I have a friend who is heavily into body modification (don't ask) and classical philology (teaches college-level Latin) who recently got an, uh, dressing ring. (All beating around the bush aside, I've been told by those in the know that "Prince Albert" is a popular male genital piercing. Google it if you must. Most definitely NSFW.)

Now we, a bunch of friends, want to present him with a t-shirt as a gag gift for his upcoming birthday. How would I refer to this, or really any body piercing in Latin? A pierced belly button, e.g.? "Umbilicus perforatus" sounds like a medical condition. Punctus? Anulatus? Would, say, "Mentula mea anulata" on a t-shirt be understood?

If all else fails, we'll simply go with the more subtle "ILLE QUI DOLET VINCIT" (He who suffers wins) :-)

  • 1
    As a side note, I don't think you have to be shy about including relevant details here—it's best not to have anything NSFW in the question title, but I doubt anyone will get offended if you just say outright what body part is pierced in the question body. (Though I'm not a moderator, so take anything I say with a grain of salt.)
    – Draconis
    Mar 4, 2020 at 20:18
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    I agree with @Draconis. If you keep the title clean, avoid shocking images, and take a neutral tone, you can describe pretty much anything. Users on this site can distinguish swearing from discussing swear words, for example.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Mar 4, 2020 at 20:25
  • Thank you both ... I am not particularly shy, as a rule and I think (hope!) I managed to get my point across, as it were. @Draconis answer has been most helpful.
    – Ingmar
    Mar 5, 2020 at 6:20

1 Answer 1


I haven't been able to find many references to piercings in Latin, but here's one bit, from Plautus's Poenulus 979 onward:

A: Qui scis?
Agorastacles: How do you know?

M: Viden homines sarcinatos consequi?
Milphio: Don't you see that people with backpacks are following us?

M: Atque ut opinor in manibus digitos non habent.
Milphio: And honestly, I think they don't have fingers on their hands.

A: Quid jam?
Agorastacles: Wait, why?

M: Quia incedunt cum anulatis auribus.
Milphio: Because they're coming this way with rings in their ears.

So I would say anulātus, -a, -um is the way to go—while the word just means "ringed", it's pretty clear that aurēs anulātae involve ear piercings. There's a bit of ambiguity in whether a mentula anulāta is actually pierced or just has one or more rings placed around it, but I don't think that'll be much of an issue in context.

If you do want to be more specific—either to make it clear that the ring is through rather than around, or to distinguish a Prince Albert from a Jacob's Ladder or whatever—you could instead call it a glans anulāta. That makes it explicit exactly where the ring is.

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    Great find (+1). For a Prince Albert, perhaps glans anulata would be more to the point than mentula anulata?
    – cnread
    Mar 4, 2020 at 20:20
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    @cnread A very good point! I'll edit that in.
    – Draconis
    Mar 4, 2020 at 20:21
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    Great find indeed! Anulātus will definitely work in my case, so thanks for that. I will officially accept your answer in a day or two.
    – Ingmar
    Mar 5, 2020 at 6:22
  • @Draconis: Well, naïve, little, old me had to look these things up on the net! Why on earth would anybody want these?! The benefits are?? The word you seek may not be "mentula" but "mental"; giving "morbus animi"; or, even "morbus mentulae"! I shudder at the potential medical problems. You're welcome to it. Have a nice day.
    – tony
    Mar 5, 2020 at 10:21
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    @tony: I think a discussion of the respective dangers and benefits of body piercings really is beyond the scope of this SE. Even though I am not personally affected, I do take exception to your tone and notably your implication of mental health issues. It's not for you (or me, for that matter), we get it, but suum cuique nonetheless.
    – Ingmar
    Mar 5, 2020 at 10:46

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