n. pl. de·cem·virs or de·cem·vi·ri (-və-rī′)
1. One of a body of ten Roman magistrates, especially a member of one of two such bodies appointed in 451 and 450 BC to draw up a code of laws.
2. One of an authoritative body of ten.
[Middle English, from Latin, sing. of decemvirī, commission of ten men : decem, ten; see dek in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + virī, pl. of vir, man; see wī-ro- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
de·cemvi·rate (-vər-ĭt, -və-rāt′) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.