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Questions tagged [idiom]

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28
votes
7answers
11k views

How do you say “please” in Classical Latin?

I'm wondering how to say "please" in Classical Latin like "please" as in "can I PLEASE have that?" or "PLEASE go away" or something like that.
23
votes
3answers
9k views

How did the Romans say “good night”?

There are a lot of different things in a lot of different languages that mean basically the same thing: Sleep well. English: Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite Italiano: Buona notte, sogni d'oro ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

“Oh no!” in Latin

Are there idiomatic Latin exclamations similar to the English "oh no!" used when one finds oneself in an unfortunate situation? The only thing that I came up with is that I might want to use vae or o ...
18
votes
2answers
7k views

How do you write dates in Latin?

I have read a little about the history of the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Julius Caesar introduced the twelve-month Julian calendar in 46 BC, and Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What is “slipped my mind” in Latin?

In English and other languages, we often use alternatives to "I forgot," apparently to shift blame from ourselves to inanimate objects. So in English, we say, It slipped my mind. And in Spanish: ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

What is a Latin version of Inshallah?

Anyone who served in the military in Iraq (and probably anyone who has done business in the Gulf) in the last 15 years is familiar with the term 'Inshallah.' I suppose it means 'God willing,' as in, "...
15
votes
3answers
870 views

Is “esse est percipi” grammatical, even with infinitives?

According to the Crash Course Philosophy video today, George Berkeley summarized his empirical philosophy with the phrase "esse est percipi", to be is to be perceived. However, it feels somewhat ...
15
votes
1answer
279 views

Addressing a superior in Latin

Apologies if this is too basic, and feel free to delete, but I am curious to know how Romans would address a person of higher status - not a slave his/her master/mistress - but, for instance, a wage-...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

What would be a “night owl” in Latin?

On the recommendation of an esteemed Finnish member of our forum, I decided to ask how one would translate "night owl" into Latin. night owl (noun) a person who keeps late hours at night I ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How to translate “Ceteris Paribus”?

I'm studying economics, and the words ceteris paribus are often used. I know it means that one thing changes, but that the other factors stay the same. I was trying to figure out the translation ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Proper parsing of “Ite, missa est”

In the Catholic liturgy at the dismissal, the Latin phrase used is "Ite, missa est." The usual translation for this is "Go, the Mass has ended." Can someone suggest a proper parsing of this somewhat ...
14
votes
1answer
438 views

Omnia vincit amor: vincere or vincire?

The phrase omnia vincit amor (from Vergilius' tenth Ecloga; see full text in Latin and English) is typically translated as "love conquers everything". However, vincit can come from either vincere (to ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How does one say “the will to live” in Latin?

Obviously, I don't trust Google translate, or I wouldn't be here. Just to clarify: By "The will", I mean "a deliberate or fixed desire or intention".
13
votes
4answers
1k views

French and Latin “s'il te/vous plaît”

The phrases si tibi placet and si vobis placet can be found in Latin literature, but they are not particularly common. At least superficially they correspond to the French "s'il te plaît" and "s'il ...
13
votes
6answers
14k views

How did the Romans wish good birthday?

I know how to wish a happy birthday in Latin: Bonum diem natalem! (There are other options as well.) It just occurred to me that I do not recall coming across any ancient birthday congratulations. Do ...
13
votes
2answers
11k views

What did the Romans use to close their letters?

As anyone who's written a proper letter knows, one begins with a salutation and ends with a valediction (or, in normal English, opens with "hello" and ends with "goodbye"). Right now, I'm interested ...
13
votes
1answer
288 views

Wordplay with “Vox Populi” (populus, m vs. populus, f)

Say I want to mock up the idiom "Vox Populi" using not "populus" (m, people) but "populus" (f, poplar tree). Meaning something like "the sound of the poplar leaves rustling". Do I have a way to ...
13
votes
1answer
120 views

Is there a Latinism for “under fire”/“in combat”/“under duress”?

This question is partially open ended. I'm looking for a Latin idiom or euphemism or phrase that expresses something being from or related to practice as opposed to being related to theory. ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What do animals say in classical Latin?

It is well known that the way animals "speak" is amusingly different in different languages. (See lion below.) This makes it hard to guess what kinds of words the Romans would have put in the mouths ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

How to say “please pray for me” in ecclesiastical latin?

I know that ora pro me means "pray for me", but how would I express my request politely, such as in the English equivalent "Please pray for me" ?
12
votes
3answers
711 views

En Marche ! in Latin

Macron's victory in France has got me wondering what would be the best way to capture the phrase "En Marche" in Latin? My first thought was to use the incedere with perhaps prorsus, but the English ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the “re” in emails have an ancient origin?

The Latin ablative re has become a word in English, meaning "regarding" or "with reference to" or something along those lines. This is also used in emails as an automatically generated prefix "Re:&...
12
votes
1answer
103 views

apud + place name vs. locative

What is the difference, if any, between using apud with the name of a town, and using the locative form of that name? Reading Suetonius Tiberius 40, I noticed this usage: statimque reuocante ...
12
votes
1answer
327 views

Parsing “quod Deus optime vertat”

I want to understand a diploma text: DIPLOMA QVOD DEVS OPTIME VERTAT EX LEGIBVS VNIVERSITATIS JYVÄSKYLÄENSIS ATQVE EX DECRETO FACVLTATIS (…) If I consider Diploma as a ...
12
votes
1answer
626 views

“All the more so”

How, in classical Latin, did one say "all the more so" or otherwise indicate that a proposition harder than you're trying to prove has just been proven, so your proposition must be at least as certain?...
12
votes
2answers
236 views

Is the usage of “id est” in Latin exactly like the usage of “i.e.” or “that is” in English?

There was a question a little while back on the English SE asking about the "plural form of i.e." (unfortunately, it got closed because the author didn't clarify what they meant). While I was trying ...
12
votes
1answer
170 views

Ūtāturne linguā Latīnā aliquis adverbō «ferē» velut linguā Anglicā verbō «almost» ūtimur?

Linguā Anglicā, saepe cum multīs adverbīs atque adiectīvīs, plūrima quōrum significātiōnēs absolūtās habent (exempla sunt «always» vel «everything» vel «nothing» vel «never», et cētera), adverbō «...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I address an email in Latin to my Latin professor?

How do I address an email in Latin to my Latin professor? How is the greeting supposed to look?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Origin of “seize the day” as a translation of Horace's carpe diem

Even many people who have never studied Latin know the phrase carpe diem (from Horace's Odes 1.11), and can tell you that it means "seize the day". But "seize" is not a very close translation of ...
11
votes
1answer
377 views

In search of a Latin idiom expressing suspicion, i.e., a translation of “I smell a rat” or “something smells fishy”

Is there a Latin idiom, preferably one that was in currency in the classical period, that expresses the speaker's suspicion that something pertinent is being maliciously concealed from him? For ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Saying “thank you”

I have only ever been taught one Latin translation for "thank you", and it is gratias agere (conjugated in a suitable way). I just checked in L&S that this is indeed an attested use of gratia, ...
11
votes
1answer
449 views

Is there a John or Jane Doe in Latin?

In English, John Doe or Jane Doe is understood not to be an actual name of a person, but to be some kind of a placeholder name or mean an average citizen. There are many variants of this name in ...
11
votes
2answers
368 views

How to speak a language with a third declension adjective?

Most Latin adjectives related to names of countries and languages are of first and second declension: Latinus, Graecus, Anglicus… If I want to express that I speak in any such language, I will ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

Ars gratia artis

I would like to know the meaning of the following Latin expression, as well as a grammatical analysis of the individual words in this context: ARS GRATIA ARTIS as it appears in the following logo ...
11
votes
1answer
125 views

Who invented the common expression “et cetera”?

This question seems to assume that the Romans actually used et cetera as we do. But did they really? By that, I mean: did they use et cetera at the end of a clause or phrase, without any noun agreeing ...
10
votes
2answers
241 views

How do I express total surprise or perplexity when asking a question?

Are there conventional expressions in Latin to strengthen the question, showing total surprise or perplexity? How do you say, for example, "What the heck...?" or "Why on earth...?" in Latin?
10
votes
2answers
876 views

Help your friends, harm your enemies

"Help your friends, harm your enemies." I have heard this was a motto of Roman life and foreign policy. It is the definition of justice that begins the discussion in Plato's Republic. I believe that ...
10
votes
3answers
491 views

What era of Latin does Vox Populi come from?

I noticed there is a Vox Populi badge. Which era of Latin does Vox Populi come from? I only know a very little bit of classical (I'm starting the second unit of the Cambridge course), and from that, ...
10
votes
2answers
665 views

Hogwarts Motto from J.K. Rowling's “Harry Potter” series

Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter books, has the following Latin motto: Draco dormiens numquam titillandus. Most online sources translate this as "Never tickle a ...
10
votes
2answers
820 views

Blowing one's own horn

Is there a Latin idiom for praising oneself in classical Latin? In English one can blow one's own horn (there are variants of this saying), but I doubt tuba sua ludere is likely mean the right thing. ...
10
votes
2answers
574 views

Parallels for the infinitive in “memento mori”?

The famous phrase memento mori (the subject of this question) means something like "remember that you will die, remember you are mortal". But this use of the infinitive seems odd. Memini is often ...
10
votes
1answer
156 views

Quem describit Petrarca?

In a letter dated May 30, 1342, Petrarch invites his friend Cardinal Johannes Columna to visit him in his mountain retreat of Vaucluse. In several places, I've come across English translations of one ...
10
votes
1answer
952 views

A good Latin word for “point”

I am looking for a Latin word for "point" to be used like this: I see your point. I hope this example gets the point across. There is no point in peeling a banana. Good point! There probably is no ...
10
votes
2answers
665 views

What is touché in Latin?

What would be a good translation of "touché" from English to Latin? Translating the French participle gives tactus, but I doubt that will convey the same idea. Is there an idiomatic Latin expression ...
10
votes
1answer
163 views

He is known for…?

How would one best translate the English idiom "to be known for", as in "he is known for defeating the Gauls"? This came up when discussing uses of the gerund, but in English the idiom also works with ...
10
votes
1answer
180 views

“How about” in Latin

How do you propose an idea for someone else to accept, reject, or counteroffer, as in this conversation? A. Where would you like to have dinner tonight? B. How about Rex Aztecorum on Fourth ...
10
votes
1answer
218 views

Is there a Latin construction for “she must be” as in “I bet she is”/“She probably is”?

Say my friend is supposed to meet me, but she's late, and I think it's because she was reading, I might say, "She must have been reading." Is there a way to express this in Latin other than something ...
10
votes
3answers
220 views

For the sake of the plot

In my Sanskrit dictionary, the Latin phrase metri causa ("for the sake of the metre") is used to alert the reader to forms which may be used irregularly in order to fit the metre. For example, in the ...