Is "Ingenium sine demonstratione" a proper translation of "Genius without verification/proof"? It's basically a German phrase ("Genie ohne Nachweis") that was used to describe Ludwig Wittgensteins nephew Paul Wittgenstein.

I found homo <-minis> m summi ingenii as a translation for Genius at PONS

I found ingenium at dict.cc

Both are translations from German to Latin. Second one seems more appropriate to me.

So can I say Ingenium sine demonstratione?

EDIT: Unfortunately - as said in a comment by brianpck - there are no google results corresponding to either the English "Genius without proof" or "Genie ohne Nachweis". And I know this is not the place for the English language matters and of course not the German language. "Genie ohne Nachweis" is used in an Austrian book written by Thomas Bernhard who wanted to tell about his friend Paul Wittgenstein (Ludwig Wittgenstein's nephew) that he as well was a true genius. But unlike his uncle Ludwig (who wrote the famous Tractatus logico-philosophicus) and his father Paul (who was a one-handed pianist and composed a lot of classical piano music) the young Paul Wittgenstein (who was a very good friend of Thomas Bernhard - they met in a hospital) neither wrote nor composed or did anything to proof that he is as talented and gifted as his relatives. So cynically the only proof of Wittgenstein's genius per se is Bernhards mention in the book (Wittgenstein's nephew).

And because I think it's a beautiful proof of Bernhards friendship with Paul and out of pure curiosity I wanted to know what the Latin equivalent for the term Genius without proof is.

  • Welcome to the site! A suggestion: Have you looked at any Latin dictionaries to see how well the Latin word genius matches the English (or German) one? You could look up some potential words and comment on them if you want to get the nuance right. The question is answerable as is, but if you want specific kind of answer, you should show your own thoughts.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Mar 3, 2017 at 11:39
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    @JoonasIlmavirta Thanks for pointing that out. I've tried to improve the question. Mar 3, 2017 at 11:53
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    Excellent! I hope you get a good answer.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Mar 3, 2017 at 11:58
  • I'm curious about the German epithet: I can't find a single G-hit for "Genie ohne Nachweis"
    – brianpck
    Mar 3, 2017 at 16:17
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    @brianpck In fact the term is used in the (German) book called "Wittgenstein's nephew" written by Thomas Bernhard. He wanted to point out that Paul Wittgenstein was a true Genius - like his uncle Ludwig as a philosopher and his father Paul as a one-handed pianist - but unlike his uncle and father had no evidence whatsoever for it. Mar 3, 2017 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


Vir summi numquam demonstrati ingenii

Of course, ingenium would also work as a metaphor, but vir ... ingenii is a set phrase. Demonstrō is perfect for the concept of Nachweis. Sine demonstratione sounds (at least to my ears) very modern, late medieval or Renaissance: in older times a more concrete wording, such as “never proven” would have been preferred. But that’s a matter of personal taste.

  • Excellent, thank you very much! Mar 5, 2017 at 13:29

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