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The English word "fit" has a number of different uses, and that makes searching difficult. I am looking for a verb or phrase to be used in a sentence like this:

The souvenir does not fit in my bag.

That is, I want to refer to having enough space, not to being suitable in any other way.

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  • I wonder how you propose to translate 'souvenir'?
    – Tom Cotton
    Aug 9, 2019 at 9:25
  • @TomCotton Good question! I had not thought of that. I suppose that should be studied in a separate question. If you or anyone else is interested, go ahead and ask.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 9, 2019 at 11:17
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    @Tom Cotton: How about "monumentum" = "memento" (Pock. Ox Lat.)? Something tells that this word is more appropriate for huge "mementoes" e.g. statues/ tombs; but, they won't fit in Joonas's bag either.
    – tony
    Aug 9, 2019 at 12:10

2 Answers 2

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My immediate instinct is to switch subject and object. Though I'd be happy to learn that there is a Latin way of saying "X fits in Y," there are definitely natural ways to say "Y holds X." My suggestion for "The souvenir does not fit in my bag" is:

Sacculus non capit monumentum.

(Thanks to Tony in the comments and Tom Cotton's answer for their suggestions on how to translate "bag" and "souvenir.")

Here's a similar example from Seneca the Younger:

nam magna non capit exigua mens. (Controversiae, 2.1.13)

My translation:

For a small mind can't hold big [ideas].

or:

Big [ideas] don't fit in a small mind.

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    This idea never occurred to me, but it is a good one. Inverting the roles doesn't make the expression any more clumsy either. This also reminds me of the adjective capax.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 9, 2019 at 14:19
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    You beat me to it. Indeed, capio means to be large enough for (meaning II), and especially in negative, not to hold, to be too small for (II.A.2)
    – Rafael
    Aug 9, 2019 at 14:20
  • @JoonasIlmavirta, fun fact: the Spanish verb for to fit, caber, comes from capio but the roles are inverted.
    – Rafael
    Aug 9, 2019 at 14:22
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    @Rafael: In linguistics this "fun fact" is known as locative alternation. The reversal/inversion of roles for Sp. caber is probably due to the unmarked realization of the relevant semantic functions, i.e., Theme as NP subject (or object in transitive locative alternation) and Location as an oblique Prepositional Phrase. It is true that many languages have Location subjects, but, linguistically and conceptually speaking, these can be regarded as marked constructions. Probably, the reversal of roles in Sp. caber wrt Lat. capere is related to that.
    – Mitomino
    Aug 9, 2019 at 17:13
  • Furthermore, my intuition is that capit in Seneca's example above involves a sort of stative causation, hence exigua mens, being conceptualized as a sort of static causer, is a syntactic subject. In contrast, no causation is involved in Sp. caber. Hence its unmarked realization for Theme & Location arguments.
    – Mitomino
    Aug 9, 2019 at 17:18
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I don't think that Latin has a word to correspond well to this usage of the English 'fit'. The nearest thing is probably convenire, but I think you need a rather narrower meaning?

There are some easy solutions. Why not simply say 'my bag is [too small/not big enough] to [contain, carry] the souvenir'? Or 'the souvenir is too big to be put into my bag'?

Perhaps sacculus minor quo difficilius rem ferat, and so on.

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