I would like to ask you for help with double-checking the translation of "Rise above yourself", as in "surpass your own self". In feminine form would this be Supergreditur ipsum?

Thanks a lot in advance!

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    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Oct 18, 2020 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


How about transcende te ipsum? Or, if the person if question is indeed female, transcende te ipsam.

transcende is the imperative singular of transcendere (to transcend, surpass), te is the accusative singular second person personal pronoun ("you" as the direct object of a verb), ipsum (masculine) or ipsam (feminine) are the accusative singular reflexive pronouns (adding the meaning of "-self"). So this means quite literally "surpass yourself". [As stated by Sebastian Koppehel in comments below, this is an oversimplification; technically, te is the second person reflexive pronoun in this case, and ipsum/ipsam are intensifiers, which in this case serve to clarify that te is reflexive.]

The sentence also has a close parallel with the well-known phrase nosce te ipsum (know thyself), which itself is a translation of the famous Greek phrase γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seauton) inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

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    ipsam surely? Oct 17, 2020 at 20:13
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    In addition to what @Sebastian said, can you explain what your suggestion means? The OP (original poster) doesn't seem to have much prior knowledge of Latin, so an explanation would be helpful, also about genders. But I do fully agree: this is a great translation.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Oct 17, 2020 at 21:08
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    Super pedantic carping: te is the reflexive pronoun in this sentence (although yes, it is the accusative of tu; the difference would be visible in the third person, where we would have se, not eam). Ipse is not a reflexive pronoun except when it stands in for the nominative of se. This is why we cannot leave out te here in my opinion. Oct 18, 2020 at 10:26
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    The ipsam is not required, but emphasises the reflexive nature of the exhortation. For example, when Cicero tells Catilina: "Confer te ad Manlium [...] secerne te a bonis" (1st Catilinarian), he does not use it, and it would sound weird if he did. Here Latin differs from English, where the emphatically reflexive yourself is the only option. Oct 18, 2020 at 14:48
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    In this case, I feel the ipsam is required. In my opinion, Latin and German are much alike in this regard; certainly, a German translation would be "übertriff Dich selbst", not "übertriff dich", whereas in the Ciceronian example, a German translation would not use selbst. This is indeed different from English, where -self is the only way to express reflexivity.
    – gmvh
    Oct 18, 2020 at 15:15

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