an Italic language spoken in ancient Rome, fixed in the 2nd or 1st century b.c., and established as the official language of the Roman Empire.
Abbreviation: L.
one of the forms of literary Latin, as , , , or , or of nonclassical Latin, as .
a native or inhabitant of Latium; an ancient Roman.
a member of any of the Latin peoples, or those speaking chiefly Romance languages, especially a native of or émigré from .
a member of the ; a Roman Catholic, as distinguished from a member of the Greek Church.
denoting or pertaining to those peoples, as the Italians, French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc., using languages derived from Latin, especially the peoples of Central and South America:
a meeting of the Latin republics.
of or relating to the .
of or relating to Latium, its inhabitants, or their language.
of or relating to the .
Contemporary Examples

The Latin powerhouse’s acquiescence to La Paz has been particularly glaring.
Escape from Bolivia Mac Margolis September 1, 2013

If music can be black or female or Latin then yes, it certainly can be gay.
My Music Isn’t Too Gay! Sir Ari Gold June 25, 2011

“[Former Mexican President] Vicente Fox told [George W.] Bush he had forgotten about Latin America,” says Apodaca.
The Salahis Are Not Invited Dayo Olopade May 17, 2010

Having been raised in a Latin American country, I had some understanding of it.
Viggo Mortensen Talks ‘The Two Faces of January,’ Blasts Fox News and Israel’s ‘State Terrorism’ Marlow Stern September 26, 2014

In classical Arabic, the word became julab, only to cross over into Latin as julapium.
The Storied Origins of the Classic Mint Julep Dane Huckelbridge May 2, 2014

Historical Examples

It was in the same spirit that he forbade to the Brothers the knowledge of Latin.
The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324, April, 1886 Various

I must keep on steadily with Ted’s Latin this fall and winter.
The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage Charles G. D. Roberts

I want some tutoring in Latin, and he said he thought you could take me on.
Full-Back Foster Ralph Henry Barbour

The questions in the examinations were put in Latin, and answered in Italian.
Heroes of the Telegraph J. Munro

It comes from two Latin words, which mean freedom from anxiety or grief.
Fisherman’s Luck Henry van Dyke

the language of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire and of the educated in medieval Europe, which achieved its classical form during the 1st century bc. Having originally been the language of Latium, belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European family, it later formed the basis of the Romance group See Late Latin, Low Latin, Medieval Latin, New Latin, Old Latin See also Romance
a member of any of those peoples whose languages are derived from Latin
an inhabitant of ancient Latium
of or relating to the Latin language, the ancient Latins, or Latium
characteristic of or relating to those peoples in Europe and Latin America whose languages are derived from Latin
of or relating to the Roman Catholic Church
denoting or relating to the Roman alphabet

Old English latin, from Latin Latinus “belonging to Latium,” the region of Italy around Rome, possibly from PIE root *stela- “to spread, extend,” with a sense of “flat country” (as opposed to the mountainous district of the Sabines), or from a prehistoric non-IE language. The Latin adjective also was used of the Roman language and people.

Centurion: What’s this, then? ‘People called Romanes they go the house?’
Brian: It … it says, ‘Romans, go home.’
Centurion [thrashing him like a schoolboy]: No, it doesn’t. ‘Go home?’ This is motion towards. Isn’t it, boy?
Brian: Ah … ah, dative, sir! Ahh! No, not dative! Not the dative, sir! No! Ah! Oh, the … accusative! Domum, sir! Ah! Oooh! Ah!
Centurion [pulling him by the ear]: Except that domum takes the …?
Brian: The locative, sir!
[Monty Python, “Life of Brian”]

Used as a designation for “people whose languages descend from Latin” (1856), hence Latin America (1862). The Latin Quarter (French Quartier latin) of Paris, on the south (left) bank of the Seine, was the site of university buildings in the Middle Ages, hence the place where Latin was spoken. The surname Latimer, Lattimore, etc. is from Vulgar Latin latimarus, from Latin latinarius “interpreter,” literally “a speaker of Latin.”


“the language of the (ancient) Romans,” Old English latin, from Latin latinium (see Latin (adj.)). The more common form in Old English was læden, from Vulgar Latin *ladinum, probably influenced by Old English leoden “language.”

The language of ancient Rome. When Rome became an empire, the language spread throughout southern and western Europe.

Note: The modern Romance languages — French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and a few others — are all derived from Latin.

Note: During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Latin was the universal language of learning. Even in modern English, many scholarly, technical, and legal terms, such as per se and habeas corpus, retain their Latin form.

the vernacular language of the ancient Romans (John 19:20).


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