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Can someone help me with this expression? I want it to say "You came, you saw, you destroyed". I know the first two parts... but I can't seem to find how to say the last one. I would appreciate the help. Thanks in advance

  • It's worth pointing out, you translate meaning, not words. You have to decide what exactly you mean by "destroy", since (for example) Godzilla destroying Tokyo means something very different from a sports team destroying its opponent. – chepner Apr 23 at 15:55
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Well, to get the simple problem out of the way, it should be vidisti, not vedisti, but I assume that was just a mistyped letter.

On to the main problem: You say you cannot find a word for destroy. The best path to finding a word is to consult a dictionary. An excellent English-Latin dictionary which is available online in several places is the one by William Smith and Theophilus D Hall. You can find it here, for example (you may want to uncheck the other dictionaries, although they usually do no harm).

When we look up “destroy”, we find that the Romans apparently had a thing for destruction, because they sure had a lot of words for it:

  • perdo
  • everto
  • destruo
  • perimo
  • interimo
  • deleo
  • exstinguo
  • corrumpo
  • tollo
  • exscindo
  • disturbo
  • pessumdo

An embarrassment of riches! Which one should you choose? A few of these might ring a bell; for example:

  • destruo is, of course, the ancestor of English's very own “destroy”
  • exstinguo likewise for “extinguish”
  • deleo is known from one of the most famous Latin quotations: Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam (“Apart from that I think Carthage must be destroyed”), presumably frequently uttered on various occasions pointedly unrelated to the conflict between Carthage and Rome by the affable Roman senator and all-around good guy, Cato the Elder

The dictionary (and this is why it is a good one) even gives you helpful hints pertaining to subtle differences in meaning. For example, it says destruere is used when speaking of structures (that are being destroyed), whereas interimere is used when speaking of lives (being taken). You have to decide which is most appropriate for your use.

But let us say you go with perimere, which looks pretty generic. All that is left to do is put it in the second-person singular active indicative perfect form, like venisti and so on. And so we end up with:

Venisti, vidisti, peremisti.

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    +1 for the rhyme and for pointing out the typo I had reiterated too! I couldn't help but go with Cato, though. :) – Vincenzo Oliva Apr 21 at 21:59
  • This had so much on-point information. Learned a lot. Thanks. I appreciate your time and effort lot. – themasterishome Apr 22 at 1:41
  • “The best path to finding a word is to consult a dictionary” - This should be the motto of this and many more websites and forums about languages. – DaG Apr 22 at 17:05
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    @VincenzoOliva You can never go wrong with Marcus Porcius :) – Sebastian Koppehel Apr 22 at 20:49
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The verb you're looking for is delere, whose second-person singular perfect active indicative is delevisti. Here, though, its syncopated form is clearly better:

Venisti, vidisti, delesti.

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