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I translated "I would have done it, but turned and forgot" via google translate, hoping that phrasing would be end up with a more idiomatic latin phrase.

Otherwise, how do I convey the meaning of

"I was going to, but then I got distracted and forgot."

as a sort of tongue-in-cheek motto?

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  • 4
    Thanks for posting your question! Google translate does not handle Latin well, and you can get some wildly inaccurate translations out of it. I'm sure you'll get some great answers to this with proper translations, though.
    – Adam
    Apr 30 at 17:32
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    Hi Adam, thanks very much. I'm aware that google translate is not great for a whole bunch of languages, but it seemed only fair to at least try to translate the phrase. Those are some hilarious mistranslations though.
    – Pureferret
    Apr 30 at 17:49
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I would take a fairly straightforward approach:

Volens verum distractus, oblitus sum.

That means:

Willing but (in truth) distracted, I forgot.

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My suggestion is:

propositum (e) memoria mihi districto excidit.

The parentheses mark an optional word. Very literally, this means something like 'The thing that had been set before me as an intention or objective fell out of memory for me having been distracted.' More loosely, it means 'What I was planning to do slipped my mind because I got distracted.'

Various alternatives to the verb excidit are possible, such as excessit, fugit, and intercidit; additionally, the more familiar-looking distracto could be used instead of districto. If you want to strengthen the sense that the distraction was the cause of the forgetting, you could add quippe before districto.

I should note that districto (or distracto) is used if the 'I' is male; for a female, the form should be districtae (distractae).

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Why not go for an actual Classical quote? Try Terence, Eunuch II.iii.305-306:

egone? nescio hercle, neque unde eam, neque quorsum eam: ita prorsum oblitus sum mei.

Me? I don't know, by Hercules, neither whence I come nor whither I go: I have thus been so completely lost in thought.

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