Re: Strange starup item

bok118@xxxxxxxxx (Gerard Bok) wrote in

>>I do not know what Latin dictionary you are using (please cite it!),
>>but if it gives a plural for virus it is wrong. There is NO occurence
>>of a plural use of "virus" in classical Latin texts (or medieval ones
>>either, but my knowledge there is more sparse).
> It's 'latijns nederlands woordenboek' by drs. h.h. mallinckrodt,
> edition Aula - Spectrum, 1969. (all-lowercase titles where common
> then :-)
> If you care, I can email you the page :-)

Thank you for the citation; however, I am unacquainted with that
(Dutch?) text.

The thing about the Latin word "virus" is that, even in Latin, it is
unusual. It is second declension, neuter (not masculine, as the
ending would suggest) - this makes it only one of a handful of such
nouns that have masculine endings but are neuter in gender.

The word in Latin means "poison" or "venom" and is a "noun of extent."
By that I mean that it does not "multiplicity" as an attribute and so
there is no plural for the noun. A similar case in English would be
something like "oxygen." You can have a little oxygen, or a lot of
oxygen, but not many "oxygens."

An interesting and useful discussion can be found at: