Res publica

Res publica (also spelt as rēs pūblica to indicate vowel length) is a Latin phrase, loosely meaning 'public affair'. It is the root of the word 'republic', and the word 'commonwealth' has traditionally been used as a synonym for it; however, translations vary widely according to the context. 'Res' is a nominative singular Latin noun for a substantive or concrete thing—as opposed to 'spes', which means something unreal or ethereal—and 'publica' is an attributive adjective meaning 'of or pertaining to the public, people'. Hence a literal translation is, 'the public thing, affair' or 'the people's thing, affair'.[1]

  1. ^ 'Res', Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, via the Perseus Project.