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Questions tagged [idiom]

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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, ...
10
votes
2answers
608 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
141 views

Unsure about my translation of “se una cum propinquis et amicis eorum … dolere dixit”

On its December 23rd broadcast, Nuntii Latini had this to say about Angela Merkel. Angela Merkel, cancellaria foederalis Germaniae, se una cum propinquis et amicis eorum, qui strage Berolinensi ...
7
votes
3answers
971 views

Phrase grammar, curae or curo

I have a phrase and I'm concerned with grammar. Which one would be more proper? et ego non curae or et ego non curo Phrase meaning would be "I don't care."
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How did the Romans wish happy holidays?

The Roman year included many festive occasions. In today's world it is customary to wish merry Christmas, happy Easter, and other such things. Did the Romans do the same during their own festivals, ...
7
votes
2answers
322 views

Independence in classical Latin

Next year is the centennial of the independence of Finland, and I would like to learn how to speak of independence of countries in Latin. It seems to me that the Latin words independens and ...
11
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Is it idiomatic Latin to paraphrase a condition using an imperative plus a future indicative?

In English, there's a common construction which consists of two coordinated clauses, the first with an imperative verb, the second with a future-tense verb: Take the first left and you'll find my ...
12
votes
1answer
107 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
119 views

Word order with relative clauses

Last night I watched the movie Matilda, which I really liked, and I decided to write a few sentences about it in Latin. I was attempting to write a sentence involving a relative clause, when I became ...
10
votes
3answers
226 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

How to say “that can be arranged”?

The phrase "that can be arranged" can be useful, and I would like to know an idiomatic way to put it in Latin. This phrase could be a response to "can we meet tomorrow at ten?", "I'd like to eat ...
4
votes
4answers
791 views

How to describe collaboration?

I am looking for ways to describe collaboration in Latin. My main interest is scientific collaboration, if the type matters. I would like to have both a verb "to collaborate" and a noun "collaboration"...
7
votes
1answer
323 views

“Desinat in piscem” in Horace's Ars Poetica: morphology or looks or what exactly?

This is about the core meaning of desinat in piscem as in: Humano capiti ceruicem pictor equinam iungere si uelit et uarias inducere plumas undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum desinat ...
6
votes
1answer
248 views

Where and when does the “Delphinum natare doces” proverb originate from?

The first occurrence of "Delphinum natare doces" I could find is in Erasmus' Adagia, after year 1500. Due to the nature of this book, the proverb itself must be much older than that. Where and when ...
5
votes
1answer
265 views

What is a phrase like “annus horribilis” but meaning a year of change?

What is a Latin phrase similar to "annus horribilis" meaning a year of change, as in a year where everything changes? For example - a year in which I moved across the country, totally changed job etc ...
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
303 views

What's the difference between *quisquis* and *quicumque*?

Quisquis and quicumque are both described as indefinite (or generic) relative pronouns, and are both defined in dictionaries as "whoever, everyone who...". Is there any difference at all between the ...
7
votes
1answer
401 views

“Ladies and gentlemen”

Is there a Latin phrase that could be used like "ladies and gentlemen" when addressing a large audience but without commenting the circumstances or identities of the people involved? In special cases ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

How to say 'Such is life'?

As an expression of the fact that much of life is beyond one's control, the English phrase 'Such is life.', or 'That's the way the cookie crumbles.', or, more vulgarly, 'Shit happens.' is common. How ...
4
votes
2answers
188 views

How do you say “You can't automatize a mess”?

I don't know if phrase translation requests are on-topic but I would really like to know is there's a way to convey this meaning in Latin: "You can't automatize a mess" or "Disorder cannot be ...
5
votes
3answers
511 views

How to say “don't rock the boat” in Latin?

A friend is interested in conveying the sense of "don't rock the boat", but in Latin. Is there an equivalent saying in Latin, or a phrase which would convey the correct meaning?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How to parse “semper eadem” grammatically?

The phrase semper eadem, "always the same", is a fairly popular motto. It is easy enough to interpret semantically, but I could not convince myself about the exact grammatical interpretation of the ...
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: ...
6
votes
1answer
704 views

Is “ræda in fossá est” an actual Latin saying/metaphor?

I heard this on a podcast the other day to mean that the conversation had gotten stuck. I looked it up and it seems to be a reference to the textbook Ecce Rómání, in which a cart gets stuck in a ditch ...
5
votes
1answer
600 views

How did the Romans say “bad news”?

I would like to have an idiomatic way to say "good news" and "bad news" in Latin. For example, I would like to be able to say "I have some good news" or "The bad news is that you need an operation". I ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is an idiomatic translation of “practice makes perfect”?

In English, we say "practice makes perfect" to indicate that practice of a skill leads to mastery. So a Latin teacher might attempt to inspire a student to diligence by saying "Write out these ...
11
votes
1answer
465 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the difference between “media” and “medio” in “virtus in medio stat”?

In Wikipedia's list of Latin phrases, the expression virtus in medio stat is included, with the explanation: Idiomatically: Good practice lies in the middle path. There is disagreement as to ...
4
votes
1answer
369 views

eadem mutata resurgo

What is the role of eadem mutata in this phrase? I'm guessing either neuter plural accusative of extent, or feminine nominative as apposition to an implied ego. The original context of this line is ...
9
votes
3answers
866 views

Is there a Latin euphemism for going to the toilet?

In some situations it might be considered vulgar or lower style to say "I have to go to the toilet". In English there are many ways around this: you can call the toilet something finer (bathroom, ...
7
votes
1answer
256 views

How to burn one's bridges in Latin?

If you leave a situation or a job in a way that makes you unwelcome to return ever again, you can be said to burn your bridges in English. Is there an idiom in classical Latin for irrevocably ...
9
votes
1answer
113 views

How to say “it's a question of” or “it's all about”?

How can I express something like the following sentences in Latin? Being a teacher is simple; it's a question of discipline. I don't care if I win or not; it's all about surviving. I can offer some ...
6
votes
1answer
143 views

How to wear unusual clothing?

If I wear a toga, I can say toga me vestio/induo or toga vestior/induor or I could use the adjective togatus. For normal clothing it is clear what it means when I say that I wear it. I do not know, ...
6
votes
2answers
719 views

How can I roll up my sleeves in Latin?

Is there a Latin idiom for preparing for work? In English one can roll up one's sleeves, and the corresponding expression has the same meaning in Finnish. I doubt a direct translation of this idiom ...
8
votes
1answer
89 views

Does “quidam Ciceronis” indicate respect for the person?

In Augustine's Confessions, book 3, chapter 4, he writes: et usitato iam discendi ordine perveneram in librum cuiusdam Ciceronis (source) Henry Chadwick translates the bolded phrase as "a certain ...
10
votes
3answers
499 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, ...
15
votes
1answer
285 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-...
12
votes
1answer
672 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?...