For some end-of-the-year fun and in rivalry with contests in the vernacular, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae invites you to vote on the first ever Ancient Latin Word of the Year!

What counts as an Ancient Latin Word of the Year? We’ve settled on three criteria:

  • The TLL entry was published or completed for publication in 2022.
  • The word is “new” in the sense that the word is not found in any of the standard ancient Latin dictionaries (Oxford Latin Dictionary, Lewis & Short, Georges, Gaffiot, etc.).
  • The word is in some form or another relevant to the events of 2022 or otherwise funny and interesting. This is where you come in!

These criteria show that even ancient Latin has new words every year. They also showcase in a lighthearted way the range of words that can be found in the TLL and what we’ve accomplished in 2022 by completing two new fascicles (IX.1.4 nemo–netura and forthcoming XI.2.9 reproduco–resilio). The TLL can be consulted via its open access platform or via TLL Online (more features with subscription).

After a nail-biting vote at the TLL Holiday Party last week, a long list of contestants has been narrowed down to the following five finalists. Please read the entries and descriptions below, then VOTE once on your favorite word here: https://www.surveymonkey.de/r/W8ZP623. Polls are open until midnight (CET) December 27. The winner will be announced here on December 28.


nerdis POL. SILV. chron. I p. 543, 12 (inter nomina quadrupedum).        obscurum.

Obscure in everything from grammatical gender and form to etymology and meaning. The word, found in fifth-century chronicler Polemius Silvius, seems to designate some (now) unidentifiable species of quadruped. Your guess, then, is as good as ours: unicorn, Sasquatch or ancient Roman chihuahua? Or maybe a biped reduced by years of hunching over a computer screen into a state of quadrupedality?

nestigan thigius

nestigan thigius (‑gio).        f o r m u l a  i u r i s composita vocibus germ. formationis parum certae fortasse a c t i o n e m  o b s t r i n g e n d i sim. significantibus. profertur formula in iudicio ad exigendas pecunias debitas constituto (cf. Schmidt-Wiegand, Stammesrecht und Volkssprache, 1991, 79 sq. 220 sqq.):     LEX Sal. Merov. 50, 2 actor sic ‑n thigius mallare debet: ‘rogo te, thungine (i. iudex), ut ‑n thigius gasachio (i. adversario) meo illo, qui mihi … debitum debet’; … tunc thunginus dicere debet: ‘‑n thigio ego illum in hoc, quod lex Salica habet’ (trad. formis depravatis nexti cantichius [‑chus, ‑gyus, ‑gium], nexte gantichio, nestiganti huius, sim. al.).

Is this even Latin? Is it even a word? Well, it’s in the TLL. It’s a juridical formula of Germanic origin, threatening an obstinate debtor with physical restraint (or, perhaps, worse…). Although hardly Ciceronian, the word demonstrates Latin’s capacity for incorporating phrases and ideas from other cultures.


reprō̆pīno, ‑ātum, ‑āre.        a re‑ et propinare.        i. q. r u r s u m  p r o p i n a r e: REGVLA mag. 1, 29 ut gyrovagi, monachorum genus pessimum, per occasionem sitientis viae ‑ta pocula sumant.

A bilingual compound built on the Latin prefix re– (“again”) and the Greek verb for “make (or offer as) a toast” (propī́nein). Its grammatical object, in the single surviving passage, are pocula (“cups”), which are filled and refilled (and refilled…) for a particularly decadent group of traveling monks. Cheers!


repugnāculum, ‑ī n.        a repugnare sec. propugnaculum.        significatur q u o d  a p t u m  e s t  a d  r e p u g n a n d u m; adhibetur de persona, quae defendit, vindicat: ARNOB. IVN. ad Greg. 25 l. 49 te, Gregoria, habent pauperes praesidium, oppressi ‑um.

A bold portmanteau combining repugnare (“fight back”) with propugnaculum (“bulwark, defense”). Arnobius the Younger invents it in the fifth century to describe the larger-than-life noblewoman Gregoria, hailing her as a “force of resistance for the oppressed”. If Gregoria was indeed a real person, she must have been flattered by the neologism.


rēscellula, ‑ae f.     a rescella deminutive.     i. q. p a r v a  r e s, imprimis vestis vilis sim.:     PALLAD. hist. mon. I 38, 9 p. 310D ‑as suas … ad navem deferre (var. ll. rescellas [quam def. ed. Wellhausen], reiculas al., recellulas ed. Migne; gr. p. 119, 5 ἱμάτια). ibid. ingressus cum ‑is suis navem (sim. ut loco priore variant codd. et edd.; gr. p. 119, 8 πάντα τὰ αὐτοῦ). LEX Burg. lib. const. 14, 6 ex matris bonis, id est in ‑is vel ornamentis (‑lol‑ pars codd.).

Literally denoting a “small thinglet”, a rare double diminutive formation derived from the ubiquitous all-purpose word res (“thing”). In its three extant occurrences, the word refers specifically to shabby clothing. “What’s that thing you’re wearing today!”

Text by Massimo Cè and Adam Gitner

You can find the result here.

2 Gedanken zu „VOX ANNI MMXXII

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht.

Diese Website verwendet Akismet, um Spam zu reduzieren. Erfahre mehr darüber, wie deine Kommentardaten verarbeitet werden.