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E , e , indecl. n. or (sc. littera)
I.fem., a vowel corresponding to both the ε and the η of the Greeks, Ter. Maur. p. 2386 P.; Aus. Idyll. de Litter. Monos. 3 and 4; Mart. Cap. 3, § 235. Its sound varied; short e being sounded sometimes like Engl. e in men (so in pater, inter, etc.), sometimes more nearly like short i, as in Engl. pin (so in famelia, mereto, Menerva, etc.); whence, in the literary language, it passed, in a large class of words, into ĭ (familia, merito, etc.), though retained in the popular speech, and oft. in inscriptions. Long e also varied in sound, often resembling the diphthong ae, with which it is constantly confounded in MSS. and inscrr. (cf. raeda and reda; saeculum and seculum; ceteri and caeteri, etc.), and often approaching the sound of ī (v. Corss. Ausspr. 1, 324 sqq.). The short e in Latin is the least emphatic of all the vowels; hence, it not only took the place of other vowels in changes of words where the sounds became weakened, and in the vulgar language where the vowel sounds were less sharply distinguished, but frequently took the place of a final syllable ending in a consonant, and was sometimes, especially at the end of words, rejected.
b. The transition of ă into ĕ (which took place especially before two consonants, whereas usually ă passed into ĭ in open syllables, v. art. A.) is seen in the compounds refello, commendo, ineptus, confercio, incestus, perpetior, etc. In some words the orthography is unsettled, as in the compounds of spargo, which are written sometimes aspergo, conspergo, dispergo, etc., and sometimes aspargo, conspargo, dispargo, etc.; as along with dispando the vulgar form dispenno also occurs. So in all the verbal reduplications, as cĕcidi, cĕcini, pĕperi, pĕpigi, tĕtigi; pĕperci, fĕfelli; dĕdi and stĕti (from cado, cano, pario, pango, tango, parco, fallo, DA and STA), whereas the vowels i, o, u remain unchanged in reduplication (bĭbi; mŏmordi; tŭtudi; for the anomalous forms in Gell. 7, 9, are certainly Graecized). As along with pĕpĭgi there also arose by syncope (in the Lat. lang. a predominating element in the formation of words) the perfect pēgi; so we may explain the perfect forms cēpi, fēci, jēci, frēgi, and ēgi, as syncopated from cĕcĭpi, fĕfĭci, jĕjĭci, frĕfĭgi, and ĕïgi (this last analogously with dēgo, from dēĭgo).
c. For i stands ĕ
(α). in the neuter forms of the adjectives in is (acre, agreste, facile, etc.).—
(β). In the nominative forms: aedes, apes, canes, etc. (for aedis, apis, canis, etc. v. h. vv.).—
(γ). In the dative forms: morte, jure dicundo, Dijove, Victore, etc. (cf. Neue, Formenl. 1, 192 sq.; and Quint. 1, 4, 17). —
(δ). In the nominatives in es, whose genitive has ĭtis.—(ε) In the nominatives from stems ending in c, b, p, t, n, etc., as, pollex, caelebs, princeps, comes, flumen, from pollic-, caelib-, princip-, comit-, flumin-; and (ζ) In the old and partly vulgar manner of writing and pronouncing: CEPET, EXEMET, NAVEBOS (Colum. Rostr.), FVET, DEDET, TEMPESTATEBVS, TIBE (Epit. of the Scipios), COMPROMESISE (S. C. de Bacch.), MENERVA, MAGESTER, HERE, VEA, VELLA, etc. (Quint. 1, 4, 8, and 17; Varr. R. R. 1, 2, 14; cf. Cic. de Or. 3, 12, 46). In the earliest period (before Plautus) ĕ was found in many words in which ĭ afterwards took its place; as: semul, fuet, mereto, tempestatebus, etc.— (η) It is prob. too that the abl. ĕ of the third declension proceeded from ī (or id); cf. Neue, Formenl. 1, 239 sqq.; Corss. Ausspr. 2, 241 sq.
d. It less freq. happens that o and u pass over into ĕ, as vello, ocellus, verto, vertex, vester, compared with vulsi, oculus, vorto, vortex, voster: generis from genus, societas from socius, etc.; and even for long u we have ĕ in dejĕro and pejĕro, from jūro.
e. The stem vowel o is weakened to ĕ in the vocative of nouns in us of the second declension; ĕ also represents o in the perf. and in pass. forms, such as scripsere, conabare, conabere, from scripserunt, conabaris, conaberis; in the future forms attinge, dice, facie, recipie, from attingam, dicam, faciam, recipiam (see under dico init.); in the forms mage, pote, from magis, potis, etc.; it is inserted for euphony in the nom. of many nouns and adjj whose stems end in r preceded by a mute, as ager, aper, liber, aeger, ruber, sacer, etc.
f. The vowel e is suppressed in the imperatives dic, duc, fac, fer, in the anteclass infinitive biber (from bibere); in the vocative of the second declension of nouns in ius, as Gai, geni, fili, canteri, columbari, mantuari, volturi, mi (cf. Freund in Jahn's Neue Jahrbüch, 1835, vol. 13, p. 148 sq.), in enclitic particles often, as: hic, haec, hoc, for hice, etc.; so, illaec, sic, nunc, nec, ac, etc.: viden, potin: quin, for quine, etc., and as an initial in the present forms of the verb esse (sum, sumus, sunt; sim, etc., for esum, esumus, esunt, esim, etc.). But the forms facul, simul, Bacchanal, etc., are not apocopated. Even a radical ĕ sometimes drops out when a prefix or suffix is taken; so, gigno, for gigeno: malignus, for maligenus: gnatus, for genatus.
g. The long e interchanges most freq. with the diphthongs ae and oe (q. v.); yet it sometimes also took the place of ā, as in anhēlo, from hālo, and in the rustic bēlo, for bālo; and likewise of ī, as LEBER, SPECA, AMECVS, for līber, spīca, amīcus (Quint. Inst. l. l.; Varr. R. R. 1, 48, 2; Paul. ex Fest. p. 15, 6 Müll.); and in words borrowed from the Greek, as chorēa, Darēus, along with Academīa, Alexandrīa; see the letter I.
h. As an abbreviation, E (mostly in connection with other abbreviations) signifies egregius, equus, eques, erexit, evocatus, etc.; e. g. E. M. V. = egregiae memoriae vir; E. Q. R. = eques Romanus; EE. QQ. RR. = equites Romani; E. P. = equo publico; E. M. D. S. P. E. = e monitu de sua pecunia erexit, etc.
2. e.. praep., out of, from, v. ex.
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