I've been spending a lot of time on this one but not quite sure how you would preserve the idiomatic connotation of the phrase "man to man". I'm planning to use it in a sentence like "they were standing man to man", in the context of fighting someone actually, as in a "man to man fight".

If anyone could help that would be great.

  • 3
    Welcome to the site! In what context are you speaking? "Man to man combat," or perhaps a "man to man talk"? Commented May 27, 2020 at 11:56
  • thanks! As in "they were standing man to man"
    – Drwhops
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 11:58
  • 4
    Are you referring to a context like a line of soldiers forming an impenetrable barrier standing "man to man"? There might be an idiom for that, but it might not include a man. (At least in Finnish the expression is "chest to chest".) Or would a general idea of facing adversity together work as well? (Explaining the context and purpose is very important to get a translation. Word-for-word approaches don't work well.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 12:39
  • I think more in the context of fighting someone actually, as in a "man to man fight". thanks!
    – Drwhops
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 12:42
  • With fists or swords? I suspect there would be an authentic medieval Latin idiom for single combat.
    – C Monsour
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 1:56

2 Answers 2


The expression in faciem expresses the idea of "man to man" or "face to face", but to emphasize doing so in a manly way, I would use the expression ut vir (or sicut vir), which means "like a man". This phrase can be use with an appropriate verb such as resistere (to resist) or contendere (to contend).

Cicero for example wrote the following:

Ita et tulit dolorem ut vir et ut homo maiorem ferre sine causa necessaria noluit. (Tusculanarum Disputationum, 2.53)


Thus he took the pain as a man, and as a human he refused to endure greater pain without need.

A good biblical expression that also expresses this idea is:

Accinge sicut vir lumbos tuos... (Vulgata, Iob 38.3)


Gird your loins like a man...

Putting these ideas together, you could say:

in faciem ut vir

That is, "face to face like a man".

  • Great answer, as always. How about "homo ad hominem" or "vir ad virum"; would these be too confrontational?
    – tony
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 10:10
  • 1
    @tony. "Vir ad virum" seems like a good possibility. It appears in the Vulgate under Isaiah 5:3. My only question would be whether it would be understood in the sense of a courageous stand or as simply one person in conflict with another. To illustrate my point, the word "virilim" means "man to man" in the sense of passing something from one person to the next, but it doesn't seem to convey they idea of doing so in a manly way as we normally think of a man-to-man confrontation. Commented May 28, 2020 at 12:21
  • I liked your answer. I'd only put it "ut viri", since they are two men confronting each other in a manly manner. So "like men"
    – Victor BC
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 22:38

The adverb comminus should be considered. It literally means "hand-to-hand" or "at hand" and was used especially to describe close combat or contest. Cornelius Nepos:

comminus pugnans telis hostium interfectus est

which translated to English (J. C. Rolfe):

he was slain by the enemy's weapons in hand-to-hand-combat

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