A phrase oft-heard in the English-speaking world. Doubtless, other languages have equally blunt, terse ways of dealing with queue-jumping "chancers". On this website: (https://www.indifferentlanguages.com/.../decebit_vicem_tuam_operiri), I found:

"decebit vicem tuam operiri." = "(literally) It will be proper to be burdened in your turn."

I would have translated this more prosaically:

"exspecta (in) tuam vicem!" = "Wait (for/ until) your turn!"

Oxford gives, "in vicem" (also "alternis" & "vicissim") = "by turns". Therefore, is the inclusion of "in" mandatory?

Do these two translations have any credibility?

2 Answers 2


For "it's your turn" Georges suggests ordo te vocat or nunc sunt tuae partes (the latter particularly for when it's someone's turn to perform some duty). The only usage of the former I can find is in the Saturnalia of Macrobius, 2,2,12, where a group of people are telling each other more or less lewd jokes, and then...

Inter haec cum Servius ordine se vocante per verecundiam sileret: Omnes nos, inquit Evangelus, inpudentes grammatice pronuntias, si tacere talia vis videri tuitionem pudoris
While they were talking so, when Servius, when it was his turn, remained silent due to his propriety, Evangelus said: You declare us all shameless, you grammarian, if you would that passing over such things in silence looks like a defence of your shame.

The latter is Ciceronian. Georges gives the example: si suae partes essent hospitum recipiendorum, which is an (inexplicably) modified quote from the Verrine orations, II.1:

ostendit munus illud suum non esse; se, cum suae partes essent hospitum recipiendorum, tum ipsos tamen praetores et consules, non legatorum adseculas, recipere solere
he said that that was not his job; when it was his turn to host guests, he said, he was used to host praetors and consuls themselves, not legates' attendants

Very good in terms of pedigree; still, for your example, "wait your turn," this idea of it being one's "shift," so to speak, to do a certain duty, seems less apt. Using therefore the ordo expression, we get:

Exspecta, quoad ordo te vocet.

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    I would, by the way, have thought it should be ordine eum vocante. Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 21:33
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    Servius is the only subject that's been introduced so far, so eum would imply that the pronoun referred to someone else. Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 21:42
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    @Kingshorsey surely ordine is the closest subject? Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 22:26
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    The use of reflexive pronouns is often pragmatic, referring to the subject under discussion, not literally the most proximal grammatical subject. Here, the ordo calling itself is pragmatically impossible, so the choice is between Servius (se) or someone else (eum). Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 22:50
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    Here's a good example of the principle I mentioned. Caesar statuit sibi Rhenum esse transeundum. Grammatically, Rhenum is the subject of the periphrastic gerundive on which sibi depends, but sibi clearly refers to Caesar. Commented Dec 2, 2021 at 17:53

You could probably say just vicem but I think in vicem is more common. Lewis & Short lists only one example of vicem alone. Maybe alternis (sc. vicibus) could also work as the adverb.

My takes:

mane! invicem hic itur 'Wait! People go one after another here.'

ordinem adhibe! 'Follow the order (of the queue)'

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    Wouldn't ordinem adhibe mean something like "apply order"?
    – TKR
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 19:48
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    Exactly. If you say that angrily to a person jumping the queue, you are telling them to act in an orderly manner (cf. Cic. Off. 1,17). There's also the maybe even better fitting ad ordinem te adhibe! 'Devote attention to order (of things, especially the queue over here)!' Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 20:31
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    @TuomoSipola Ordinem serva/conserva/observa also makes sense to me. Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 23:02

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