Are you a penis-person or a non-penis person? Does the word "men" mean just "penis-people" or both?

For what’s worth, here are the attestations. Latin has a perfectly good word for man (as in male), vir.

Humanus is just the adjectival form homo.

You mean she wasn’t?

Umm, disregard my answer then, please!

But, like with the cite just above this one, I can only find sources referring to homo as meaning human + generic man, not ‘male person.’

Homo sapiens was coined by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758. I’m pretty sure he counts as a serious scholar.


As Maeglin said, “male person” in Latin would be vir, not homo, which meant “person”. Those of you who insist that it means “male person” are making the exact same linguistic mistake as the idjit who claimed that “women don’t have souls”, and whose bad Latin got corrected swiftly, but not swiftly enough, as there are still people nowadays who make the additional mistake of believing that “Medieval theologians” (no, one bad Medieval theologian whose Latin blew goats) “believed women did not have souls”.

Then I suggest you look at the link I posted above to Lewis & Short. It will show you several dozen attestations of homo in the literature. Use your eyes, man.

Is that directed at me? I’m not disagreeing with you, I don’t think.

It’s not so cut and dried. Homo does mean person, but it also does mean man. The distinction between “person” and “man” is quite modern. So my link contains many examples of the word in various contexts used in both senses.

They are all ancient examples, sure, but that’s when people actually spoke Latin.

Interestingly, homo is more or less a cognate with the English word “groom.” That might help put things in perspective.

Your link actually contains only one example.

TBH, though, if ‘homo’ was used to mean both ‘human’ and ‘man,’ then it doesn’t mean much; all it means is that ancient Latin speakers also didn’t really consider women when talking about ‘all people.’

I mean, why else would it be the same word? It’s not going to be coincidence - it’s far too common a word for that. If they’d wanted to use a word that included men and woman, then they would have done, like we do now, with a word that, regardless of it roots, has always been gender-neutral in English.

The link contains dozens of examples. I did not realize before that I cannot link the lexicon I want directly: when you load it, click on the link for “Lewis & Short.” That will give you a pretty big selection of examples in which the word is used both for man and for the human race.

Like so many other words in every other human language, it’s just ambiguous. Since no one gets to make the rules to enforce his proprietary ideas of clarity, we just have to live with the results.

‘His?’ Heh. :smiley:

OK, having clicked on the link, I see more examples; using just my eyes wasn’t enough, man.

I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘just’ ambiguous when both uses of the word are so common. We avoid using ‘man’ to mean ‘humans’ these days because it’s ambiguous, but in the past it wasn’t ambiguous, because they weren’t really including women. Hell, in half of Western Europe, women were chattels, property of their husbands; it’s easy for us to forget how much the status of the ordinary woman has changed in the last hundred years.

Wait. Would a penis-person be a person who has a penis attached to them, or a person who’s fond of one or more penii?

Or a person who is a penis, either in the metaphorical sense of being a dick, or literally, as in one of those dreams that all perfectly normal people have of being given sage advice on financial investment by a giant talking penis with a top hat?

Personally I prefer ‘bewanged-american’ myself . . .

Can we organize a fund-raiser to get Annie-Xmas a dicktionary?

“Men” and and “man[kind]” are still used in many contexts to mean the whole species. And I’ve read plenty of old references that used it comparably; I think in the absence of specific evidence to the contrary it makes sense to consider the terms to “really” include women.

I’m pretty sure that references to “propagation of…a race of men” were made (in 1838) with the understanding that women were involved in that.

I prefer “his” to “their” or “one.”

I am sorry for mistaking you for being male.

I think it is somewhat more complicated than this, especially for ancient history. We don’t have a direct connection to the past, so when a word has many and conflicting attestations, it is not so straightforward to assume what the ancients were and weren’t assuming. How women were treated in the Roman Republic is the subject of fierce and highly technical debates. You may well think that the possibilities range from “pretty shabbily” to “horribly,” and you might well be right. But I think the subject resists pat answers. When words are used ambiguously, we don’t get to slap a little theory or a preconceived notion on it to make the ambiguity go away.