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Latin Vocabulary: Eternity
by Michael J. Muller
Dear Latin Teacher,
I wish to know all the Latin words, terms and phrases for Eternity.
The information on the web about it is scattered and confusing for me. Please help.
I don't know if I can get them all for you, but here's a running start at the most common words and phrases.
- aeternitas, aeternitatis: This third declension noun is the root word for our English word eternity. As often happens, the Latin diphthong -ae- becomes -e- in English. It is found in expressions such as in aeternitatem (for eternity) and per aeternitatem (through eternity). It can be used of the past or future time.
- aeternus and sempiternus are adjecives related to the noun aeternitas, and they are often used in expressions of eternity. For example, in aeternum (forever, eternally), in sempiternum (forever). Sempiternus is a contraction of semper (always) and aeternus (eternal). So we have also the noun sempiternitas, sempiternitatis.
- aevum, aevi: this neuter noun means eternity or never-ending time. However, it also often means a lifetime, an age, a time period, or a life. Nonetheless, its primary meaning is eternity, and it is found in phrases such as per aevum (through eternity) and in aevum (for all time).
- aeon, aeonis: This is a Greek word (αἰών) taken into Latin. It also means age or eternity.
Another phrase seen in Latin to mean basically eternity or for all time: in perpetuum
(for perpetuity), which is really a shortened form of in perpetuum aevum
Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher!
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