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I've come across the following phrase in a sixteenth century Italian book:

Una nave che pate tempesta in un mar tanto orribile

I'm struggling with the meaning of 'pate'. Does anybody know the English or modern Italian equivalent?

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I think it might mean 'endure', from the Latin 'patior', but I'm not sure. –  Neil D Apr 13 at 8:55
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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's an alternative (but archaic) form of patisce. Verbs in the third conjugation oscillate between

  • -isc-e
  • -e

(not only in the third person singular, but in all the singular forms and in the third person plural).

For instance l'acqua bolle (water is boiling), but la partita finisce alle sei (the game ends at six).

For the verb patire, the modern usage follows the -isc- pattern:

patisco, patisci, patisce, patiamo, patite, patiscono

but I'm not surprised seeing it was used with the other pattern like

cucio, cuci, cuce, cuciamo, cucite, cuciono

(cucire, to sew). So pate is just the same as patisce (endures).

See the entry in Wikipedia for more information; there is a long list of verbs that follow the -isc- pattern, with also alternative forms. For patire the non -isc- form are marked as archaic.

For the verb divertire the -isc- forms are considered archaic. So, how to choose one or the other? I'm afraid there is no hard and fast rule.

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In everyday language "pate" is not used anymore, so don't use it if you have to speak italian, really, I'm italian and when I read your question I said "wtf??" :) this is a poem, I think, and it means "a boat which suffers (but 'in the middle' is much better)of a storm"! Bye!

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