Latin/4th Declension

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. If you would like to catch up, you can find past lessons in the directory, a classified vocabulary list, and a Memrise course on the right.

In previous lessons we’ve studied nouns of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions. Check the directory to review these lessons! They are foundational to all the rest of the course. With a basic knowledge of the first 3 declensions, or classes, of nouns, we have access to the vast majority of Latin nouns. But there are two more declensions, and although they contain a comparatively much smaller number of nouns, some of them are important and frequently used nouns. So now seems a good time to add those declensions and master their inflected forms.

New Grammar

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Let’s start with the 4th declension this week. At first glance, the nominative singular base form of a 4th declension noun looks like the 2nd declension masculine nouns, and the gender of most of these nouns is masculine also. However, all three genders are represented in the 4th declension. Masculine and feminine nouns share the same endings, and the much rarer neuter forms have slight variants. I’m giving the macrons (accents over vowels) in the case table, but it’s not practical for me to do that as a regular thing, so please excuse the inconsistency. The main thing you have to be careful with in this declension is how similar it looks to the 2nd declension. Many of the nouns seem to be derived from related verb forms, e.g. “auditus = hearing”. As with all Latin nouns, you can identify the declension by the genitive singular ending, in this instance –ūs, which is why it is always given in the vocabulary entries.

Fourth declension noun endings
case singular plural typical use
nominative (m./f.) -us -ūs subject or predicate noun
nominative (n.) -ua
genitive -ūs -uum possession, the “of” case
dative -uī (-ū) -ibus indirect object, the “to/for” case
accusative (m./f.) -um -ūs direct object (also some objects of preps.)
accusative (n.) -ua
ablative -ibus objects of prepositions, etc. “by/with/from” case

The following are 4th declension nouns I’ve introduced in previous lessons:

Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
domus, ūs (f.) house, home has some variant forms, particularly the locative domi “at home”; domum used alone means “to home” and domo used alone means “from home”
fructus, ūs fruit, produce
habitus, ūs condition, appearance; suit of clothes
sinus, ūs (originally, the fold of a toga used to store valuables), pocket
vestitus, ūs clothing

All 4th declension nouns can be assumed to be masculine unless their gender is specifically listed.

New Vocabulary

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Latin English Audio (Classical) Notes
adventus, ūs arrival, approach, coming
exercitus, ūs army
gustus, ūs taste
īdūs, uum (f., pl.) the Ides, the middle of a Roman month
impetus, ūs attack
manus, us (f.) hand, power
odōrātus, ūs smell, sense of smell
portus, ūs harbor, port
reditus, ūs return, returning, income, rent
senātus, ūs senate
sēnsus, ūs sense
spīritus, ūs spirit, breath
tāctus, ūs touch, sense of touch
vīsus, ūs sight, seeing

New Sentences

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Latin English Notes
Nāvis est in portū. The ship is in the harbor.
Nāvēs in portum veniunt. The ships come into the harbor.
Mārcus labōrem in manibus habet. Marcus has the work in his hands/ Marcus is taking care of it.
Quinque sēnsus sunt vīsus, audītus, tāctus, gustus, et odōrātus. The five senses are sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
Sum tēcum in spīritū. I am with you in spirit.
Est mortuus; nōn est spīritus in corpōre ejus. He is dead; there is not breath in his body.
Domus mea in urbe est. My house is in the city.
Oppidum tuum multās domūs habet. Your town has many houses.
Lūcia domī nōn est. Lucia is not at home.
Lūcia domō abest. Lucia is away from home.
Pater domum venit. Dad comes home.
Tunica manū facta est. The tunic was made by hand.
Manūs meae sunt rubrae. My hands are red.
Mīlitēs impetum faciunt. The soldiers make an attack.
Idus Martiae The Ides of March, March 15
Mors Caesarīs Īdibus Martiīs erat. The death of Caesar was on the Ides of March.
Gāius in senātū est. Gaius is in the senate.
Reditum Mārcī exspectō. I am waiting for the return of Marcus.
Adventum Paulae exspectāmus. We are waiting for Paula’s arrival.
Habēsne reditum domuī? Do you have the rent for the house?
Multī mīlitēs in exercitū sunt. Many soldiers are in the army.
Exercitus in Galliam venit. The army comes into Gaul.
Senātus populusque Rōmānus (SPQR) The Senate and People of Rome. (Official title of the Roman government).
Fructū nōn foliīs arbōrem aestima. Judge a tree by its fruit, not its leaves.
Multōrum manibus magnum lēvātur onus. By the hands of many a great load is lifted/ Many hands make light work.


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Practice and learn the words and phrases in this lesson
Step one First learn the words using this lesson:
Step two Next try learning and writing the sentencing using this:
Note that the Memrise stage covers the content for all lessons in each stage.
If you are skipping previous stages you may need to manually "ignore" the words in previous levels (use the 'select all' function)

Enough for this time; next lesson will delve into the 5th declension. Please feel free to comment or ask questions on the talk page, and we will do my best to respond. Bonam fortūnam!