From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Uncia and uncía


English Wikipedia has an article on:


From Latin uncia (various Roman units), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *óynos (one). Doublet of a, one, ounce, inch, onça, onza, oka, ouguiya, and awqiyyah.



uncia (plural uncias or unciae)

  1. (historical) The Roman ounce, 1/12 of a Roman pound. [1685]
  2. (historical) The Roman inch, 1/12 of a Roman foot.
  3. (historical) A bronze coin minted by the Roman Republic, 1/12 of an as.
  4. (historical) A Roman unit of land area, 1/12 of a jugerum.
  5. (pharmacy) Synonym of ounce, the English and American avoirdupois unit of mass.
  6. Synonym of twelfth.
  7. (algebra, obsolete) A numerical coefficient in a binomial.


Latin numbers (edit)
 ←  11 XII
13  → [a], [b]
    Cardinal: duodecim
    Ordinal: duodecimus
    Adverbial: duodeciēs, duodeciēns
    Multiplier: duodecuplus, duodecuplex, duodecimplus, duodecimplex, duodecemplus, duodecemplex
    Distributive: duodēnus
    Fractional: ū̆ncia

Etymology 1[edit]

Ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *óynos (one) in the sense of twelfths making up the base unit of various ancient systems of measurement. Doublet of ūnus (“one”) and sometimes said to derive directly from it, possibly in the sense of the individual units together composing the whole. Possibly related to uncus (hook, curved) and unguis (claw) from the practice of counting to 12 using the thumb and knuckles of the right hand.


It is uncertain whether long or short U occurred in ū̆ncia and in its compounds ending in -ū̆nx, -ū̆ncis. The etymologically related word ūnus has long ū, and Bennett (1907) marks long ū in ūncia, quīncūnx, quīncūnxis.[1] However, originally long vowels could be shortened in Latin before consonant clusters starting in resonant consonants such as [ŋ] (this shortening can be referred to as "Osthoff's Law", which is the name of a similar sound change that occurred in Greek).[2] A Latin form ŭncia with a short vowel is represented by French once,[3] Italian oncia, Spanish onza among others.


ū̆ncia f (genitive ū̆nciae); first declension

  1. (historical) uncia, a coin of the Roman Republic equal to 1/12 as
  2. (historical) uncia, a unit of length equal to 1/12 of the Roman foot
  3. inch, similar units in other measurement systems
  4. (figurative) inch, an insignificantly small length
  5. (historical) uncia, a unit of mass equal to 1/12 of the Roman pound
  6. ounce, similar units in other measurement systems
  7. (figurative) ounce, bit, trifle, an insignificantly small amount
  8. (historical) uncia, a unit of area equal to 1/12 of the jugerum
  9. twelfth, 1/12 of any amount or unit

First-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative ū̆ncia ū̆nciae
Genitive ū̆nciae ū̆nciārum
Dative ū̆nciae ū̆nciīs
Accusative ū̆nciam ū̆nciās
Ablative ū̆nciā ū̆nciīs
Vocative ū̆ncia ū̆nciae
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle French once (lynx, wild cat) under influence from once (Latin uncia, “ounce”), from false division of Old French lonce (lynx) mistaking its initial l for the article l', from Vulgar Latin *luncea possibly via Italian lonza, from Latin lynx, from Ancient Greek λύγξ (lúnx, lynx). First used in reference to the snow leopard by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777 as Felis uncia.


uncia f (genitive unciae); first declension

  1. (New Latin) snow leopard

First-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative uncia unciae
Genitive unciae unciārum
Dative unciae unciīs
Accusative unciam unciās
Ablative unciā unciīs
Vocative uncia unciae


  1. ^ Charles E. Bennett (1907) “Hidden Quantity”, in The Latin Language – a historical outline of its sounds, inflections, and syntax, Boston: Allyn and Bacon, page 49
  2. ^ Sayeed, Ollie (01 Jan 2017) "Osthoff’s Law in Latin", in Indo-European Linguistics, Volume 5, Issue 1, page 156
  3. ^ Sihler, Andrew L. (1995) New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, page 78

Further reading[edit]

  • uncia”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • uncia”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • uncia in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • uncia”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898), Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • uncia”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin
  • Ačaṙean, Hračʻeay (1977) “ունկի”, in Hayerēn armatakan baṙaran [Armenian Etymological Dictionary] (in Armenian), 2nd edition, a reprint of the original 1926–1935 seven-volume edition, volume III, Yerevan: University Press, page 603a