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How do you say that you have been vaccinated in Latin? I'm not sure how to construct this tense, and I'm not familiar with a modern Latin verb for "vaccinate".

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    Difficult, given that the concept of vaccination began approx 1,40 0years after the fall of the Roman Empire. Don't expect a literal translation, just something that conveys the concept. May 15, 2021 at 22:28
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    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica, Latin outlasted the Roman Empire by more than a thousand years. It was the #1 language used by scholars, lawyers, physicians, clerics—anybody with an education—to communicate with their peers throughout most of Europe until at least the 1600s. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin#History And, yeah! I know, "vaccine" wasn't a word until almost 1800, but FWIW, when I was a kid, and doctors still wrote prescriptions on paper slips that you took to the pharmacy yourself, I asked my parents why I couldn't understand the writing, and they said, that's because it's Latin. May 16, 2021 at 0:33
  • "territus sum":) May 16, 2021 at 1:30
  • You might use a participle or passive of dēfendō.
    – Davislor
    May 16, 2021 at 2:24

2 Answers 2

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Vaccinate is already a Latinate word, so to go back into Latin is very easy. The -ate ending should indicate to you that the word is first conjugation:

vaccino, vaccinare, vaccinavi, vaccinatus

This makes etymological sense, because it's ultimately derived from a Latin word, vacca meaning "cow." The adjectival form of vacca is vaccinus, -a, -um (cf. bovinus from bos or porcinus from porcus). The word "vaccine" was coined because it was used to prevent smallpox by using cowpox, the Latin name of which was at the time variolae vaccinae.

Grammatically, this is straightforward. To express a first person singular ("I") perfect passive ("am vaccinated") verb, you simply use the fourth principle part with the present tense of esse. This gives you vaccinatus or vaccinata sum. The former is masculine, the latter is feminine.

You'll want to use the perfect tense here, because the action of being vaccinated was wholly completed in the past. By saying "I am vaccinated," you're really saying, "I have (already) been vaccinated." You're describing the present state by means of a singular past action. You can see the same effect in very beginning of the Caesar's Bellum Gallicum: Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, "All of Gaul is divided (='has been divided') into three parts."

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  • I'm not sure what you mean by saying "is divided = has been divided". So-called "adjectival passives" are not to be equated to "verbal passives", right? Cf. latin.stackexchange.com/questions/8815/…
    – Mitomino
    May 16, 2021 at 2:47
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    @Mitomino It's a bit more complicated than that, but I wanted to present it simplified here to ensure that people don't confuse "I am vaccinated" with the present passive, in the same way that "I am loved" would be present passive. It's a completed action, therefore it's perfect, describing a fully completed state in the present.
    – cmw
    May 16, 2021 at 3:36
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I propose another translation. While the historic connection to cowpox is good to know for English (though perhaps faulty as new evidence shows) as "vaccine" which means "bovine" — relating to cows, I find it too casual just to relatinize what has a Latin root. It might be a personal thing, but I hear "I have been made cowly" when I read "vaccinatus sum".

For all intents and purposes "inoculo, inocolatus" whence our "inoculate" should be sufficient to mean vaccinate as in "insert some immunizing drug into sb." actively. A synonym would be "insero, insitus sum" i.e. to insert.

Now I would rather say "Inoculatus, insitus sum" to mean "I am vaccinated." than "vaccinatus sum". It could be misunderstood though that you are inserted not the drug. This type of passive participle use is very Germanic-Romance not so classical Latin-like. "Mihi insitum est aliquod medicamentum." is how I would put it for the time being.

Therefore I would prefer saying "immunificatus sum." — I am immunified. Or if you would like a less-classical more late, medieval tone to it, you could go with the suffix -izo and say "immunizatus sum". So: "Immunifico aliquem aliquo morbo.""I vaccinate/immunize someone against some disease." and "Immunificatus sum.""I am vaccinated."

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    Neo-Latin went with vaccinum for vaccine, which I think is fine; you can read it as short for a historically transparent medicamentum vaccinum 'cow-derived medicine', with a perfectly natural generalisation to all vaccines. Inoculo, insero, and immunus all come with baggage of their own, and the connection from tree grafts or exemption from public service to vaccination feels a lot less obvious to me. I would actually read immunificatus sum as 'I have had my gifts taken away', even.
    – Cairnarvon
    yesterday
  • @Cairnarvon As I disclaimed above, it can be made an issue of personal preference and if we were to dive deeper into the etymology of certain words. we would see that there are generalisations here, specifications there etc. pp. "Neo-Latin" is a hint with too prescriptive an undertone for my taste. Who cares? Who is Neo-Latin? Can you bring me to his office for me to object to his descions? Am I a writer and speaker of Neolatin not entitled to bring in my view being a part of it? My demur is that "immunis" already had the meanings of being "free and exempt, unsharing" etc. not just giftless. yesterday
  • If thefore the only way you read "immunifcatus sum" that way it is your bias that excludes most other early meanings. As apparently you do with "insero" which already had gained more general meanings of injection beside planting. I however have declared my bias openly namely that "vaccinus" just meant "cowly, of cows" for centuries. It is known that the initial vaccine was equuine in origin now. Is it "fine" to allow vaccinus/-um to acquire the new meaning? Of course, I did not say otherwise. I just find it too casual as I said to relatinize thus, for mentioned reasons. It was just a proposal. yesterday

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