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From the Latin rēx (king), referring originally to rabbits of the Belgian "castorrex" breed, so named because their fur was similar to that of beavers. Entered English around 1920. Doublet of rajah and roy.


rex (plural rexes)

  1. An animal which has a genetic recessive variation that causes the guard hairs to be very short or fully lacking.

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From Proto-Italic *rēks, from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵs (ruler, king). Cognates include Sanskrit राजन् (rā́jan, king) and Old Irish (king).

Iacobus Rēx Scōtōrum (James [V], King of the Scots)



rēx m (genitive rēgis); third declension

  1. king, ruler
    • 405, Jerome and others, Vulgate, Daniel 1:1
      annō tertiō rēgnī Ioachim rēgis Iuda vēnit Nabuchodonosor rēx Babylōnis Hierūsalēm et obsēdit eam
      "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it."
  2. (derogatory) despot, tyrant (during the time of the Republic when there were no kings and executive power was usually divided)
  3. (Late Latin, chess) king


Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative rēx rēgēs
Genitive rēgis rēgum
Dative rēgī rēgibus
Accusative rēgem rēgēs
Ablative rēge rēgibus
Vocative rēx rēgēs

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  • Corsican:
  • Dalmatian: ra
  • Emilian:
  • Franco-Provençal:
  • Friulian: re

See also[edit]

Chess pieces in Latin · latrunculi, milites scaccorum (layout · text)
♚ ♛ ♜ ♝ ♞ ♟
rex regina turris episcopus eques pedes


  • rex in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • rex in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • rex in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • rex in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to establish some one as king, tyrant: aliquem regem, tyrannum constituere
    • to restore a king to his throne (not in solium): regem restituere
    • (ambiguous) to belong to the king's bodyguard: a latere regis esse
  • rex in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • rex in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin

Northern Kurdish[edit]


(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


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rex ?

  1. side