What would be the way to say that you don't care about people you don't know? Something like "I don't care about those I don't know" or "I ignore the faceless masses."

3 Answers 3


Cicero has a fun, "pile-on" quote in Pro Fonteio 32:

potestis igitur ignotos notis, iniquos aequis, alienigenas domesticis, cupidos moderatis, mercennarios gratuitis, impios religiosis, inimicissimos huic imperio ac nomini bonis ac fidelibus et sociis et civibus anteferre?

Using him as a model, you could say:

notos ignotis antefero.


I prefer people I know to people I don't know.

It puts a slightly more positive spin on your phrase than you may want, but it has a nice ring to it!


There are many words for "unknown", but many of them have tones you might want to avoid. For example, ignobilis implies low birth and alienus implies being foreign or perhaps unwelcome, although both could be used for unknown. The most neutral word I could think of is ignotus. The masculine plural is a good choice for unknown people in general.

The verb contemnere can be translated as "to consider a person or thing as unimportant or of small value", and I think that's a pretty good fit.

Combining these, I would suggest this phrase:

Ignotos contemno.
I consider unknown [people] to be unimportant.

The English translation is a bit clumsy, but attempts to give a good idea of the meaning. A more fluent translation might be "I ignore the unknown", but I shall not endeavor a better English phrase here since the question was about Latin.


Catullus XCII is the contemptuous and snappy put-down of Julius Caesar, nil nimium studeo, Caesar, tibi velle placere, nec scire utrum sis albus an ater homo, or 'I've not the least wish to please you, Caesar, or even to know whether you are a white man or black'. Leaving out the personal stuff, you might reduce this to

Ignotis nil nimium studeo,

— or 'I don't pay too much attention to those I don't know'.

  • 1
    Are you sure you can use studeo + acc. for a person?
    – brianpck
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 14:58
  • @brianpck In a word, yes. The dative in the Catullus is governed by placere. Smith gives several examples.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 17:48
  • 2
    I don't have Smith available: could you give an example? L&S says that studeo + acc is "mostly with neuter pronouns and adjectives" and that it "very rarely" has a noun definite object, citing two examples that use res. All the examples with persons are genitive ("studeo tui") or dative ("studeo tibi").
    – brianpck
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 19:27
  • 1
    @brianpck As it happens, none of Smith's examples is a noun, except for res, but unlike the much later L&S (which allows that an acc. is rare) he made no comment on this. Well, thank you: we learn something every day, and I'll change the answer.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 16:44

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