I'm looking for a good 3 word (2 word would work as well) translation for:

Burn this Shirt

The idea for the expression is to set fire to the shirt or tunic that you're currently wearing and make that action into a latin motto. I am new to Latin so I'm not sure where to start.

Any help would be much appreciated.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! To make it specifically refer to the shirt someone is wearing, you might want something more explicit in Latin like "burn your shirt" rather than "burn this shirt".
    – Adam
    Nov 2, 2022 at 13:39
  • Latin also has a number of verbs that might work depending on the context of "burn", i.e. simply setting it on fire, burning it completely to ashes, just being affected by heat, etc. Did you have a more specific thought about what "burn" means in this context?
    – Adam
    Nov 2, 2022 at 13:42
  • Thank you Adam for welcoming me! "Burn your Shirt" would be perfect. And burn meaning catching the shirt on fire to the point of only ashes are left. No harm to any person, just the shirt is burned to ashes.
    – Greg
    Nov 2, 2022 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


Where to start?

First, with a word for “burn.” The most general word is uro; however, in this case comburo (burn up, burn completely) is more fitting.

Next, “shirt” is always a bit difficult to translate, but as you suggested “tunic” yourself, let's go with tunica. (Attempts to find a more accurate translation usually concentrate on the “undergarment” aspect, but I doubt you're all that interested in that.)

Now we just take the imperative form of the verb, put the noun in the accusative case, add a demonstrative adjective, and we get:

Combure istam tunicam.

Where English has “this” and “that,” Latin has a somewhat confusing selection of is, hic, ille, iste. I chose iste here, which we generally use when referring to something that is closer (in mind or in reality) to the listener than the speaker. “Burn the shirt you are wearing” sounds like that would be the case. Although I would really expect to hear “Burn that shirt” in that case. “Burn this shirt” sounds more like the motto is printed on the shirt, in which case you would say:

Combure hanc tunicam.

  • Thanks, @Sebastian_Koppehel for your very comprehensive explanation for this motto. It's exactly what I was looking for on this site.
    – Greg
    Nov 2, 2022 at 18:14
  • 2
    @Greg Glad to help. Note comburo is the root of our modern “combustion.” I also like to joke that uro is the root word of “urology,” but sadly, that's not really true … Nov 2, 2022 at 20:28

Sebastian's suggestion is perfect but just as an alternative, you could consider

Tunica comburenda est!

This is literally "the shirt must be burned", but for the amusement of Roman history geeks, it's framed as an echo of Cato's famous catchphrase Carthago delenda est "Carthage must be destroyed".

  • 1
    I would still add an ista to make it clear that the shirt is not referring to some other shirt. Also it has a nicer metre.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Nov 3, 2022 at 12:40
  • Or just Tunica comburenda
    – sehe
    Nov 3, 2022 at 12:43
  • I am amazed at the helpfulness of this community. Thank you, everyone, so much for your thorough assistance on this project. This is the design so far: link
    – Greg
    Nov 3, 2022 at 16:51
  • 3
    @Greg Note though that the verb should be combure, not combuste.
    – TKR
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:40
  • @TKR Thanks! Noted & changed.
    – Greg
    Nov 4, 2022 at 18:38

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