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Learned borrowing from Latin saeculum.


saeculum (plural saeculums or saecula)

  1. A length of time roughly equal to the potential lifetime of a human being or, equivalently, the complete renewal of a human population.


Alternative forms[edit]


Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *seh₁- (to sow). Or, from *sh₂ey- (to bind, knit, tie together, tie to, connect) + *-tlom (instrumental suffix) (whence Latin -culum), in the sense of successive generations being linked together over time. Compare Lithuanian sėkla, Proto-Celtic *saitlom (life, age), and Gaulish Sētlocenia.



saeculum n (genitive saeculī); second declension

  1. race, breed
  2. generation, lifetime
  3. the amount of time between an occurrence and the death of the final person who was alive at, or witness to, that occurrence
  4. age, time, the times, an era
    • 8 CE, Ovid, Fasti 1.191-192:
      rīsit et ‘ō quam tē fallunt tua saecula,’ dīxit
      ‘quī stipe mel sūmpta dulcius esse putēs!’
      He smiled, and said: ‘‘Oh, how wrong you are about your era,
      if you think honey is sweeter than taking up money!’’
  5. century
  6. worldliness; the world


Second-declension noun (neuter).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative saeculum saecula
Genitive saeculī saeculōrum
Dative saeculō saeculīs
Accusative saeculum saecula
Ablative saeculō saeculīs
Vocative saeculum saecula

Derived terms[edit]



  • saeculum”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • saeculum”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • saeculum 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)
  • saeculum in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • the spirit of the times, the fashion: saeculi consuetudo or ratio atque inclinatio temporis (temporum)
    • universal history: omnis memoria, omnis memoria aetatum, temporum, civitatum or omnium rerum, gentium, temporum, saeculorum memoria
  • saeculum”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • saeculum”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin
  • Watkins, Calvert (1985), “sē-”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Tucker, T.G., Etymological Dictionary of Latin, Ares Publishers, 1976 (reprint of 1931 edition).
  • Sihler, Andrew L. (1995) New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, →ISBN