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I've been a fan of Mike Carey's Lucifer comic series, for its believable portrait of a fallen angel. The series spun off from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, which established this incarnation of Lucifer Morningstar.

In short, Lucifer gets tired of the role given to him by God, so he abandons Hell and opens a piano bar on Earth called "Lux" (best in LA!). I know "lux" means "light", so this one is ok.

Now there's a new Lucifer series, set right after the previous run. In it, Lucifer returns to Earth and opens a bar called "Ex Lux":


I'd have missed him, had I not read the original series right before reading this one :D

What does "ex lux" mean? This website says "lightbringer", and I'd be inclined to believe it (because Lightbringer is Lucifer official title), had it not listed "machine translation" as its source.

I could try to scrape the barrel of my Latin knowledge, and suggest that it means "from light" - using "deus ex machina" as a reference point - but I don't dare.

Instead, I'm asking here: what does "ex lux" mean?

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    Continuation of the story: Why is Lucifer Morningstar's new bar called “Ex Lux”? – Gallifreyan May 17 '17 at 0:02
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    As others have said, this is not real Latin, but English influenced by Latin with some attempt at mimicking real Latin construction. You probably understand that study of Latin is a labor of love and a longterm project. It can be hard to see one's beloved language chopped up in this way. I happen to think it's clever and "punny", but I can identify with other reactions. – user1466 May 17 '17 at 1:24
  • Because he used to have a bar called "Lux", this is something like "previously at Lux", like "ex-partner". An apostrophe would have helped (but it would not have looked as nice). – RedSonja May 17 '17 at 13:04
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Lux can mean "light", and ex can mean "out (of)"; but that sign is wrong. The grammar is impossible; you can't just combine words like that in Latin.

To give you a feel of the type of wrongness, consider a sign in English that said "Of She". That would sound almost like gibberish. It should be "of her", and even then it could mean many things.

Likewise, the Latin E(x) Luce would mean "From (the) Light", but *Ex Lux is just not possible without an extremely unlikely context of far-fetched, extensive ellipsis.

Ex lux gives you exactly 0 results from the HP Latin corpus, and the same applies to e lux.

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    I guess they left the "Lux" part as symbolic. Or maybe it's in the English sense, i.e. "former Lux", which would be appropriate given context. In any case, thank for answering :) And thanks for the Internet resouce, looks like it might be useful. – Gallifreyan May 16 '17 at 19:01
  • @Gallifreyan: Who knows! In that case, though, shouldn't there be a hyphen? – Cerberus May 16 '17 at 19:02
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Ex Lux is a fun name for the character's bar. I think the use of the Latin is meant to be playful. (And yes, I know the Latin is not correctly formed according to Latin rules, even medieval ones.) The main character's name is Lucifer Morningstar and I'm guessing he's a night owl. Lucifer means light-bringer, of course.

Ex Lux sounds cooler in English than e luce for out of the light or from the light. I think so, even though I love Latin and this is not quite proper Latin. I think maybe ex lux is also playing on de luxe from French. I don't know the comic, but suspect lux as a double entendre here for both light and luxury.

Ex lux could be an English shortening of ex luxuria -- from luxury and in English still carry the meaning light. Many people know the prhase Fiat lux. Let there be light, so lux is familiar to some ears.

cf. deluxe - luxurious, topnotch

in French - modèle de luxe = deluxe model

In Latin luxuria means luxury in our sense, but also extravagance, excess and even reckless living. Cicero contrasts luxuria with parsimonia (frugality, thrift).

In urbe luxuries creatur, ex luxuriā existat avaritia, necesse est,” Cic. Rosc. Am. 27, 75

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Addendum:

  1. Only after this question and various answers unfolded have I begun to see all the references. Satan in the Hebrew bible is described as the morning star. I don't know much about why St. Jerome used the Latin term Lucifer.

  2. Ex Lux -- Former Light -- is this possibly a reference to Lucifer's fallen angel or ex-angel status?

  3. This is not really a Latin question, but I've had fun thinking about it and learned some things too.

  • That's an interesting perspective about "deluxe". – Gallifreyan May 16 '17 at 22:56
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    @Galliftreyan, now that I've read more about the character and the story, I think Ex Lux also is a reference to his fallen status as an angel -- an ex-angel, so to speak. I also didn't know that Satan is called the "morning star "in Hebrew in the Bible. Consider me slightly more educated after reading and answering your question. – user1466 May 17 '17 at 1:34
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    Since you're collecting subtexts, here's another. 'Ex' has an occasional meaning of 'more than' (mentioned in Etymologies ). Extra, Extreme, Exceptional, Ex Lux. – Hugh May 17 '17 at 11:30
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    ...and of course exterminate, which is extreme termination. – Hugh May 17 '17 at 11:45
5

As pointed out in other answers, it's not good Latin. I assume (I hope!) it was not meant to be, either.

In my interpretation the "ex" is just the English word, so the name "Ex Lux" means "Former Lux". This is similar to how "ex-girlfriend" means "former girlfriend".

However, I believe the allusion to Latin is fully intentional. The original name "Lux" is indeed a Latin word — and lux is what a lucifer carries. I assume "ex" also has its origin in Latin, but I don't think the two words try to mean anything together in Latin. The two words have a Latin origin by they were put together in English, not in Latin.

The name looks better to me without a hyphen. This spelling variant also gives a more Latinate feel to it. Business names and proper spelling don't always go together, unfortunately.

  • 1
    If, indeed, the English prefix ex- is intended, then why didn't they use a hyphen? – Cerberus May 16 '17 at 23:19
  • @Cerberus I'd consider that a spelling variant, possibly to give a more Latinate feel to it. I think it looks better without the hyphen, grammatical or not. Business names and proper spelling don't always go together. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 16 '17 at 23:21
  • I didn't read the original post carefully. I totally agree that it's Lux and Ex Lux instead of Lux Duo. The whole thing is very "punny". – user1466 May 17 '17 at 1:18
1

Ex lux doesn't make any sense in Latin. E(x) is generally followed by an ablative, and drops the x when before a consonant. Lux means light, or, per William Whitaker's Words, also daylight, light of day, life, world, and day. E luce would mean either out of or from light. So, it would appear to be an error if it is supposed to be Latin.

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    That rule isn't so strong; see here. – C. M. Weimer May 16 '17 at 20:19
  • Yes, but it is generally applicable – Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford May 16 '17 at 21:51
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    Can you cite a source? The dictionary entries I have checked so far all say that either "ex" or "e" can be used before a consonant, with no general rule (certainly not a general rule favoring "e" in this position). – sumelic May 16 '17 at 22:39
  • It is what I learned in Latin class. Online, when to use it seems to be a topic of debate. – Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford May 16 '17 at 23:29
  • The Romans would happily use ex before both vowels and consonants. There are some tendencies, but in classical Latin it is certainly not a rule that one must have e if the word starts with a consonant. (The preposition abs/ab/a is similar.) If you want to know more, please ask separate questions! This is interesting stuff, and I think many have been mislead to too simplified rules. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 16 '17 at 23:54
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I don't think Latin has much to do with it.

"Lux" is simply a shortening of Lucifer.

And the "Ex" is more likely to be of similar meaning to the prefix of ex-wife, ex-boyfriend, which is used to signify "former". (Incidentally, it does have Latin origins).

It is the Ex Lux, the former Lucifer. "The Devil is back" as the comic strip noted.

  • Welcome to the site! In English you could imagine that Lux is a nickname for Lucifer, but it does make sense (from linguistic and story points of view) that Lucifer carries Lux. But I don't know what the author intended. Otherwise I agree – after all, my answer reached essentially the same conclusion. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 17 '17 at 6:21
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This should be a comment rather than an answer as my Latin is terrible

However in England we have an off the shelf laxative called ExLax it is a chocolate based laxative that helps you go when you're struggling

If the bar being called ExLux isn't a play on that I'd be very surprised. It's stated that he hired the dregs of society, the detritus. The same things that a laxative brings out of your body, all contained in the club of the same (or very similar) name

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    I was only looking for the Latin meaning (if any) of the name. For the in-universe, or out-of-universe significance of the meaning, head to this question. – Gallifreyan May 26 '17 at 15:02
  • Cheers Gallifreyan, will look over there, just thought it would flesh out the answers given but no the Latin is an irrelevance really – cockbeard May 26 '17 at 15:03

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