Latin numbers (edit)
 ←  900 M
    Cardinal: mīlle
    Ordinal: mīllēsimus
    Adverbial: mīlliēns, mīlliēs
    Distributive: mīllēnus



From mīlle (thousand) +‎ -ēnus.



mīllēnus (feminine mīllēna, neuter mīllēnum); first/second-declension numeral

  1. (in the plural) one thousand each; one thousand at a time
    • c. 160 CE, Gaius, Institutiones 2.225.7:
      qui enim verbi gratia quinque milium [a]eris patrimonium habebat, poterat quinque hominibus singulis millenos asses legando totum patrimonium erogare.
      • 1874 translation by J. T. Abdy and Bryan Walker
        For a man who had, for instance, a patrimony of five thousand asses, could expend his whole patrimony by bequeathing a thousand asses to each of five men.
    • 399 CE – 419 CE, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, On the Trinity 4.4:
      Ea quippe nunc aetas agitur siue milleni anni singulis distribuantur aetatibus, siue in diuinis litteris memorabiles atque insignes quasi articulos temporum uestigemus ut prima aetas inueniatur ab Adam usque ad Noe, inde secunda usque ad Abraham, et deinceps sicut Matthaeus euangelista distinxit ab Abraham usque ad Dauid, a Dauid usque ad transmigrationem in Babyloniam, atque inde usque ad uirginis partum.
      For that is now the present age, whether a thousand years apiece are assigned to each age, or whether we trace out memorable and remarkable epochs or turning-points of time in the divine Scriptures, so that the first age is to be found from Adam until Noah, and the second thence onwards to Abraham, and then next, after the division of Matthew the evangelist, from Abraham to David, from David to the carrying away to Babylon, and from thence to the travail of the Virgin, which three ages joined to those other two make five.

Usage notes


This is part of the Latin series of distributive numerals. These numerals are inflected as first/second-declension adjectives; in Classical Latin, they typically accompany plural nouns (with which they agree in case and gender) and have the following functions:

  • to express the sense “[numeral] [noun]s each/apiece”, as in hominis digiti ternos articulos habent, “a man’s fingers have three joints each” (Pliny the Elder, Natural History 11.244.3).
  • to express multiplication after a numeral adverb,[1] as in Gallinaciis enim pullis bis deni dies opus sunt, pavoninis ter noveni "hens' [eggs] need twice ten days, peahens' thrice nine" (Marcus Terentius Varro, Res Rusticae 3.9.10)
  • to express the sense of cardinal numerals when used with pluralia tantum (plural-only nouns) such as castra "camp":[1] for example, "twelve camps" is expressed by duodēna castra (Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.105.5). Distributive forms are regularly used in this context for the number 2 and for all numbers greater than 4. For 1, plural-only nouns are used with plural inflected forms of the cardinal ūnus (one), as in ūnae scālae "one flight of stairs" (rather than with forms of the distributive numeral singulus). For 3 and 4, plural-only nouns are used with the plural inflected forms of trīnus[2] and quadrīnus, as in trīna castra "three camps" (rather than with forms of ternus and quaternus, which tend to be used in distributive function[3]).

These adjectives do not normally occur in the singular.[4] Because of this, many grammars and dictionaries treat them as plural-only words and refer to them using the nominative masculine plural form in , rather than the nominative masculine singular form in -us (which is often unattested in Classical Latin). However, some of these adjectives are attested in the singular in Classical Latin poetry[1] (e.g. Sed neque Centauri fuerunt, nec tempore in ullo / esse queunt duplici natura et corpore bino..., Titus Lucretius Carus, De Rerum Natura 5.879, and Sic tu bis fueris consul, bis consul et ille, / inque domo binus conspicietur honor, Publius Ovidius Naso, Epistulae ex Ponto 4.9.64; "corpore bino" here seems to have the sense of "twofold body", and "binus ... honor" the sense of "double/dual/twofold honor"). Singular forms are also attested in postclassical Latin, where these adjectives sometimes have non-distributive meanings (taking an ordinal, cardinal, or collective sense instead). These alternative senses are sometimes continued by Romance descendants (e.g. Spanish noveno (ninth) from Latin novēnus).

The genitive plural of singulus is usually singulōrum/singulārum, but distributive numerals greater than one commonly use short genitive plural forms ending in -um rather than the longer forms ending in -ōrum and -ārum.[4][2]



First/second-declension adjective (distributive, normally plural-only; short genitive plurals in -num preferred).

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative mīllēnus mīllēna mīllēnum mīllēnī mīllēnae mīllēna
Genitive mīllēnī mīllēnae mīllēnī mīllēnum
Dative mīllēnō mīllēnō mīllēnīs
Accusative mīllēnum mīllēnam mīllēnum mīllēnōs mīllēnās mīllēna
Ablative mīllēnō mīllēnā mīllēnō mīllēnīs
Vocative mīllēne mīllēna mīllēnum mīllēnī mīllēnae mīllēna

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Henry John Roby (1876) A Grammar of the Latin Language from Plautus to Suetonius, volume 1, pages 443-444
  2. 2.0 2.1 J. P. Postgate (1907) “The so-called Distributives in Latin”, in The Classical Review, volume 21, number 7, page 201
  3. ^ S. E. Jackson (1909) “Indogermanic Numerals”, in The Classical Review, volume 23, number 7, page 164
  4. 4.0 4.1 Karl Gottlob Zumpt (1853) Leonhard Schmitz, Charles Anthon, transl., A Grammar of the Latin Language, 3rd edition, page 101

Further reading

  • milleni”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • millenus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.