I am etymologizing the word punta riversa, and I would like to request a photocopy--or resource link--to the Oxford Latin Dictionary's entries for both punctum and reversus. Thank you.

Also, is reuersio what I should be looking for in the OLD? Why the u and not the v?

  • Punctum and reversus are Latin words - I don't know how the OED might help you. What you need is an etymological dictionary of Latin, e.g. de Vaan or Walde or Ernout & Meillet.
    – Alex B.
    Mar 7 '13 at 4:50
  • @AlexB. Oh, the OED isn't helpful. I'm on the online version now. That is why I typed "OLD." What I meant was "Oxford Latin Dictionary" rather than "Oxford English Dictionary."
    – Trancot
    Mar 7 '13 at 4:53
  • It has to be the OLD.
    – Trancot
    Mar 7 '13 at 5:02
  • 1
    Have you tried Amazon? amazon.com/Oxford-Latin-Dictionary-P-Glare/dp/0198642245 You can search for the words you need there. It worked for me. Also, you could look them up in Lewis and Short or Forcellini - both are open-access.
    – Alex B.
    Mar 7 '13 at 5:09
  • @AlexB. Below are links to the entries: LINK 1 LINK 2 LINK 3 LINK 4
    – Trancot
    Mar 7 '13 at 5:34

Indeed, reuersio is what you want to look up. Here's my first-order approximation of why this is so — I trust that it is not too inaccurate!

The classical Latin alphabet had only the letters

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, X, Y, Z,

where I represented both /i/ and /j/ and V represented both /u/ and /w/; by the Middle Ages, the Latin alphabet had also acquired more-or-less the now-familiar lower-case forms

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, x, y, z.

However, j and v only appeared still later, as allographs of i and u, respectively, and it wasn't until after the Renaissance that i and j systematically represented /i/ and (what had at least been) /j/, respectively (e.g., cujus for cuius), and u and v systematically represented /u/ and (what had at least been) /w/ (e.g., vos for uos).

At any rate, since the Latin orthography of classical antiquity only knew I and V (which originally gave rise to the lower case forms i and u), many modern editions and references use only upper-case I with lower case i and upper-case V with lower-case u, (I presume) in order to adhere as much as possible to the original orthography whilst allowing for the normal use of upper- and lower-case letters.


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