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What Latin I know I've sort-of assimilated from being fluent in Spanish and having some knowledge of French, as well as a life-long interest in English etymology (not a strong foundation for Latin, I know :-)

I'm trying to come up with a succinct translation of the English phrase

[It] tastes like chicken

Clearly the dog-latin used on 509th Bomb Wing Insignia

Gustatus similis pullus

is likely incorrect, and the best I've been able to do after some research on the web (NOT Google Translate) is

Gustat similis pullum

Since "Gustare" is first conjugation, third person singular (he/it) would be "Gustat". However, I don't know if "gustare" is even the right verb here. In English we overload "taste" with both a transitive sense (to perform an action towards an object that results in a sensation of flavor of that object) and one that I guess is idiomatic and intransitive meaning "to have the flavor of". I have no idea if "gustare" can have both meanings or only the first. Maybe "gustat similis pullum" means "he tastes things the way a chicken would"?

"similis" seems like it might be appropriate, would "par" be better?

"pullum" (accusative) seems to be what is called for here, but again, I'm not sure.

Is there a better way to express this?

8

Gusto/gustare means to taste, but in the sense of someone having a taste of something.

The verb you are looking for, IMO is sapio/sapire. It can be accompanied by a noun in the accusative case to mean to taste like something. (Piscis saperet ipsum mare being an example).

Note that this like is somewhat idiomatic in English. You can translate it literally to other languages and it will most probably be understood, but it is not necessarily the most natural way to say it (take, for example, Spanish sabe a pollo). Anyway, if you want to force it, I'd suggest ut—an adverb—rather than par or similis—which are adjectives.

Now pullus means chicken, but it's a pretty ambiguous word, meaning also foal or even any young animal. In the context of eating, though, it is indeed less ambiguous, but anyway you may want to disambiguate by saying pullus gallinae (a hen's young offspring) or even gallina (since until before the Industrial Revolution it was common to eat hen as well as chicken).

All said, my recommendation would be:

Pullum sapit (or with the alternative word order sapit pullum).

Pullum is in fact the accusative of pullus, the accusatives of the alternatives I offered are pullum gallinae sapit and gallinam sapit.

  • 2
    Darn, I should have trusted my Spanish roots more... :-) Thank you! – Jim Garrison Jun 17 '18 at 5:48

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