lacrimabila vs lacrimosa

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by anurocyon, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. anurocyon New Member

    Dear Latin speakers,

    Could you, please, explain the difference in the usage of lacrimabila and lacrimosa? More specifically, I need the most fitting word to describe an exceptional ability of a female to shed much tears. Both words seem to have emotional connotations, but which of the two is more neutral, i.e. focused on the physiological process of producing tears?

    Many thanks.
  2. Starfrown

    Starfrown Senior Member

    Columbia, SC
    English - US
    Lacrimabilis means "worthy of tears," "lamentable," "mournful," whereas lacrimosa means "full of tears," "tearful," "weeping." Lacrimosa may also designate that which excites to tears, and in this sense is very similar in meaning to lacrimabilis.

    Of these two words, it seems to me that lacrimosa is closer to what you are describing, but I'm not sure you could use it with merely a physical meaning. Are you talking about a medical condition or something like that?
  3. anurocyon New Member

    Thank you very much for your reply! Yes, the context is rather close to medicine (biological taxonomy, to be exact). Now I see I should choose lacrimosa. Also thanks for the spelling correction.
  4. anurocyon New Member

    It's me again. Just found yet another word, lacrimabunda. According to Oxford Latin Dictionary (1968), it stands for "weeping", "in tears", and seems devoid of any reference to the causes of weeping. Etymologically, it looks like "abundant with tears", which is the exact meaning I need. How does it sound to your ears?

    P.S. It will be a new species name for the animal with an increased function of the lacrimal gland. (The word should agree with the genus name, which is a feminine noun).
  5. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member

    Hi, yes and no.
    I feel that the suffix «bundus», although probably etymologically connected to «abundant» is actually used to describe a subjective point of view regarding the stem of the word. (consider «furibund», which means «mad with anger», a rather subjective qualifier), and the definition of «lacrimabundus» is «bursting into tears», which is accurate, in my opinion.
    «lacrimabilis» means something that is worth that you weep for. It stems from «lacrimare» : to weep, not from «lacrima», a tear.
    «lacrimosus» does not fit either : the suffix «osus» is used to buils too subjective adjectives.

    I think that you need something that means «producing tears» in a objective and neutral way.
    For scientific latin, you do not need to come up with a word that exists in a dictionary, you can make up your own words :
    «lacrimífica» : «tear maker» (like «apis mellifica» : «honey maker bee».)
    Adjectives are easier to coin in greek:
    «dacryógonus» (those latinized Greek adjectives end in «us» even in the feminine.)
  6. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    You could simply use the present participle of lacrimare, namely lacrimans. This means 'weeping'.
    The form lacrimans is the same for masculine, feminine and neuter.

    Granted, it does not specifically say that the animal is more prone to tears than others, but it does highlight the tendency to weep. The fact that this species, unlike any other, has this name will sufficiently make the point.

    Compare alytes obstetricans, the midwife toad: here obstetricans is the present partciple of obstetricare, 'to act as midwife'.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  7. anurocyon New Member

    Fred_C and wandle , thank you very much for your insightful suggestions and comments. I will consider lacrimifica, lacrimans, and polydacryus as the most pertinent candidates. The former two are easier to pronounce and memorize, which is quite important for taxonomic names. The advantage of the latter seems to be in its emphasis on the increased function (much tears). Thanks again.
  8. anurocyon New Member

    I am close to choosing this beautiful word. Now I would like to ask, to avoid potential mistakes, if I could explain the etymology of polydacryus as:
    'producing much tears', from Ancient Greek πολυ (much) and δακρυ(tear).
  9. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    anurocyon may care to think here of the alternative polydacrys, rarer admittedly than polydacryus (πολυδἀκρυος), but more elegant for Linnaean usage.

    Happy Christmas.
  10. anurocyon New Member

    Привет! :)

    Many thanks for your advice. I am afraid that polydacrys is preoccupied by a genus of beetles, so the neologism polydacryus seems to be preferable.
    Amusingly, polydacrys in the role of a noun (genus name) turns into sniveller, I guess.

    Merry Christmas to you too.
  11. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    Another suggestion for anurocryon:

    How about simply dacryusa (δακρύουσα, "weeping")? Or, to gild the lily (lili inaurandi causa), polydacryusa?

  12. anurocyon New Member

    Thanks again. Excuse my ignorance, but is polydacryus a latinized πολυδακρύουσα? If so, I have two independent expert opinions in favour of this word :)
  13. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    No, polydacryus is a latinised form of Gk πολυδακρύος, which is a compound adjective; πολυδακρύουσα (transliterated as polydacryusa) is a feminine participial form, from the verb δάκρυω, "to weep"; but Greek allows compounding of words, rather like German and to a lesser extent English, so πολύ- can comfortably be used as an intensifying prefix. I hope this helps.
  14. anurocyon New Member

    Thank you, Scholiast, very much for making this difference clear to me.
    Do you think πολυδακρύος can be considered as already existing? If so, I should just mention it, without going into word formation. Is it OK to present the etymology of polydacryus as: from Ancient Greek πολυδακρύος (producing much tears)?
  15. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    English - British
    πολυδάκρυος does exist as an ancient Greek word, but the entry in LSJ Greek lexicon shows that its meaning is usually 'lamentable' or 'causing tears' in the sense 'making people weep'.

    In other words, it is mostly used to describe something that drives you to tears, or causes people much weeping.
    Thus Ares, the war-god is called 'polydacryos' because he causkes people great weeping.
    Battle is called 'polydacryos' for the same reason. Hades (the underworld) likewise is 'polydacryos'.

    There is one citation where a soul in Hades is 'polydacryos' which from the immediate context could mean either 'greatly weeping' or 'greatly lamented'.

    The shorter term 'polydacrys' likewise usually means 'much lamented' but has one clear citation meaning 'greatly weeping'. 'Polydacryos' has at best one citation which could mean 'greatly weeping'.

    So it seems somewhat doubtful for the sense you require.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  16. anurocyon New Member

    Wandle, thank you very much for sharing this important information.
    As one might expect, tears are too closely associated with suffering in humans (and their languages). I will try something more 'positive' as the basis for naming my species. :)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  17. Fred_C

    Fred_C Senior Member


    I knew that, but I did not mention it, because the definition given in the dictionary is not really a meaning, but a translation, rather.
    πολυδάκρυος (with the acute on the alpha), is a completely regularly formed adjective using the noun δάκρυ, and the adjectival suffix -ιος. this suffix is a productive suffix, which means that it can be used to coin any desired adjective. As a consequence, the meaning of the coined adjective cannot be something else than the plain «relative to many tears». This does not prevent the adjective from being used in many particular contexts, such as an epithet to Ares, but the translation as «lamentable» or «making people weep» is an interpretation of the plain meaning «Ares of much tears.»

    It is important to note that there are several domains in a language : morphology, syntax are domains of grammar, they are thoroughly studied in both ancient and live languages.
    Semantics is an important domain of the vocabulary. Unfortunately, this domain does not interest much the specialists of ancient languages, as opposed to the speakers of modern languages. The former often stick to translations given in the dictionaries.

    I cannot analyse the semantics of the other adjective «πολύδακρυς». I do not recognise the ending as a common suffix.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  18. anurocyon New Member

    Fred_C, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I like the idea of inferring the meanings, so to say, from the grammar, even without explicit support from the ancient texts. At least, this makes the classical languages alive.

    Thank you all very much!

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