Can anyone provide an accurate translation for this quote? I would try to do it myself, but my Latin knowledge is limited as I am still learning.

  • 1
    Please, try first, even if it's not good or perfect.
    – Quidam
    Nov 27, 2019 at 1:04
  • Welcome to the site, Deven! Is the sentiment behind that quote general or does it refer to something specific? Are you planning to use it in a specific context or medium?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 27, 2019 at 8:30
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    @Quidam If Deven knows no Latin, it's of hardly any use to try to provide a translation. But if they are learning, I agree that it's useful to provide a rough translation. Feedback on it will help learning.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 27, 2019 at 8:32
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    "Limited", yes, it can be a real novice or someone who tries to learn, but he will tell us if it means he is an absolute beginner. It's just to avoid the "translate it for me" questions, without giving a background.
    – Quidam
    Nov 27, 2019 at 8:50

3 Answers 3


Here's my initial, somewhat florid, stab at this:

quotus quisque de rebus sibi notis opinatur? quin fit plerumque ut quo magis quis ignorat, eo plures opiniones teneat.

There are few people who express opinions on matters that are known to them. In fact, it generally happens that the more ignorant someone is, the more opinions he has.

This second version is a bit more literal and straightforward:

nimis multi de rebus sibi ignotis opinantur; qui quo magis ignorant, eo plures opiniones tenent.

Too many people express opinions about matters that lie outside their knowledge/experience. And the more ignorant these people are, the more opinions they have.


Here's a more compact translation, with some inspiration from cnread's great suggestion:

Plurimi nescientes opinantur. Immo quo magis nesciunt eo magis opinantur.

Literally translated, this means:

Very many opine without knowing. Indeed, the more they do not know, the more they opine.


Nimis multiores viri opiniones de quibus rebus nesciunt habent. Cum etiam minimos sciant, tamen opiniones habent plurimos!

"Rather too many men have opinions about which things they are ignorant. When even they know the least, still they have the most opinions."

(You can remove plurimos and replace it with nimis. This would give the sense of "still they have opinions exceedingly much." I don't know if nimis works, but starting with 'nimis' and ending with 'nimis' would have a lovely symmetry.)

Note that I am unsure of these words in my sentence, and that this should be considered a rough draft:

The second 'nimis.' I'm not sure if works in the sense I'm thinking. Could I use an adverbial nimis here, or would it have to be inferred as an adjective modifying "opiniones?"

'opiniones' There might be a better word, but I intuited that sententias didn't feel right here. It seemed too certain and directed a thought. Perhaps "putatos" could work as an alternative? "To reckon" gives more the feeling I think we're looking for.

'quibus rebus' Could I fit in a "quare" here, for a more idiomatic Latin sentence?

The first 'sciunt.' Should this be subjunctive for a relative clause of characteristic? I think it works both ways, but the indicative seems to emphasize the things themselves that are wrongly believed, and the subjunctive would emphasize the character of the people having opinions -- that they always think they know everything.

  • 1
    Thank you so much! I know I should’ve tried it on my own first, but I only just started learning latin, so it was hard to know where to start. Thank you for explaining your translation too, and how it works, This will really help my learning!
    – Deven
    Nov 27, 2019 at 11:44

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