Questions tagged [idiom]

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8
votes
2answers
221 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
616 views

Latin for “Freedom through strength”?

How would one say "freedom through strength" in Latin? The word vis means strength and libertas is liberty/freedom. So would one say vis libertas?
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, ...
8
votes
1answer
447 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
692 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
3answers
348 views

Translating a saying about love into Latin

Where I come from, we have an ironic saying about love, it could be translated into English as: Love is warming, but coal is coal (Or perhaps less literally as "Love is heartwarming, but coal will ...
10
votes
2answers
709 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
253 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?
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, ...
5
votes
2answers
210 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
194 views

What is “idiom” in classical Latin?

What would be an idiomatic way to say "idiom" and "idiomatic" in classical Latin? One could perhaps use the Greek loan word idiōma (neuter), but I feel there should be a more Latin way of ...
18
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
347 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
2answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
15k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
724 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
114 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
525 views

How to say “elämä kantaa” or “life will prevail”?

How can one translate the Finnish phrase "elämä kantaa" or "elämä voittaa" to Latin? The literal English translations are "life carries" and "life wins". The first phrase means roughly "even in hard ...
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
768 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 ...
28
votes
7answers
12k 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.
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
820 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
348 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
274 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
210 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
3answers
232 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
127 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
296 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
201 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
414 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
571 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
379 views

“Initium doctrinae sit consideratio nominis”

I'm looking for a Latin phrase for starting your exposition by explaining the terms, i.e. its title. I believe the quote is "initium doctrinae sit consideratio nominis," but I'm not sure that that's ...
13
votes
1answer
311 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
486 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
190 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
115 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 ...