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It is often said that one has an excellent command of a language when one is able to use it in an idiomatic way, which typically involves making use of Idioms and Collocations, i.a. There are many collections of Latin proverbs available but I'd be interested in taking a look at materials containing Latin idioms and collocations. Are there any published materials, dictionaries, etc. available? Do you know of any present or future project of elaborating a dictionary of Latin idioms? I cannot imagine the immense satisfaction of many of us if we could have access to online dictionaries of Latin Idioms and/or bilingual dictionaries of idioms (e.g., Latin-English/English-Latin).

More particularly, I'd be interested in knowing about idioms that involve body parts (NB: this type is quite widespread cross-linguistically/cross-culturally). For example, here is an example from Plautus:

nec caput nec pes sermoni apparet (Plaut., Asin. 729)

‘what he says has neither head nor foot’ // Cf. the Engl. idiomatic expression "can’t make head nor tail".

This class of idioms involving body parts is typical of colloquial usage in many languages (e.g., cf. also "to cry one's eyes out"). So I'd expect that similar idioms could be found in Plautus's comedies or in Cicero's letters, for example. Any other suggestion where I could find them?

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    It isn't quite what you want, so I won't offer it as an answer: but do you know of Alfred Henderson's 'Latin Proverbs & Quotations'? It was published in 1869 and runs to 500 pages. While his references are scant, phrases are often easily tracked down by googling, and he gives lists of English equivalents, e.g. non volat in buccas assa columba tuas = no gain without pain. – Tom Cotton Aug 7 at 8:42
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    Not sure that helps, but I guess it worth throwing this: books.google.com/… – d_e Aug 7 at 12:49
  • @TomCotton: Many thanks for this reference! I've been googling a bit with it (searching for body parts) and, yes, it's very useful! For example, I've just found that Cicero used the idiomatic expression nec caput nec pedes, also found in Plautus (see above). Indeed, a very useful resource! – Mitomino Aug 7 at 19:27
  • @d_e: Many thanks for pointing out the existence of this wonderful dictionary of Latin phrases, which is very useful to study Latin collocations. Excellent resource for increasing one's knowledge of Latin! – Mitomino Aug 7 at 19:31
  • Kevin Guinagh's Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Abbreviations. A better title would have been "Dictionary of Latin Phrases (Other Languages Included)." – livresque Aug 8 at 3:29

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