The low-budget but classic movie, A Christmas Story (1983) is famous for the line "You'll shoot your eye out!", which is said by everyone when nine year old Ralphie says wants a Red Rider® BB rifle for Christmas.

Obviously there wasn't any classic Latin word for "shoot", so there isn't any direct translation for this.

Google Translate suggests "Oculum tuum ejicies!", but not unexpectedly that isn't very good.

Is there a concise Latin expression for this that conveys the idea of inevitable but unintentional self-harm?

  • 3
    Just a linguistic comment on your interesting question. Verb particle constructions like the one exemplified in the title are typically found in Germanic languages (in contrast, Romance languages typically lack them). Unlike Romance languages, Germanic languages and Latin typically (but not always!) express directionality/result not in the verbal root but in the "satellite", i.e. a particle in English and a prefix in Latin (both languages are classified as "satellite-framed languages"). For a related question, see latin.stackexchange.com/questions/11118/…
    – Mitomino
    Nov 24, 2023 at 22:56
  • @Mitomino: Therefore, will this translation require a directional prefix e.g. "-in" ("-ir") and a requisite dative indirect object? Something like, "tuo oculo inperdes"--"you will direct loss/destruction to your eye", Is this correct?
    – tony
    Nov 25, 2023 at 9:44
  • @tony To the extent that Talmy's typology applies here (which could not be the case. Same for my examples in the link above), the expected pattern in Latin would be something like "Subject ex-verb Direct Object". Cf. [Serpentes] putamina ex-tussiunt ‘Snakes cough the egg shells out.’ (Plin. Nat. 10, 197). Your connection between preverbs and datives is relevant for other cases (cf. dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/latin/dative-compounds ). So the literal translation given by the OP is more relevant. However, his pertinent point is whether a more idiomatic counterpart can exist in Latin.
    – Mitomino
    Nov 25, 2023 at 12:09


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