What's the origin of the rule that composes the adverbial forms finishing in -mente (e.g. velocemente, normalmente, assolutamente, diversamente etc).

Is it somehow connected to mente (Latin mens, English mind) substantive?

  • 2
    I took the liberty of correcting absolutamente in assolutamente, and of substituting diversamente for altrimente (which is an ancient form for present-day altrimenti).
    – DaG
    Dec 15, 2013 at 15:37
  • @DaG why did you correct "altrimente" with "diversamente" and not "altrimenti"? Dec 15, 2013 at 15:41
  • 1
    @martina: Simply because, even if its etymology is the same, not being a word in “-mente” it could be a bit confusing.
    – DaG
    Dec 15, 2013 at 15:44
  • This is a very interesting question with two very interesting answers!
    – user193
    Jan 1, 2014 at 10:42

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is. It continues the ablative form of Latin mens, which is indeed mente. So felicemente would have started meaning something like “in a happy state of mind.” (See for example the Treccani article about “-mente”.)


You are on the right track. It is indeed true that those words ending in -mente, which are always adverbs derived from adjectives, take their origin in the Latin mens (mind, but also spirit, intelligence, thought).

This is because in Latin itself, a construction like "A + mente" meant "with an A mind," where A is an adjective.

Starting from this, the word mente came, in Italian, to be attached directly to the adjective to create a new adverb.


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