Questions tagged [idiom]

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4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the opposite of “aegrescit medendo”?

There is a well-known Latin phrase, aegrescit medendo, which means, "worsens with treatment". I believe it comes from Virgil (correct me if I am wrong). I wanted to know if there is an attested phrase ...
7
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2answers
99 views

How to distinguish Julian and Gregorian calendars in Latin?

In some contexts it is important to express whether a given date (for example October 25 and November 7 in 1917) is according to the Julian or the Gregorian calendar. Are there established Latin ...
5
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2answers
291 views

How would you say, “How beautiful!”

I am eating a hot dog in a beautiful courtyard right around dusk, and I would like to exclaim in Latin, "How beautiful!" I thought of saying "Quam pulchra!" which can't be far off, but I am wondering ...
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2answers
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Double meaning Ex pluribus unum

Ex pluribus unum means (simplified) "From many, one", in the sense that many parts build one whole. Can I also use the phrase in the sense that from many possible solutions or things only one (the ...
7
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2answers
886 views

Two birds with one stone?

In English you kill two birds with one stone when you achieve two goals in one action. In Finnish or Dutch you get two flies in one hit. Is there a similar saying in Latin? I prefer classical Latin, ...
7
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1answer
95 views

“Nothing but seventh place is good enough”

I would like help modifying the famous phrase nil satis nisi optimum to lower expectations somewhat to "nothing but seventh place is good enough". Google Translate creates a suspicious range of ...
5
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2answers
244 views

Antonym for “de profundis”?

I'm looking to find out what the Latin for "from the heights" is, as the equivalent of Oscar Wilde's title "De Profundis".
7
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2answers
203 views

Translating “God knows how much/long” and similar

Consider these examples: Mr. Johnson has been the janitor for God knows how long. Right behind this park is the new bridge that cost God knows how much. You can replace "God knows how" ...
9
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2answers
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Why *In medias res* and not *In media res*?

Wikipedia gives literal translation as: Into the middle of things. As far as I am aware into – in takes accusative. Plural accusative of medium seems to be media, not medias Even if I am ...
10
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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 ...
4
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1answer
39 views

How to “look deep into one's eyes”?

In this question, the idiom "to look deep into one's eyes" came up. While the rest of the translation was relatively straightforward, I don't know of any equivalent idiom in Greek or Latin. If I ...
4
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2answers
2k views

How would I say “I came, I saw, I kicked ass”?

I recently encountered someone in an online game who had the battlecry "Veni, vidi, calce asinum!". Now, my Latin's quite rusty, but I'm certain that can only be translated as "I came, I saw, I kicked ...
7
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1answer
178 views

Is there a Ancient Greek or Latin equivalent to “steely eyed”?

I'm looking for parallel idioms related by vocabulary and/or meaning. This is in reference to a question on Mythology regarding the "gray eyed" translation of an epithet of Athena: Why is Athena “...
6
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2answers
119 views

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

A common phrase for mistrust towards a given gift is looking a gift horse in the mouth. As explained in Wiktionary (linked above), the saying goes back to the New Testament via St. Jerome's Latin ...
6
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3answers
2k views

Is there a Latin expression to say the “exact opposite of something/someone”?

Consider the following English sentence: Clark Kent is the alter ego of Superman The latter uses a Latin expression, alter ego, meaning the "other self". Now, consider this sentence: ...
10
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2answers
986 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 ...
13
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3answers
3k 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".
14
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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 ...
6
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2answers
106 views

Were there proverbs in Latin in the sense detailed by this question of mine?

Endless bits of wisdom from canonical writers have come down to us as Latin dicta: a sort of Ancient proverbs, if you will, with the notable exception that these were, unlike modern, post-Antiquity ...
7
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3answers
204 views

What is “old” in the age of a wine?

If I were to say "this man is 40 years old" in Latin, I would say hic vir 40 annos natus est. That is, I would use the participle natus instead of any adjective meaning "old", and it is my impression ...
8
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1answer
86 views

“Ad populum” idiom

Is "ad populum" ever seen as an idiom for "popular", or can it only mean "to the people"? For example, if something is considered popular, would "ad populum" be an acceptable phrase to use?
6
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1answer
191 views

An idiom for disclosing a secret

I am looking for a Latin idiom for disclosing a secret. In English one can spill the beans, but I am not aware of a similar idiom in Latin. Is any idiom or colorful expression for this attested in ...
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6answers
4k views

How to say “everything will be good” in Latin?

I wanted to find out how to say in Latin "everything will be good" (like in "all'll gon'a be fine"). I came up with Omnium bene futurum. Is this o.k., or am I too ill-Latined?
7
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1answer
812 views

Reservoir Dogs: “Let's go to work” in Latin

I'm a programmer and I regularly write small utility programs for friends and family. Since I like a joke, all those programs have help/about forms that describe the program as having been produced by ...
12
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3answers
754 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 ...
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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 ...
4
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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
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1answer
3k 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 ...
8
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1answer
114 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
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2answers
154 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 ...
8
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1answer
285 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 ...
5
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1answer
315 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?
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2answers
427 views

“Without further ado”

Suppose I have invited some friends for dinner and I want to say something before we eat. But I don't want to give a long speech. If I do this in English, I might start my last sentence with "without ...
8
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2answers
1k 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 ...
7
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2answers
2k views

What's the most idiomatic way to say, “thanks, you too”?

We were discussing this question in the chat room, and came up with the possibility, gratias similiter, but we are not sure whether it's idiomatic. The context is this. Let's say a co-worker says to ...
13
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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, ...
10
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2answers
855 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. ...
8
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2answers
1k views

How did “status quo” get its meaning?

A literal translation of status quo would be, "the state in which". I think this touches on the present-day meaning of the phrase, but I think most would agree that it does not fully capture it. I am ...
8
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2answers
222 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 ...
9
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2answers
396 views

What is a runny nose?

I got a cold, and the most irritating symptom so far is a runny nose (rhinorrhea). But what is "runny nose" in Latin? It can be a noun, a verb, or any kind of way to describe the situation. I don't ...
16
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5answers
5k 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, "...
5
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1answer
75 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 ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Variable Interpretation of Memento Mori

I'm given to understand that "memento mori" literally translates to "remember dying," which is in turn frequently taken to mean "remember that you will die." Could someone also interpret it to mean "...
7
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1answer
140 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 ...
10
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1answer
178 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 ...

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