AskDefine | Define lustrum

Dictionary Definition



1 a period of five years
2 a ceremonial purification of the Roman population every five years following the census

User Contributed Dictionary





IPA: /'lʌstɹəm/


  1. a period of five years
    • 1985: Q. Now, sir, if you would be so kind as to guess upon his age. A. Forty five years are certain. I would guess a lustrum more. — John Fowles, A Maggot

Extensive Definition

Lustrum, in ancient Rome, was originally a sacrifice for expiation and purification offered by one of the censors of Rome in the name of the Roman people at the close of the taking of the census, which took place every five years. The name came to mean a period of five years, in the same way that a decade is a period of ten years.
Quotation: "Thus I turned over the last ten years in my mind, and then, fixing my anxious gaze on the future, I asked myself, 'If, perchance, thou shoulds't prolong this uncertain life of thine for yet two more lustres ... coulds't thou ... face death ... hopefully...?'" -- Francis Petrarch, "Letter to Dionisio da San Sepolcro [The Ascent of Mount Ventoux]" ca. 1336. Trans. J.H Robinson/H.W. Rolfe.


External links

lustrum in Catalan: Lustrum
lustrum in German: Lustrum
lustrum in Spanish: Lustro
lustrum in French: Lustre (Rome antique)
lustrum in Italian: Lustro
lustrum in Hungarian: Lustrum
lustrum in Dutch: Lustrum
lustrum in Swedish: Lustrum
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