quota hora est? / by Anthony Gibbins

English does not have an equivalent of the word quotus, quota, quotum, which means 'having what position in a numerical series'. In Latin we use it with the noun hora to ask the time; quota hora estThe answer to which is not three o'clock, but the third hour; hora tertia est. 3:15 is hora tertia et quadrans. 3:30 is hora tertia et dimidia and 3:45 is hora tertia et dodrans. Three o'clock on the dot is hora tertia in puncto.

While we are talking about Latin and time, do you know the origins of the word minute and second? There is a Latin verb minuere which means 'to make smaller, to chop up'. So, the words hora minuta mean 'a chopped up hour'. The words hora minuta secunda mean 'an hour chopped up for the second time'.

A clock is an instrument that announces what time (hour) it is. Soon it will be the third hour after midday. All people therefore are awake.