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I recently encountered someone in an online game who had the battlecry "Veni, vidi, calce asinum!". Now, my Latin's quite rusty, but I'm certain that can only be translated as "I came, I saw, I kicked donkey".

How would I express the sentiment "I came, I saw, I kicked ass" in Latin? I'm more interested in preserving the general sentiment than in the literal meaning of kicking someone in the buttocks.

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    Are you sure that the phrase doesn't actually refer to a donkey (ass) rather than buttocks (ass [Am.Eng.]/arse [Br.Eng.])? Honestly, I have no idea. A question about the origin of the phrase on English Language & Usage claims the phrase dates to the 1940s; but the phrase given there ('having as much chance as a one-legged man in a mule/butt/ass-kicking contest') is a bit problematic: the fact that it can use 'mule,' 'butt,' or 'ass' suggests some earlier confusion of 'ass' vs. 'ass'/'arse.' – cnread Jul 21 '17 at 6:43
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If you want to preserve the V-V-V structure of the original, you could do:

Veni, Vidi, Verberavi

This translates to "I came, I saw, I beat people."

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    I like it, but verberavi is already pretty strong so does it really need the valde? Without valde, too, it runs very nicely off the tongue like a (modern English) iambic tetrameter. – Tom Cotton Jul 21 '17 at 14:53
  • Seconding veni, vidi, verberavi. – Draconis Jul 21 '17 at 16:08
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    @TomCotton I got carried away with the V words. Edited. – C. M. Weimer Jul 21 '17 at 16:11
  • Definitely in the spirit of the original quote. (Very Hans and Franz;) Nice work! – DukeZhou Jul 21 '17 at 18:48
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    A fun version that reverses the meaning: veni, vidi, vapulavi – brianpck Dec 11 '17 at 20:47
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'Ass' is no more than the American version of 'arse': I don't think it is an attempt at euphemism, but just a small corruption that somehow got adopted into their language. The Americans 'kick ass' but we English are a little less direct and 'give a kick up the backside'.

The word you want here is culus, used with that precise meaning by Catullus and others. I can't think of sensibly brief Latin to use for 'kick', but you could use tundo, to beat, strike, etc. with the foot (pede).

Does Veni, vidi, pede culum tutundi have the right sort of sound for your purpose?

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  • Not sure British "kick up the backside" has quite the same sense as the American "kick ass". Eg "I'm going to kick ass with my presentation!" would mean overawe, succeed brilliantly, not chastise someone, physically or verbally. Not sure there is a true British English equivalent. – TheHonRose Aug 23 '17 at 13:15

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