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I’m looking to translate the following phrase into Latin: “Books; my refuge.” It’s the title to a project I’m working on and I basically want to say that books and reading are a personal refuge. I have no knowledge of the language so I wouldn’t know where to begin.

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There are a number of words that could work as "refuge". I have added "my" to each so that they are readily useable:

  • perfugium [meum], a place to flee to, a shelter, asylum, refuge
  • refugium [meum], a recourse, a taking refuge, a place of refuge, a refuge, a refuge
  • suffugium [meum], a place beneath which one flies, a shelter, covert, a refuge, remedy
  • confugium [meum], a place of refuge, a refuge, shelter
  • receptaculum [meum], a reservoir, magazine, receptacle, a place of refuge, a lurking-place, shelter, retreat
  • fuga [mea], a fleeing, flight, a running away, flight from one's native land, expatriation, exile, banishment, a place of banishment or refuge, a fleeing from, avoiding, escape
  • latibulum [meum], a hiding-place, lurking-hole, covert, den, refuge
  • deverticulum [meum], a by-road, by-path, side-way, a deviation, digression, an inn, a lodging, a refuge, retreat, lurking-place
  • asylum [meum], a place of refuge, a sanctuary, an asylum
  • arx [mea], a stronghold, castle, citadel, fortress, defence, prolection, refuge, height, summit, pinnacle, top, peak
  • castellum [meum], castle, fort, citadel, fortress, stronghold, shelter, defence, refuge

There are many nuances available. The refuge could be a fortress where you are safe (arx, castellum), a divine sanctuary (asylum), a place where you escape (perfugium, refugium, suffugium, confugium, fuga), a hiding place (latibulum, receptaculum) or a diversion from everyday life (deverticulum). Perhaps the most neutral kind of refuge would be any of the options ending in -fugium; the differences between them are pretty small.

To compose the whole motto or title, you can simply add libri, "books". For example, libri suffugium meum would be understood as "books, my refuge" or "books are my refuge" — Latin leaves the verb "to be" often implicit. If you want more details on any of these words, consider checking any of the good online Latin dictionaries.

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How about "Libertas per Libros." It means "Freedom through(out) Books." There's a bit of alliterative feel with the Li- Li- which is always a plus.

You might also try "Libri: Secreti Mei." This means "Books: They are my secret/confidential/mystical (things)" Secretum is an adjective, so you can just make the adjectival meaning into a noun, or you can choose to infer a word instead of 'things'. For example, you could infer the word Spatii "Spaces/Places" and it would mean "Books: they are my secret spaces/places." If you don't want the ambiguity, you can supply 'Spatii' in the sentence. I chose to leave it out since I thought it was a bit cumbersome.

The direct translation you're looking for would be "Libri: Refugium Meum." "Books: my refuge." There are other vocabulary to choose from, but this one has the closest meaning to the English word for refuge.

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  • The noun is actually spatium (i.e., neuter), so it couldn't be inferred from secreti mei. – cnread Sep 30 at 16:48
  • Ah you're right. That's a rookie mistake! I must have been thinking "loci" and wrote "spatii" – Nickimite Sep 30 at 16:51
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    I think there's also a problem with saying libri: secreti mei, using masculine forms, instead of libri: secreta mea, using neuters. Absent context or allusion/quotation, the noun that I, for one, would supply for secreti mei isn't 'things' or 'spaces/places' but libri, because otherwise, the masculine wouldn't make sense. – cnread Sep 30 at 16:56
  • I don't think that's too much of an issue. I used the masculine thinking that "secreti" applies to "Libri," for the most part. I just thought it was interesting to consider unlikely alternatives which "secreti" could agree with, because it can add a bit more poetic flair. But I see what you're saying. In English, we'd never say something like Books: The Yellow (turtles). That would be a random inference, unless there was context. – Nickimite Sep 30 at 17:30
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How about in libris refugiumin books there is refuge? or libri refugiabooks are refuges (in the plural)?

Or effugio in librosI escape into books?

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