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Borrowed from Latin clāvus (a nail). Doublet of clove.


clavus (plural clavuses or clavi)

  1. A callous growth, especially on the foot; a corn.
    • 1988, Shepard R. Hurwitz, Foot and ankle pain (page 331)
      In a review of over 1000 interdigital clavuses, 65% were found in the fourth interspace, while the first and third web space clavuses were found in 17% and 16% of the patients respectively []



From Proto-Italic *klāwos, from Proto-Indo-European *kleh₂u- (nail, pin, hook - instruments, of old use for locking doors). Cognate with Ancient Greek κλείς (kleís, key) and Old Church Slavonic ключь (ključĭ, key). Latin clāvis (key) is either a secondary i-stem derivation, or a loanword from Ancient Greek κληΐς (klēḯs).



clāvus m (genitive clāvī); second declension

  1. a nail (metal spike)
  2. rudder
  3. helm (of a boat)
  4. purple stripe on the tunic
  5. callus, wart, tumor


Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative clāvus clāvī
Genitive clāvī clāvōrum
Dative clāvō clāvīs
Accusative clāvum clāvōs
Ablative clāvō clāvīs
Vocative clāve clāvī

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Related termsEdit



  • clavus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • clavus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • clavus in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • clavus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to hold the reins of government: clavum rei publicae tenere
    • to steer: clavum tenere
  • clavus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • clavus in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin