Distinguishing Latin Synonyms

Some “synonyms” are not really synonyms, but only appear to be in English, which does not always distinguish, e.g. parts of speech (e.g. “before,” “for”). True synonyms may be distinguished by their meanings or use. In general, more frequently used words are more general in their meaning; less frequently used words are more apt to be more specialized or limited in meaning. Distinguishing Latin Synonyms: Conjunctions There are many resources that can help one find and/or distinguish synonyms. The ones I have found most useful are marked with a *. I will add separate pages and an index of words from the vocabulary that I have added notes about on my website.


Lists of Synonyms: Freundlich, Charles I. Review Text in Latin Two Years. New York, NY: Amsco School Publ., 1966. PP. 276-278 (synonyms); pp. 280-282 (antonyms). Freundlich, Charles I. Review Text in Latin Three and Four Years (Prose and Poetry). New York, NY: Amsco School Publ., 1967. Pp. 117-119 (synonyms); pp. 121-123 (antonyms) Meyer, Christine E. Latin Synonyms for Language Lovers: A Select Thesaurus. Mundelein, Ill.: Bolchazy-Carducci Publ., 2013. (Note: This is not reliable, especially due to a number of typos and missing macrons.) Sources for distinguishing synonyms: Primary Sources: (Note: some of these may be based more on etymology or later uses. Some contradict other ones. They should be checked against actual usage.) *[Ps.] Fronto, Marcus Cornelius. (reprint). De Differentiis in H. Keil. Grammatici Latini, v. 7. 2nd ed. Hildesheim: G. Olms. 1981 Uhlfelder, Myra L. De Proprietate Sermonum vel Rerum. (Papers and Monographs of the American Academy in Rome, xv.) Rome: American Academy, 1954. Secondary Sources: D’Ooge, Benjamin. Cicero: Select Orations. Chicago: Benj. H. Sanborn & Co., 1928. Pp. 372-383. Hill, John. Vocabulary, Intended as an Introduction to the Study of The Synonymes [sic] of the Latin Language. New York: T. & J. Swords, 1809 (Early American Imprints, Series 2, no. 17746). North, M. A. and A. E. Hillard. Latin Prose Composition for Schools. 13th ed. London: Duckworth, 1978. Pp. 248-253. *Ramshorn, Lewis. Dictionary of Latin Synonyms. New York: Anthem Press, 2005. *Shumway, Edgar S. A Hand-book of Latin Synonymes: Based on Meissner’s Kurzgefasste Lateinische Synonymik – Primary Source Edition. Boston: Ginn, Heath, & Co., 1884. Also useful: *Dee, James H., ed. “A Dual-Source Database of Word Frequencies in Latin.” (no longer available on-line. Based on Diederich and Lodge.) Diederich, Paul. The Frequency of Latin Words and their Endings. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1939.. Dumesnil, M. J. B. Gardin. Latin Synonyms, with their Different Significations: and Examples Taken from the Best Latin Authors. Trans. J. M. Gosset. 3rd ed. London. 1825. Lewis, C.S. Studies in Words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960. *Simpson, D. P. Cassell’s New Latin Dictionary. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1959. (English to Latin section) Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1900- present. Woodcock, E. C. A New Latin Syntax. 1959. Reprinted by Bolchazy-Carducci.