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See also: vêtus


Alternative forms[edit]


From Proto-Italic *wetos, from Proto-Indo-European *wétos (year). Cognates include Sanskrit वत्स (vatsá, year; calf), Ancient Greek ἔτος (étos), Gothic 𐍅𐌹𐌸𐍂𐌿𐍃 (wiþrus, one-year-old lamb), Old Church Slavonic ветъхъ (vetŭxŭ, old, aged, ancient), Russian ве́тхий (vétxij, old, aged), Lithuanian vẽtušas and Proto-Celtic *wetsi- (Middle Irish feis, Cornish guis, both “sow that has already given birth” < “from last year”).



vetus (genitive veteris, comparative vetustior or veterior, superlative vetustissimus or veterrimus); third declension

  1. old, aged, ancient
  2. long-standing
  3. former, previous
    • 27 BCE – 25 BCE, Titus Livius, Ab urbe condita libri 26.1:
      Ea tum cura maxime intentos habebat Romanos, non ab ira tantum, quae in nullam unquam civitatem iustior fuit, quam quod urbs tam nobilis ac potens, sicut defectione sua traxerat aliquot populos, ita recepta inclinatura rursus animos videbatur ad veteris imperii respectum.
      This concern in particular troubled the mindful Romans at the time, not so much because of anger, which has never been more justified against any other city, rather because a city so noble and powerful, in the same way that it had attracted the support of a number of communities by its revolt, was thought would again turn attention back towards respect for the previous government once recaptured.


Third declension, non-i-stem (genitive plural in -um).

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masc./Fem. Neuter Masc./Fem. Neuter
Nominative vetus veterēs vetera
Genitive veteris veterum
Dative veterī veteribus
Accusative veterem vetus veterēs vetera
Ablative vetere veteribus
Vocative vetus veterēs vetera


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • vetus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • vetus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • vetus in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • vetus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to study historical records, read history: evolvere historias, litterarum (veterum annalium) monumenta
    • ancient history: rerum veterum memoria
    • ancient history: memoria vetus (Or. 34. 120)
    • ancient history: veterum annales
    • ancient history: veterum annalium monumenta
    • it was said long ago that..: vetus (verbum) est (c. Acc. c. Inf.)
    • we have known each other well for several years: vetus usus inter nos intercedit
    • veterans; experienced troops: vetus miles, veteranus miles
    • (ambiguous) an old proverb tells us not to..: vetamur vetere proverbio
    • (ambiguous) to give up old customs: a vetere consuetudine discedere
  • vetus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • vetus in William Smith, editor (1848) A Dictionary of Greek Biography and Mythology, London: John Murray
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Latin and the development of the Romance languages: The postclassical period, Vulgar Latin, 2007.[2]