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Latin/Use of "Nepos"

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Question
The introduction to a document reads, "Dilecta dna [= domina?] Nepos" The first two words are feminine, but I believe
Nepos" is masculine. I assume the phrase begins "dear lady/mistress" but I am unsure how "nepos" fits in here. Could you please explain this to me?
Thank you very much!
Paul

Answer
"Nepos" (grandchild) may be treated as of either masculine or feminine gender.  Thus, either grandson or granddaughter.  "Neptis" is the usual word for granddaughter in classical Latin, but "nepos" is found particularly in ante- and post-classical Latin.

Many nouns may be either masculine or feminine, according to the sex of the object.  They are said to be of "common gender."  Other similar examples are:  bos (ox or cow) and parens (mother or father).

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Michael

Expertise

Ph.D. Cand. in Classical Languages. Conversant with all forms of the language: classical, mediaeval, and modern.

Experience

I have 50 years of teaching at all levels of Latin from high school through university postgraduate. I read, write, and speak Latin daily.

Organizations
American Classical League, American Philological Association

Education/Credentials
A.B., M.A., Ph.D. Cand. in Classics.

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