How would you say "A butterfly is landing on a flower." in Latin? Specifically, which word would you use for "to land"?

In a song called "Aeromiting u vrtu", sung by Oliver Dragojević, the author uses the very-Latin-sounding word "aterira" for that. Was there a Latin word such as "atterrare" (from "ad" + "terra") for "to land"? I cannot find it in a dictionary, but I doubt the songwriter made that word up.

2 Answers 2


I would guess what you heard in the song is based on the French verb atterrir. Il atterrira means he/it will land. This verb was invented by the French and has no direct Latin equivalent, as far as I can see, although all its components are Latinate, of course.

In Latin I would use considere or assidere, which are both used of birds and bees (did not find an example for a butterly), e.g. Livy, Ab urbe condita 7, 26:

Romano corvus repente in galea consedit
a raven suddenly sat down on the Roman's helmet

Or Sueton, Tiberius 14:

aquila numquam antea Rhodi conspecta in culmine domus eius assedit
an eagle never before seen on Rhodos sat down on the highest top of his house

So you could say: Papilio in flore assidit.

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    By the way, I don't know how it works in Croatian, but a German speaker would not bat an eye at the dative Romano; however, English speakers are possibly scratching their heads why I translated this as "the Roman's." Think like, "it happened to the Roman that a raven sat on the [= his] helmet." Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 21:07
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    One could also consider the influence on Croatian of the Italian atterrare (itself a calque from the French), Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 9:21
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    @Sebastian Koppehel: Could "in Romano galea" be translated as (ablative) = "on the Roman helmet"? Would your choice be called a "dative-of-possession"?
    – tony
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 10:59
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    @tony At least in the modern languages I know the word in dative is not bound directly to the noun helmet, it is bound directly to the verb. Similarly in German "Er ist mir auf den Fuß getreten." The collocation is de.wiktionary.org/wiki/jemandem_auf_die_F%C3%BC%C3%9Fe_treten "Literally, he stepped on the foot to me." Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 14:38
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    @Figulus: Is that because "in florem" = "into the flower", giving: "The butterfly lands inside the flower."?
    – tony
    Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 11:18

The verb insido+Dative.(I edited because of the corrector) Vergilius gave us a good example: "“apes floribus insidunt,” Verg. A. 6, 708"

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