Etymology
Advertisement
Latin (adj.)

Old English latin "in Latin," from Latin Latinus "Latin, Roman, in Latin," literally "belonging to Latium," the region of Italy around Rome, a name of uncertain origin. Possibly from PIE root *stela- "to spread, extend," with a sense of "flat country" (as opposed to the mountainous district of the Sabines), or from a prehistoric non-IE language. Old folk etymology connected it with Latin latere "to lie hidden," and a fable of Saturn.

The Latin word also is the source of Spanish and Italian ladino, Dutch latijn, German latein, Irish Gaelic laidionn (n.), Polish lacina, Russian latuinŭ. The more common form in Old English was læden (see Latin (n.)).

In reference to the Roman Catholic Church, 1550s. Used as a designation for "people whose languages descend from Latin" (1856), hence Latin America (1862). The Latin Quarter (French Quartier latin) of Paris, on the south (left) bank of the Seine, was the site of university buildings in the Middle Ages, hence it was the place where Latin was spoken. The surname Latimer means "interpreter," literally "a speaker of Latin."

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Latin (n.)
"the language of the (ancient) Romans," Old English latin "Latin, the language of the Romans; any foreign language," from Latin latinium "the Latin language," noun use of the adjective latinius (see Latin (adj.)). The more common form in Old English was læden, from Vulgar Latin *ladinum, which probably was deformed by influence of Old English leoden "language." For "the Latin language" Old English also had lædenspræc.

In Old French the word was used very broadly, "speech, language:" "What Latin was to the learned, that their tongue was to laymen; hence latino was used for any dialect, even Arabic and the language of birds ...." [Donkin, "Etymological Dictionary of the Romance Languages," 1864].

Roughly speaking, Old Latin is the Latin before the classical period including early authors and inscriptions. Classical Latin flourished from about 75 B.C.E. to about 200 C.E., the Latin of Lucretius, Catullus, Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Livy, Seneca, etc.; it is the standard Latin of the grammars and dictionaries. Late Latin followed the classical period to about 600 and includes the early church fathers. Medieval Latin was the Latin of the Middle Ages, from about 600 to 1500. Modern Latin is Latin as written from about 1500 on, largely by scientific writers in description and classification. Vulgar Latin was the speech of the Roman home and marketplace, going on concurrently under Classical and Late Latin.
Related entries & more 
Anglo-Latin (n.)
Medieval Latin as written in England, 1791, from Anglo- + Latin (n.).
Related entries & more 
Latin America 
1862; see Latin (adj.). The notion is the nations whose languages descend from Latin. Related: Latin American (adj.), 1871.
Related entries & more 
pig Latin (n.)

childish deformed language (there are many different versions), by 1889 (hog Latin in same sense is attested by 1807).

The animals play quite an important part in the naming [of children's languages], as the hog, dog, fly, goose, pigeon, pig, all give names, with Mr. Hog leading. Among the names the Latins take the lead, and Hog Latin leads the list, being accredited as naming nearly as many languages as all the other names combined. Besides Hog Latin, there is Dog Latin, Pig Latin, Goose Latin, and Bum Latin. Then there is Greekish and Peddlers' French and Pigeon English. ... Very few can give any reason for the naming of the languages. In fact, no one can fully say where the great majority of names came from, for in most cases in the naming the following pretty well expresses the difficulty: "It was born before I was. I can't tell how young I was when I first heard of it." ["The Secret Language of Children," in The North Western Monthly, October 1897]

For the language itself, compare loucherbem, a 20c. French slang similar to pig Latin, which takes its name from the form of the word boucher in that language (which is said to have originated among the Paris butchers).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Latinism (n.)
"a Latin idiom or expression," 1560s, from Latin (n.) + -ism.
Related entries & more 
Latian (adj.)
1590s, "of or pertaining to Latium (see Latin).
Related entries & more 
Latinity (n.)
1610s, "pure Latin style," from Latin latinitas, from Latinus (see Latin (adj.)). From 1880 as "the civil rights of ancient Latins."
Related entries & more 
Ladin (n.)
Rhaeto-Romanic dialect spoken in Switzerland and Tyrol, 1873, from Rhaeto-Romanic Ladin (Italian Ladino), from Latin Latinus "Latin" (see Latin (adj.)).
Related entries & more 
Latino- 
prefix in use from 1939 as a combining form of Latin, from ablative of Latin latinus. By 1958 as a combining form from Latino.
Related entries & more