Hope you guys don't mind helping me.

I'm looking to translate three mottoes into Latin, and I think these are beyond my capability to naturally translate:

Do not be too kind; do not be too angry; do not be too proud.

These are meant in a sense of checking and moderation, e.g.

Be kind when[/to the extent] they deserve it; be angry when[/to the extent] they deserve it; be proud when[/to the extent] you deserve it.

I suppose these could also be rendered:

Be judiciously kind; be judiciously angry; be judiciously proud.

I imagine this is covered by sapienter, but I'd prefer these in the negative as a warning.

I realise that "questions should show some effort" but I assume this is a case or construction I'm not familiar with, and I'd love to learn it through relevant and memorable examples.

Would anybody be willing to translate these into Latin and tell me how the grammar works for the construction, or point me to which specific tense/case/etc I should be looking at?

Having taken a look, and thanks to the generous suggestions below, I currently have:

Noli esse nimis indulgens; noli esse nimis iratus; noli esse superbus [/nimis sublatus].

... but I don't know if these actually work, as it seems most constructions e.g. "too x" are covered by individual words in Latin. This is vocabulary I don't know, so if anyone has any further comments (or if the above is wrong), please let me know!

I'm extremely grateful to everyone for helping me out! I'm currently learning Latin, and this is a huge boost.


1 Answer 1


Partial answer.

These mottoes reminds me of Ecclesiastes 7:16-17, which in the NKJV English Bible are given as

16Do not be overly righteous,
Nor be overly wise:
Why should you destroy yourself?
17Do not be overly wicked,
Nor be foolish:
Why should you die before your time?

I don't know if you want the mottoes to sound like they are alluding to this passage. In any case, it might serve as a model for a possible translation.

The "Nova Vulgata" from the http://www.vatican.va/ website gives the following for these verses:

16Noli esse nimis iustus
neque sapiens supra modum!
Cur te perdere vis?
17Ne agas nimis impie
et noli esse stultus!
Cur mori debeas in tempore non tuo?

This suggests to me that the word "nimis" may be an appropriate translation of "too" in this context.

I don't know enough Latin to have any suggestions for good translations of "kind", "angry" and "proud". I feel like the translation of "kind" in particular will probably depend on what exactly you mean to express with "Do not be too kind".

  • Thanks very much for this! I've started to properly look into it and I'm coming up absolutely short on anything that could resemble these phrases in terms of how they're meant. To clarify: they're meant in the sense of "do these things in moderation, never to their extreme", but the phrases "Be cruel; be calm; be humble" clearly don't work there.
    – Potestas14
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 1:23
  • Sorry, hit enter without holding shift! Haha
    – Potestas14
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 1:24
  • @Potestas14: Ah, I see! I feel like the Ecclesiastes verses are also about doing things in moderation, although I'm no theologian, so there are doubtless other interpretations that I'm not aware of.
    – Asteroides
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 1:25
  • 1
    For the most literal possible translation of the meaning, I'd go with: "Do not be too kind or nice to other people or yourself where they don't deserve it; do lose yourself to anger in ways you regret or in ways that hurt others without cause (but don't suppress healthy anger); do not think too much of yourself but do not sell yourself short"
    – Potestas14
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 1:28
  • 1
    @Potestas14: I don't know, but I would guess not, because "nimis" by itself only means something like "too much".
    – Asteroides
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 8:52

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