotes an impersonal thing.[7]
    • The pronominal uses also have some overlap with ūllus. The masculine ablative singular quōquam is less frequent as a pronoun than the other case forms of quisquam, and ullō can be used substantively in its place.[8] The genitive singular cuiusquam is common, but ūllī̆us can also be found used substantively.[9] Forms of ūllus may be used in place of the unused plural forms[10] or the rare feminine forms[11]. The sense of the neuter pronoun may be expressed in the ablative by ullā (compare how nūllā can be used to supply an ablative to the indeclinable nihil (nothing)[12]).


The following forms are found in Classical Latin as an indefinite pronoun, or sometimes as an adjective:

Number Singular
Case / Gender Masc./Fem. Neuter
Nominative quisquam quidquam
Genitive cuiusquam1
Dative cuiquam1
Accusative quemquam quidquam
Ablative quōquam

1In Republican Latin or earlier, alternative spellings could be found for the following forms of quī/quis and its compounds: the masculine nominative singular or plural quī (old spelling quei), the genitive singular cuius (old spelling quoius), the dative singular cui (old spelling quoi or quoiei), the dative/ablative plural quīs (old spelling queis).

  • Nominative and accusative forms:
    • Quisquam and quemquam are used as grammatically masculine pronouns with a generic scope over both sexes (compare the interrogative pronoun quis and the negative pronoun nēmō). They can also be used appositively/attributively with an accompanying noun. In Classical Latin, these forms seem to combine only with masculine nouns, typically those that refer to persons rather than things. In the anteclassical poets Plautus and Terence, quisquam and quemquam may be used in combination with feminine nouns or in contexts where the pronoun's implied scope is limited to women. See Citations:quisquam.
    • Exclusively feminine forms quaequam (nom.) and quamquam (acc.) are mentioned by postclassical grammarians and attested in postclassical texts, but are scarcely attested in the Classical Latin corpus. The accusative quamquam might occur once in combination with a feminine noun in the Epistulae of Seneca the Younger ("ad quamquam rem"); the nominative form quaequam seems to be unattested in the classical period (see Citations:quaequam). Compare the use of quae and quam as feminine interrogative pronouns (versus the anteclassical use of quis and quem in this function). As noted above, the sense of the feminine singular could be expressed in Classical Latin by the feminine forms of ūllus: nominative ūlla and accusative ūllam (see Citations:ullus).
    • The neuter nominative/accusative singular form quidquam or quicquam is usually used as a pronoun, although "quicquam facinus" is attested twice in Plautus. The form quodquam is unattested in Classical Latin. Ūllum typically serves as the corresponding adjectival modifier of a neuter noun.
  • The genitive and dative forms cuiusquam and cuiquam are not formally marked for gender. When used pronominally, they are masculine; when used appositively/attributively, they are also attested (although rarely) in combination with feminine or neuter nouns.
  • Ablative singular forms:
    • Quōquam occurs only rarely as a pronoun or adjective.[13] This form's most common use is as an adverb meaning "whithersoever, to anywhere", but it is also classically attested as a masculine ablative singular pronoun[14] in the works of Cicero and Livy, although both of these authors also use the ablative ūllō from ūllus as a masculine substantive.[15] (Compare the usual use of nūllō substantively in place of nēmine for the ablative singular of nēmō (nobody).) There are also a small number of attestations of quōquam used appositively/attributively in combination with a masculine or neuter noun (ūllō is an alternative in this context as well). See Citations:quoquam.
    • Quīquam is an alternative masculine ablative singular form found in Plautus and possibly also in Apuleius (see Citations:quiquam).[16]
    • No feminine ablative singular form seems to be attested in the classical period. Quāquam (corresponding to nominative quaequam and accusative quamquam) is given by postclassical grammarians and attested in postclassical texts, but seems to be unattested in Classical Latin outside of adverbial use (compare the adverb quā) as part of the expressions haud/haut quāquam = haudquāquam and nec quāquam = nēquāquam (or in "negas nuptam quaquam" in Pomponius as cited by Charisius[17]).

A full declensional paradigm with feminine singular quaequam, quamquam, quāquam, neuter singular quodquam, and plural forms is given in the late grammatical texts Instituta artium[18] (attributed to a 'Probus', but its author cannot be the grammarian Marcus Valerius Probus) and Ars grammatica by Diomedes Grammaticus.[19][20]. Some of these forms (such as quaequam, quāquam, quodquam) are attested in post-Classical Latin, while others (such as the vocative forms these authors list) may be purely theoretical.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative quisquam quaequam quodquam quīquam quaequam
Genitive cuiusquam quōrumquam quārumquam quōrumquam
Dative cuiquam quibusquam
Accusative quemquam quamquam quodquam quōsquam quāsquam quaequam
Ablative quōquam quāquam quōquam quibusquam


  • Plautus, Bacchides. In: Plautus with an English translation by Paul Nixon, vol. I of five volumes, 1916, p. 330f.:
    ne a quoquam acciperes alio mercedem annuam, nisi ab sese, nec cum quiquam limares caput.
    Not to let you take a yearly fee from anyone else but him, or rub heads with anyone.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Harm Pinkster (2015) The Oxford Latin Syntax, page 1168
  2. ^ Bertocchi, Alessandra; Maraldi, Mirka (2005), “Indefinite pronouns in conditional clauses”, in Journal of Latin Linguistics, volume 9, issue 1, pages 457-564
  3. ^ Heinrich Keil (1857) Grammatici Latini / Vol. 1 Flavii Sosipatri Charisii Artis Grammaticae Libri V. Ex recensione Henrici Keilii, volume 1, →OCLC, page 160
  4. ^ Friedrich Neue; C. Wagener (1892) Formenlehre der lateinischen Sprache: Adjektiva, Numeralia, Pronomina, Adverbia, Präpositonen, Konjunctionen, Interjectionen, volume 2, 3rd edition, page 508
  5. ^ Alfred Gudeman (1894) Dialogus de oratoribus: edited with prolegomena, critical apparatus, exegetical and critical notes, bibliography and indexes, Ginn & Company, page 150.
  6. ^ Raphaël Kühner, editor (1835) M. Tullii Ciceronis Tusculanarum disputationum libri quinque ex Orellii recensione edidit et illustravit, page 334
  7. ^ Robert Ogilvie (1901), Alexander Souter, editor, Horae Latinae: Studies in Synonyms and Syntax, Longmans, Green, and Co., page 20
  8. ^ Francis Hay Rawlins; William Ralph Inge (1888) The Eton Latin Grammar: For Use in the Higher Forms, Part 2, page 105
  9. ^ Hugo Saintine Anton (1869) Studien zur lateinischen Grammatik und Stilistik im Anschluss an Krebs-Allgayer's Antibarbarus, page 279
  10. ^ Neue (1892), ibid.; Gudeman (1894), ibid.
  11. ^ (Latijnse Spraakkunst, 83.4, A. Geerebaert S.I.)
  12. ^ Robert Ogilvie (1901), Alexander Souter, editor, Horae Latinae: Studies in Synonyms and Syntax, page 195
  13. ^ quisquam”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  14. ^ Johann Philipp Krebs; Franz Naver Allgayer; Joseph Hermann Schmalz (1888) Antibarbarus der lateinischen sprache, volume 2, 6 edition, page 418
  15. ^ P. Thoresby Jones, editor (1914) T. Livi Ab Urbe Condita: Liber III, page 187
  16. ^ H.E. Butler; A.S. Owen (1914), “Commentary”, in Apulei apologia siue pro se de magia liber, page 20
  17. ^ Wilhelm Wagner, editor (1866) T. Macci Plauti Aulularia, with notes critical and exegetical and an introduction on Plautian prosody, page 95
  18. ^ Heinrich Keil (1864) Grammatici Latini / 4 Probi Donati Servii qui feruntur de Arte Grammatica Libri ex recensione H. Keilii[1], volume 4, →OCLC, page 134
  19. ^ Heinrich Keil (1857), Grammatici Latini Vol. 1 page 332
  20. ^ Neue (1892), ibid

Further reading[edit]

  • quisquam”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • quisquam in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • quisquam in Ramminger, Johann (accessed 16 July 2016) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700[2], pre-publication website, 2005-2016