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I am looking to get a small tattoo with the phrase "I choose" or "I choose to" which will mean different things to me eg; I choose to be happy, I choose to forgive, etc. I would like it in Latin so that it remains personal to me and no-one else will know what it is. Also I would like to get the right translation for the context. Many thanks for any assistance.

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My suggestion is optio mea est or even optio tota mea est (in both cases, the est could be omitted for the sake of brevity; or you could join mea est into the single word meast). The noun optio means 'The power or right of choosing' or' choice'; therefore, the whole phrase means 'The power of choosing is (entirely) mine/my own' or 'It's (entirely) my own choice' (the adjective tota, if included, adds the sense of 'entirely').

This phrasing is open enough, grammatically speaking, that it could be completed in any number of ways and still work:

  • A noun ('The choice of x is my own'). In Latin, the noun would be put in the genitive case.
  • A noun clause ('It's my choice to do x'). In Latin, this could be done by using, e.g., a subjunctive clause introduced by ut.
  • An indirect question ('It's my choice whether/when/where/etc. to do x').

On the other hand, the phrase also stands on its own as an absolute statement.

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The first word that comes to mind is

LEGO

which could imply you follow bricks Stack Exchange. But that could work quite well as a double bluff.
More secret would be seligo which is the root of the English word 'to select'
or eligo the root of 'to elect,' as in 'I elect to live in France,' or 'to eat nothing but chestnuts on Athos.'

If you have a choice, and you are free to pick and choose, then the single word for 'I choose' is

Opto

(on-line source Perseus Hopper Lewis and Short)
No need for a separate word for 'I' for any of these four suggestions.

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    I'm pretty skeptical of lego without other context: it has such a broad range of meanings, including "I read," "I remove," "I survey." I can't speak for a Roman, but my default translation of contextless lego would be "I read." – brianpck Jan 14 at 14:44
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It seems like you're going to want different words in this context.

The word "lego, legere, legi, lectum" has a meaning of "to choose." So you could say something like "beatum lego" meaning "I choose happiness/joy/blessedness."

For something like "I choose to forgive", I would say. "(Ego) legens ignosco." This would mean "I, choosing, forgive." Including the word "ego" would the subtext: I, and not somebody else. This is a quite idiomatic way of portraying this idea in Latin.

Another possible way of translating this idea: "My choice is to forgive" which would be "(Meus) dilectus est ignoscere."

For a better translation, I recommend looking up the meaning of the words yourself. It may not be grammatical, but it helps us understand where to start. Additionally, more context for this will help us, but I understand that you want to keep the meaning private.


Summary of possible translations:

"Beatum lego" -- I choose joy

"(Ego) legens ignosco" -- I, choosing, forgive.

"(Meus) dilectus est ignoscere" -- My choice is to forgive.

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  • Many thanks for your response, I really appreciate it. I'm just wanting a translation for the two words "I choose" only. It will be those two words only that I use for my tattoo and the context is that those two words will give me a private reminder to myself that I choose to be happy or I choose to forgive or I choose how I will react, etc depending on whatever I need at the time etc. Google translate which I understand is not very accurate gives me ego eligere or ego eligere ad. I hope that makes more sense. Thanks again. – user6446 Jan 13 at 6:51

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