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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

SECOND DECLENSION (o-STEMS)

45. The Stem of nouns of the Second Declension ends in ŏ- : as, viro- (stem of vir, man), servo- (stem of servus or servos, slave), bello- (stem of bellum, war).

a. The Nominative is formed from the stem by adding s in masculines and feminines, and m in neuters, the vowel ŏ being weakened to ŭ (see §§ 6. a, 46. N.1).

b. In most nouns whose stem ends in strong -the s is not added in the Nominative, but o is lost, and e intrudes before r, 1 if not already present: as, ager, stem agrŏ- 2 ; cf. puer, stem puero-.

Exceptions: erus, hesperus, iūniperus, mōrus, numerus, taurus, umerus, uterus, vīrus, and many Greek nouns.

c. The stem-vowel ŏ has a variant form ĕ, 3 which is preserved in the Latin vocative singular of nouns in -us: as, servĕ, vocative of servus, slave.

Note— In composition this ĕ appears as ĭ. Thus,— belli-ger, warlike (from bell-o/e-, stem of bellum, war).

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Notes
1
Compare the English chamber from French chambre.
2
Compare Greek ἀγρός , which shows the original o of the stem.
3
By so-called Ablaut (see § 17 . a ).