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124. The Comparative is regularly formed by adding -ior (neuter -ius),1 the Superlative by adding -issimus (-a, -um), to the stem of the Positive, which loses its final vowel:—

Note.--A form of diminutive is made upon the stem of some comparatives: as, grandius-culus, a little larger (see § 243).

cārus, dear (stem cāro-); cārior, dearer; cārissimus, dearest.
levis, light (stem levi-); levior, lighter; levissimus, lightest.
fēlīx, happy (stem fēlīc-); fēlīcior, happier; fēlīcissimus, happiest.
hebes, dull (stem hebet-); hebetior, duller; hebetissimus, dullest.

a. Participles when used as adjectives are regularly compared:—

  1. patiēns, patient; patientior, patientissimus.
  2. apertus, open; apertior, apertissimus.

1 The comparative suffix (earlier -iōs) is akin to the Greek -ίων, or the Sanskrit -iyans. That of the superlative (-issimus) is a double form of uncertain origin. It appears to contain the is- of the old suffix -is-to-s (seen in ἥδ-ιστο-ς and English sweetest) and also the old -mo-s (seen in prī-mus, mini-mus , etc.). The endings -limus and -rimus are formed by assimilation (§ 15. 6) from -simus. The comparative and superlative are really new stems, and are not strictly to be regarded as forms of inflection.

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