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How do you say "under an angel's wing" in Latin? Should it be sub ala angelus or sub ala angeli? A friend of mine has a tattoo (using the 1st option), and she's afraid it's not correct.

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    May 12, 2021 at 13:41
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    May 13, 2021 at 9:31

2 Answers 2

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It's the latter option. Angelus would be nominative, i.e. the subject of the sentence, whereas angeli here would denote possession. If she got the former translation, it reads "an angel under a wing," so it's nothing too embarrassing.

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    You beat me to it by 8 seconds!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 12, 2021 at 13:46
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    Probably too late if your friend is already worried, but in general I'd recommend against telling people their tattoos are incorrect when it's too late to do anything about it!
    – dbmag9
    May 13, 2021 at 11:34
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    @dbmag9 And I'd recommend never getting a tattoo written in a language you aren't fluent in, or failing that, consult someone you really trust (i.e. not strangers on the internet) who is fluent. May 13, 2021 at 16:50
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    @DarrelHoffman You don't have to convince me! Very much agreed; the number of tattoo requests here always worry me, but each to their own.
    – dbmag9
    May 13, 2021 at 17:14
  • She just had her tattoo removed, so everything will be fine May 18, 2021 at 16:29
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The first phrasing you quote has the nominative case angelus of the Latin word for an angel. Thus it means roughly:

Sub ala angelus.
[There is] an angel under [a/the] wing.

Latin often leaves out "is" and doesn't need "there" or an article. The phrase makes sense, but the wing belongs to someone other than the angel.

The second one uses the genitive case angeli. This gets the meaning correct:

Sub ala angeli.
Under the wing of an angel.

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