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Beginners' Latin
Watermills, detail from map of Chertsey, Surrey. 1422-84. Cat ref: E 164/25 f 222. Copyright, unknown

Lesson 11: Fourth and fifth declension nouns; days of the week

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Fifth declension nouns

This is the smallest declension. Fifth declension nouns

  • Usually end ‘-es’ in the nominative singular
  • End ‘-ei’ in the genitive singular
  • Are feminine except dies and words based on dies
  • Have endings characterised by the letter ‘e’

You are likely to come across two feminine fifth declension nouns:

fides faith
res a thing

Endings of fifth declension nouns

Case Singular Plural
Nominative -es -es
Vocative -es -es
Accusative -em -es
Genitive -ei -erum
Dative -ei -ebus
Ablative -e -ebus

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Look at our example of res (f.) thing

Case Singular Plural
Nominative res res
Vocative res res
Accusative rem res
Genitive rei rerum
Dative rei rebus
Ablative re rebus

in cuius rei testimonium huic testamento meum sigillum apposui In witness of which [thing] I have affixed my seal to this will testimonium, -ii (n.) witnessGlossary - opens in a new window,
testimony
sigillum , -i (n.) sealGlossary - opens in a new window
appono, -ere,
-posui, -positum (3) to
affix
fidei defensor defender of the faith  
defensor, defensoris (m.) defender  

Tip Tip
If you have any British coins, take a look at them – you will probably see these words, although they may be abbreviated to ‘FD’.

dies, diei (m.) day
meridies, meridiei (m.) midday, south

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dies and words based on dies are the only fifth declension nouns that are masculine.
dies takes the same endings as res.

Anna sine die est Anna is without a day [for a hearing in court] Anna, -e (f.) Anna
Maria habet diem coram justiciariis regis Mary has a day before the king’s justices  
agricola domino laborat per tres dies the farmer works for the lord for three days  
ante meridiem before noon (where the English ‘a.m.’ comes from)  
post meridiem after noon (where the English ‘p.m.’comes from)

Checklist Checklist:
Are you confident with:
The characteristics of fifth declension nouns?
How to decline res?

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