The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Used Forms of Latin Incohative Verbs1

O. A. W. Dilkea1

a1 University of Glasgow

The grammarian Caesellius Vindex, writing under Trajan, criticized Furius Antias for his newly coined verbs lutescere, noctescere, opulescere and vīrescere. Their meanings in classical Latin are classified by Nicolaie as follows: (a) becoming, (b) the intensification of a quality, (c) the acquisition of a quality. Their number increases in post-classical Latin, in which we also find them used causatively as transitive verbs, e.g. innotescere ‘make known’; Gellius' causative use of inolesco is mentioned below. Incohative verbs descend to Romance languages, where forms in -o and in -sco both contribute to some conjugations, e.g. Fr. finir, finissant; It. finire, finisco, and to English (‘finish’).


1 The writer is indebted to Professor C. J. Fordyce for many suggestions.