This paper argues that Varro evinces an intuition in De Lingua Latina of what would now be termed cognate relationships. The evidence presented includes Varro’s search for regularity among languages; his predilection for otherwise rare figurative language when attempting to articulate a relation between Latin and Greek and Latin and the Sabellic dialects that he sees extending beyond mere borrowing; and the consistent and pointed ways in which he deploys formulaic expressions to convey distinct levels of kinship between Latin words and their foreign sources or counterparts.

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