The word frustum is often mispronounced as frustrum.

Wikipedia states that this mispronunciation goes back a long time and a pun about them is included in the works of Plautus.

Can anyone direct me to this pun?


1 Answer 1


I wrote a longer answer to this on the English language stack exchange, but in the migration process it got deleted. Shorter answer: the quote is "ne sis frustra" from Plautus's play Miles Glorius and is a pun on "ne si frusta". Wikipedia synopsis:

[Pyrgopolynices] is ambushed by Periplectomenus, and his cook Cario. The two men begin to beat him for trying to make advances on a married woman. Pyrgopolynices begs them to stop; eventually giving the men a hundred drachmae to halt their punches.

The more literal translation of ne si frustra is something like "don't fool yourself". Cario, demanding the money, says "otherwise you won't get away, don't fool yourself":

aliter hinc non ibis, ne sis frustra.

Ne sis frustra is presumably a pun on ne sis frusta -- that you not be cutlets -- alluding to the cook's knife and involuntary castration.

In another English version the translators preserve the pun, having Cario say that the money is "to let you go without testifying" (testify-testicles ho ho).

  • 6
    Nice pun and great answer! Welcome to the Latin site. Don't hesitate to answer ans ask more!
    – Cerberus
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 16:45

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