Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Funnily enough, "railway train" was not a word that commonly occurred in ancient Rome and so the Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary doesn't actually contain the word "hamaxosticus" nor "ferrivia" which is the modern Latin for railway. Lewis and Short does though contain "hamaxa, -ae", "a wagon" from which the modern word is obviously derived, itself transliterated from the Greek.

When L&S is lacking then as Catholics we turn immediately to the Holy See website and its lexicon recentis Latinitatis which gives us "hamaxostichus" for the Italian "treno". Hamaxosticus without the 'h' is also attested on-line (e.g. at Glossarium Anglico-Latinum) and just looks nicer, with the 'h' it just looks too Greek!

I hope this explains our motto to any classical Latinist who is lost in confusion in the face of hamaxostic(h)us.

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