A Dictionary of Latin from Petrarch to 1700



Basics: A short introduction to the Neolatin Wordlist (NLW) in English

This page is intended as a short explanation of the internet-site of the NLW. There is a German version, which is much longer, more detailed, and updated at regular intervals.

The NLW attempts to chart (a part of) the semantic development of Latin between approx. 1300 and 1700. For the purposes of the NLW, Neolatin is understood as the phase of the development of Latin which began under the influence of the linguistic ideals of humanism, aiming at the recovery of the languages and culture of classical antiquity. It started in Italy at the age of Petrarch, and spread slowly to other countries, arriving in the Scandinavian countries together with the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Along this way, Neolatin underwent several metamorphoses, most notably as a consequence of the invention of printing (for examples see here). The NLW focuses on new or rare words and on terms which are noteworthy for other reasons, e.g. because they designate concepts of importance for European culture (such as the terms renascentia and modernus), because they influence or are influenced by the vernacular (e.g. penosus, nouella), etc. The contents of the NLW are the result of my own reading and a database of Neolatin texts, which at the moment comprises about two million wordforms (including numbers and mistakes).

The easiest way to access the NLW is via the address 'www.neulatein.de'. The internet-site of the NLW consists of an start page with links to the introduction (GRVNDLAGEN), to this text, a list of people who have contributed to the NLW (BEITRÄGER), and to the dictionary proper (LEMMATA, GRUPPEN, INDEX INVERSVS, zitierte AUTOREN). You can access any letter directly by clicking on a letter in the letter-square.

start page

The content of the NLW is presented in three frames. To the left is a list of all the words (lemmata) treated in the NLW. The lemmata are ordered according to three principles. The standard view is alphabetical after the initials (LEMMATA). Also there is a reverse index (INDEX INVERSVS), allowing for studies of Neolatin word formation (note: the colour-coding of coninciding word endings is done automatically and may be nonsense, as far as linguistics are concerned). A part of the lemmata is organized in thematic groups (GRUPPEN). All three views can be accessed either from the start page or from the links at the bottom of each lemma in the central frame (LEMMALISTE, GRUPPE: ..., INDEX INVERSVS). Note: a link to the thematic group will only appear if the lemma in fact belongs to a group. The letters of the regular and inverse lists can be called up by clicking on the 'letter rectangle' at the top (a click on the red 'NLW' returns you to the start page).

dictionary-view ('letter-rectangle' in the top left-hand corner)

In the right column there is the list of abbreviations of authors, with links at the top to various abbreviations (ABKÜRZUNGEN) and literature quoted (LITERATUR). The works of the authors can be viewed by clicking on the name of an author. This will open a new window. Depending on the configuration of your browser you may have to explicitely allow this behaviour.

Note to Firefox 2-users: The popup-window is supposed to come to the foreground everytime you click on a name in the right column. In Firefox 2 you have to allow this behaviour by setting "dom. disable_window_flip" to "false" in "about:config" (tip from oxodesign at www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=486443). No solution so far for Opera 9.

links to abbreviations and literature in the right top corner

In the middle there appear the word-articles. At the end of the word-articles there is (or will be) an indication of their lexicographical status; for classical Latin I mostly use the Thesaurus linguae Latinae (TLL) and Georges, for Medieval Latin (for practical reasons) Niermeyer and Latham (a complete list of the dictionaries used is under literature). The following categories are used:
TLL   word and meaning exist in the TLL (if significant, the frequency and individual authors and passages are given).
TLL*   the word exists, I have not checked for conincidence of meaning (the most frequent category).
TLL 0   the word does not appear in the TLL (sometimes related lemmata are added in brackets).
GEORGES temporalis 0   the word appears, but not in this meaning, usage, etc. (e.g. under Aeschuleus the indication TLL Aeschylus 0 (Aeschyleus) indicates that the sublemma Aeschuleus does not appear under the entry for Aeschylus; the TLL does however have the orthographically related form Aeschyleus).

There is a search function in each column for lemma-words, full text of the word-articles, and authors (full text). The search does not distinguish between u/v, i/j, ae/oe/e, nm/mm, thus allowing for some of the vagaries of Neolatin orthography (for the details please consult the German introduction). Results of the search appear in the left or middle columns and contain (underlined) links to the found entries.

The HTML-code of the NLW is regularly tested with Opera, Firefox and IExplorer. For full functionality javascript has to be enabled. The text is coded in Unicode (extended glyphs for Greek). The dictionary is updated at frequent intervals; the date of the last update as well as statistics appear in the middle column, when you first access the NLW. For copyright and restrictions of use please consult the 'Impressum'. All suggestions for improvements of style and contents are very welcome.

Dr. Johann Ramminger
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae
Goppelstrasse 11
ehem. Marstallplatz 8
D-80539 München



Last changed: 10 June 2008.