The only Latin translation I found for "honeymoon" or "wedding trip" is iter nuptiale. It is a sensible translation, but I could only find very recent uses. (Google search results are personalized, so others may see other results.) I am quite satisfied with iter nuptiale for modern uses, but I am interested in older phrases for this purpose. Namely:

  1. How old is iter nuptiale? A terminus ante quem is fine; the timing doesn't have to be perfect.
  2. Where there other expressions in use for this purpose? The modern concept of honeymoon is quite recent, so I leave it for your judgement to decide what constitutes a sufficiently similar trip.

I am not looking for any specific era, as I don't know how far back the concept or word goes. It might be exclusively modern or there might be classical precedent for all I know.


1 Answer 1


The original meaning in English of 'honeymoon' is well attested from the mid-sixteenth century, and it differs from the modern idea of a married couple's first holiday, usually immediately following the wedding. It is widely seen as describing the early days of marriage, an initial period of sweetness followed by changes of mood, as the moon changes its appearance.

In Italian and French there are the literally similar luna di miele, and lune de miel, though these look like mere copies of the English. In Germany it is Flitterwochen, 'sequins week' or, more prosaically, Hochzeitreise, the 'wedding journey', and the latter is, of course, the same as the current English interpretation.

I'm pretty sure that the concept had no precedent in the classical era, when marriage happened at twelve or fourteen and, though one or two startling feats are recorded for boys at that sort of age, I doubt that newlyweds were encouraged to go on a holiday journey to give their marriage a happy beginning.

To adopt, like the French and Italian languages, a term such as luna mellea or mellosa, seems fair enough in the circumstances. If you really need a Latin phrase to describe the modern sense of 'honeymoon', then your iter nuptiale is about as good as you can get : but beyond what I've said here, I think that the sort of verification that you are asking for is out of the question.

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