Adjective (Adjectivum)

The circumflex accent ( ˆ ) is used to denote the length of the vowels.
 
 
The adjectives are declined on the pattern of the I-II and the III declensions.
 
 
Adjectives of I and II declensions

The adjectives of I-II declension have different nominative forms for every gender: -us or -er for masculine, -a for feminine and -um for neuter. The masculine and neuter forms are declined on the pattern of the II declension and the feminine forms on that of the I declension. The adjectives on -er are of two types: with e vowel belonging to their stem, and with e vowel used to facilitate pronunciation in Nom. & Voc. Sg. masculine. Cf. the declension of:

Case
Singular
Plural
m
f
n
m
f
n
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
bonus
boni
bono
bonum
bono
bone
bona
bonae
bonae
bonam
bona
bona
bonum
boni
bono
bonum
bono
bone
boni
bonorum
bonis
bonos
bonis
boni
bonae
bonarum
bonis
bonas
bonis
bonae
bona
bonorum
bonis
bona
bonis
bona
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
liber 
liberi
libero
liberum
libero
liber
libera
liberae
liberae
liberam
libera
libera
liberum
liberi
libero
liberum
libero
libere
liberi
liberorum
liberis
liberos
liberis
liberi
liberae
liberarum
liberis
liberas
liberis
liberae
libera
liberorum
liberis
libera
liberis
libera
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
pulche
pulchri
pulchro
pulchrum
pulchro
pulcher
pulchra
pulchrae
pulchrae
pulchram
pulchra
pulchra
pulchrum
pulchri
pulchro
pulchrum
pulchro
pulchre
pulchri
pulchrorum
pulchris
pulchros
pulchris
pulchri
pulchrae
pulchrarum
pulchris
pulchras
pulchris
pulchrae
pulchra
pulchrorum
pulchris
pulchra
pulchris
pulchra
 
The adjectives terminated by –fer and –ger preserve the vowel e in all casual forms, cf.
armiger, armigera, armigerum bearing arms;
signifer, signifera, signiferum bearing standard.
The adjective dexter, dextra, dextrum right has doublet forms with -e-: dexter, dextera, dexterum.

The adjective satur, satura, saturum well-fed, saturated has lost the -us ending in Nom. sg. m.
 
 
Adjectives of III declension

The adjectives of III declension are divided into three groups according to their endings in Nom. sg.:

1. Adjectives of three separate gender forms, like:
    acer, acris, acre sharp.

2. Adjective of one form for masculine and feminine and another for neuter, like:
    gravis, grave heavy.

3. Adjective of one form for all genders, generally ending on –s, like:
    sapiens wise and felix (=felics) lucky.

    The adjectives of III declension are declined on the pattern of the vocal stem, with the ending –em in Acc. sg. instead of -im.
 
Case
Singular
Plural
m
f
n
m
f
n
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
ace
acris
acri
acrem
acri
acer
acris
acris
acri
acrem
acri
acra
acre
acris
acri
acre
acri
acre
acres
acrium
acribus
acres
acribus
acres
acres
acrium
acribus
acres
acribus
acres
acria
acrium
acribus
acria
acribus
acria
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
gravis
gravis
grave
gravem
gravi
gravis
gravis
gravis
grave
gravem
gravi
gravis
grave
gravis
gravi
grave
gravi
grave
graves
gravium
gravibus
graves
gravibus
graves
graves
gravium
gravibus
graves
gravibus
graves
gravia
gravium
gravibus
gravia
gravibus
gravia
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
felix 
felicis
felici
felicem
felici
felix
felix 
felicis
felici
felicem
felici
felix
felix 
felicis
felici
felix 
felici
felix
felices
felicium
felicibus
felices
felicibus
felices
felices
felicium
felicibus
felices
felicibus
felices
felicia
felicium
felicibus
felicia
felicibus
felicia

Some adjectives hesitate between the 1st and the 2nd group, like terrester, terrestris, terrestre and terrestris, terrestre terrestrial.

Some adjectives of the 3rd group are declined on the pattern of the consonant stems of the III declension, so for the nom. pl. neutr. of vetus old we have vetera.

Some adjectives of the 3rd group have also the ending –e for Abl. sg. apart of the ending –i. The form in –e is used like a noun, while the form in –i – like an adjective.
 
 
 
Degrees of Comparison (Gradus comparationis)

The qualitative adjectives are gradable. This means that the person or thing referred to can possess more or less of the quality mentioned. The usual way to indicate the amount of a quality in Latin is by adding specific suffixes to the word’s stem or, sometimes, by external submodifiers.
 
 
Positive degree (Gradus positivus)
 
The positive degree expresses a quality of thing or person for itself, without comparing to a similar quality of other things or persons. It is the basic form of adjective, by which it is presented in the dictionaries, cf.:

longus, longa, longum (longus, 3) long;
liber, -era, -erum free;
sacer, -cra, -crum sacred;
acer, acris, acre sharp;
brevis, -e brief;
clemens, -entis mild, gentle.
 
Comparative degree (Gradus comparativus)
 
The comparative degree expresses a higher quality of thing or person as compared with the same quality of other things or persons. It is formed by adding the suffixes –ior for masculine & feminine and –ius for neuter to the stem of adjectives (obtained from the genitive form without its ending):
 
Nominative form
Stem
Comparative degree
mf
n
longus, 3 
liber, -era, -erum 
sacer, -cra, -crum 
acer, acris, acre 
brevis, -e 
clemens, -enis 
long- 
liber- 
sacr- 
acr- 
brev- 
clement-
longior
liberior
sacrior
acrior
brevior
clementior
longius
liberius
sacrius
acrius
brevius
clementius
 
The comparative degree is declined on the pattern of the consonant stems of the III declension:
 
Case
Singular
Plural
mf
n
mf
n
Nom.
Gen.
Dat.
Acc.
Abl.
Voc.
longior 
longioris
longiori
longiorem
longiore
longior
longius 
longioris
longiori
longius 
longiore
longius
longiores
longiorum
longioribus
longiores
longioribus
longiores
longiora
longiorum
longioribus
longiora
longioribus
longiora
 
See also Periphrastic degrees.
 
 
Superlative degree (Gradus superlativus)
 
The comparative degree expresses a highest quality of thing or person as compared with the same quality of other things or persons.

There are three patterns of forming the superlative degree:

1. The most common of them is by adding the suffix –issim– to the stem:
 
Positive degree
Stem
Suffix
Superlative degree
m
f
n
longus, 3 
brevis, -e 
gravis, -e 
clemens 
utilis, -e
long- 
brev- 
grav-
clement- 
util- 
+ –issim–
longissimus
brevissimus
gravissimus
clementissimus
utilissimus
longissima
brevissima
gravissima
clementissima
utilissima
longissimum
brevissimum
gravissimum
clementissimum
utilissimum
 
2. The adjectives terminated by –er form superlative degree by adding the suffix –rim– to the Nom. sg. m.:
 
Positive degree
Suffix
Superlative degree
m
f
n
liber, -era, -erum 
sacer, -cra, -crum 
acer, -cris, -cre 
niger, -gra, -grum 
pulcher, -chra, chrum
+ –rim–
liberrimus
sacerrimus
acerrimus
nigerrimus
pulcherrimus
liberrima
sacerrima
acerrima
nigerrima
pulcherrima
liberrimum
sacerrimum
acerrimum
nigerrimum
pulcherrimum
 
3. Six adjectives of the III declension, ending in Nom. sg. m. by –lis, form superlative by adding the suffix –lim– to the stem:
 
Positive degree
Stem
Suffix
Superlative degree
facilis, -e easy to do
difficilis, -e difficult
similis, -e like, similar
dissimilis, -e unlike
gracilis, -e slender, slim
humilis, -e low, small
facil- 
difficil- 
simil- 
dissimil- 
gracil- 
humil-
+ –lim–
facillimus, -a, -um
difficillimus, -a, -um
simillimus, -a, -um
dissimillimus, -a, -um
gracillimus, -a, -um
humillimus, -a, -um
 
See also Periphrastic degrees.
 
 
Periphrastic degrees
 
The adjectives of I-II declensions, the stem of which ends on a vowel (like idoneus, pius etc.) form comparative and superlative degree by the external modifiers magis more and maxime most:
 
Positive degree
Comparative degree
Superlative degree
arduus, 3 steep, arduous
egregius, 3 exceptional
idoneus, 3 suitable, fit
pius, 3 pious, holy
magis arduus, -a, um 
magis egregius, -a, um 
magis idoneus, -a, um 
magis pius, -a, um
maxime arduus, -a, um 
maxime egregius, -a, um 
maxime idoneus, -a, um 
maxime pius, -a, um
 
 
Particularities

1. The compound adjectives on –dicus, -ficus, -volus form comparative and superlative degrees from an older –ent stem, cf. the examples with:

maledicus, 3 speaking evil of
magnificus, 3 magnificent
benevolus, 3 well-wishing
Positive degree
Stem
Superlative degree
Superlative degree
maledicus 
magnificus 
benevolus
maledicent- 
magnificent- 
benevolent-
maledicentior, -ius
magnificentior, -ius
benevolentior, -ius
maledicentissimus, 3
magnificentissimus, 3
benevolentissimus, 3
 
2. The adjectives vetus, -eris old and dives, -itis rich form their degrees of comparison as follows:
 
Positive degree
Comparative degree
Superlative degree
vetus, -eris 
dives, -itis
vetustior, vetustius 
ditior, ditius
veterrimus, 3 
ditissimus, 3
 
3. There are two indeclinable adjectives in Latin, frugi honest and nequam vile, which form their degrees of comparison as follows:
 
Positive degree
Comparative degree
Superlative degree
frugi 
nequam
frugalior, frugalius 
nequior, nequius
frugalissimus, 3 
nequissimus, 3
 
 
Adjectives with Comparative and Superlative degrees only
 
1. There are several adjectives in Latin that are used in Comparative and Superlative degrees only:
 
Comparative degree Superlative degree
deterior, -ius lower
ocior, -ius more speedy
potior, -ius stronger
prior, -ius previous
deterrimus, 3 lowest
ocissimus, 3 most speedy
potissimus, 3 strongest
primus, 3 first
 
2. There are a few adjectives, used in comparative and superlative degrees, derived from prepositions:
 
Preposition Comparative degree  Superlative degree
citra on this side citerior, -ius nearer citimus, 3 nearest
ultra beyond ulterior, -ius farther ultimus, 3 farthest, last
infra below inferior, -ius lower infimus, 3 lowest
imus, 3
prope near propior, -ius nearer proximus, 3 nearest
supra over superior, -ius upper suprêmus, 3 highest
summus, 3
post behind, after posterior, -ius latter, next postrêmus, 3 hindmost
postêmus, 3
inter between interior, -ius inner intimus, 3 inmost
extra outside of exterior, -ius outer extrêmus, 3 outer
extimus, 3
 
The comparative forms are used as positive.

Four of the above adjectives have positive degrees in plural, that are used as nouns:

superi mpl celestial deities;
inferi mpl infernal deities;
exteri mpl foreigners;
posteri mpl descendants.
 
Irregular suppletive degrees
 
There are five adjectives in Latin that have comparative and superlative degrees from suppletive roots:
 
Positive degree
Comparative degree
Superlative degree
 mfn
mf
n
 mfn
bonus, 3 good
malus, 3 bad
magnus, 3 great
parvus, 3 small, little
multus, 3 much, many
melior 
pejor 
major 
minor 
plures (pl.)
melius 
pejus 
majus 
minus 
plus
optimus, 3 
pessimus, 3 
maximus, 3 
minimus, 3 
plurimus, 3
 

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