My sentence is "the immutable system engenders rot." Diagramming the English sentence:

  • immutable: adjective, modifying the subject
  • system: noun, subject. in context, refers to the system in the same sense as political system/constitutional order, or economic system
  • engenders: our verb, passive, third person, present
  • rot: our object, noun (but apparently not a gerund in english?)

For Latin vocabulary, I picked:

  • inmutabilis
  • mos (maybe not a great choice?)
  • gigno (note - english engender's is from latin ingenerare, when would you use which one?)
  • putesco

giving me:

inmutabilis mos putescendum gignitur

Which is kind of a mouthful. Did I do the grammar right, and do you have any feedback on word choice?

2 Answers 2


I think the most Latin way of translating this phrase, even if it means taking a little liberty, is "what doesn't move rots".

Putescit quod non movet.

You may want to add "et non movetur" (and is not moved).

Putescit quod non movet et non movetur.

  • 2
    The intransitive use of moveo is very rare classically. Moveo is a good choice otherwise because it does occur as a synonym for muto.
    – Cairnarvon
    Jan 29, 2023 at 13:34
  • 2
    @Cairnarvon Yep! I distinctly remember getting marks off in early poetry composition because I used moveo without an object. Even if it occurs rarely, it would be very unusual to see in a motto. I would only go with the transitive passive here.
    – cmw
    Jan 29, 2023 at 14:37

We can also attempt a somewhat more literal translation.

  • For "system," as in a political system, I would suggest constitutio, which seems like a good fit (unless, in a Neo-Latin context, it could be confused with the idea of a written constitution). Mos, I would not have understood as "system."

  • Putescendum is wrong because in the accusative, you would use the infinitive; however, this seems like a very unusual way to phrase it. And there is a much simpler word for rot anyway: caries.

Thus we might say: Immutabilis gignit constitutio cariem.

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