edited by Meagan Ayer et al.
Nouns Lacking the Singular
101. Some nouns are commonly or exclusively found in the Plural (plūrālia tantum). Such are—
1. Many names of towns.
2. Names of festivals and games.
Olympia the Olympic Games
Bacchānālia feast of Bacchus
Quīnquātrūs festival of Minerva
lūdī Rōmānī the Roman Games
3. Names of classes.
optimātēs the upper classes
penātēs household gods
Quirītēs citizens (of Rome)
4. Words plural by signification.
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.
dēliciae delight, darling
fidēs lyre (also singular in poetry)
Note 2— The poets often use the plural number for the singular, sometimes for metrical reasons, sometimes from a mere fashion.
ōra (for ōs) the face
scēptra (for scēptrum) sceptre
silentia (for silentium) silence
102. Some nouns of the above classes (§ 101.1-4 above), have a corresponding singular, as noun or adjective, often in a special sense:
- As noun, to denote a single object.
Bacchānal a spot sacred to Bacchus
optimās an aristocrat
- As adjective: Catō Mâior (Cato the Elder).
- In a sense rare, or found only in early Latin.
scāla a ladder
valva a door
artus a joint