The u-supine can connect with dignus like:

Nihil dignum dictu actum his consulibus (Livy; nothing worth saying/of mentioning was done ..)

But when I tried to use this pattern to say: "No one is worth to be believed easily" I ran into trouble. I have my doubts whether this can be done at all, but if it does I have my doubt between the two options:

Nemo est dignus creditu temere

Nemini est digno creditu temere

The example from Livy suggest the first option might do: "no one is worth with respect to believing" but shouldn't that actually translate to: "no one is worth to believe" ("to believe" not "to be believed"). As something feels missing - the dative. But if it works, can we say with the supine something like: "No one is worth to believe the truth"?

The second example I actually think is not grammatical.

Addendum: The issue at hand seems to be the absence of the "passive gerunds"/supines. For Virgil says:

Superanda omnis fortuna ferendo est. (every fortune is to be subdued by/with endurance)

But if we want to use the gerund passive like: "children (can) see the behind the wall by being carried" we can't say (or can we?) "liberi ferendo post murum vident".

But here the u-supine from Livy suggests the supine can be used "passively". is the "dignus+ u-supine" restricted to passive usage?

Addendum 2: It is not clear the supine can be modified by an adverb as done here, If that's indeed the case, the adverb can be removed.

  • 3
    Grammars tend to be frustratingly vague about the relationship between the second supine and the noun modified by the adjective to which the supine is attached. But in every single example I have seen, the noun was the direct object of the supine. Res foeda visu, si hoc est fas dictu and so on. So I believe your whole idea cannot work, because the direct object of credere is the thing to be believed, not the person. Jun 6, 2021 at 20:39
  • FWIW, searching on PHI finds no instances of creditu.
    – TKR
    Jun 6, 2021 at 20:41
  • @TKR, If I had to guess, I would have said it is difficile creditu not to find any creditu in PHI. at least I could find 2 examples of dingus credi:
    – d_e
    Jun 6, 2021 at 21:13
  • 6
    I think you need to use a different construction for this – e.g., nemo est dignus cui credatur.
    – cnread
    Jun 7, 2021 at 5:42
  • 2
    This is a case where Latin prefers a noun to an explicitly verbal construction: nemo praecipiti fide dignus est or nemo properam meret fidem. Oct 16, 2022 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Before I answer you question, (how do I say that no-one is worthy of being believed easily with a supine), let me just point out that a supine does not need to be used. Dignus can just as easily take an infinitive, an ut phrase, or, in the case of credo, a relative pronoun with a subjunctive: nemo est dignus cui temere credatur. I see cnread has already pointed this out in a comment.

Now to answer the question you did ask, and which you have already answered: how to do this with a supine. I think nemo est dignus temere creditu is exactly right.

You may object that you cannot tell whether the creditu is active or passive, but this same objection can apply to all of the uses of the supine as the object of an adjective. The answer to the objection is context. We know when we say horribile dictu that the horrible thing is not saying anything, it is a thing which may be said. This is obvious from context.

The same applies to mirabile visu. The miracle is not seeing anything; it is being seen.

I would think that your use of the expression dignus creditu would supply enough context to know that worthy of being believed is meant. A hypothetical active interpretation of creditu would not be "worthy of belief" in this context.

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.