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I would like to get a small tattoo with the phrase "I choose myself" meaning I choose myself first before anything and anyone else. I would like to have it done in Latin, so it is a bit less obvious and is more personal for me. Could anyone help with the correct translation?

My guess is it would be something like "ego selige memet", which is more "I select myself", but I am not sure this is correct and the use of memet is right. I found that selige derives from English 'to select'. My biggest question is if it has the correct meaning before I forever engrave it on my body

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A somewhat loose translation, but one which I think captures the sense you're going for, could be:

Mihi adsum.

One common meaning of adsum is "to be present with one's aid or support; to stand by, to assist, aid, help, protect, defend, sustain". Placing mihi initially can give it some contrastive emphasis, so this sentence can mean "I stand by myself (in preference to anyone else)".

A slightly more literal option:

Me praefero.

This means "I prefer myself", or literally "I place myself before (others)".

To be more literal yet, you could go with

Me eligo.

This is basically synonymous with the seligo that you found, but eligo is a bit more frequent. Both verbs literally mean "to pick out, elect, select", so they might not be exactly what you're looking for.

Both of the me's above can be made more emphatic as either memet or me ipsum. (Ego isn't needed here -- when there's no special emphasis on the "I", that pronoun is left out.)

(Malo is another option mentioned in Nickimite's answer, and can also be translated as "choose, prefer"; but it literally means "want more", so I'm not sure it's a good fit here, since you're not saying "I want myself more than others").

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The phrase, when conjugated the way you have, reads "Choose me, myself!" Your words do accomplish what you're looking for though-- a simple verb conjugation gives us "Ego seligo memet." This means "I choose myself."

A short breakdown of the words you chose and their significances:

  1. Ego - This is a pronoun meaning "I." In this form, "I" is always the subject of your sentence. Much like "I" in English; one cannot say "me am going to the store."

  2. Seligo - This is a verb that can mean "select, choose, pick out; weed out." It is conjugated to agree with the nominative subject "Ego" in your sentence. Note that the pronoun "Ego" is not usually necessary in Latin; Latin speakers often removed their pronouns because the word "Ego" is implicit in the verb. Since you explicitly stated "Ego", you emphasized the subject. The nuance of your statement indicates something like "I (specifically)."

  3. Memet - You could have chosen to use the word "me" instead of "memet" which would be more common (during antiquity) and less emphasized. Your emphasis on the self might indicate that you haven't been choosing yourself in the past, or possibly that you are self-centered. It could be read neutrally, with no added meaning -- I'm not sure which is the right choice for you.

I took a stab at translation. I like:

Ego memet malo.

  1. Malo - A verb which means "prefer, incline toward, wish rather." Latin speakers used malo quite often, which was one reason I picked it. I also thought it added a little alliterative symmetry to the sentence. -o and -o from Ego and malo and m- m- m- from memet and malo.

I imagine using malo in a TV drama where one person asks: "do you truly hate your brother?" and the other replies, nonchalantly "Ego memet malo" (I prefer myself).

Good luck with your translation, I hope this helps!

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