I used a dictionary and read up on declensions but since I have zero knowledge on the language, I have no idea if I translated them correctly (most likely not). I was hoping someone could provide corrections and explain them to me. Thank you so much in advance!

The sentences I'm trying to translate are:

1) An idle mind is the devil's workshop.

2) Idle minds are the devil's workshop.

I used the singular genitive for diabolus on both to indicate possession, the nominative (singular and plural) for mens since they're the object of the verb sum, nominative for inane and officina. Here are my attempts:

i) Mens inanis officina diaboli est.

ii) Inanes mentes officina diaboli sunt.

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    – Alex D
    Nov 29, 2017 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


You are correct!

I am thoroughly impressed that you, a person with no knowledge of the language, was able to so successfully translate those sentences! Most novices fall into the trap of using Google Translate, which is inept when it comes to declensions and the sort, so your mastery of them for these purposes is laudable.

There are a few things I would adjust, but they are minor, and do not change the correctness of your translations.

Firstly, inanis most nearly means "empty" or "insane," which is not quite what you were going for, but still works. I would instead perhaps suggest the words deses, otiosus, reses, or ignavus.

Secondly, in Latin, adjectives often come after nouns, so inanes mentes would usually be mentes inanes. Thanks to declensions, however, this is not vital, so your translations still remain fully functional.

Again, these are nit-picky things, and I commend you on your success, and wish you luck in the future!

  • Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! Just to clarify, would Mens deses officina diaboli est. and Mentes desides officina diaboli sunt. be better then? :)
    – Alex D
    Nov 30, 2017 at 8:46
  • @AlexD ignavus means lazy and otiosus means "leisurely", as if having extra time not occupied by work. The other two are rare, so I'd go with one of these. The latter, I think, gets to the heart of the quote.
    – cmw
    Nov 30, 2017 at 14:46
  • @C.M.Weimer so “Mens otiosa...”, and “Mentes otiosae...”?
    – Alex D
    Nov 30, 2017 at 16:54

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