Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

VAGITUS

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

VAGITUS

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:16 am

• vagitus •

Pronunciation: vê-jay-tês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The first cry of a new-born baby. 2. The cry or wailing of any small child.

Notes: Apparently, today's intriguing word is so rarely used, no dictionary compiler knows what its plural would be: vagiti or vagituses. You are always safe with the latter. This word is used primarily in medicine but there is no reason why the rest of us cannot use it, too.

In Play: One of the most important events of human life is the sound of the first cry of a newborn infant: "It was a difficult birth but all the pain was erased by the sound of my new son's vagitus." However, the meaning of this word has important metaphorical implications, too: "The new president's inaugural speech was the vagitus of an era of radical innovation at the college."

Word History: Today's Good Word is Latin vagitus "the crying, squalling of young children", the noun from the verb vagire "to cry, squall". The same original root, *uagh-, underlies Sanskrit vagnu "a cry, sound" and Greek ekho "a sound, echo". (I think everyone will echo my thanks to M. Henri Day for suggesting such an interesting word as we have read about today.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3515
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:55 am

Apparently, today's intriguing word is so rarely used, no dictionary compiler knows what its plural would be: vagiti or vagituses

But a vagitus is a 4th declension noun, like apparatus, whose plural is the same as its singular: vagitus.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:32 pm

Brazilian dude wrote:...

But a vagitus is a 4th declension noun, like apparatus, whose plural is the same as its singular: vagitus.


As is, if I am not misinformed, that charming little word «virus». Others have claimed that as a noun («stuff» to the cognoscenti), it belonged to the 3rd declension, to be declined like «opus», «opera». Thus some of my colleagues here in Sweden insist on «vira» in the plural. The problem is, however, that plural forms of «virus» are said to be undocumented in surviving Latin texts....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE

Postby tcward » Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:10 pm

Henri, this confuses me:

Others have claimed that as a noun («stuff» to the cognoscenti), it belonged to the 3rd declension, to be declined like «opus», «opera». Thus some of my colleagues here in Sweden insist on «vira» in the plural.


Wouldn't the correctly formed plural be, in such a case, virera, which is rather unwieldy?

-Tim
...don't know squat about Latin.
User avatar
tcward
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: The Old North State

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:31 pm

As is, if I am not misinformed, that charming little word «virus». Others have claimed that as a noun («stuff» to the cognoscenti), it belonged to the 3rd declension, to be declined like «opus», «opera». Thus some of my colleagues here in Sweden insist on «vira» in the plural. The problem is, however, that plural forms of «virus» are said to be undocumented in surviving Latin texts....


No, virus, i (virus, poison, venom) is a 2nd declension noun. What is interesting about it is that it is a neuter noun despite the (predominantly masculine) -us. Its plural is (or would be) correctly viri, just like any other second declension noun that ends in -us, but it's a mass noun, which complicates things further. I would say no to vira, but similar cases of -us nouns that ended up having -a plural are not unheard of: cf. carbasus (pl. carbasa), locus (pl. loca/loci), jocus (pl. joca/joci), frenum (pl. frena/freni).

This is interesting.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:21 pm

The impression I get from reading the material to which you kindly provide a link, BD, is that there exists some evidence for Latin «virus» as both a 2nd and a 4th declension noun, but that - as I had understood previously - there is no evidence for plural forms. Interesting also to note a tendency for it to remain invariant in other cases than the nominative. I remember corresponding on this matter with a Latin scholar retained by Svenska läkarförbundet many years ago ; he was opposed to forms like «vira» and thought that the plural in Swedish should be «virus»....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot] and 3 guests