Questions tagged [idiom]

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8
votes
2answers
226 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
129 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
223 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, ...
10
votes
2answers
727 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
174 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
1k 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
3k 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
357 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
138 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
115 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
117 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
120 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
236 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
130 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
836 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
362 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
278 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
311 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
12k 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
335 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
418 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
191 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
563 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?
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
770 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
629 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
493 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
423 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
941 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
270 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
114 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
726 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
91 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
529 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
311 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
752 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?...

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