Pax vobiscum - Latin meaning

Question - this means ‘peace be with you’.

Is this only the plural form, or does Latin also use this form as a ‘formal you’?

I think it’s only plural. I knlow the corresponding singular is ‘te’.

Could you clarify what you mean by ‘formal you’?

In the Romance languages, you would use the plural form when addressing someone of a higher status, for example, a student addressing a teacher. It is a sign of respect - I know this is the case in French, Spanish, and even Russian (although not a Romance language).

I don’t recall classical Latin having that convention. I can’t say about ecclesiastical.

From one with a nodding acquaintace with Latin, I have encountered “Pax tecum”, which equates to the Spanish familiar form: tu, vosotros, etc.

Ditto. Or even “pax tibi.”

Pax vobiscum + Peace be with y’all.

I am aware of the pax tecum. Someone told me that this could not refer to a formal you in Latin and I am trying to determine whether this is true.


Tell 'em you’ve asked a few people with a nodding acquaintaince with Latin who have not heard of this and ask your friend where he got the idea that Latin uses the modern European “voi”, or “vous,” designation for polite address. In fact, in Italian, although “voi” is used politely, the really, really polite form is “lei.”

I concur, Latin in general does not distinguish a formal and informal you, and *pax vobiscum *is addressed to more than one second person. There is one similar case of which I am aware (and it is ecclesiastical):

*Benedicite *(“Bless [the Lord], you plural”) was a monastic greeting even between singular individuals – The classical singular ought to be benedic. Whether this was out of habit (heh), out of ignorance (by less educated monks), or vulgar (popular) usage, I cannot say.


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