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Questions tagged [idiom]

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7
votes
2answers
193 views

How to refer to reserve military?

What would be an idiomatic Latin way to refer to reserve military? I mean troops that have previously served and have returned to civilian life but can be called back on duty. I would much prefer ...
13
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, ...
9
votes
2answers
619 views

How would one say “Pardon me,” in the sense of not understanding or hearing, in Classical Latin?

Especially when speaking a second language, I am forced to frequently say something like "Pardon me?" or "What was that?" or "Excuse me?" when I fail to understand or hear what a speaker says. I'd ...
7
votes
1answer
197 views

“With respect to” in mathematics

The expression "with respect to" is common in mathematics. Consider these example sentences: The derivative of x^2y with respect to y is x^2. Let us reflect the point A with respect to the line L and ...
10
votes
1answer
997 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
718 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
88 views

Quo modo Latine redditur “fool proof”?

Quo modo expressio Anglica "fool proof" Latine reddi potest? Nullum idioma Latinum significatione simile scio. Eandem rem Latine exprimere possum, exempli gratia dicendo "perbene munitus", sed malim ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

“vel” in Tusculan Disputations V.iii

In the Tusculan Disputations V.iii, Cicero writes about Pythagoras declaring that life seems to him like the great Greek games: Nam ut illic alii corporibus exercitatis gloriam et nobilitatem ...
7
votes
2answers
137 views

How to say “suit yourself”?

How to translate "suit yourself"? I'm curious as to how it translates to Latin. In certain contexts, it can come off as rude or sarcastic, even though, it's used in formal conversations and is not ...
12
votes
3answers
719 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How to say “Luke, I am your father” in Latin?

I have found very diverse translations online: Luke, sum ipse patrem te Luca, pater tuus sum (or in a different order) Luke, ego patrem tuum sum My guess First, the Latin name Luke seems to be ...
12
votes
1answer
338 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
573 views

How to say “I look forward to hearing from you” in Latin?

It is sometimes appropriate to add "I look forward to hearing from you" at the end of a letter or other similar communication. I am looking for a phrase that says more "I am happy if you react to this ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

“Let's wait and see”

Is there a Latin idiom for deciding to sit back and wait instead of acting immediately? If I want to let things evolve for a little more before taking any action, I could use the phrase "let's wait ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the different ways to say “lonely”?

The English word "lonely" has at least a couple different uses. A person can be lonely — we all know, and have probably felt, this meaning of the word. But also a place can be lonely. A lot of people ...
5
votes
1answer
157 views

Indirect question vs. relative clause

In circumstances where the same meaning can be expressed by an indirect question depending on a verb of speech, or by a relative clause modifying an (implicit or explicit) object of that verb, which ...
5
votes
0answers
65 views

A is for… Latin examples

Are there any ancient—or modern, if not—examples of a learner's alphabet that mirrors the modern "A is for..."? I'm not really looking for poetry that has an alphabet acrostic or any other ...
8
votes
1answer
217 views

What if…? (Interrogative conditionals)

In English, "what if...?" is a succinct way to ask what would happen if some counterfactual happened to be true. Is there an idiomatic equivalent in Latin? The sequence of tenses gives plenty of ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Preparing food “al dente”

Is there a Latin idiom for food that is cooked just right (not too much, not too little), similar to the popular Italian phrase "al dente"? I doubt the direct translation denti or ad dentem makes any ...
9
votes
2answers
560 views

What is close combat in Latin?

I checked a couple of dictionaries, but I found no translation for "close combat". I am looking for an expression for fighting close to one's enemy as opposed to using long distance weaponry. What ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

Phrase equivalent to It's a piece of cake

I'm looking for a Latin phrase that means "very easy", something idiomatic like "It's a piece of cake", or "It's like taking candy from a baby". Any ideas?
13
votes
1answer
121 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. ...
7
votes
2answers
873 views

A verb for networking

What would be a good Latin verb for networking? I don't mean the study of computer networks, but the verb "to network" in the sense of making new acquaintances for business or other purpose. In ...
9
votes
1answer
115 views

Translating “something leads to something”

How can I translate sentences like "poverty leads to hunger" to Latin? There are several possible verbs for leading, and my first choice is ducere, but I am not sure if it can be used in this sense. ...
13
votes
1answer
295 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
194 views

Did the Romans have a selection game?

If there are three people and only two candies — and in other similar dire situations — people sometimes choose to play some kind of game to select who is left without something or who ...
5
votes
1answer
74 views

Times at the end of daylight saving

I had to wake up before 3 am this morning (on a Sunday!), and I had to worry about the start of daylight saving time. (It always starts on the last Sunday of March in Europe. Other areas have other ...
7
votes
1answer
118 views

Meaning of “vulgo voces”

Is "vulgo voces" an expression with a particular meaning? I have encountered it in an early 18th century text. The full text is: Equidem vulgo voces Thermometrum & Thermoscopium pro synonymis ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

What's the Greek equivalent of “Skin in the Game”?

The French equivalent is "Mettre sa peau sur la Table" or "Put your Skin on the Table". Basically this aphorism is explained under the Hammurabi Code in handling risks: If an engineer had to build a ...
9
votes
2answers
611 views

What is a black sheep in Latin?

It is easy to translate "black sheep" literally: ovis nigra. I suspect that this phrase does not have the same meaning as in English (and Finnish), judging by its absence in literature — ...
10
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

Best translation for 'at sea'

What is the best way of translating 'at sea'? For example, "The sailors fought bravely at sea". The translation 'in mari' seems the closest to me, as opposed to the literal 'ad mare' and treatment ...
8
votes
1answer
421 views

How do you say “I'm having dinner/lunch/breakfast” in Latin?

I know that cena means dinner, prandium means lunch, and ientaculum means breakfast. But how do you say "I'm having dinner" (or lunch, or breakfast)? I can think of a few ideas, such as: Habeo cenam. ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

How do you translate the idiom, I see?

Socrates and Glaucon were talking in the Latin.SE chat room, and among other things, such as what is the most just city, how should men and women be brought up, and whether there should be specific ...
6
votes
1answer
116 views

Waving hands classically

Waving one's hands can mean avoiding details or drawing attention away from a lie of an unsupported part of an argument or story. There is an entire Wikipedia article on the topic if you want more ...
5
votes
2answers
202 views

When did Latin mottoes first appear?

Latin mottos have been popular in Europe for centuries, but I have never seen anything comparable to a motto from the Roman era. When did first Latin mottos appear? (Examples of individual early ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

What is a “roll call” in Latin?

I am looking for a word, verb or noun, to describe reading a list of names out loud to figure out who is present. The Finnish word is "nimenhuuto", and it seems that the English phrase seems to be "...
6
votes
1answer
768 views

How to respond to sneezing?

There is an idiomatic way to respond to someone sneezing in many languages, and Wikipedia has a list. Latin is not included. Is there a canonical Latin reaction to someone sneezing? Any era of Latin ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Expressing lack of opinion of a binary question

Suppose that my friend asks me if I want to see a movie, and that I have no strong opinion. I do not particularly want to go, but I do not not want to go, either. I am not trying to please my friend ...
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Quomodo in Latinum vertitur “alternative facts”?

How would you translate "alternative facts" into Latin, in the sense used infamously today by Kellyanne Conway? My first thought is res ad libitum but that too strongly suggests making up facts willy-...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Cicero say or write “dubitando ad veritatem pervenimus”?

I have seen the phrase "Dubitando ad veritatem pervenimus." attributed to Cicero in some websites and books, some of them claiming to find it in De officiis (for instance Diccionario Akal Del ...
6
votes
4answers
477 views

How to say “as” emphatically?

Consider the sentence "Marcus spoke as a manager". Imagine that Marcus was speaking at a company event, and he gave his speech as a manager, not as a coworker — as a representative of the ...
8
votes
2answers
217 views

Translating “taller by a head”

In English one can write either of these to indicate a height difference: Marcus is taller than Gaius by a head. Marcus is a head taller than Gaius. I am looking for an idiomatic way to ...
7
votes
3answers
123 views

How to order someone to want something?

I asked yesterday about the imperative of velle, and it turned out that does not really have an imperative. If the most obvious option is not available, how should I give an order to want? A phrase or ...
10
votes
1answer
221 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
62 views

As fit as an animal

If someone is in good health, one can say that they are as fit as a flea (or fiddle) in English or as healthy as a billy goat ("terve kuin pukki") in Finnish. What would be a similar idiom in Latin, ...