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There's a Spanish webcomic called ¡Eh, tío!, an expression that can be translated into English as hey, man or maybe as hey, bro. The webcomic had some time ago a story arc set in an alternate universe where the Roman Empire still rules the world nowadays. In order the keep the meaning of the original webcomic title, the author decided to title that story arc Ave, vire.

Indeed, according to the Lewis & Short dictionary, vĭr, vĭri means "a male person, a man". Nonetheless, it may not be the most suitable translation, as tío has the same connotations as English bro. It can be used colloquially to refer to a person whose name you don't know, or just as an informal way to refer to a friend. Vĭr just seems a bit formal for that purpose.

So, is "ave, vire" the best way to translate "hey, bro"? Or is there another word that could be used in Latin to colloquially refer to a friend or to someone you just don't know their name?

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    I don't know whether vir can be used this way, but I think the vocative is vir. It would actually make a nice question to find the vocatives of second declension masculines who do not end in -us. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jul 11 at 13:30
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TL;DR: No; I wouldn't, at least.

Hey

Ave seems like a very good word for this. It's conventionally translated as "hail", but at this point that just sounds archaic; the Latin word can also be a casual "hi!" or "hey!" to a friend.

(There's also eja or heja, cognate to English "hey", but that's more like "ah!" to my mind, less of a greeting.)

Bro

Unfortunately, while it's certain that the Romans had plenty of slang and colloquial words like "bro", not many of them have survived (since they weren't used in the lofty, well-preserved works of Cicero and Vergil).

The closest I can think of is homō, literally "man" or "person", which characters in Plautus use casually for the people they're talking to. (It's also gender-neutral: homō means "man" as in "mankind", while vir means "man" as in "manliness".)

So my recommendation would be ave, homō!

"Vire"

This is an attempt to put a vocative ending on the word vir, which does mean "man". The vocative is used when you're addressing someone directly, so that makes sense. But in Latin, special vocative endings are only used for words ending in -as or -us.

The actual rules are a bit more specific than that, and there are many words ending in -us that don't take special vocative endings—that is, ending in -as or -us is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one. But since vir doesn't end in either of those two ways, we can say immediately that it has no special vocative.

On top of that, vir usually means "man" as in "not a woman", "not a boy", "a soldier", or "married to a woman". I don't think any of those four really fit your use case; you're looking for "man" as in "generic human being", which is homō.

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    What do you think of using "salve" instead of "ave", as @fdb suggests? – Charlie Jul 12 at 9:58
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    @Charlie Also works, though to me it's a little bit more…formal? "Hello!" instead of "Hey!" or something like that. – Draconis Jul 12 at 16:31
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As Draconis has said, the vocative of "vir" is "vir", not the non-existant "vire". “Ave vir“ is fine. “Salve vir” is also good. “Ave homo” does not work (I suggest) in a comic, for obvious reasons.

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