Latin Word of the Year 2023

The vote for Latin Word of the Year 2023 is now closed. The results can be found here.

After last year’s inaugural edition of the Vox Anni contest, in which the tiny rescellula rode a giant wave of popular support to victory, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae is thrilled to invite you to vote on the Latin Word of the Year 2023.

You can cast your vote by December 10.

This year’s vote coincides with some very happy news: the TLL’s funding from the German Akademienunion has been successfully renewed. As a result, the project will be able to continue its century-old mission to become the most accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date dictionary of ancient Latin.

Here are this year’s finalists for the Latin Word of the Year in alphabetical order:

  1. resistator
  2. resocio
  3. resplendor
  4. respon
  5. restinctor

For a word to be eligible for the competition:

  • its TLL entry was, or will be, published in 2023 (the lexicon’s next fascicle, R10 resilio resurgo, which contains this year’s finalists as well as many other fascinating R-words including respicio “look back,” respondeo “answer,” and restituo “restore,” will be released in December);
  • it is a new word in the sense that it is not found in any of the standard ancient Latin dictionaries (the lexica we used to determine lexical “newness” include Blaise’s Dictionnaire latin-français des auteurs chrétiens, Castiglioni–Mariotti, Forcellini, Le grand Gaffiot, Georges, Lewis & Short, the Oxford Latin Dictionary, Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin, and the Woordenboek Latijn/Nederlands);
  • it was deemed of particular merit by an internal preselection on morphological, semantic, and/or thematic grounds (in other words, the lemma struck us as particularly interesting, or funny, or relevant…).

Here are the five contestants for Latin Word of the Year 2023 in detail:

RESISTĀTOR (-ōris m.):

This non-standard coinage for expected restitor (“one who resists,” the regularly formed agent noun derived from resisto) appears in the apocryphal Epistle of Pseudo-Titus, a harangue against a community of ascetic Christians generally dated to the fifth century, that survives in a single Latin manuscript. In the context the author takes a negative view of “resistators.” What do you think?

RESOCIO (-āre):

This verb, which literally means “make (something or someone) a companion (socius) again,” appears only in two unrelated theological texts falsely attributed to the church father Augustine. It does not quite mean the same as the modern “resocialize,” but it is a step in this direction.

RESPLENDOR (-ōris m.):

A hapax legomenon (a word attested only once) that only survives in the Tironian Notes. These compilations of shorthand abbreviations, named for Cicero’s freedman secretary, contain many such hapax legomena, some of which were probably invented to illustrate a possible combination of shorthand elements. Be that as it may, the prefix “re-” makes “splendor” extra splendid.

RESPON (praepos.):

Our sole source for this word is the grammarian known as Virgilius Maro, probably an Irishman active in the seventh century and therefore barely within the chronological remit of the TLL. Starting with his nom de plume, clearly borrowed from the famous Augustan poet, the grammarian mixes genuine grammatical lore with verbal buffoonery. The preposition respon (an alleged synonym of coram “vis-à-vis, in front of”) looks like his own invention rather than an archaic survival.

RESTĪNCTOR (-ōris m.):

This agent noun, derived from restinguo “extinguish,” touches on an all-pervasive, if often overlooked, reality of ancient Roman society: slavery. The word features in a first-century epitaph from Verona as the personal title of Verecundus, an enslaved man about whom now nothing is known apart from his name and his singular occupation as “extinguisher,” which may have involved anything from putting out torches before bedtime to fullscale firefighting. Here, as elsewhere, an inscription affords us a precious glimpse of a lived experience inaccessible through literary texts alone.

Have you made your decision? Then vote for the Latin Word of the Year here!

Interested in learning more about the TLL? Then visit the project website here!

Text by Massimo Cè and Adam Gitner

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Josine Schrickx (2023, 20. November). Latin Word of the Year 2023. Parerga. Abgerufen am 18. Juni 2024, von

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