'vendibilis' and some more on verbs / by Anthony Gibbins

In yesterday’s post we met the four forms pingo, pingere, pinxi, pictum. I also teased that today’s post would reveal the meaning of vendibilis.

According to our narrator: pictura vendibilis emi potest.  That is, a vendibilis picture is able [insert here the meaning of emi].

The four forms of emi are emo ‘I buy’, emere ‘to buy’, emi ‘I bought’ and emptum, the supine. Reading from the page*, then, we might interpret emi in this sentence as ‘I bought’, but we would be wrong. The emi here is formed from emere (to buy), by swapping out the -ere for –i, giving us ‘to be bought’. A vendibilis picture is able ‘to be bought’, i.e. is for sale.

vendibilis comes from another Latin verb vendo, vendere, vendidi, venditum meaning ‘to sell’, the root of the modern vending machine. The future form of ‘to sell’ is, of course, ‘to be going to sell’. It is formed in Latin from the supine and is venditurum esse. Our Marcellus hopes that he is ‘going to sell’ this picture.

One last thing. We also saw yesterday how the supine pictum gave us pictor, a person who paints. In the same way venditum gave the Romans venditor, a person who sells, and emptum gave them emptor, a person who buys. I only mention this because you might be familiar with the saying caveat emptor, ‘Let the buyer beware’.

*Reading from the page, because we would not make this mistake in conversation. The letter e at the beginning of ‘to buy’ is pronounced short and sharp, whereas the e at the beginning of ‘I bought’ is pronounced long. Hence, no confusion.

Do you know what vendibilis means? A vendibilis picture is for sale. Marcellus hopes that he will sell this picture for one hundred dollars.