semantically singular / syntactically plural


New Member
I've been keeping track of nouns I've come across which are semantically singular but syntactically plural, just because I think it's a cool quirk of the language. These are the ones on my list. Do you know of any others?

castra -orum
cunabula -orum
epulae -arum
fauces -ium
idus -uum
indutiae -arum
insidiae -arum
kalendae -arum
nonae -arum


Staff member
It's debatable whether they really are "semantically singular" (you could make a case regarding some of them, I guess; certainly not all), but here are a few that can, at least, translate to singular English nouns:

aedes, -ium
deliciae, -arum
litterae, -arum (in the sense of "a letter" that you send to someone, or "literature" — both of these things are made up of many letters of the alphabet)
nuptiae, -arum (note this one can translate to a plurale tantum in English too, "nuptials")
tenebrae, -arum
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I always wondered what was the makeup of a crepundia. I imagine some dried beans in a some kind of hard skin pouch tied to a little stick or a strap.

Edit: I guess they give 'jokes' for nugae, but in my head it's just tomfoolery.


Staff member


Staff member
Well, if we go that way... Pompeii, Syracusae, and many others.