In everyday English, obscene words like "fuck" and "hell" have been somewhat semantically bleached into intensifiers. For example, "fucking ridiculous" and "weird as hell" are common idioms that aren't considered particularly obscene in context.

In Greek, I would translate these intensifiers with a particle like δή. But what's the Latin equivalent? For example, if I want to paraphrase Horace and say "seize the fucking day" (intensifying carpe diem), what equivalent can I use?

  • Possibly related: latin.stackexchange.com/questions/9092/…
    – Cerberus
    Apr 30 '19 at 23:33
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    There are intensifiers for questions: quidnam. Intensifiers hic & iste: e.g. hunce, istuc. Intensifying adverbs edepol, mehercle. See Q.#2178 by typing mehercule into Search on Latin Language
    – Hugh
    May 1 '19 at 2:56
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    Pile'em on. Nonne haecce laeta dies carpenda est, Hercle.
    – Hugh
    May 1 '19 at 11:49
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    @tony Oh absolutely; I figure such words wouldn't be taught in a standard course or found in Vergil, but we do have evidence of obscene words from less-highbrow poetry (Catullus, Martial), graffiti preserved from Pompeii, the vulgar Latin of Plautus, etc. I'm curious if there's any colloquial way to emphasize a short phrase found in one of those places.
    – Draconis
    May 1 '19 at 17:54
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    As a side note, I don't think Greek δή is really an intensifier of this sort. It has various uses but none of them really line up with Eng. fucking etc.
    – TKR
    May 4 '19 at 18:18

As much as it pains me to say this, because of my stance on profanity, there is a book that might benefit you. It is called X-treme Latin: All the Latin You Need to Know for Survival in the 21st Century, by Henry Beard. In it you will find some rather colorful phrases, some of them profane, some not, that can be used in many situations. It is a hilarious book that also teaches the Latin word for NAZI. Below is the Turabian reference, which should help you find it (try your local main branch library).

Beard, Henry. X-TREME LATIN: All the Latin You Need to Know for Survival in the 21st Century. New York, NY: Gotham Books, 2005.

He also has similar books which also include slang and other terms that might suit your needs, but I would start here. Happy hunting.


This feels like an old friend: back in the charts: resurrected; but, nothing wrong with that. Back in May thought of present participle "futuens" & gerund "futuendum" to create "fucking". But you would already have thought of these. Attestations? Difficult: the monks, in Anglo-Saxon times did not write their swear-words down. Similarly, the great Roman writers; some peppered their work with expletives but not usually as intensifiers: "What a fucking mess." sort of thing. Cicero (ad. Fam 9.22) makes his distaste of profanity plain. His friend had dared to use the word "mentula", in a letter. Cicero praised the appropriate use; but, advised that he preferred "verecundia" (modesty). Others would have adopted these high standards (please come back), taking their cue from the great man.

There is "Glosbe: Fucking in Latin" (glosbe.com/en/la/fucking) giving multiple uses of "futuens", in English. The Latin translations, I think, are available if yourself wishes to seek membership; but, your considerable Latin skills may make such a commitment unnecessary.

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    One can have private fun with macaronic expressions as long as one understands that in Latin, futuens means nothing more and nothing less than "having vaginal sex" and cannot be used as an intensifier any more than "kissing" can in English. Luckily glosbe seems to get this right by not translating "fucking" with futuens, although it does automatically produce such a correspondence the other way around (which should be fixed as soon as this particular translation is updated). Oct 5 '19 at 15:09
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    @Unbrutal_Russian: Thank you: "futuens" & "futuendum" were not posited as "expletive intensifiers"; initial thoughts/ suggestions/ ideas to be kicked around. There does not appear to be a Latin equivalent to "fucking", in this context; none has been offered in 5-months. Good to speak to yourself, again.
    – tony
    Oct 7 '19 at 11:06

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