Latin minimal pairs distinguished only by vowel length

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
lutum and luteus ('mud'/'mire' and 'muddy') vs lūtum and lūteus ('dyer's greenweed' and 'yellow').

pilus ('a hair') vs pīlus (a kind of army division)

Apparently there have been determined to be a few minimal pairs where the distinguishing length is a hidden quantity, e.g. lŭstrum ('bog'/'morass') vs lūstrum (an expiatory sacrifice or period of five years) and vĭllīs (dat./abl. plur, of villa) vs vīllīs (dat./abl/ plur. of vīllus).
I had also wondered whether there might be any homonyms-but-for-length in form between present and perfect, and there have been several examples of that posted.
There's also fodit vs fōdit.
Venus and vēnus, moror and mōror.
Is vēnus found in the nominative? I've only ever seen it in the accusative or ablative, and those forms aren't ambiguous with any form of Vĕnus.
 

Laurentius

Man of Culture
Is vēnus found in the nominative? I've only ever seen it in the accusative or ablative, and those forms aren't ambiguous with any form of Vĕnus.
I didn't think about it, haven't seen nominative too. I only listed it because they put it under vēnus in L&S.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
mānibus (dat./abl. of mānēs) vs manibus (dat./abl. plur. of manus)

rēmus ('oar') vs Remus .
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Ducēs and dūcēs, regēs and rēgēs.
Good additions, which reminds me of ēdŭcō ('rear'/'raise'/'educate' inf. educare) vs ēdūcō ('lead forth'/'draw out' inf. educere), though the latter is occasionally used as a synonym of the former.
 
Apparently there have been determined to be a few minimal pairs where the distinguishing length is a hidden quantity, e.g. lŭstrum ('bog'/'morass') vs lūstrum (an expiatory sacrifice or period of five years) and vĭllīs (dat./abl. plur, of villa) vs vīllīs (dat./abl/ plur. of vīllus).
I think you have your vill- stems the wrong way around - at least, my textbook says that a (country) house is a vīlla with long i.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
I think you have your vill- stems the wrong way around - at least, my textbook says that a (country) house is a vīlla with long i.
This source says it's short in villa, but I'm not sure how it's been determined to be one way or the other. You can perhaps now see why dictionaries tend to be gun-shy about marking hidden quantities.
 

Absurdism

Member
A lot of verbs do this.
Cf. cecīdī and cecidī, esse and ēsse, etc.
Some verbs don't even distinguish through syllable quantity (mandō as in chew, mandō as in command) which are the worst cases. JCL questions ask about these kind of words nonstop.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
JCL?
 

Laurentius

Man of Culture
I don't get why people on the Internet always write acronyms without explaning what they mean lol. Not talking specifically about you, it's just something that I noticed lately.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well, everyone knows that pretty much every one knows what "lol" means, but that is less so with acronyms of little-known organizations or the like. It's as if, say, I was on some other forum and referred to "LD" for Latin Discussion, whereas many people reading me were unlikely to know what I was talking about.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The JCL is pretty popular in the United States! I figured it would be known among Latinists.
Ah. Well...

Anyway, this has made me realize that I myself regularly use here the abbreviation OLD, and though I think many people here know what it stands for, maybe not everyone does. In case, it stands for Oxford Latin Dictionary. I use also L&S, but this one I think really every regular member at any rate knows.
 

gedwimere

Active Member
ūtī & utī
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Pălūs ("bog, swamp") and pālus ("stake, pole").

Came across it in Aeneid 6:

unum oro: quando hic inferni ianua regis
dicitur et tenebrosa palus Acheronte refuso...
 
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