Definition of Latin in English:



  • 1The language of ancient Rome and its empire, widely used historically as a language of scholarship and administration.

    • ‘The vast majority of these slaves spoke little or no Latin, the institutional language of Roman government.’
    • ‘Books were also very costly and were mostly written in Latin, an unfamiliar language to the common people.’
    • ‘He did, however, broaden the curriculum of seminaries and prescribe Russian instead of Latin as the language of instruction.’
    • ‘Under the Hapsburgs, urban Croats spoke German, and Latin was the official language of government.’
    • ‘The Canon was one of 80 Arabic texts translated into Latin in Toledo in the 12th century by Gerard of Cremona.’
    • ‘By contrast, Latin, the language of learned literacy, was shared throughout the islands, in greater or lesser degrees of competence, and did not define distinctive ethnic identities.’
    • ‘From this time on, English replaced French as the official language of the country and many works were translated from Latin and French into the vernacular.’
    • ‘In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, Latin was still the international language of scholarship.’
    • ‘This represents only one of the aspects of the ecclesiastical monopoly over written culture and Latin, the only language that could be used for writing.’
    • ‘The majority could not understand Latin, the language of the Church.’
    • ‘Later on the bible was translated into different languages including Syriac, Latin, and Coptic (a late form of Egyptian).’
    • ‘These were written in Anglo-Saxon, the spoken tongue, rather than Latin which was the language of the church.’
    • ‘He worked to restore classical Latin as the language of scholarship and literature.’
    • ‘The grammar of ‘Grammar Schools’ was Latin grammar, and the use of Latin continued at the ancient universities.’
    • ‘She could speak French, Latin, Spanish and some Ancient Greek.’
    • ‘Their first task was to be able to use language as a precise instrument of learning and that language was Latin.’
    • ‘The Celtic sources are a few burials, some numismatic evidence, infrequent inscriptions and figurines, and Celtic loan words in Latin.’
    • ‘A common Christendom under the Pope, and the universal language of Latin, provided a form of European community long before that of the 20th century.’
    • ‘In the areas once part of the Roman empire, Latin was effectively the vernacular and it gradually evolved into the various Romance languages of western Europe.’
    • ‘This is reflected in the Roman language of Latin where 23 is spoken as ‘tres et viginti’ which translates as ‘three and twenty’.’
  • 2A native or inhabitant of a country whose language developed from Latin, especially a Latin American.

    • ‘When I started break dancing, I never thought I was an interloper because the guys I was dancing with were Latin, black, and white.’
    1. 2.1 Music of a kind originating in Latin America, characterized by dance rhythms and extensive use of indigenous percussive instruments.
      • ‘‘She could dance Latin like I had never seen before,’ he said.’
      • ‘I would have chosen some dance music, something Latin with a beat.’
      • ‘With its innovative and intelligent blend of minor-key moods and jazz, Latin and indie fusion, this record is far from mundane and eschews both generalizations and comparisons.’
      • ‘Bangalore Live will offer jazz, world music, Latin, fusion, and rock, to begin with.’
      • ‘The suite is divided into four parts with Latin, gospel, blues, funk and free jazz forming the basis of alternate numbers.’
      • ‘Following the first warm-up session held to gauge interest in the scheme, sessions will be held in the new year in rock and pop to jazz, swing, Latin, big band and reggae.’
      • ‘Not only has she written some of her own material, she has also drawn on upbeat dance genres such as Latin and jazz.’
      • ‘Unlike his predecessor, he doesn't appear to posses an ear for Latin, samba, jazz or the big band sound.’
      • ‘In such an international city, dancing will include every type of dancing, like techno, trance, hip-hop, Latin, ethnic, and raves.’
      • ‘Soaring, screeching, intense chamber music with hints of jazz, Latin and who knows what.’
      • ‘I love jazz and R & B, Latin, salsa music, all that kind of stuff.’
      • ‘Recorded in Cuba, their sound is a cheerful mix of Latin, jazz and smooth alternative rock.’
      • ‘It is described as an album of dreamy, spiritual dance music, that contains elements of everything from house, dub, hip-hop, Brazilian and Latin, right through to soul and more.’
      • ‘The organizers have assembled a line-up of local, regional and national performers that range from pop to folk to dance to Latin to rock and will not disappoint.’
      • ‘We're mixing Latin with, oh, name it: Latin and jazz, Latin and funk, Latin and reggae.’
      • ‘What I can say is that it ranges from an early helping of Latin to some reggae (very good) with a finale of house, which bores me to tears.’


  • 1Relating to or in the Latin language.

    ‘Latin poetry’
    • ‘As they say in Latin quarters, ‘Sic transit gloria mundi.’’
    • ‘The Latin word pontifex means bridge-builder, and by virtue of having survived some 2500 years, the title bridges the gap between pagan and Christian Rome.’
    • ‘Denigrate comes from the Latin root ‘niger’ meaning black.’
    • ‘A leading Yorkshire independent school is dropping its Latin motto and centuries-old crest in favour of a multi-coloured star in a move that has angered traditionalists.’
    • ‘A close friend of Erasmus and gifted student of law and Greek, More translated Lucian and wrote English and Latin poetry.’
    • ‘Roman contributions to Portugal included roads, buildings, and the Latin language, from which Portuguese developed.’
    • ‘Faith is the opposite of science or its Latin root, ‘knowledge.’’
    • ‘He and the other boys were obliged to learn Latin declensions parrot fashion, to sing God Save the King, and to follow the intricacies of British, rather than Barbadian, history.’
    • ‘His poems written in Latin hexameter followed the classical models of poetry.’
    • ‘Other times they're forced out, as the ancient Etruscan language was when Latin speakers overran the Italian peninsula.’
    • ‘Most of the pieces on this program are conductus (this Latin word is a noun of the fourth declension, so the plural form in the nominative case is the same as the singular).’
    • ‘The machine is, however, capable of absorbing programs in any other language written in Latin characters.’
    • ‘I spent, for reasons that need not concern us here, much of last night reading some of my favourite Latin poetry.’
    • ‘Horace, on the other hand, can be said to represent the more innovative vein of Latin poetry, a vein that looked towards the Alexandrian poets as models and predecessors.’
    • ‘Although so little of his work has survived, it is clear that Philitas' influence on Hellenistic and Latin poetry was very great.’
    • ‘Both words enclose the word ‘pinion’ which derives quite separately from the Latin word ‘penna’ - wings.’
    • ‘Any school crest that looks remotely ‘heraldic’ (with a Latin motto, for instance) and is not registered risks the wrath of the Lyon Court.’
    • ‘Well educated, he had access to Italian, French and Latin literature but chose to translate into verse the common spoken language that surrounded him on London streets.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to the Western or Roman Catholic Church (as historically using Latin for its rites)
      ‘the Latin patriarch of Antioch’
      • ‘The Oratory retains the permitted vestiges of the Latin mass and as a result has amplified its congregation of true believers with a reserve army of believers in belief, of which I was one.’
      • ‘A Latin patriarch would be elected for Constantinople.’
      • ‘Litanies of this type are frequently encountered in the services of the Orthodox Church and in the non-Roman rites of the Latin West.’
      • ‘The Vatican is working on the translation of its new Latin rite for deliverance - the first time it has updated its teaching on the subject since mediaeval times.’
      • ‘Three priests in gold and silver vestments were bowing and turning round as they chanted the Latin service in a lavishly lit and adorned church.’
      • ‘I had the notion they weren't as lax as the Latin rite.’
      • ‘MacDonald argued that the Latin mass had ‘centuries behind it’ and said it was more ‘mysterious and solemn’ than the English version.’
      • ‘The organist often crackled or whined the Gregorian-chant hymns and the celebrant often hummed, mumbled, or whispered the Latin prayers.’
      • ‘A world away from the Latin controversies of the ninth century, Joseph's understanding of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is no less robustly expressed in this prayer for use before the Eucharist.’
      • ‘And in 1984, Scotland's catholic bishops banned the Latin rite from being used in regular church services, although it could still be performed in monasteries.’
      • ‘Although the Eastern Church had been responsible for the conversion of Moravia and Bohemia, by the 10th century both duchies had turned to the Western, Latin liturgy.’
      • ‘He is very interested in the Latin rite and has celebrated the Mass himself.’
      • ‘Its first was the Catholic faith and doctrine which it shared with other Latin churches.’
      • ‘But Greek monasticism was not eclipsed until the thirteenth century, when Latin culture finally prevailed in southern Italy.’
      • ‘That the doctrine of the filioque and its uncanonical insertion in the Latin creed present serious obstacles to the reconciliation of churches has long been clear.’
      • ‘He is calling neither for the restoration of the Tridentine Latin liturgy nor for a return to the devotional practices of past generations.’
      • ‘Even though there was a Slavic influence, the Romanian Orthodox Church retained its Latin heritage and remains the predominant religion of Romanians.’
      • ‘He closed all the Latin churches, but he left all the native Christians in peace.’
      • ‘Drawing on both the new code for the Latin rite and that for the Oriental church, he provides a long list of rights that every Christian, whether clerical or lay, possesses.’
    2. 1.2 Relating to ancient Latium.
      ancient greek, grecian, hellenic, attic
      View synonyms
  • 2Relating to the countries or peoples using languages, especially Spanish, that developed from Latin.

    • ‘She took home the Grammy, of course, then played up her Latin roots in a Spanish-version of her hit record, then followed that up with a Christmas album that still sold well.’
    • ‘She teaches and publishes on Spanish, Latin American. and Chicano/a art.’
    • ‘My father is Portuguese, his team is Benfica, and he loves Latin football; my mother is Spanish.’
    • ‘The Latin beauty has developed a love of cleaning and now can't stand messy rooms’
    • ‘At the back, my Latin American neighbours are in conversation in Latin Spanish.’
    • ‘We loved the food, the Latin atmosphere and the authentic Spanish waiters.’
    • ‘At the last tutorial, Sue informed me that it was time I stop speaking Spanish like a Latin Tarzan and get cracking on my conjugations.’
    • ‘There is a bilingual book of the Gospels, c.1300, which may have been produced to help the Latin bride of a Byzantine emperor learn Greek.’
    • ‘Spanish subtitles are included, so viewers of Latin extraction can feel demeaned in two languages.’
    • ‘The station was soon beaming out music to 22 Latin countries.’
    • ‘Despite the 12 months of sun and heavenly food, I knew I couldn't settle forever: Latin man was on every street corner, in every train carriage, waiting on every table.’
    • ‘The franchise will adopt a Latin flavour, aligning itself with Spanish clubs.’
    • ‘‘Well it's the Latin temperament,’ he answers quickly.’
    • ‘Despite the fact that the two actresses often seem to compete for the role of Hollywood's leading Latin lady, the one positively sought out the other from early on.’
    • ‘The choleric Latin temper of that era and Shakespeare's 16th Century Italian world are seemingly similar with blood feuds, tight pants and hot blood galore!’
    1. 2.1 Relating to or characteristic of Latin American music or dance.
      ‘snapping his fingers to a Latin beat’
      • ‘So think of this album as a sort of crossover for both me, the reviewer, and you, the reader, to the world of Latin music.’
      • ‘So in my house, we were listening to salsa and other Latin music.’
      • ‘After a flight to Havana, students met with Cuban hosts who led them to numerous cultural sites and taught them Cuban language skills, Latin dances, and Cuban arts.’
      • ‘It is boisterous, crowded, smoky, noisy, with people speaking loudly over loud Latin dance music.’
      • ‘Focusing on merengue and other Latin music, this festival features a couple of jam-packed days in the sun.’
      • ‘Pablo explores their influence on the development of Latin jazz.’
      • ‘The 2/4 beat is slower than most Latin music; the baseline is heavy and up-front.’
      • ‘Besides the Latin music, show bartenders entertain the customers while mixing drinks.’
      • ‘They started out playing in a heavy-metal band in Mexico City, then turned acoustic, specialising in jazz, Spanish and Latin styles.’
      • ‘Soon, though, the music switched to a Latin beat.’
      • ‘The Canadian trio is led by a guitarist who fuses flamenco, salsa and other Latin music, along with humorous repartee.’
      • ‘But a moment later there was Latin music on the line: a shuffling double beat of salsa and sharp blasts of brass, that mesmeric, irresistible rhythm.’
      • ‘He passionately enjoys reggae and Latin folk music.’
      • ‘Elsewhere, flashes of Jamaican rocksteady and Latin beats and melodies seep into the stitching of this singular songsmith to fit his quirky design.’
      • ‘From there I got interested in the language of Latin music.’
      • ‘This 10-piece band delivers a high octane blend of Latin music combining Salsa, Mambo and Rumba.’
      • ‘Another plus is that the Latin music scene is hotter than ever, with crossover stars producing albums with Latin beats but English lyrics.’
      • ‘This concoction of sun-soaked Latin house beats goes straight to the nervous system.’
      • ‘An eclectic mishmash of Latin beats and slightly off the mainstream path bands.’
      • ‘They continued fighting while the jazzy Latin music was still roaring through the speakers.’


From Latin Latinus ‘of Latium’ (see Latium).