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Classical Home School Lesson: Latin Nouns

Titvs Classics delivers the Latin word of the week along with questions to engage with your kids on how the word is used, what it means, and how it influences our English Language today. Sign up for our Newsletter today!

Flecto – I bend, modify

Picture of Roman Aqueducts

This week’s word of the week is Flecto. Flecto is Indicative, present, 1st person and singular. It means “I bend, modify”. This is where we get the English word Inflect.

Latin Case System

The Latin Language is considered an inflected language. This mean the words change form to reflect how they are used in a sentence. We do this in English too! “I” becomes “me”, and “he” becomes “him” depending on how we are using the word.

You may notice at the start of each newsletter I talk about the case and declension or tense of the word – but what does that really mean? In a past newsletter I wrote about the five characteristics of Latin Verbs . But what about Latin nouns? There are about five (eh – six) different declensions of Latin words.

Latin Declensions

Latin Nouns change their endings to indicate how the word should be used. The names of the different endings are as follows:

Nominative (coming from the Latin word for name) is the naming case.

Genitive (resulting in the English word generic) comes from the Latin word “giving birth” – this would be like the English word “of” – this is a possessive noun.

Dative, coming from the Latin word for giving (think about the English words “to” or “for”)

Accusative, where we get the English word accusing, meaning “produced by a cause, effected’“ This would be the direct object of a sentence

Ablative – coming from the Latin word meaning “ that from which something is taken away” This would be our English words “ by, with, or from”

And finally, Vocative meaning “for calling” used to address people.


When think about the word Canis for example – Canis is 3rd declension nominative, singular. It is the name of the object (dog).

Canis is also the genitive – it would be “____ of dog”

Cani is dative – “____ to dog”

Canem is Accusative, “the dog ______” or as in the above picture “beware of the dog”

Ablative is Cane – “by/with/from the dog”

These endings are just for if there is one dog. Memoria Press has a great reference guide for the other declensions hereThis webpage is also a great resource in understanding Latin declensions.

Source: Quid Pro Quo what Latin really gave the English Language

English Derivatives

  • Deflect- Verb. Meaning: To bend or turn aside
  • Flexible – Adjective. Meaning: Capable of being bent without breaking
  • Inflection – Noun. Meaning: Modulation of the voice, change in pitch, the paradigm of a word (flection)
  • Reflect- Verb. Meaning: To cast back light, heat, sound, from a surface. To give back and image
  • Reflex – Adjective. Meaning: Occurring in reaction’; responsive
  • Flexor  Noun. Meaning: a muscle that serves to flex or bend a part of the body
  • Genuflect – Verb.Meaning: To express a servile attitude.

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Check out our coloring books for more Latin fun!

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