From tam (so) +‎ -tus (adjectival/adverbial ending); compare quantus, intus, subtus.

One alternate etymology supposes direct continuation from Proto-Indo-European *teh₂-n̥t-os.[1]





tantus (feminine tanta, neuter tantum); first/second-declension adjective

  1. of such size, of such measure
  2. so much, so great, such, so many
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid 1.33:
      Tantae mōlis erat Rōmānam condere gentem.
      Of such great effort was it to found the Roman people.
      or, It was so great a burden to found the Roman race.

      (The gods conspire and humans suffer to found what will become an empire; i.e., so great the effort, so great the achievement.)

Usage notes

  • Being naturally an adjective, tantus was then used substantively as tantum (frequently with genitive) to mean "so much of", "so many of"; as tantī (pretiī) to mean "so high (a price)" [called the genitive of indefinite value]; adverbially as tantum to mean "so much", "to such degree" (cf. tam); as tantō to mean "by so much". For all these quantus has its coordinate functions.



First/second-declension adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative tantus tanta tantum tantī tantae tanta
Genitive tantī tantae tantī tantōrum tantārum tantōrum
Dative tantō tantō tantīs
Accusative tantum tantam tantum tantōs tantās tanta
Ablative tantō tantā tantō tantīs
Vocative tante tanta tantum tantī tantae tanta

Derived terms





  1. ^ De Vaan, Michiel (2008) “tam”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 606
  • tantus”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • tantus”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • tantus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • the frost set in so severely that..: tanta vis frigoris insecuta est, ut
    • under such unfavourable circumstances: in tanta rerum (temporum) iniquitate
    • he had such an extraordinary memory that..: memoria tanta fuit, ut
    • (ambiguous) this much is certain: hoc (not tantum) certum est
    • (ambiguous) to take only enough food to support life: tantum cibi et potionis adhibere quantum satis est
    • (ambiguous) I will only say this much..: tantum or unum illud or hoc dico