Alternative formsEdit


From Proto-Italic *merks (compare Faliscan 𐌌𐌄𐌓𐌂𐌖𐌉 (mercui, dative), Oscan 𐌌𐌄𐌓𐌉𐌊𐌖𐌉 (merikui,, names of deities), of uncertain etymology. De Vaan relates this word to Mercurius, deriving them both from a root referring to various aspects of economics, which he presumes to have an Etruscan origin.[1]

However, in the 2020s, Nikolaev and Matasović independently proposed Indo-European etymologies for merx. Both derivations assume that the simple -c- in the oblique cases was analogically levelled based on the nominative singular, as all velars merged to *-k- when immediately preceding the nominative singular *-s in Italic.



merx f (genitive mercis); third declension

  1. merchandise, commodity
  2. goods, wares


Third-declension noun (i-stem).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative merx mercēs
Genitive mercis mercium
Dative mercī mercibus
Accusative mercem mercēs
Ablative merce mercibus
Vocative merx mercēs

Derived termsEdit


  • Basque: merke
  • Catalan: esmerçar
  • Italian: merce
  • Portuguese: merce
  • Sicilian: merci


  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 376
  2. ^ Nikolaev, Alexander (2021), “Etyma Graeca II”, in Indo-European Linguistics and Classical Philology, issue 25, Institute for Linguistic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, →DOI, →ISSN, pages 953–976
  3. ^ Matasović, Ranko (June 30, 2022), “Four Latin Etymologies: volgus, laedo, paedor, merx”, in Latina et Graeca[1] (in hr), volume 2, issue 41, →ISSN, retrieved September 18, 2022, pages 7–16
  4. ^ Kloekhorst, Alwin (2008), “mārk-i / mark-”, in Etymological Dictionary of the Hittite Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 5), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, pages 558–559
  5. ^ Puhvel, Jaan (2004) Hittite Etymological Dictionary (Trends in linguistics. Documentation; 22), volume 6, Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, page 74

Further readingEdit

  • merx”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • merx”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • merx in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette
  • Carl Meißner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[2], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • (ambiguous) the stipulated reward for anything: pacta merces alicuius rei
    • (ambiguous) to set out goods for sale: exponere, proponere merces (venales)
  • merchant in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911