I am trying to sarcastically say essentially you're throwing a dice with only one option.

I was researching and thought this kinda worked—alea incommutabilis iacitur—but I don't care for the use of 'unchangeable.'

Given my request is more hyperbole or sarcasm, I am not having much luck with online translations. Is anyone able to give (with respect to context) a translation of throwing a 'one sided' die or similar redundant idea?

alea fatis iacta est


3 Answers 3


What about something like:

Fata aleam iecerunt
The Fates have thrown the dice.

You could even make it passive, which is a more direct allusion to the original:

Alea a Fatis iacta est.
The dice are thrown by the Fates. / The game is played by fate.

Adding "the fates" makes it known that we aren't playing a game of chance, but our game of chance is actually something played by the Fates, who, of course, have pre-determined our lives.

There are many ways to express this (e.g. "the gods are playing with dice"), depending on how close you want to keep to the original wording.

  • 1
    Thank you for your answer and time I think I like this one the best I think it would have made the most sense at the time even if it's not exactly what I was looking for (which is understandable considering I'm coming from a modern sense of humor and sarcasm.)
    – B. Moore
    Oct 6, 2021 at 1:09

It doesn't follow your 'one-sided die' idea, but one possibility is

alea abiecta est

for 'the die is [has been] cast away' (or discarded). It follows the phrasing of the original tightly but subverts the meaning. I think it would be reasonable to use it to describe a situation where choice has been abandoned (absent context there are, as ever, other ways you could interpret it – but this is equally true of the original).

  • Thank you for your time and response. This is great I am still hoping to get something that is more futile (like shooting at the moon to get rid of it levels of futile). I reached out on other forums and got this as an answer -Āleam ūnō ēventū iacis- but I'm not sure this really works. What is your take?
    – B. Moore
    Oct 5, 2021 at 15:55

Following the idea of a one-sided die and keeping close to the wording of alea iacta est will probably be difficult. Contrary to popular opinion, alea does not mean "die," but rather "game of dice" or "game of chance." Roman dice games were usually played with several dice, which were either six-sided tesserae (very similar to modern six-sided dice) or four-sided tali. It is all laid out in Lewis & Short's amazingly encyclopedic entry for alea.

(This is also why "the dice have been cast" is a perfectly appropriate translation for Caesar's famous locution, and "the die has been cast" should probably be considered a hypercorrection and an inferior translation.)

But anyway, I think one option would be to say:

Alea praedestinata iacta est.

... a pre-determined game. (Although that's not particularly sarcastic, I guess.)

Or you could go with the one-sided idea and use a word for die:

Tessera unum latus habens iacta est.

All in all, in a sarcastic tone you could for example say something like:

Alea sane iacta est -- tesseram quidem iecisti unum latus habentem!

(A one-sided die is not a geometrical impossibility, by the way; you can buy them, they are shaped like a Möbius strip. Throwing one as a game of chance is pointless, though.)

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.