How can I translate sentences like "poverty leads to hunger" to Latin? There are several possible verbs for leading, and my first choice is ducere, but I am not sure if it can be used in this sense. Perhaps I could simply say inopia in famem ducit, but I'm far from confident. This would work if I added an object hominem ("poverty leads a man to hunger"), but I really want to avoid using an object.

There are cases when there is no clear object or I do not want indicate what the object is. If possible, I would like a structure that also works for "the series of events led to her birth" or "heavy rain does not lead to drought" or "careless driving leads to sorrow". If it is better to use different phrases for these different examples, what Latin phrases should I have in mind when trying to translate "leads to"?

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    What about doing it the other way around? Fames egestatem sequitur. Also, the word for poverty here you want is probably egestas, inopia, or penuria.
    – cmw
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 12:54
  • @C.M.Weimer Sequitur sounds good. Thanks for the suggestions for "poverty", too.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 13:05
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    Look! L&S for sequor. Meaning I.B.2: aestatem auctumnus sequitur; II.A: dispares mores disparia studia sequuntur
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 14:00
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    And meaning II.B.4 might be an answer for if..then: si haec enuntiatio vera non est, sequitur, ut falsa sit
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 14:01
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    @Rafael I will say that sequitur would be weird for some of follow-up examples. Adduco also works.
    – cmw
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


Here are two possibilities based off your two example requests.

The first one, "poverty leads to hunger," I would turn around to use sequi:

Fames inopiam sequitur. / Hungers follows famine.

It's straightforward and easy to use and well attested in ancient authors.

However, it doesn't sound right in your next example, "a series of events led to her birth." It's certainly possible to do so ("her birth followed all these events"), but I think adducere might be a good way to do this. While it's primary (original) meaning was spatial (to lead X to Y) Lewis & Short cover the citations for a figurative meaning well:

II. Fig. A. To bring a person or thing into a certain condition; with ad or in: “numquam animum quaesti gratiā ad malas adducam partīs,” Ter. Hec. 5, 3, 38: “rem adduci ad interregnum,” Cic. Att. 7, 9: “ad arbitrium alterius,” id. Fam. 5, 20: “ad suam auctoritatem,” id. Deiot. 10, 29: “numquam prius discessit, quam ad finem sermo esset adductus,” Nep. Ep. 3: “iambos ad umbilicum adducere,” Hor. Epod. 14, 8: “in discrimen extremum,” Cic. Phil. 6, 7; cf. Liv. 45, 8: “in summas angustias,” Cic. Quint. 5: “in invidiam falso crimine,” id. Off. 3, 20: “in necessitatem,” Liv. 8, 7: “vitam in extremum,” Tac. A. 14, 61.—

To word your example to fit the structure, I'd offer something like:

Omnes eventus matrem ad gignendum adduxerunt. / All the events led her mother to give birth.

What a weird thing to say, though. On second thought, I would also use sequi with this example!

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    Thanks! I like these suggestions. Would it make sense to use fames ex inopia sequitur as an alternative to fames inopiam sequitur? In English X can follow Y or X can follow from Y.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 4:22
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    @JoonasIlmavirta You would probably want a different verb, like nasci.
    – cmw
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 4:33
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    @cmw: Therefore, "fames ex inopia nascitur", in order to deploy "ex"? Why is "ex" appropriate with "nasci" and not "sequi"?
    – tony
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 12:34

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