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A quick search can barely confirm that ablative plural ab nobis is found in collocation. This might literally translate German von uns, as in the euphemism

von uns gegangen sein
* from us ygone be
have passed away

  1. Is ab nobis grammatical for the surface reading, they have left us?

  2. Is a similar euphemism with nobis or something close to it known from formal obituaries or the vernacular?


Disclaimer: Asking because of the uncertain etymology of vernacular German abnippeln "pass away, to die". Of course I am grabbing for straws and the details don't matter.

2 Answers 2

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Ab nōbīs literally means "from us". Thus, discedere ab nōbīs would literally mean "to depart from us", and we see this exact phrase in e.g. Caesar's Bellum Civile:

Discedere ab nobis et novam temptare fortunam novasque amicitias experiri constituerunt.
They decided to depart from us, test their luck anew, and and try some new alliances.

However, I'm only familiar with it being used for literal departure, not death. If this was an idiom used in epitaphs, it's not one I've seen.

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  • I'll accept first beyond the goal post lest I be blamed of multiple questions in one and hope somebody can offer a medieval euphemism.
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 4:08
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    Note: While discedere is generally not used as an euphemism for dying, the similar sounding decedere is, and frequently; however, it is normally used absolutely and apparently never with ab. However, interestingly one example is pater nobis decessit (Cic. Att. 1, 6). Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 22:02
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To answer your first question, a quick search on PHI Latin Texts shows "ab nōbīs" to be attested 19 times, whereas "ā nōbīs" appears 853 times. So, while they're both grammatical, the latter seems to be far more prevalent in the corpus.

As for your second question, discēdere, discēdō means "to pass away" or "to disappear" in a more literal sense of going away, though it can mean "to die alone". There is, however, also the expression ā vītā discēdere, discēdō, but that might be confusing or clunky when you're already saying ā/ab nōbīs. There is a variety of expressions you can use to (euphemistically) speak of dying: plain morī, morior for "to die", dē/ē vītā exīre, exeō/migrāre, migrō for "to depart from life" (though ā/ab nōbīs might be out of place when you're already saying you're departing from something/someone), obīre, obeō for "to encounter" (as in, encounter death), etc.

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  • "ubi hae sollicitudines discessere, Liv. 4, 52 fin.—" (Lewis & Short). Very good, thank you very much.
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 19, 2022 at 17:17

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