In his translation of the following passage from Seneca's De Ira, John Basore renders nucibus as "toys":

Non pietas illam iram sed infirmitas movet, sicut pueris, qui tam parentibus amissis flebunt quam nucibus.

I thought nux meant a nut. Can it also mean a toy, or is the translator using poetic license?


Take a look at nux in Lewis and Short. It does mean "nut", but children played with nuts and for example nuces relinquere meant "to give up childish sports, to betake one's self to the serious business of life, to throw away our rattles".

The English word "nut" does not have such connotations (at least not equally strongly), so it makes sense to translate it as "toy" instead. It is not poetic license but an accurate translation: it conveys the idea correctly in English, whereas "nuts" would have been misleading.

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