See also: Navis, nāvis, and nāvīs


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Etymology 1

nāvis birēmis (bireme ship)

From Proto-Indo-European *néh₂us, cognate with Ancient Greek ναῦς (naûs, ship), Armenian նավ (nav, ship or boat), Persian ناو (nâv), and Sanskrit नौ (nau, ship).

Alternative forms

  • nauis (typographical variant)





nāvis f (genitive nāvis); third declension, i-stem

  1. ship, boat, vessel; a fleet in the plural
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid 1.120–122:
      Iam validam Īlioneī nāvem, iam fortis Achātī,
      et quā vectus Abās, et quā grandaevus Alētēs,
      vīcit hiems [...].
      Now the sturdy ship of Ilioneus, now [the ship] of brave Achates, and [that ship] by which Abas has been carried, and [that ship] by which old Aletes [has been carried]: the storm defeats [them all].
      (The storm at sea destroys the Trojan fleet; the passage exemplifies ellipsis, since it refers to four different ships, yet uses the word “navem” only once.)
    • c. 65 CE, Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium 5.43.2:
      Nāvis, quae in flūmine magna est, in marī parvula est.
      A ship, which is big in a river, is tiny in a sea.
  2. nave (middle or body of a church)

Third-declension noun (i-stem, accusative singular in -em or -im, ablative singular in -e or ).

Case Singular Plural
Nominative nāvis nāvēs
Genitive nāvis nāvium
Dative nāvī nāvibus
Accusative nāvem
Ablative nāve
Vocative nāvis nāvēs
Derived terms
  • Aromanian: nai
  • Asturian: nave
  • Friulian: nâf, nâv
  • Galician: nave
  • Italian: nave
    • Slavomolisano: nava
  • Old French: nef, naf, nau
    • Middle French: nef, nau (Parisian dialect)
      • French: nef (obsolete or poetic)
        • Breton: nev
        • English: nef
      • Norman: nef
    • Poitevin-Saintongeais: nau
  • Old Occitan: nau
  • Piedmontese: nav
  • Portuguese: nave
  • Romanian: naie, navă
  • Romansch: nav, nev
  • Sardinian: nae, nai, nave, navi
  • Sicilian: navi
  • Spanish: nave
  • Venetian: nave
  • English: nave
  • Ido: navo

Etymology 2


Inflected form of nāvus (active, diligent).






  1. dative/ablative masculine/feminine/neuter plural of nāvus


  • navis”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • navis”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • navis in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • navis in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to have a powerful navy: navibus plurimum posse
    • much damage was done by this collision: ex eo navium concursu magnum incommodum est acceptum
    • (ambiguous) a cutter: navis actuaria
    • (ambiguous) a man-of-war: navis longa
    • (ambiguous) a transport or cargo-boat: navis oneraria
    • (ambiguous) a merchantman: navis mercatoria
    • (ambiguous) to build a ship, a fleet: navem, classem aedificare, facere, efficere, instituere
    • (ambiguous) to equip a boat, a fleet: navem (classem) armare, ornare, instruere
    • (ambiguous) to launch a boat: navem deducere (vid. sect. XII. 1, note Notice too...)
    • (ambiguous) to haul up a boat: navem subducere (in aridum)
    • (ambiguous) to repair a boat: navem reficere
    • (ambiguous) to embark: navem conscendere, ascendere
    • (ambiguous) to embark an army: exercitum in naves imponere (Liv. 22. 19)
    • (ambiguous) ships of last year: naves annotinae
    • (ambiguous) to weigh anchor, sail: navem (naves) solvere
    • (ambiguous) the ships sail from the harbour: naves ex portu solvunt
    • (ambiguous) to row: navem remis agere or propellere
    • (ambiguous) to row hard: navem remis concitare, incitare
    • (ambiguous) to back water: navem retro inhibere (Att. 13. 21)
    • (ambiguous) the ship strikes on the rocks: navis ad scopulos alliditur (B. C. 3. 27)
    • (ambiguous) to land (of people): appellere navem (ad terram, litus)
    • (ambiguous) to make fast boats to anchors: naves ad ancoras deligare (B. G. 4. 29)
    • (ambiguous) to make fast boats to anchors: naves (classem) constituere (in alto)
    • (ambiguous) to land, disembark: exire ex, de navi
    • (ambiguous) the admiral's ship; the flagship: navis praetoria (Liv. 21. 49)
    • (ambiguous) to clear for action: navem expedire
    • (ambiguous) to charge, ram a boat: navem rostro percutere
    • (ambiguous) to board and capture a boat: navem expugnare
    • (ambiguous) to sink a ship, a fleet: navem, classem deprimere, mergere
    • (ambiguous) to throw grappling irons on board; to board: copulas, manus ferreas (in navem) inicere
    • (ambiguous) to throw grappling irons on board; to board: in navem (hostium) transcendere
    • (ambiguous) to capture a boat: navem capere, intercipere, deprehendere
  • navis”, in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898), Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • navis”, in William Smith et al., editor (1890), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin