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I want to engrave a Latin phrase on a necklace for a family friend with the surname Whiteheart.

I'm came up with "A Heart White/Bright and Without Malice", which in Latin I'm thinking might be something like:

(COR) CANDIDA ET ABSIT INVIDIA

Would this be 1. Correct, and 2. Sonorous?

I like that Candidus means 'shining white, clear, bright, fair, beautiful' all in one, and hope to use that word.

I also like the phrase 'Absit Invidia' and want to use that.

I'm also thinking it would be better not to include 'heart' ('cor'), so as to make it more general, applicable to the heart but also to the soul or whatever else, and also to save space and sound more catchy.

CANDIDA ET ABSIT INVIDIA Bright and Without Malice

Is that grammatically correct and sonorous? And would there be any better alternatives?

Thanks alot

  • Would prefer to not have Cor in it, to make it shorter and more general – user1988 Sep 13 '17 at 15:30
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    What meaning are you going for exactly? If you want "whiteheart" to be in there you're probably going to need cor. – Draconis Sep 13 '17 at 16:50
  • Not Whiteheart. Just a general statement "Bright and without malice" that could be applied to a heart or a spirit or anything – user1988 Sep 13 '17 at 16:53
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    Absit invidia does not literally mean 'without malice' but rather 'malice begone'. To maintain parallel structure, perhaps adsit candor et absit invidia 'brightness/beauty/purity/kindness be near and malice begone'. – Anonym Sep 13 '17 at 18:32
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    Cor is neuter: and in any case the nominative is at a loose end (nominativus pendens). 'Corde mundo,' would add 'from a pure heart let...' or 'the heart being pure, let malice be gone.' – Hugh Sep 13 '17 at 20:44
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I would suggest this:

Candida sis absitque invidia (for a female)
Candidus sis absitque invidia (for a male)

This means "may you be white and may malice be gone". I only chose one possible translation of candidus to keep it simple. All the meanings are included, of course.

You wanted to have the element absit invidia. As pointed out in a comment, it is a wish "may malice be gone", not "without malice" or "absence of malice". These three things are semantically very similar, but the grammatical difference is huge.

Because this last part is a wish, it makes sense to make the beginning a wish, too. I used the verb sis ("may you be"). I thought it would be appropriate that you wish the person to be candidus. The use of second person also makes this more personal.

The gender of the adjective must match the gender of the person. Therefore there are separate versions for a female and a male recipient.

If you want it to be "may I be" instead of "may you be" — which might make sense if others are supposed to see the text around the wearer's neck — then you should replace sis with sim.

In "dual expressions" like this one a chiastic word order often works best. I put the two verbs sis and absit next to each other. This also emphasizes the difference between the underlying verbs esse ("to be") and abesse ("to be away").

For some reason -que sounds good to me in this use, perhaps because it seems to tie the two statements closer together. You can replace absitque with et absit if you want.


On your suggestions:

The gender of the adjective must agree with that of the corresponding noun, so a "white heart" would be cor candidum, not cor candida. The adjective is often put after the noun, but the word order is free.

Whether or not you have cor, the phrase sounds weird. Candida et absit invidia is roughly "white and may malice be gone". The role of candida is unclear. That is why I suggested adding sis/sim to make it into a two-part wish.

I would therefore say that your suggestions are not correct. I prefer not to discuss whether something sounds good before it makes any sense. The things I used to make my suggestion sonorous were chiastic word order and the opposing verbs esse and abesse next to each other.

  • My mouth waters, gaping wipe. My eyes widen, and my tongue goes silent as I marvel at your wisdom and genuflect. You blow me away with your genius. Thank you so much for your input. So I think I'll use "CANDIDUS SIM ET ABSIT INVIDIA" for the men of that family I buy the necklace for, and "CANDIDA" for the women. I'm a bit iffy on ABSITQUE, because no matter how much I ogle at it with my eyes I simply cannot figure out how to pronounce it, and it looks French (a language I don't love, for the same ogle-pronunciation reasons), and it doesn't have its own page on Wiktionary. – user1988 Sep 14 '17 at 15:43
  • Also, ABSIT INVIDIA appears on both Wiktionary AND Wikipedia, so is a better known formula. And I delight in the way ET ABSIT sounds. Mmmmmmm... Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum... Mmmmmmm... Thank you SO MUCH for your input marvelous @Joonas Ilmavirta ! – user1988 Sep 14 '17 at 15:47
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    @user1988 I'm glad to hear that the answer was useful! :) Your choice candidus/candida sim et absit invidia sounds good. – Joonas Ilmavirta Sep 14 '17 at 20:47
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    @user1988 it's common in Latin for the word 'que' to be attached to the end of the last word in a list to mean 'and' (such as in SPQR - Senatus Populusque Romanus / The Senate and People of Rome) in your phrase, absitque can be read as 'absit que (rough phonetics, ab-sit-qwey)' i.e. 'and be far away / gone' – Neil Hibbert Sep 21 '17 at 12:31

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