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  5. Homo vs. Vir


Homo vs. Vir

A few users have attempted to insert Homo (human being) in place of Vir (man).

You can probably guess by now what I did next... Consulted the OLD.

Homo, Hominis, m A human being (of either sex); (pl.) the world of men, the living; post -ines natos, since the human race began; post -inum memoriam, since the beginning of history.

A human being (as having the characteristics, limitations, powers, etc., natural to that condition). (as having the proper moral attitudes).

A person, individual, man; (pl. also) people, the public. the person or individual concerned, the man in question (freq. with derogatory force). (in a familiar form of address).

(w. adj., gen., etc.) A person of a particular description. one belonging to a particular race, sect, class, etc., of men.

A member of a military force, crew, or other body.

This is compared to...

Vir Viri, m An adult male person, a man (in expressed or implied contrast with a woman). (contrasted w. a child, etc., as implying maturity of age; also, maturity in sexual experience). (contrasted w. a eunuch or sim., as implying sexual potency). (contrasted w. a cinaedus, etc., as implying masculine tastes, habits, or sim.). (poet.) the condition of being a man, manhood.

A man in relation to a particular woman: a husband. a lover.

(pregn.) One possessing manly virtues (courage, resolution, etc.), a true man.

(w. adjs., descriptive phrs., w. little emph. on sex) A (male) person. (pl., w. numerals, in the titles of various official bodies, often written as one word. (pl., unqualified, also w. omnes) (male) persons collectively, people.

(usu. pl.) A fighting-man, soldier (contrasted w. equites, spec. = a foot soldier). the men in a ship, the crew.

(standing for a person previously named or referred to, with or without emph.) The man in question (in dactylic verse used to avoid the inflected cases of is).

(repeated in a sentence) One (male) individual (...another individual); esp. vir virum legit, one man picks another (as a method of recruitment; also, as his opponent in a fight).

Given that Homo is only used to refer to the male gender in specific circumstances, I feel it doesn't justify its use throughout the entirety of the course in place of Vir. Homo is very generic (in the Latin sense of the word).

September 27, 2019



In other words, all viri are homines, but not all homines are viri. :) Gratias tibi ago!

Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


Good job! Hic crustulum habes.


Estne crustulum hoc lingot?


Thanks, Colin! Your translation would be " Have this lingot". I thought of "hic" as "here": "Here you have a lingot". Would that be possible? Of course, it must be "habe", vocative, and not "habes" then.


habe is the imperative, a command or request. I know see what you meant with the 'Here' now though.


Esperanto homo and viro are probably derived from those Latin words.


I feel that homo should be accepted however, since the English word 'man' is itself originally gender neutral (and many people, such as myself, still use it that way in many, many circumstances).

Mankind includes women for example. The original way to refer to a man of male gender in English was 'wer' or 'were', which is still employed in 'werewolf'. Since the Latin course has things like 'the man eats an apple' and not 'the male human eats an apple' or 'the wer eats an apple', the translation of 'homo malum edit' is valid and should be accepted.


The man would be specific, a man would be generic. However, in the context we are typically using vir as man (in the male sense) or husband. homo wouldn't apply.

In order to get homo from man using your examples would be:

Man eats apples try substituting mankind and see if the sentence still makes sense.

Mankind eats apples. (Makes sense)

Mankind has a wife. (Doesn't)


Please pardon me, I'm new to Latin, but what's OLD?


Well, someone new to Latin, the OLD is the Oxford Latin Dictionary a 2,126 page book with 39,589 Latin entries in it.


Colin, can you recommend any online Latin-English-Latin dictionary?


Matthias, as a relative beginner I find that https://www.online-latin-dictionary.com/ is useful.


Latin to English you can always download the free Lewis and Short app for Android. Cassell's Latin Dictionary is dependable but limited and has English to Latin. Wiktionary works in a pinch too.


L&S is better for the explanations, but when needed, the Android Whitaker's words app allows searching for English words to translate them to Latin (checking the appropriateness in L&S is advisable).


Great, thanks.

Here you download the Lewis and Short New Latin dictionary (1958 edition) as pdf:



It would have to be a specific sentence for homo to work.

Although, often the male gender is, I think, implicitly understood, as in sentences like

Et ecce homo quidam hydropicus erat ante illum. ... Ipse vero apprehensum sanavit eum, ac dimisit.
And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. ... And He took him and healed him, and let him go.

Homo quidam fecit coenam magnam, et vocavit multos. ... Primus dixit ei:
A certain man gave a great supper and invited many ... The first said to him

Homo quidam nobilis abiit in regionem longinquam accipere sibi regnum, et reverti.
A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.

The original is, of course, Greek. It may have some effect.

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