Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Verbum Hodiernum: NIHIL

Today's word is NIHIL, which is an indeclinable noun. You can also see it in a contracted form: nil.

Latin meaning and usage: The basic meaning of the Latin word is "nothing." You can find it used with a partitive genitive, e.g. nihil periculi, "nothing of danger" = "no danger."

Latin word formation: The word nihil is a variant on the noun nihilum, which is a compound of ne and hilum, an uncommon word meaning a trifle or some little thing. You can find the word nonnihil, "not nothing" - or, "something."

English cognates and derivatives: The English word "nil" is a shortened form of Latin nihil. You can see the Latin root in the verb "annihilate" and in the philosophical doctrine of "nihilism."

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more examples, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which also contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below:

Nihil dat qui non habet.

Post mortem nihil est, ipsaque mors nihil.

Nihil fit sine causa.

Qui nihil amat, quid ei homini opus vita est?

Hoc unum scio: me nihil scire.

Nisi causas scimus, nihil scimus.

Nihil non potest fortis animus.

Nihil dulcius quam omnia scire.

Nihil sine labore.

Nihil sub sole novum.

Nihil novum super terram.

Nihil nisi mors certum est.

Hoc unum certum est: nihil esse certi.

In hominum vita nihil est certi.

Nihil morte certius.

Solum certum nihil esse certi.

Nihil sine ratione faciendum est.

Quam bene valere, melius in vita nihil.

Aut Caesar aut nihil.

Nihil amantibus durum est.

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