If someone is in good health, one can say that they are as fit as a flea (or fiddle) in English or as healthy as a billy goat ("terve kuin pukki") in Finnish. What would be a similar idiom in Latin, indicating excellent health? I would prefer an animal comparison if there is one, and in any case something more colorful than optimae valetudinis.

(To make this easier to find, let me repeat the key question in Finnish: Miten sanotaan "terve kuin pukki" latinaksi?)

  • I have never seen such an expression. We English also say 'fit as a butcher's dog', maybe validus sicut lanii catellus
    – Tom Cotton
    Jan 9, 2017 at 17:08
  • Hmm. Latin tends toward the concrete rather than the metaphoric, so my guess is that unfortunately optimæ valetudinis is probably the best choice. Jan 9, 2017 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


I am trying to find more examples, but for the present I can add one to the exhibit. It is likely that this is not an established idiom.

From Plauti Fragmenta:

Quasi lupus ab armis valeo.

The footnote of the above edition glosses this irregular use of ab as specifying how the speaker is strong, i.e. "I am as strong as a wolf in my shoulders." (N.B. armus, -i = shoulder.)

This almost definitely refers to strength and ferocity rather than health. Compare to other usages with the same animal:

Quasi lúpus esuriens ille metui ne in me faceret impetum. (Plautus, Captivi 912)

  • 1
    Perhaps there was no perfectly matching idiom in Latin, but "as strong or ferocious as a wolf" is close enough for now. Thanks! (I will have to unaccept if someone finds a better fit later. I don't want to keep anyone from giving another answer.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jan 11, 2017 at 13:50

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