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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

 
Serpent, snake: serpens,-entis (s.c.III), abl. sg. serpente, nom. & acc. pl. serpentes, gen. pl. serpentium, dat. & abl. pl. serpentibus; syn. anguis, coluber; see snake;

- Racaria sylvatica: in Guiana; sylvis ad radices montis Serpentis (DeCandolle), at the roots [i.e. base] of mount Serpent.

- floribus serpentibus pollinatis, with flowers pollinated by serpents (snakes)(bestiis serpentibus).

little serpent: dracunculus,-i (s.m.II), q.v., abl. sg. dracunculo; serpicula,-ae (s.f.I), q.v., a small or little serpent; serpula,-ae (s.f.I), q.v.

- [Trichia Serpula; Filiformes; fungi] ad unciam et ultra lumbrici ad instar flexuosa serpit (S&A), up to an inch and beyond, it spreads flexuose like a worm.

NOTE: the English word 'serpent' is formed from the participle 'serpens,-entis' [part.B, creeping, crawling] used as a noun with the word 'bestia,-ae' understood (bestia serpens, gen.sg. bestiae serpentis). The verb relates to the movement of animals whereas repens and reptans classically referred to that of people (Lewis & Short). Similarly the English word 'rodent' is formed from the participle 'rodens,-entis' [> L. rodens,-entis (part.B), > L. rodere, to gnaw, gnawing, biting] used as a noun with the word 'bestia,-ae' understood; see animal; bestia,-ae (s.f.I).

NOTE: if serpens were to modify bestia,-ae (s.f.I), then the acc. sg. would be serpentem, the nom. & acc. pl. would be serpentes.

NOTE: in taxonomic groups, (participial) adjectives such as serpens and rodens modify animal,-alis (s.n.III), a neuter noun, not bestia,-ae (s.f.I), a feminine noun. Hence ‘snakes’ or serpents, taxonomically are Order Serpentia, with the epithet in the plural, that is nom. pl. [animalia] serpentia, gen. pl. [animalium] serpentium, acc. pl. [animalia] serpentia. Order Rodentia would be nom. pl. [animalia] rodentia, gen.pl. [animalium] rodentium. The same is true of orders such as Carnivora, neuter nom. pl., gen. pl. Carnivororum, an order of eutherian mammals, with teeth and other organs adapted to suit their carnivorous habit. Carnivora is a neuter plural adjective modifying animal,-is (s.n.II), not bestia,-ae (s.f.I). A carnivore, as a substantive noun, on analogy with serpent (serpens,-entis, q.v.), would be [animal] carnivorum (adj.A), in the nom.pl., [animalia] carnivora, gen. pl. [animalium] carnivororum; a herbivore would be animalia herbivora in the nom. pl.; see -vorus,-a,-um (adj.A); see Order; see Regnum; cf. rodent.

NOTE: if serpens,-entis (s.c.III) were to modify the noun animal,-alis (s.n.III), the acc. sg. would be serpens, the nom. & acc. pl. would be serpentia.

 

A work in progress, presently with preliminary A through R, and S, and with S (in part) through Z essentially completed.
Copyright © P. M. Eckel 2010-2017

 
 
 
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