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A Latinism (from Medieval Latin: Latinismus) is a word, idiom, or structure in a language other than Latin that is derived from, or suggestive of, the Latin language.[1] The process of creation and adoption of Latinisms is one of the main features of linguistic Latinization (or linguistic Latinisation). Term Latinism can also refer to those loan words that are borrowed into another language directly from Latin (especially frequent among inkhorn terms); English has many of these, as well. There are many Latinisms in English, and other (especially European) languages.


Lexical LatinismEdit

On the basic level of particular words and lexemes, creation and adoption of Latinisms has a long history, dating back to the ancient times. Early lexical Latinisms are attested in various languages that came into contact with Latin language during the expansion of ancient Roman culture. The same process continued during the Middle Ages, and acquired new forms in modern times under the influence of scientific terminology, largely based on the Scientific Latin. As a particular subgroup of lexical Latinisms, various onomastic Latinisms are formed through Latnisation of proper names, including personal names and toponyms.

Syntactical LatinismEdit

Renewed interest in Classical Latin literature during the Renaissance period resulted in the emergence of various forms of syntactical Latinisms, manifested by a tendency of renaissance and later authors to shape the syntax of their sentences according to rhetorical style used by Classical Latin authors, like Cicero and Caesar.[2]

Idiomatic LatinismEdit

Idiomatic Latinisms are phrases or idioms that are adopted from Latin language, or modeled according to Latin phraseology.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Free Dictionary: Latinism
  2. ^ G. Juan (2012): "Syntactic latinisms in the translation of the Eneida by don Enrique de Villena", Boletin de la Real Academia Espanola 92 (306), pp. 179-211.