I once heard a phrase in Latin, as indicated in the title, whose context was that of people seeking a shabby kind of popularity or reputation in any of its forms.

What would the proper translation for that proverb be?


How many things are discovered while looking for something else? The translation given, in Comments, is incorrect.

For "dum" = "as long as", "dum" takes the indicative;

"haec feci dum licuit" = "I did this while (as long as) I was allowed".

The point is that for this translation ("as-long-as") the time of the action of the principal verb and the time of the action of the "dum"-verb must be contemporaneous--begin & end together (North & Hillard p.146).

The correct rendition of "dum" would be ["dum(modo)" + subjunctive] = "provided that" e.g.

Emperor Caius: "oderint dum metuant." = "Let them hate provided that they fear.".

Where "dum" takes the present subjunctive, "metuant".

Giving: "narrent me in gloria, narrent me in ignominia, dum(modo) me narrent.";

"Let them talk about me in glory, let them talk about me in shame, provided that they talk about me."


I'm not really sure there is such a Latin proverb (maybe a phrase in some book, though I am not aware of it as well).

The closest I managed to find is English phrase:

I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right.

which has various attributions.

There is also a phrase in French:

Succès de scandale

which stands for success from scandal.

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    Another English version is: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." - generally attributed to Oscar Wilde, and not without reason, as something very close is found in the first chapter of The Picture of Dorian Gray (though not as Wilde's opinion, rather that of a character in the book). Another version: "There's no such thing as bad publicity". But we are not looking for English quotes, are we? – Sebastian Koppehel Oct 7 '20 at 0:14
  • The first quote from answer is more a self-principle of avoiding desecration being misaddressed, I think. But all these have their places due circumstances they occurred. – chzzh Oct 7 '20 at 5:05
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    @Jessy B: Don't we need the original Latin? – tony Oct 7 '20 at 8:31
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    @tony The question did indeed ask for a Latin proverb. This answer says there is none (but claims like that are hard to justify so it's hard to say more). Perhaps there simply is no suitable proverb in Latin, but there are some in other languages. It might also be that the phrase the OP heard was a translation from English to Latin, so the Latin is not original. So yes, we'd like to have the original Latin – if it happens to exist. – Joonas Ilmavirta Oct 7 '20 at 11:08
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    @Sebastian Koppehel: I like your invocation of Oscar Wilde. Are you going to translate it? A wild guess: "unus qui est peior quam famam habens, non famam habens." = "The one-and-only (thing) that is worse than fame/ gossip/ ill-repute is not having..." – tony Oct 8 '20 at 9:29

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