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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Adjectives used Substantively

288. Adjectives are often used as Nouns (substantively), the masculine usually to denote men or people in general of that kind, the feminine women, and the neuter things:

omnēs, all men (everybody).omnia, all things (everything).
mâiōrēs, ancestors.minōrēs, descendants.
Rōmānī, Romans.barbarī, barbarians.
līberta, a freedwoman.Sabīnae, the Sabine wives.
sapiēns, a sage (philosopher).amīcu , a friend.
bonī, the good (good people).bona, goods, property.
Note The plural of adjectives, pronouns, and participles is very common in this use. The singular is comparatively rare except in the neuter (§ 289 . a , c) and in words that have become practically nouns.

a. Certain adjectives have become practically nouns, and are often modified by other adjectives or by the possessive genitive:—

tuus vīcīnus proximus, your next-door neighbor.

propinquī cēterī, his other relatives.

meus aequālis, a man of my own age.

êius familiāris Catilīna (Har. Resp. 5), his intimate friend Catiline.

Leptae nostrī familiārissimus (Fam. 9.13.2), a very close friend of our friend Lepta.

b. When ambiguity would arise from the substantive use of an adjective, a noun must be added:—

bonī, the good; omnia, everything (all things); but,—

potentia omnium rērum, power over everything.

c. Many adjectives are used substantively either in the singular or the plural, with the added meaning of some noun which is understood from constant association:—

Āfricus [ventus], the southwest wind; Iānuārius [mēnsis], January; vitulīna [carō], veal (calf's flesh); fera [bēstia], a wild beast; patria [terra], the fatherland; Gallia [terra], Gaul (the land of the Gallī ); hīberna [castra], winter quarters; trirēmis [nāvis], a three-banked galley, trireme; argentārius [faber], a silversmith; rēgia [domus], the palace; Latīnae [fēriae], the Latin festival.

Note These adjectives are specific in meaning, not generic like those in § 288. They include the names of winds and months (§ 31).

For Nouns used as Adjectives, see § 321 . c.

For Adverbs used like Adjectives, see § 321 . d.

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