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Alternative forms[edit]


From earlier voltus (the standard spelling into the 1st century CE) with regular /ol → ul/ before consonants, from Proto-Indo-European *wel- (to see), probably e-grade with regular /el → ol/. Cognate to Welsh gweld, Tocharian B yel- (to examine) and Gothic 𐍅𐌿𐌻𐌸𐌿𐍃 (wulþus, glory) (from zero-grade).[1]



vultus m (genitive vultūs); fourth declension

  1. a facial expression, look, countenance
    Synonyms: ōs, faciēs
    • 405 CE, Jerome, Vulgate Proverbs 27:23:
      dīligenter agnōsce vultum pecoris tuī tuōsque gregēs cōnsīderā
      • Translation by Douay-Rheims Bible
        Be diligent to know the countenance of thy cattle, and consider thy own flocks
    1. the expression appropriate to a type of person or situation; a visage, mien, demeanor
  2. (anatomy, often in the plural) the front of the head, face
    Synonyms: frōns, ōs
  3. the face as involved in looking; the view, gaze
    Synonym: aspectus
  4. the distinctive appearance, looks, features
    Synonym: speciēs
    1. (of beings and things) the outward appearance, face, aspect
      • 8 CE, Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.5–7:
        Ante mare et terrās et quod tegit omnia caelum
        ūnus erat tōtō nātūrae vultus in orbe,
        quem dīxēre chaos: []
        Before the sea and the lands and the sky that covers over all things,
        there was one face of nature in the whole world,
        which they called chaos: []


Fourth-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative vultus vultūs
Genitive vultūs vultuum
Dative vultuī vultibus
Accusative vultum vultūs
Ablative vultū vultibus
Vocative vultus vultūs

A rare or archaic plural by-form is also attested:

Second-declension noun (neuter), plural only.

Case Plural
Nominative vulta
Genitive vultōrum
Dative vultīs
Accusative vulta
Ablative vultīs
Vocative vulta


  • Galician: vulto
  • Italian: volto
  • Old French: volt
  • Old Occitan: volt
  • Portuguese: vulto
  • Spanish: bulto

See also[edit]


  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, pages 688-9

Further reading[edit]

  • vultus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • vultus 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)
  • vultus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette, page 1698.
  • vultus in Georges, Karl Ernst, Georges, Heinrich (1913–1918) Ausführliches lateinisch-deutsches Handwörterbuch, 8th edition, volume 2, Hahnsche Buchhandlung, column 3565
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • his eyes are always fixed on some one's face: oculi in vultu alicuius habitant
    • to dissemble, disguise one's feelings: vultum fingere
    • a feigned expression: vultus ficti simulatique
    • to put on a stern air: vultum componere ad severitatem
    • to keep one's countenance, remain impassive: vultum non mutare