Operational Description | Programme Description | Dictionary | Inflections | English to Latin | User modifications

Operational description

This write up is rudimentary and assumes that the user is experienced with computers, and as an example assumes a PC with a Windows OS. Other systems operate essentially the same.

The WORDS program, Version 1.97E, with its accompanying data files should run on PC in Windows 95/98/NT, any monitor. Simply download the self-extracting EXE file and execute it in your chosen subdirectory/folder to UNZIP the files into a subdirectory of a hard disk. Then call WORDS.

There are a number of files associated with the program. These must be in the subdirectory/folder of the program, and the program must be run from that subdirectory. WORDS.EXE is the executable program. INFLECT.SEC holds the encoded inflection records. STEMFILE.GEN contains the stems of the GENERAL dictionary in a searchable form. DICTFILE.GEN is an indexed form of the GENERAL dictionary entries with form information and meanings. INDXFILE.GEN contains a set of indexes into the DICTFILE. In some versions, there may be a set of files for a SPECIAL (.SPE) dictionary of the same structure as the GENERAL dictionary, but there is no SPECIAL dictionary in the present distribution. A LOCAL dictionary may also be used. This is a limited dictionary of a different form, human readable and writeable. The knowledgeable user can augment and modify it on-line. It would consist of the file DICT.LOC. UNIQUES.LAT contains certain words which regular processing does not get. ADDONS.LAT contains the set of prefixes, suffixes and enclitics (-que, -ve) and the like. Other files may be generated by the program, so run it in a configuration that allows the creation of files.

All these files are necessary to run the program (except the optional dictionaries SPE and LOC). This excess of files is a consequence of the present developmental nature of the program. The files are very simple, almost human-readable. Presumably, a later version could condense and encode them. Nevertheless, beyond the original COPY, the user need not worry about them.

Additionally, there are files that the program may produce on request. All of these share the name WORD, with various extensions, and they are all ASCII/DOS text files which can be viewed and processed with an ordinary editor. The casual user may not want to get involved with these. WORD.OUT will record the whole output, WORD.UNK will list only words the program is unable to interpret. These outputs are turned on through the PARAMETERS mechanism.

PARAMETERS may be changed while running the program by inputting a line containing a ‘#’ mark as the only (or first) character. Alternatively, WORD.MOD contains the MODES that can be set by CHANGE_PARAMETERS. If this file does not exist, default modes will be used. The file may be produced or changed when changing parameters. It can also be modified, if the user is sufficiently confident, with an editor, or deleted, thereby reverting to defaults.

There is another set of developers parameters which may be set with the input of ‘!’. These MODES may be changed and saved in a file WORD.MDV. These are not normal user facilities, probably no one but the developer would be interested. In any specific release these facilities may, or may not, work. They are just mentioned here in case they ever come up accidentally, and to point out that there are other capabilities, actual and possible, which may be invoked if there is a special need. The user is invited to review these parameters to see if any address an unusual need.

WORD.OUT is the file produced if the user requests output to a file. This output can be used for later manipulation with a text editor, especially when the input was a text file of some length. If the parameter UNKNOWNS_ONLY is set, the output serves as a sort of a Latin spell checker. Those words it cannot match may just not be in the dictionary, but alternatively they may be typos. A WORD.UNK file of unknowns can be generated.

Program Operation

To start the program, in the subdirectory that contains all the files, type WORDS. A setup procedure will execute, processing files. Then the program will ask for a word to be keyed in. Input the word and give a return (ENTER). Information about the word will be displayed.

One can input a whole line at a time, however long, but only one line since the return at the end of line will start the processing. If the results would fill more than a computer screen, the output is halted until the user responds to the ‘MORE’ message with a return. A file containing a text, a series of lines, can be input by keying in the character ‘@’, followed (with no spaces) by the DOS name of the file of text. This input file need not be in the program subdirectory, just use the full path and name of the file. This is usually accompanied with the setting of the parameter switches to create and write to an output file, WORD.OUT.

One can have a comment in the file, a terminal portion of a line that is not parsed. This could be an English meaning, a source where the word was found, an indication that it may have been miscopied, etc. A comment begins with a double dash [–] and continues to the end of the line. The ‘–’ and everything after on that line is ignored by the program.

A simple # character input at the start of a line (that is, a line containing only #) will permit the user to set modes to prevent the process from trying prefixes and suffixes to get a match on an item unknown to the dictionary, put output to a file, etc. Going into the CHANGE_PARAMETERS, the ‘?’ character calls help for each entry.

Another set of parameters is invoked by the character !. These developer parameters are fairly specialized and are probably not required by the average user, nevertheless they are available for special applications.

Two successive returns with no text will terminate the program (except in text being read from an @ disk file.)

Modes of Operation

The mode of operation of WORDS can be specialized by setting some combination of available parameters. Here are a couple of example situations.

If you want only meanings to show up, set the # parameter
If you do not even want to see the dictionary form (principle parts) set


If you want to accept only the dictionary entry (amo, but not amas), set the ! parameter (this is the tricky one, requiring two parameters set)
This will ten require you to input one entry per line, which is not unreasonable for a dictionary look-up process. Then you will be offered another, otherwise unavailable, option
There are a large number of other options. The user is invited to consider all the options if needing anything more than the basic parse.

Of course, for both sets of parameters, you will want to go to the end of the parameter setting menu and save this set so you can restart with the same situation.

Command Line Operation

The main mode of usage for WORDS is a simple call, followed by screen interaction.

But there are other, command line, options. WORDS may be called with arguments on the same line, in a number of different modes. The program will execute with these arguments as input. Remember that the saved parameter settings (in WORD.MOD and WORD.MDV) are controlling, even for command line input.

Single argument, either a simple Latin word or an input file.


which will cause it to execute for that input and then terminate. This is for a quick word.

WORDS infile

causes WORDS to execute with the contents of the infile. The infile may be from any folder if the full path name is given.

With two arguments the options are: inputfile and outputfile, two Latin words, or a language shift to English (Latin being the startup default) and an English word (with no part of speech).

WORDS infile outfile

The program will read as input the INFILE and write the output to the OUTFILE (as though it were WORD.OUT). It will then await further input from the user. It terminates with a return. If the parameters are not legal file names, the program will assume they are Latin words to be processed as command line input.

WORDS amo amas

WORDS ~e  love

switches to English input from the default Latin and searches for love.

With three arguments there could be three Latin words or a language shift and and English word and part of speech.

WORDS amo amas amat

WORDS ~e love v

More than three arguments must all be Latin words.

WORDS amo amas amat amamus amatis amant

There cannot be more than one English word in the argument list, since there can only be one English word per line for WORDS input.

An input file (either from interactive with @ or from command line) can have changes of language, but the ~E or ~L must be on a separate line. Note that this capability can create confusing situations. An input file that starts off Latin then switches to English will be correctly processed. But if it is followed by a similar input file, the second file will start off English (from the setting in the earlier file) and fail on the Latin input. Thus even submitting the same file twice in a run will give different results. This problem can be alleviated by starting each input file with an explicit language instruction, but this will not normally be the situation.

Latin-to-English Examples

Following are annotated examples of output. Examination of these will give a good idea of the system. The present version may not match these examples exactly - things are changing - but the principle is there. A recent modification is the output of dictionary forms or ‘principal parts’ (shown below for some examples).

agricol.arum         N      1 1 GEN P M
agricola, agricolae  N    M   [XAXBO]
farmer, cultivator, gardener, agriculturist; plowman, countryman, peasant;

This is a simple first declension noun, and a unique interpretation. The ‘1 1’ means it is first declension, with variant 1. This is an internal coding of the program, and may not correspond exactly with the grammatical numbering. The ‘N’ means it is a noun. It is the form for genitive (GEN), plural (‘P’). The stem is masculine (M). The stem is given as ‘agricol’ and the ending is ‘arum’. The stem is normal in this case, but is a product of the program, and may not always correspond to conventional usage.

On the next line is given the expansion of the form that one might find in a paper dictionary, the nominative and genitive (agricola, agricolae). The [XAXBO] is an internal code of the program and is documented below as Dictionary Codes. Several codes are associated with each dictionary entry (presently AGE, AREA, GEO, FREQ, SOURCE). These provide some information to enhance the interpretation of the dictionary entry. In this case, the interesting piece is the B, which signifies that this word is found frequently in texts, in the top 10 percent. The O says it has been verified in the Oxford Latin Dictionary. The A says it is an agricultural word.

The declension/conjugation numbers for nouns and verbs are essentially arbitrary (but will be familiar to Latin students). The variants are complete inventions. They have no real meaning, just codes for the program.

(In the case of adjectives, they are even more arbitrary, although a Latin student might see how I came by them. Again they are only codes for the program. The initial release of the program did not put these out, but there is some interest on the part of students, so they are now included. The user may ignore them altogether. There is no relation between the declension/variant codes of a noun and the accompanying adjective. They only agree in case, number, and gender (NOM S N), which are listed in the output.)

femin.ae             N      1 1 GEN S F
femin.ae             N      1 1 DAT S F
femin.ae             N      1 1 NOM P F
femin.ae             N      1 1 VOC P F
femina, feminae  N    F   [XXXAX]
woman; female;

This word has several possible interpretations in case and number (Singular and Plural). The gender is Feminine. Presumably, the user can examine the adjoining words and reduce the set of possibilities.

corn.u               N      4 1 ABL S F
cornus, cornus  N    F   [XXXCO]
cornel-cherry-tree (Cornus mas); cornel wood; javelin (of cornel wood);
corn.u               N      4 2 NOM S N
corn.u               N      4 2 DAT S N
corn.u               N      4 2 ABL S N
corn.u               N      4 2 ACC S N
cornu, cornus  N    N   [XXXAO]
horn; hoof; beak/tusk/claw; bow; horn/trumpet; end, wing of army; mountain top;

Here is an example of another declension and two variants. The Masculine (and few Feminine) (-us) nouns of the declension are ‘4 1’ and the Neuter (-u) nouns are coded as ‘4 2’. This word has both. The horn parse is very frequent (A), while the cornel option (C) is less so but still common.

ego                  PRON   5 1 NOM S C
I, me; myself;

A pronoun is much like a noun. The gender is common (C), that is, it may be masculine or feminine. For some odd words, especially including pronouns, there is no dictionary form given.

ill.ud               PRON   6 1 NOM S N
ill.ud               PRON   6 1 ACC S N
ille, illa, illud  PRON   [XXXAX]
that; those (pl.); also DEMONST; that person/thing; the well known; the former;

The asterisk means that there are other, less probable forms which have been trimmed, but which may be recovered by running with the TRIM parameter reset.

h.ic                 PRON   3 1 NOM S M
hic, haec, hoc  PRON   [XXXAX]
this; these (pl.); also DEMONST;
hic                  ADV    POS
hic                 ADV   [XXXCX]
here, in this place; in the present circumstances;

In this case there is a adjectival/demonstrative pronoun, or it may be an adverb. The POS means that the comparison of the adverb is positive.

bon.um               N      2 1 ACC S M
bonus, boni  N    M   [XXXCO]
good/moral/honest/brave man; man of honor, gentleman; better/rich people (pl.);
bon.um               N      2 2 NOM S N
bon.um               N      2 2 ACC S N
bonum, boni  N    N   [XXXAO]
good, good thing, profit, advantage; goods (pl.), possessions, wealth, estate;
bon.um               ADJ    1 1 NOM S N POS
bon.um               ADJ    1 1 ACC S M POS
bon.um               ADJ    1 1 ACC S N POS
bonus, bona -um, melior -or -us, optimus -a -um  ADJ   [XXXAO]
good, honest, brave, noble, kind, pleasant, right, useful; valid; healthy;

Here we have an adjective, but it might also be a noun. The interpretation of the adjective says that it is POSitive, and that is the meaning listed, as is the convention for all dictionaries. The user must generate form this the meanings for other comparisons. Check the comparison value before deciding on the real meaning. Again, there is an asterisk, indicating further inflected forms were trimmed out.

facil.e              ADJ    3 2 NOM S N POS
facil.e              ADJ    3 2 ABL S X POS
facil.e              ADJ    3 2 ACC S N POS
facilis, facile, facilior -or -us, facillimus -a -um  ADJ   [XXXAX]
easy, easy to do, without difficulty, ready, quick, good natured, courteous;
facile               ADV    POS
facile, facilius, facillime  ADV   [XXXBO]
easily, readily, without difficulty; generally, often; willingly; heedlessly;

Here is an adjective or and adverb. Although they are related in meaning, they are different words.

acerri.mus           ADJ    3 3 NOM S M SUPER
acer, acris -e, acrior -or -us, acerrimus -a -um  ADJ   [XXXAO]
sharp, bitter, pointed, piercing, shrill; sagacious, keen; severe, vigorous;

Here we have an adjective in the SUPERlative. The meanings are all POSitive and the user must add the -est by himself.

optime               ADV    SUPER
bene, melius, optime  ADV   [XXXAO]
well, very, quite, rightly, agreeably, cheaply, in good style; better; best;
opti.me              ADJ    1 1 VOC S M SUPER
bonus, bona -um, melior -or -us, optimus -a -um  ADJ   [XXXAO]
good, honest, brave, noble, kind, pleasant, right, useful; valid; healthy;

Here is an adjective or and adverb, both are SUPERlative.

monu.issemus         V      2 1 PLUP ACTIVE  SUB 1 P
moneo, monere, monui, monitus  V   [XXXAX]
remind, advise, warn; teach; admonish; foretell, presage;

Here is a verb for which the form is PLUPerfect, ACTIVE, SUBjunctive, 1st person, Plural. It is 2nd conjugation, variant 1.

am.at                V      1 1 PRES ACTIVE  IND 3 S
amo, amare, amavi, amatus  V   [XXXAO]
love, like; fall in love with; be fond of; have a tendency to;

Another regular verb, PRESent, ACTIVE, INDicative.

amat.us              VPAR   1 1 NOM S M PERF PASSIVE PPL
amo, amare, amavi, amatus  V   [XXXAO]
love, like; fall in love with; be fond of; have a tendency to;
amat.us              ADJ    1 1 NOM S M POS
amatus, amata, amatum  ADJ   [XXXEO]    uncommon
loved, beloved;

Here we have the PERFect, PASSIVE ParticiPLe, in the NOMinative, Singular, Masculine. In addition, there is the ADJective that is formed from this participle. If the ADJective is common, it will likely have its own dictionary entry. Sometimes there may be a special or idiomatic meaning not obvious from the verb, or the meaning may stray from the original. In this case, the verb is very frequent, but the use as a adjective is uncommon.

amat.u               SUPINE 1 1 ABL S N
amo, amare, amavi, amatus  V   [XXXAO]
love, like; fall in love with; be fond of; have a tendency to;

Here is the SUPINE of the verb in the ABLative Singular.

ori.etur             V      4 1 FUT          IND 3 S
orior, oriri, oritus sum  V    DEP   [XXXAO]
rise (sun/river); arise/emerge, crop up; get up (wake); begin; originate from;
be born/created; be born of, descend/spring from; proceed/be derived (from);
ori.etur             V      3 1 FUT          IND 3 S
orior, ori, ortus sum  V    DEP   [XXXBO]
rise (sun/river); arise/emerge, crop up; get up (wake); begin; originate from;
be born/created; be born of, descend/spring from; proceed/be derived (from);

For DEPondent verbs the passive form is to be translated as if it were active voice, so there is no VOICE given in the output.

ab                   PREP   ABL
by (agent), from (departure, cause, remote origin/time); after (reference);

Here is a PREPosition that takes an ABLative for an object.

sin.e                N      2 2 NOM P N
sin.e                N      2 2 ACC P N
sinum, sini  N    N   [XXXCX]
bowl for serving wine, etc;
sin.e                V      3 1 PRES ACTIVE  IMP 2 S
sino, sinere, sivi, situs  V   [XXXAX]
allow, permit;
sine                 PREP   ABL
sine  PREP  ABL   [XXXAX]

Here is a PREPosition that might also be a Verb or a Noun. While as a preposition it is so common that it is unlikely that any other use would occur, there is no way to indicate that. Just be reminded that the frequency given for a verb is for the sum of all the couple of hundred forms of the verb, not just the one form that is parsed.

contra               ADV    POS
contra              ADV   [XXXAO]
facing, face-to-face, in the eyes; towards/up to; across; in opposite direction;
against, opposite, opposed/hostile/contrary/in reply to; directly over/level;
otherwise, differently; conversely; on the contrary; vice versa;
contra               PREP   ACC
contra  PREP  ACC   [XXXAO]
against, facing, opposite; weighed against; as against; in resistance/reply to;
contrary to, not in conformance with; the reverse of; otherwise than;
towards/up to, in direction of;  directly over/level with; to detriment of;

Here is a PREPosition that might also be an ADVerb. This is a very common situation, with the meanings being much the same.

et                   CONJ
et                  CONJ   [XXXAX]
and, and even; also, even;  (et ... et = both ... and);

Here is a straight CONJunction.

vae                  INTERJ
vae                 INTERJ   [XXXBX]
alas, woe, ah; oh dear;  (Vae, puto deus fio - Vespasian); Bah!, Curses!;

Here is a straight INTERJection.

septem               NUM    2 0 X   X X CARD
septem, septimus -a -um, septeni -ae -a, septie(n)s  NUM   [XXXAX]
 7 - (CARD answers 'how many');

Numbers are recognized as such and given a value. An additional provision is the attempt to recognize and display the value of Roman numerals, even combinations of appropriate letters that do not parse conventionally to a value but may be ill-formed Roman numerals.

VII                  NUM    2 0 X   X X CARD

Beyond simple dictionary entry words, the program can construct additional words with prefixes, suffixes and other ADDONS.

que                  TACKON
-que = and (enclitic, translated before attached word); completes plerus/uter;
popul.us             N      2 1 NOM S M
populus, populi  N    M   [XXXAO]
people, nation, State; public/populace/multitude/crowd; a following;
members of a society/sex; region/district (L+S); army (Bee);

Here the input word is recognized as a combination of a base word and an enclitic (-que) tacked on. This particular enclitic is extremely common and its omission, or the omission of the process that handles it, would result in an very large number of UNKNOWNs in the output.

pseudo               PREFIX
false, fallacious, deceitful; sperious; imitation of;
christ.us            N      2 1 NOM S M
Christus, Christi  N    M   [XEXAO]

Here there is a prefix and a base. The user must make the combination into a word or phrase.

Generally, the meaning is given for the base word, as is usual for dictionaries. For the verb, it will be a present meaning, even when the tense given is perfect. For a noun, it will be the singular, and the user must interpret when the form is plural.

For an adjective, the positive meaning is given, even if a comparative or superlative form is output. The user is invited to expand to comparative (-er) and superlative (-est). For a few adjectives, the only stem in the dictionary is COMP or SUPER. When there is just one comparison, the WORDS dictionary gives that expanded meaning. This might be considered inconsistent, in that it expects the user to observe the FORM to interpret the meaning, but it is consistent with ordinary dictionary practice.

Initially there were more defective adjective entries. I had accepted assertions in OLD or L+S and others like ‘comparative does not exist’. Later on I went over to the position that even if Cicero did not use it, someone might. I started generating COMP and SUPER where it seemed reasonable. One can also count on a suffix to correct most omissions, and it will.

Sometimes a word is constructed from a suffix and a stem of a different part of speech. Thus an adverb may be constructed from its adjective. It will show the base adjective meaning and an indication of how to make the adverb in English. The user must make the proper interpretation.

In some cases an adjective will be found that is a participle of a verb that is also found. The participle meaning, as inferred by the user from the verb meaning, is not superseded by the explicit adjective entry, but supplemented by it with possible specialized meanings.

English-to-Latin Examples

~E (tilde E/e plus Enter/CR) changes mode from Latin-to-English to English-to-Latin. ~L changes back.

A single input English word is followed by the desired part of speech. Omitting the part of speech defaults to all, which is not recommended for any word which can be ambiguous. Since the program is looking for a part of speech, it would be inconvenient to support the input of several English words on a line. While a (@) file of words can be processed in the English mode, it must be one word per line.

Output looks much like a paper dictionary entry, with form, part of speech, gender, etc. Also included are the WORDS coded declension/conjugation and the TRANS flags, which give age, frequency and source, information for the user in selecting the best translation. The output may also contain a vertical bar leading the meaning. This is a continuation symbol which states that there are other meanings for the Latin word. The user might want to run the Latin phase of WORDS to get the full set of meanings so that no unintended conflicts appear.

love v

amo, amare, amavi, amatus  V     1 1 [XXXAO]
love, like; fall in love with; be fond of; have a tendency to;

diligo, diligere, dilexi, dilectus  V     3 1 [XXXAX]
select, pick, single out; love, value, esteem; approve, aspire to, appreciate;

amo, amare, additional, forms  V     9 1 [BXXEO]
love, like; fall in love with; be fond of; have a tendency to;

ardeo, ardere, arsi, arsus  V     2 1 [XXXAO]
be on fire; burn, blaze; flash; glow, sparkle; rage; be in a turmoil/love;

adamo, adamare, adamavi, adamatus  V     1 1  TRANS   [XXXBO]
fall in love/lust with; love passionately/adulterously; admire greatly; covet;

deamo, deamare, deamavi, deamatus  V     1 1  TRANS   [XXXCO]
love dearly; be passionately/desperately in love with; be delighted with/obliged

in prep

in  PREP  ABL    [XXXAX]
in, on, at (space); in accordance with/regard to/the case of; within (time);

ante  PREP  ACC    [XXXAO]
in front/presence of, in view; before (space/time/degree); over against, facing;

super  PREP  ABL    [XXXAX]
over (space), above, upon, in addition to; during (time); concerning; beyond;

in  PREP  ACC    [XXXAX]
into; about, in the mist of; according to, after (manner); for; to, among;

prae  PREP  ABL    [XXXAX]
before, in front; in view of, because of;

praeter  PREP  ACC    [XXXAX]
besides, except, contrary to; beyond (rank), in front of, before; more than;


intro               ADV    [XXXAX]
within, in; to the inside, indoors;

in  PREP  ABL    [XXXAX]
in, on, at (space); in accordance with/regard to/the case of; within (time);

gener, generi  N     2 3  M   [XXXBX]

baro, baronis  N     3 1  M   [XXXBL]
baron; magnate; tenant-in-chief (of crown/earl); burgess; official; husband;

sororius, sorori(i)  N     2 4  M   [XXXCX]
sister's husband, brother-in-law;

socrus, socrus  N     4 1  M   [XXXCX]
father-in-law; spouse's grandfather/great grandfather;

kill v

occido, occidere, occidi, occisus  V     3 1 [XXXAX]
kill, murder, slaughter, slay; cut/knock down; weary, be the death/ruin of;

interficio, interficere, interfeci, interfectus  V     3 1 [XWXAX]
kill; destroy;

consumo, consumere, consumpsi, consumptus  V     3 1  TRANS   [XXXAO]
burn up, destroy/kill; put end to; reduce/wear away; annul; extinguish (right);

perago, peragere, peregi, peractus  V     3 1 [XXXAX]
disturb; finish; kill; carry through to the end, complete;

dejicio, dejicere, dejeci, dejectus  V     3 1  TRANS   [XXXAS]
|overthrow, bring down, depose; kill, destroy; shoot/strike down; fell (victim);

deicio, deicere, dejeci, dejectus  V     3 1  TRANS   [XXXAO]
|overthrow, bring down, depose; kill, destroy; shoot/strike down; fell (victim);

death n

mors, mortis  N     3 3  F   [XXXAX]
death; corpse; annihilation;

fatum, fati  N     2 2  N   [XPXAX]
utterance, oracle; fate, destiny; natural term of life; doom, death, calamity;

funus, funeris  N     3 2  N   [XXXAX]
burial, funeral; funeral rites; ruin; corpse; death;

nex, necis  N     3 1  F   [XXXBX]
death; murder;

letum, leti  N     2 2  N   [XXXBX]
death, ruin, annihilation; death and destruction;

Orcus, Orci  N     2 1  M   [XXXBX]
god of the underworld, Dis; death; the underworld;

destruction n

cinis, cineris  N     3 1  C   [XXXAO]
ashes; embers, spent love/hate; ruin, destruction; the grave/dead, cremation;

pestis, pestis  N     3 3  F   [XXXBX]
plague, pestilence, curse, destruction;

exitium, exiti(i)  N     2 4  N   [XXXBX]
destruction, ruin; death; mischief;

ruina, ruinae  N     1 1  F   [XXXBX]
fall; catastrophe; collapse, destruction;

interitus, interitus  N     4 1  M   [XXXBX]
ruin; violent/untimely death, extinction; destruction, dissolution;

excidium, excidi(i)  N     2 4  N   [XXXCX]
ruin, destruction, military destruction; overthrow;

While six prioritized translations may seem like enough, and they will likely cover the needs of a student, the full set (setting # parameter to not TRIM) contains much valuable information for the advanced translator. For instance for the verb live vivo usually works, but there are other options associated with specific situations: cohabito means live together, ruror means live in the country, adjaceo means live near, judaizo means live in the Jewish manner keeping the law. These sorts of meanings are often conveyed in Latin by a single word, while in English one might just use live and a modifying word or phrase.

Design of the Meaning Line

The role and complexity of the WORDS meaning line has evolved over time. Initially it reflected an elementary, back-of-the-book, textbook dictionary with a single word or two for each entry. Nevertheless, the size of the MEAN element was set at 80 characters (as God, Holerith and IBM decreed), as appropriate for a standard computer screen in text mode. (Depending on the system and mode of display, the output may be limited to 78 or 79 characters, but the traditional 80 characters of the century-old IBM card was chosen. They will likely appear on printed output.)

With expansion of the dictionary beyond a few thousand elementary entries and the extensive inclusion of the Oxford dictionaries, a much larger set of possible interpretations surfaced for many words, filling and exceeding the 80 character limit. A certain discipline was introduced to structure the line.

Through the many phases of development of the dictionary, standards were developed and modified and rigor was not always maintained, therefore the rules below are generally, but not universally, observed. Evolution of the dictionary is bringing it more closely in line with these rules.

A decision was made to include as many meanings and synonyms as convenient. The OLD will sometimes list a dozen or more meaning groups with notably different senses, each with several similar meanings. Presumably these different meanings were the product of different translations of the Latin word, different translators, different context, and different eras. The WORDS dictionary includes many of these synonyms, and specifically adds some more modern ones, in order to give the user inspiration for his translation. Further, it is important to give the user the full flavor of the word that various translations employ. A word with a nominal meaning of respect may be found to also mean fear (which may be the basis of all respect for the Romans), and that will certainly color the interpretation of a passage. Going the other way, one might not want to apply it to a description of Mother Teressa. Also one should be warned if an otherwise simple word also is used as a rude reference to female anatomy.

There are a couple of other factors that may influence the user in determining the appropriate meaning from the list. Some words have different meanings depending on the age. If one is reading a text written recently in modern Latin, one must consider hints about the meaning. While the classical meaning, the WORDS default, may be appropriate, if there is a line with a late AGE code or an indication of a modern dictionary source (e.g,. Cal), the user should take this into consideration.

Signs and Abbreviations in Meaning

Sign Description Meaning
, comma is used to separate meanings that are similar. The philosophy has been to list a number of synonyms just to key the reader in making his translation.
; semicolon is used to separate sets of meanings that differ in intent. This is just a general tendency and is not always rigorously enforced.
: colon is used with an AREA code to specify a single special meaning appropriate for that AREA in a series of general meanings. For example, L: has the same impact as (legal) before or after a definition in meaning. This supplements the use of the AREA code in the set of flags, which implies that all or most of the meanings are associated with that area.
/ solidus means ‘or’ or gives an alternative word. It sometimes replaces the comma and is often used to compress the meaning into a short line.
(…) parentheses set off and optional word or modifier, e.g., ‘(nearly) white’ means ‘white’ or ‘nearly white’, (matter in) dispute means either the matter in dispute or the dispute itself. They are also used to set off an explanation, further information about the word or meaning, or an example of a translation or a word combination.
? question mark in a meaning implies a doubt about the interpretation, or even about the existence of the word at all. For the purposes of this program, it does not matter much. If the dubious word does not exist, no one will ask for it. If it appears in his text, the reader is warned that the interpretation may be questionable to some degree, but is what is available. May indicate somewhat more doubt than (perh.).
~ tilde stands for the stem or word in question. Usually it does not have an ending affixed, as is the convention in other dictionaries, but represents the word with whatever ending is proper. It is just a space saving shorthand or abbreviation.
~ tilde also is the flag for changing the language base. ~E (plus Enter/CR) changes from Latin-to-English to English-to-Latin. ~L changes back.
=>   in meaning this indicates a translation example.
abb.   abbreviation
(Dif) - Diferrari is used to indicate an additional meaning taken from A Latin-English Dictionary of St. Thomas Aquinas by Roy J. Diferrari. This is singled out because of the importance of Aquinas. The reference is to be applied from the last semicolon before the mark. It is likely that the meaning diverges from the base by being medieval and ecclesiastical, but not so overwhelming as to deserve a separate entry.
(Douay)   is used to designate those words for which the meaning has been derived or modified by examination of the Douay translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible of St Jerome.
(eccl.) ecclesiastical designating a special church meaning in a list of conventional meanings, an additional meaning not sufficient to justify a separate entry with an ecclesiastical code.
esp. especially indicates a significant association, but is only advisory.
(King James)   is used to designate those words for which the meaning has been derived or modified by examination of the King James Bible in connection with the Latin Vulgate Bible of St Jerome; may also appear as (KJames)
(KLUDGE)   This indicates that the particular form is distorted in order to make it come out correctly. This usually takes the form of a special conjugational form applied to a few words, not applicable to other words of the same conjugation or declension. The user can expect the form and meaning to be correct, but the numerical coding will be odd.
(L+S) Lewis & Short is used to indicate that the meaning starting from the previous semicolon is information from Lewis and Short ‘A Latin Dictionary’ that differs from, or significantly expands on, the meaning in the ‘Oxford Latin Dictionary’ (OLD) which is the baseline for this program. This is not to imply that the meaning listed is otherwise taken directly from the OLD, just that it is not inconsistent with OLD, but the L+S information either inconsistent (likely OLD knows better) or Lewis and Short has included meanings appropriate for late Latin writers beyond the scope of OLD. The program is just warning the reader that there may be some difference. There are cases in which this indication occurs in entries that have Lewis and Short as the source. In those cases, the basic word is in OLD but the entry is a variant form or spelling not cited there. There are cases where OLD and L+S give somewhat different spellings and meanings for the ‘same’ word (same in the sense that both dictionaries point to the same citation). In these cases a combination of meanings are given for both entries with the (L+S) code distinction and the entries of different spelling or declension have the SOURCE coded.
NT New Testament is a reference in the Bible.
(OLD) Oxford Latin Dictionary is used to indicate an additional meaning taken from the Oxford Latin Dictionary in an entry that is otherwise attributed. While it is usually true that if a classical word has other than OLD as the listed source then it does not appear in that form in OLD, this is not always the case. On occasion some other dictionary gives a much better or more complete and understandable definition and the honor of source is thereto given.
OT Old Testament is a reference in the Bible.

Other source indicators are occasionally used and are indicated in the general description of SOURCE below.

Sign Description Meaning
(PASS) passive indicates a special, unexpected meaning for the passive form of the verb, not easily associated with the active meaning. In addition this is often used to remind the user that compounds of facio form the passive by using the active of fio. Ex: calefio (calefacio PASS). There may be more translation information in the base word cited and the user is encouraged to refer to it.
perh. perhaps denotes an additional uncertainty, but not as strong as (?).
(pl.) plural means that the Latin word is believed by scholars to be used (almost) always in the plural form, with the meaning stated, even though that meaning in English may be singular. If it appears in the beginning of the meaning, before the first comma, it applies to all the meanings. If it appears later, it applies only to that and later meanings. For the purpose of this program, this is only advisory. While it is used by some tools to find the expected dictionary entry, the program does not necessarily exclude a singular form in the output. While it may be true that in good, classical Latin it is never used in the singular, this does not mean that some text somewhere might not use the singular, nor that it is uncommon in later Latin. The TRIM_OUTPUT option may cause only plural forms to appear, with no TRIM_OUTPUT the singular will be shown.
prob. probably denotes some uncertainty, but not as much as (perh.).
pure Latin …   indicates a pure Latin term for a word which is derived from another language (almost certainly Greek).
(rude)   indicates that this meaning was used in a rude, vulgar, coarse, or obscene manner, not what one should hear in polite company. Such use is likely from graffiti or epigrams, or in plays in which the dialogue is to indicate that the characters are low or crude. Meanings given by the program for these words are more polite, and the user is invited to substitute the current street language or obscenity of his choice to get the flavor of text.
(sg.) singular means that the Latin word is believed by scholars to be used always in the singular. If it appears in the beginning of the meaning, before the first comma, it applies to all the meanings. If it appears later, it applies only to that and later meanings. For the purpose of this program, this is only advisory.
usu. usually is weakly advisory. (usu. pl.) is even weaker than (pl.) and may imply that the plural tendency occurred only during certain periods.
w/   means ‘with’.