Chapter 10: Turning Latin Verbs into Latin Nouns

§72. The Perfect Participle Base + suffix -URA as Abstract Noun

Alongside these abstract nouns in -io, Latin could form other abstract nouns from the very same perfect participle bases, using the suffix -ura (> E -ure). Thus, from the perfect participle captus, there developed two nouns, captio and captura, both meaning “the act (or process) of taking.” In English, of course, caption and capture are very different words; but the semantic force of the -io and -ura endings is so similar in Latin that it is hardly worth while trying to see any contrast in connotation between those suffixes. For some perfect participles, we may have as many as three different Latin nouns, all extremely close in meaning. Just consider, from stare, status (“stand”), the forms status, statio, and statura, all of which denote some kind of “standing”; their derivatives status, station, and stature have become usefully differentiated in English. The perfect participle of jungere, junctus (“join”) is the source of English joint (junctus), junction (junctio), and juncture (junctura)—three synonymous words in English.

Here are some more familiar examples of this -ura suffix:

frangere, fractus (“break”) fractura (“a breaking”) fracture
gerere, gestus (“bear”) gestura (“a bearing”) gesture
legere, lectus (“read”) lectura (“a reading”) lecture
nasci, natus (“be born”) natura (“a being born”) nature
pascere, pastus (“feed,” “tend”) pastura (“a feeding”) pasture
rapere, raptus (“seize”) raptura(“a seizing”) rapture
rumpere, ruptus (“burst”) ruptura (“a burstng”) rupture
scribere, scriptus (“write”) scriptura (“a writing”) scriptura
struere, structus (“build”) structura (“a building”) structure

From jacere, jactus (“throw”) comes the form conjectura, E conjecture (“a throwing together”). Aperire, apertus (“open”) is the source of apertura, E aperture; a very different kind of “opening” is the surprising doublet overture.[1]

  1. Cf. L apertus > F ouvert > E overt. Similarly, L co-opertus (“covered over”) became E covert.


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Greek and Latin Roots: Part I - Latin Copyright © 2016 by Peter Smith (Estate) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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