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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Defective Comparison of Adjectives

131. Several adjectives lack the Comparative or the Superlative:—

a. The Comparative is rare or wanting in the following:—

bellus,inclutus (or inclitus),novus,
caesius,invictus,pius,
falsus,invītus,sacer,
fīdus (with its compounds),meritus,vafer.

b. The Superlative is wanting in many adjectives in -ilis or -bilis (as, agilis, probābilis), and in the following:—

āctuōsusexīlisprōclīvissurdus
agrestisingēnspropinquustaciturnus
alaceriēiūnussaturtempestīvus
arcānuslonginquussēgnisteres
caecusoblīquussērusvīcīnus
diūturnusopīmussupīnus

c. From iuvenis , youth, senex, old man (cf. § 122 . d), are formed the comparatives iūnior, younger, senior, older. For these, however, minor nātū and mâior nātū are sometimes used (nātū being often omitted).

The superlative is regularly expressed by minimus and maximus, with or without nātū.

Note—In these phrases nātū is ablative of specification (see § 418).

d. Many adjectives (as aureus , golden) are from their meaning incapable of comparison.

Note— But each language has its own usage in this respect. Thus, niger, glossy black, and candidus, shining white, are compared; but not āter or albus, meaning absolute dead black or white (except that Plautus once has ātrio).

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