This term seem to occur at footnotes and bibliographical references.

Fenlon D. Heresy and Obedience in Tridentine, Italy: Cardinal Pole and the Counter Information, Cambridge 1972, ad indicem.

WS Lewis, RT Brown - New Haven [1937-83], ad indicem, 1941

Even through extensive Googling, I am not able to find a proper definition for this term. Neither could I even find a dictionary that could define this.

It seems to be from Latin origin, but its repeated use within English context requires me to ask this question in this site.

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    This seems like a question for the academia.Stackexchange. I am voting to migrate.
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:09
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    It was asked on Academis 3 days ago (unanswered there), but by a different user and with different examples. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:11
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    Yes, @medica. I wanted to state it here to increase the chances of finding the answer so that I could link this answer to question post in Academia.SE. Both communities would be benefited from this post.
    – Ébe Isaac
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:13
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    @MaxWilliams - I tried googling it and found nothing useful. And I do mean nothing. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:16
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    @MaxWilliams There are no Latin words that correspond directly to the English definite and indefinite articles "the" and "a/an". Latin prepositions like "ad" can have a large number of idiomatic meanings (just like the English prepositions "to", "for", etc) and often there is not a simple one-to-one correspondence between English and Latin prepositions, but the basic meaning of "ad" here is "at". Other common meanings like "according to", "almost", "near", "to", "up to", "towards", "until", "on", "by", etc don't make so much sense in this context.
    – alephzero
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


According to this page, which seems reliable, it means vedere l'indice ("see the index"), which makes sense if you consider the most obvious translation of the Latin ("at (the) index"). The expression appears to be common in Italy.

The author of your first reference seems to use it when he doesn't provide any specific page numbers to refer to. His article is titled Paul IV, so what he wants you to do is go to the index of the work in the reference, find "Paul IV", and consult the page number(s) you find there. It is a bit of a lazy way of referring: he can't be bothered to look up the page numbers where the reader can check his reference, but he doesn't think that is necessary, because they are easy to find by that method. It would seem that ad indicem only works if the referring text is clearly about a single topic that can be easily and unambiguously looked up in an index, like "Paul IV".

Note: the translation "to the index" is possible in theory, but it would not be an obvious translation.

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    Great answer, but rather than laziness, it may be that at the time of writing the author doesn't know what the page numbers for various sections are actually going to be: this could be influenced by lots of different editing and printing decisions which occur after the author's contribution. In this case, referring people to the index, which would be completed after those decisions are made, is the most logical thing to do. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 14:31
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    @MaxWilliams Or, if you're referring to something other than within your own work, you could use this method to make your citation (more likely to be) compatible with multiple editions.
    – Tin Wizard
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 18:04
  • @MaxWilliams: But he is not referring within the same work; he is referring to many different works by other authors. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 18:33
  • @Amadeus9: True, that may be an advantage. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 18:33
  • @Cerberus ah yes, that's true, of course. Perhaps it's just to avoid repetition, if those works are cited multiple times. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 7:48

I can't find a definition for this, but according to Google Translate, "ad indicem" means "the index".

Looking at the context, my guess would be that it means "see the index for more details".

EDIT - as @Chappo points out in the comments, it may mean "to the index" rather than simply "the index", in which case it could perhaps be viewed as an instruction to the reader, ie to go to the index to find more information.

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    If you google "ad indicem" and find the Latin expressions it appears in, the translation is generally "to the index". Eg "Index Librorum Prohibitorum, Etc. (Appendix Ad Indicem ... Usque Ad Annum 1696.)" Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:53
  • @Chappo aha, that makes sense to my very fragmentary knowledge of latin, eg "Per aspera ad astra" which means "through hardships to the stars". Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:55
  • Further example: "ad hominem" = literally 'to the person'. However, my knowledge of the modern romance languages suggests that the word for "to" might equally translate as "at", depending on context. This might suggest a meaning of "[located] at the index". Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 13:02
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    @Chappo I feel like we need someone who can actually speak Latin to come in and save us from speculating. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 13:03
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    I think Cerberus has nailed it, but what an exciting few minutes of amateur forensic linguistics! Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 13:06

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