A TEI Project

Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

DEFECTIVE NOUNS/ Nouns wanting in the Singular

101. Some nouns are commonly or exclusively found in the Plural (plūrālia tantum). Such are—

  1. Many names of towns: as, Athēnae (Athens), Thūriī, Philippī, Vêiī.
  2. Names of festivals and games: as, Olympia, the Olympic Games; Bacchānālia, feast of Bacchus; Quīnquātrūs, festival of Minerva; lūdī Rōmānī, the Roman Games.
  3. Names of classes: as, optimātēs the upper classes; mâiōrēs, ancestors; līberī, children; penātēs, household gods; Quirītēs, citizens (of Rome).
  4. Words plural by signification: as, arma, weapons; artūs, joints; dīvitiae, riches; scālae, stairs; valvae, folding-doors; forēs, double-doors; angustiae, a narrow pass (narrows); moenia, city walls.

Note 1— Some words, plural by signification in Latin, are translated by English nouns in the singular number: as, dēliciae , delight , darling; faucēs , throat; fidēs , lyre (also singular in poetry); īnsidiae , ambush; cervīcēs , neck; viscera , flesh.

Note 2— The poets often use the plural number for the singular, sometimes for metrical reasons, sometimes from a mere fashion: as, ōra (for ōs), the face; scēptra (for scēptrum), sceptre; silentia (for silentium), silence.

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