What I want to do

I'm trying to create a statement that essentially is describing life as being deaf. Roughly in english this would be "life is deaf". The problem is that I'm trying to understand attributing deafness to life and can't tell if "surdus vitae" actually does that.

What I (sort of) know

From what I gather "surdus" is deaf (but I think it's the plural form), and "vitae" is life. I can't figure out the appropriate conjugations, and whether or not I need a word in between to reach the same semantic implications as the English form.

Any help would be appreciated

1 Answer 1


Surdus is indeed a good choice for "deaf", and vita for "life". What you need is

  • the singular nominative (the basic form) of vita and the same form of surdus,

  • the same form of surdus in the feminine gender because vita is feminine, and

  • the verb est, "is".

You can leave the verb out, but it doesn't hurt to have it for clarity. The Latin word order is pretty flexible, but the order of the list above is pretty natural. That would take us to vita surda est, and I suggest going with that.

The form vitae can be the plural nominative ("lives") or the singular genitive or dative ("of life" or "to life"). Surdus is otherwise fine but it is the masculine form. Without context, I'd interpret surdus vitae as "the deaf man of life", whatever that might mean. The choice of forms does indeed matter, and I'm glad you asked.

  • 1
    It doesn't necessarily help to have the verb either. *Ars longa, sententia bravis."
    – cmw
    Jan 17, 2021 at 21:46
  • 1
    Thanks for the help! Jan 17, 2021 at 22:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.