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I’m trying to come up with a good translation for my own personal motto, “Claim Joy.” I use it in the context of my own mental health struggles and a reminder that you can’t wait for happiness, you have to go out and find it.

Grammatically, I’d like the verb to be indicative, but also poetic. The precise word I’m looking for seems elusive. As for “joy,” I’m struggling to decide between gaudium and laetitia. I think laetitia is the correct word as it feels more akin to the idea of inward and outward joy. The feeling of being inwardly happy and expressing it outwardly.

Thanks for the help. It’s been a looong time since my senior year of high school Latin.

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3 Answers 3

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I'll start with laetitiam repete! 'Reclaim joy!'. I don't see much difference between laetitia and gaudium. I hope others can elaborate.

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My mind immediately went to carpe 'seize, claim, enjoy, pluck' for the verb: as well as connotations of plucking something off a tree, which seems in line with what you want, it also echoes the well-known carpe diem 'seize the day' which is both poetic and means it will be more readily understood.

Picking gaudium for 'joy' lets you continue the echo, and I think will also be more readily understood by literate non-Latinists than laetitia (which has the disadvantage of resembling a name, and you don't want to give the impression you're claiming a woman!).

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    I think carpe! would fit nicely here. Dec 10, 2021 at 22:54
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Just saw that an answer has been accepted. Yet it may be interesting to consider using a gerundivum here, in pretty much the same way as Horatius' Nunc est bibendum.

If we take "Claim joy" to mean "Joy must be claimed", and translate "claim" by vindicare we can say

Laetitia vindicanda est

or

Gaudium vindicandum est.

You can leave out est to make it a little stronger.

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  • I like this one, too. Dec 11, 2021 at 11:39

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