The National Archives
Search our website
  • Search our website
  • Search our records
   
   
Beginners' Latin
Watermills, detail from map of Chertsey, Surrey. 1422-84. Cat ref: E 164/25 f 222. Copyright, unknown

Lesson 11: Fourth and fifth declension nouns; days of the week

Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3

Fourth declension nouns

There are

  • Usually masculine and end ‘-us’ in the nominative singular
  • Sometimes feminine and end ‘-us’ in the nominative singular
  • Occasionally neuter and end ‘-u’ in the nominative singular
  • Always ‘-us’ in the genitive singular
  • Characterised by ‘u’ in their endings

Both masculine and feminine nouns take these endings.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative -us -us
Vocative -us -us
Accusative -um -us
Genitive -us -uum
Dative -ui -ibus
Ablative -u -ibus

Look at our example of redditus, -us (m.)      rent

Case Singular Plural
Nominative redditus redditus
Vocative redditus redditus
Accusative redditum redditus
Genitive redditus reddituum
Dative redditui redditibus
Ablative redditu redditibus

Top of page Top of page

Examples of fourth declension nouns:

adventus , -us (m.)

appearance in court, arrival, AdventGlossary - opens in a new window

comitatus , -us (m.) county, earldom, county court
exitus, -us (m.) profits, exit, revenue
ingressus, -us (m.) entry, right of entry
manus, -us (f.) hand
obitus, -us (m.) death, anniversary of a death
visus , -us (m.) view

Handy hints Tip
In English, a manuscript is a document ‘written by hand’. This comes from Latin
  1. ‘manu’ is the ablative form of manus meaning ‘by hand’
  2. ‘script’ comes from scriptum meaning ‘writing’     scriptum, -i (n.) writing

Common phrases involving fourth declension nouns:

per manum

by hand

in manu regis in the king’s hand
in manibus domini in the hands of the lord (compare with the phrase above)
in comitatu in the county
visus franciplegii view of frankpledgeGlossary - opens in a new window franciplegius, -ii (m.) frankpledge
curia visus franciplegii court of view of frankpledge
de redditu terre of the rent of the land

Top of page Top of page

domina Christina tria molendina aquatica tenet pro redditu de tribus solidis Lady Christina holds three water mills for a rent of three shillings. Christina, -e (f.) Christina
aquaticus, -a, -um worked by water

abbas et monachi ius ingressus et exitus porcis eis habent The abbot and monks have the right of entry and exit for their pigs. porcus, -i (m.) pig

conquestus, -us (m.)

the NormanGlossary - opens in a new window conquest of England in 1066

a conquestu since the Conquest
post conquestum since the Conquest

These are both used to describe reigns since the Norman Conquest, for example

anno regni regis Edwardi quarti post conquestum primo

in the first year of the reign of King Edward the fourth since the Conquest

Roll your mouse over any of the five boxes of Latin words to reveal the English translation underneath. Take particular note of where the corresponding English word or phrase is placed within the sentence to observe the format.

Do you see that primo ‘the first’ goes with anno?    primus, -a, -um first
Now you can tackle the many versions of this phrase that you will find.

domus, -us (f.) house is different from redditus in the

  • Ablative singular - domo
  • Accusative plural – can be domos or domus
  • Genitive plural – can be domuum or domorum

Top of page Top of page

redditus huius domus tres solidi est The rent of this house is three shillings  
apud domum regis At the king’s house  
Idem abbas dixit quod comes Simo dedit ecclesiam domui sue monachorum The same abbot said that earl Simon gave the church to his house of monks  
ego Ricardus has duas domus in magna via lego meis filiabus I, Richard, leave these two houses in the main street to my daughters. Ricardus , -i (m.) Richard

Neuter nouns are rare. There is an exampleGrammar table - opens in a new window in the table of grammar.


Checklist Checklist:
Are you confident with:
The characteristics of fourth declension nouns?
How to decline redditus?

Next


Top of page Top of page