Of uncertain origin. May stem from Proto-Indo-European *h₃erbʰis ‎(circle, orb), or alternatively *h₃erǵʰi-.



orbis m ‎(genitive orbis); third declension

  1. circle, ring
  2. a circular motion
  3. a rotation
  4. a disc or disc-shaped object
  5. the Earth, the world, the globe [often written as orbis terrarum]
    totus orbis terrarum
    the whole wide world


Third declension, alternative ablative singular in and accusative plural in -īs.

Case Singular Plural
nominative orbis orbēs
genitive orbis orbium
dative orbī orbibus
accusative orbem orbēs
ablative orbe
vocative orbis orbēs

Derived termsEdit




  • orbis in Charlton T. Lewis & Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • orbis in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • ORBIS in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)
  • orbis” in Félix Gaffiot (1934), Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Paris: Hachette.
  • Meissner, Carl; Auden, Henry William (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • the earth; the glob: orbis terrae, terrarum
    • the horizon: orbis finiens (Div. 2. 44. 92)
    • the milky way: orbis lacteus
    • the zodiac: orbis signifer
    • a zone: orbis, pars (terrae), cingulus
    • the temperate zone: orbis medius
    • the empire reaches to the ends of the world: imperium orbis terrarum terminis definitur
    • to form a square: orbem facere (Sall. Iug. 97. 5)
    • to form a square: in orbem consistere
  • orbis in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • Watkins, Calvert, ed., The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.