Deponent

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A deponent verbdeponent is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, IPA: /də ‘pəʊ nənt/ – may be defined as a verb which is passive in form bur active in meaning, e.g., it is conjugated with the endings of the passive voice but has the meaning of a verb in the active voice.

There are no deponent verbs in English, but many examples may be found in Latin.

Latin verbs are conjugated to determine not only person, number, tense, and mood, but also voice, i.e., whether they are being used with an active or a passive sense. For example, while amo means ‘I love’ (active), amor means ‘I am loved’ (passive), while amas means ‘you love’ (active), amaris means ‘you are loved’ (passive),; while ferio means ‘I srike’, ferior means ‘I am struck; and while ferit means ‘he strikes’, feitur means ‘he is struck’. Most Latin verbs follow a similar pattern, with the difference between active and passive voice marked by similar differences in the endings of verbs.

What is distinctive of a deponent verb, however, is that it has the endings of the passive voice (e.g., -or –aris, -itur, etc), but the meaning of a verb in the active voice. For example, the verb hortor (‘I urge’) is conjugated with the endings of the passive voice (hortaris, hosrtatur, etc.) just kike the passive of amo, but has an active not a passive meaning ('I urge’, ‘you urge’, etc.). Similarly, the verb loquor is conjugated with passive endings (loqueris, loquitur, etc.) but has an active meaning (‘I speak’, ‘you speak’, ‘he or she speaks’).

Other common deponent verbs in Latin are: morior, ‘I die’; sequor, ‘I follow’; conor, ‘I try’; utor,’ I use’; and vereor, ‘I fear’.

Other languages which have deponent verbs include Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, and Old Irish, and, amongst modern languages, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish.