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I am trying to translate the phrase "exit smiling" into Classical Latin to use as message above the front door of our home (on the inside before leaving). The phrase is from 'Catch 22'.

Is "smiling" a gerund in this case? I think the correct verbs are exeo and subrideo, so would it then be something like exi subridendo?

For additional context, this phrase is jokingly told by a military commander to his subordinate, Yossarian. Yossarian screwed up on a mission and had to go back and do it again, and was expecting some form of discipline. Instead, he was praised for his "bravery" and given a promotion, then told to "exit smiling" so everyone knew he hadn't gotten in trouble.

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    So is this English "exit" an imperative? In that case, your translation is possible. – Cerberus Mar 1 at 2:24
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First, I think you want to have a polite command here, and the imperative can be kind of harsh and authoritative. Second, I don't believe you would use the gerund here, because you're telling somebody "leave here as a smiling man/woman." Last, I'm not sure whether one would use the singular or plural in this case, so I'll include both.

"Exias/Exiatis Subridens/Subridentes."

This literally means, "May you exit as a smiling person."

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    Imperatives can be rude, in English. In Latin, I was assured by Draconis, this is not the case; in fact, imperatives appear in Latin prayers. – tony Mar 1 at 11:34
  • @tony: “Latin” varied and changed over the centuries and places it was used, as all languages do. If I’m remembering right (though I’m not at all an expert), the connotations/usage of the imperative shifted over time. Originally the imperative form exi was not harsh/rude; but later it came to be seen as rude, and as that changed, the 2nd-person-indicative (eg exias/exiatis) became established as a more polite alternative (where earlier, using that indicative as an imperative would have been a grammatical mistake). – Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine Mar 1 at 13:16
  • For some further context, this is a military superior telling a subordinate to "exit smiling", although in a joking manner. The subordinate, Yossarian, was expecting to be disciplined because he screwed up on a mission and go back and do it again. Instead, he was praised for his 'bravery' and given a promotion, then told to 'exit smiling' so it wouldn't look like he had been disciplined. Classic Catch-22 humor. – Adam Mar 1 at 14:24
  • @Adam That information should be in your question; it seems like Nickimite had a different impression of the tone/context of the statement and this translation is perhaps not the best one. – KRyan Mar 1 at 14:27
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    Hey, let's not condone the idea that the gerund is adjectival. gerund is a noun, gerundIVE is an adjectIVE – John White Mar 2 at 6:56
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From a comment,

For some further context, this is a military superior telling a subordinate to "exit smiling", although in a joking manner.

This being the case, I think the imperative is the correct voice to use: a military superior orders a subordinate, rather than request or suggest politely. And since it is a single subordinate being so ordered, the best translation would be

Exī subrīdēns.

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That English phrase sounds like a stage direction. If you want to echo that and if an indicative meaning is possible, you could go with exit subridens (or exeunt subridentes). Otherwise, I'd go with Nickimite's or KRyan's suggestions. Note that you definitely need the participle, not the gerund.

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