from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of an ancient people of Campania.
  • n. The Italic language of the Oscans.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the Oscan language or Oscan people, or their writing system.
  • n. A member of an ancient group of Italic-speaking peoples of Campania (the Osci).
  • proper n. The language of the Oscan people.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the Osci, a primitive people of Campania, a province of ancient Italy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of au Italic race occupying a great part of southern Italy in ancient times.
  • n. A language, akin to the Latin and Umbrian, spoken in Samnium, Campania, etc. It had not entirely disappeared as a spoken tongue in the time of the earlier emperors.
  • Of or pertaining to the Oscans or their language: as, the Oscan cities; the Oscan language; an Oscan inscription.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an Oscan-speaking member of an ancient people of Campania
  • n. an extinct Italic language of ancient southern Italy


From Latin Oscus +‎ -an. (Wiktionary)


  • Testaments in Armenian appeared at Amsterdam in 1666, under the care of a person commonly termed Oscan or Uscan, and described as being an Armenian bishop.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary

  • Indeed, so successful was Latin that it supplanted all its ancient linguistic cousins—other Italic languages once spoken on the so-called Italic Peninsula: Faliscan, Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene.

    The English Is Coming!

  • To clarify on the topic of flimflam Etruscan etymologies that irk me, see for example Augias/Jenkens, The Secrets of Rome: Love & death in the eternal city (2007), p.3 (see link): "Other hypotheses include the Etruscan word rumon, or river, and thus the 'city of the river,' or the Oscan ruma, or hill."

    An etymology for 'Rome'

  • A cartoon-like fresco, it labels one of its characters as Spartacus: literally, SPARTAKS, which is the Oscan version of the Latin name Spartacus.

    The Spartacus War

  • In fact, after 80 B.C. native Pompeians might even have wanted to flaunt the Oscan language as a sign of lcoal pride.

    The Spartacus War

  • But Oscan inscriptions from the first century A.D. are found elsewhere in southern Italy, so the fresco might indeed refer to Spartacuss revolt.

    The Spartacus War

  • After Sulla planted a colony of his veterans there in 80 B.C., Latin quickly dominated the citys public life, but the Oscan language lingered.

    The Spartacus War

  • Much debate revolves around the frescos use of the Oscan language.

    The Spartacus War

  • In the conventional view, Oscan disappeared in Pompeii after 80 B.C., so the fresco cant refer to Spartacuss revolt.

    The Spartacus War

  • And from the big screen to the small stamp, Oscan winner Katherine Hepburn.

    CNN Transcript Dec 30, 2009

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.