What is "right of way" (in the sense of being allowed to go first in traffic) in Latin? Is there by any chance an attested expression for essentially the same thing? I would like a phrase suitable for modern traffic.

Forming verbal expressions like "is allowed to go first" is simpler, but that is not what I'm after. The best thing I could come up with is libertas praeeundi, but I would not be surprised if there is a more natural way to put it. Perhaps ius vehendi?

  • Probably ius with whatever term Modern Latin has designated for an intransitive "drive." – C. M. Weimer Apr 8 '17 at 14:31
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    In the sport of fencing, there is also a term "right of way." I wonder if there is also translation for this that may be similar. Probably not, but this question reminded me of that phrase. – Sam K Apr 9 '17 at 1:50
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    Terms for 'give way' are easier to find; e.g. cedere viam. Perhaps tenere viam, or viam jure tenere; 'to hold the way by right.' – Hugh Apr 9 '17 at 2:22
  • @SamK The term has several different uses. That's why I was specific about what I want to translate. I don't think any single phrase can (or should) capture them all. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 10 '17 at 3:02
  • Nor do I! I was just thinking about a definition I knew of that phrase, so I was just making an only somewhat related comment. :) – Sam K Apr 10 '17 at 15:28

Certainly, ius indicates the right to take some sort of action, so I should think that either ius itineris ('right of route') or ius transitus ('right of crossing') would be generally suitable as a traffic instruction (and, being more direct and powerful, preferable to using facultas, another possibility).

For the party conceding right of way, transitum dare (Livy 21.20 and Caesar BG 1.8) is probably all right.

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    I just did a quick search on the Adumbratio Lexici Anglico-Latini, which returned the result ius eundi, as well as ius itineris, so that is also a possibility. – Sam K Apr 10 '17 at 15:32
  • The Livy and Caesar examples furnished here make ius transitum very attractive. Tough to choose which is better. – C. M. Weimer Apr 10 '17 at 16:23
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    For myself, I think I'd pick ius itineris, 'right to follow the route'. Ius transitus might better be the 'right to cross', as on a pedestrian crossing. – Tom Cotton Apr 10 '17 at 17:09
  • Those are good suggestions! I especially like ius transitus, especially when one has the right of way to cross a lane or something else. It's good to know that ius is the right "right" word. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 10 '17 at 17:43
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    @C.M.Weiner Yes, so it is, but transitus is here a 4th declension genitive. – Tom Cotton Apr 10 '17 at 20:55

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