In my job I am asked to put a figure (for the time a job will take) on pieces of work (complex software), for the Sales department to then convince customers to buy. Often the Sales department come back and say "It's too high, we can't sell it". So I have to reduce the figure. I refer to this process as applying "delusional Sales arithmetic".

I would like to use a Latin phrase for this reduction of the estimate of how long a piece of work will take to a ridiculously low level in order that the Sales department are able to sell it.

Google translate gives me: delusional selling arithmetic = hallucinatio venditionis arithmetica

But I'm sure it's not correct, as it's probably a word-for-word translation.

Can anyone do better?

For clarity, I am a male, addressing a male (a Salesman), when I say "I have applied a process of delusional selling arithmetic and come up with this new estimate for you".

I would like to lend this ridiculous process some Latin gravitas by writing something like: "I have applied a process of hallucinatio venditionis arithmetica and come up with this new estimate for you". Or I have applied the hallucinatio venditionis arithmetica process and come up with this new estimate for you".

Thank you,


  • I like this question. We know this happens all the time, especially in large companies. We should have a name for it.
    – Cerberus
    Jun 28, 2020 at 14:16

3 Answers 3


How about arithmetica hallucinatoria venditorum? That would mean the delusional arithmetic of salespeople.

  • 1
    How about changing the last word to mercatoria? An adjective sounds more fitting than a genitive.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Oct 15, 2020 at 15:08
  • But then you get -atoria -atoria, which sounds unpleasant to my ears.
    – gmvh
    Oct 15, 2020 at 15:09
  • I had actually considered that rhyme a benefit. You can also put arithmetica between the other two if you want to lessen the effect.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Oct 15, 2020 at 15:24
  • 1
    @JoonasIlmavirta a benefit to English speakers perhaps, but when Cicero's poetry rhymed he was ridiculed by the establish writers Oct 16, 2020 at 18:04

I suggest artithmetica mercatoria fraudifera.

More literally, this is "the deceit-carrying mercantile number-science". While not idiomatic English, it describes what the Latin words are all about. The original phrase "delusional sales arithmetic" is a good match.

I find it most idiomatic in Latin to qualify the "arithmetic" with two adjectives instead of using any genitives. The adjective mercatorius is "salesman-related" or "mercantile", and seems apt to me. There are many words for "fraudulent" or "delusional". I chose fraudifer, which is "fraus-carrying" or "fraus-bringing" and fraus stands for many kinds of deception, delusion, fraud, and similar. This choice says essentially that the arithmetic is not fraus but brings fraus.

In fact, the word arithmetica is originally an adjective, at least in Greek. It comes with an implicit ars/techne.


Hallucinatoria/mercatoria work OK, but -oria endings can feel constructed, like when we add -ness to create abstract nouns (i.e. "hotness" for "heat.")

Here are a few more choices.

fraus, fraudis - delusion, deceit, trickery, fraud. alucinatio (=hallucinatio) sounds fine but it's rare and means "daydream."

Nothing wrong with arithmetica, a, um. There also is a rarer but fun Latin word, computatio, which specifically refers to the arithmetic or calculations of cheapskates.

I also like gmvh's venditor for "seller." But if you want to minimize the salespeople, use caupo, cauponis - shopkeeper. (Avoid mercator which is a "wholesaler" or "merchant").

My favorites are fraus cauponum arithmetica and computationes venditorum.

Ultimately you should choose what makes you feel the best when you say it.

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