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For questions regarding the meaning or connotation of a word or phrase.

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59 votes
5 answers
14k views

Are "-que" and "et" equivalent?

I was taught that one can use the '-que' suffix to string together multiple words, in a similar way to putting 'et' between them. Are these two equivalent? Did one have a connotation in classical (...
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34 votes
2 answers
10k views

What's the difference between vel, aut, -ve, et cetera?

So I see "vel", "aut", and "-ve" being used (mostly) interchangeably in the Latin I read. Is there any idiomatic difference, or can they be used interchangeably? For ...
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25 votes
5 answers
3k views

What did "actuālis" actually mean in Latin?

The word actual is a false friend between the Spanish and the English languages. When we say in Spanish "la hora actual" we really mean "the current time" and not "the actual time". So in Spanish we ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 2,219
20 votes
7 answers
5k views

"Miserando atque eligendo"

There seem to be two schools of thought about the meaning of the motto on Pope Francis's coat of arms: miserando atque eligendo These words are taken from the 21st homily of the Venerable Bede, ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
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19 votes
1 answer
2k views

What was a draco?

The Latin dictionaries I checked suggest that the word draco is attested in classical literature and it is often translated as "dragon". However, it is my impression — which may well be wrong! &...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the distinction between gaudium and laetitia when both denote "joy"?

Both gaudium and laetitia denote joy, but appear to be used differently depending on the circumstances. What is the distinction between the two (or more) Latin words for joy?
Mark M.'s user avatar
  • 197
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can I use "quippe" properly?

Lewis & Short gives the following definition: surely, certainly, to be sure, by all means, indeed, in fact certainly, indeed, forsooth for, for in fact for, because, inasmuch as for ...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
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17 votes
5 answers
11k views

What is the meaning of "Ex Lux", the name of Lucifer Morningstar's new bar?

I've been a fan of Mike Carey's Lucifer comic series, for its believable portrait of a fallen angel. The series spun off from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, which established this incarnation of Lucifer ...
Gallifreyan's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
1k views

What colours did different colour words mean, exactly?

There are many different words for colours in Latin, but it's not easy to tell what kind of colour was exactly meant by each word. Do we know what different colour words meant? In particular, is there ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Please help translate this short Latin phrase left behind by a deceased man

I worked an estate sale a few years ago and the experience has never left me. The man who passed away left this note on a chalk board and I found a photo of it the other day. I have wondered what it ...
Nicocurio's user avatar
  • 171
17 votes
1 answer
6k views

Meaning of "cum inter nonnullos"

I'm reading The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, which has a lot of Latin phrases and expressions, since the story is set in the 14th century and the protagonist is a franciscan friar. The expression ...
franksands's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
805 views

Is there a difference between 'a' and 'de' when the meaning is 'from'?

The Latin preposition de takes an ablative object and has several different translations including 'about', 'of', 'down from' and 'from'. The preposition a/ab also has multiple meanings including '...
LJD200's user avatar
  • 271
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Both "fēmina" and "mulier" mean "woman": what's the difference?

The word fēmina is used with the meaning "woman": Of human beings, a female, woman (cf.: uxor, mulier, matrona; conjux, marita) (Lewis and Short) (Fēmina also means "female" when ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
656 views

Was "mendicus" a term for the impotent or idle poor?

I came across the term mendicus in a 16th century English parish register. According to Lewis & Short it means: "beggarly, needy, in want, indigent". I understand the word derives from menda ...
Harry Vervet's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
473 views

Meaning and etymology of ūrīnor and ūrīna: "to dive" comes from "pee"?

Starting from a Bart Simpson prank call, I looked for "urinator" in Wiktionary, and suddenly found myself faced with the Latin meaning of the word, that is, ūrīnātor meaning "diver"...
MickG's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
770 views

Quid est differentia inter «opus est» et «necesse est»?

Quid est differentia inter «opus est» et «necesse est»? Exempli gratia,1 "emas non quod opus est, sed quod necesse est; quod non opus est, asse earum est," Quoque «opus est» scriptum est ...
Der Übermensch's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
4k views

Does liberi only refer to free children?

This issue came up in an answer and comments to this earlier question about comparing liberi and filii, and I think it's important enough to be treated in a separate question. Also, the answer to this ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers
61k views

What does memento mori actually mean?

I'm wondering what memento mori actually means. From Wikipedia, I see the meaning is "you must die" but that makes it sound like a threat. Legend said that one of the war prisoner use the word for ...
geomars's user avatar
  • 175
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to use immo?

What does the word immo really mean and how can I use it? I read this and this dictionary entry, and I was left confused. Some of the uses I can understand, but some I cannot. Either I do not have ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
723 views

Is there a semantic difference between the two perfect tenses in medieval Latin?

In medieval Latin active perfect forms started to use the auxiliary verb habere with perfect participle. Thus amavi would be replaced with amatum habeo. These two constructions must have coexisted for ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
5k views

How did mundus come to mean both world and clean?

Basically what's in the title: How did mundus come to mean both world and clean? L&S lists a number of other meanings, but in my knowledge these are two very frequent uses, that do not seem to ...
Rafael's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does 'verbum' mean both word and verb?

The word verbum means "word", but I want to find out whether it can also have the more specific meaning "verb" (as opposed to other kinds of words). Lewis and Short does not list &...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
12 votes
8 answers
3k views

Can one translate ἀθάνατος as 'living' rather than 'immortal'?

Context There is an old hymn, often referred to as the Trisagion or Thrice-Holy. It goes like this in Greek: Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. (Transliterated, this reads, &...
Samantha Y's user avatar
12 votes
7 answers
3k views

What does "Vivos voco pedibus ioco" mean?

I am not familiar with Latin, but I found an engraving on a bench at the graveyard, that made me curious. It says, vivos voco pedibus ioco. Google Translate is not really helpful, as it ...
walker18's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
3 answers
597 views

Is "victa serpente" an ablative absolute?

I'm reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, and there's this sentence: Delius hunc nuper, victa serpente superbus, viderat adducto flectentem cornua nervo “quid” que “tibi, lascive puer, cum fortibus ...
user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
17k views

Why does "ut" mean such different things when it has a subjunctive verb vs. an indicative one?

We all know that ut, when paired with a subjunctive, is translated as "in order to" (purpose), "to" (indirect command), and, with some words, "that" (result/fear). However, ut with an indicative ...
user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
16k views

Difference between super and supra?

Is there a difference in meaning between super and supra (both with accusative)? Would one indicate motion and the other one position?
user18798's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
5 answers
8k views

On the literal meaning of "in saecula saeculorum"

Literally, this phrase (found originally in the New Testament of the Vulgata) is translated as "into [the] ages of [the] ages". It's supposed to be an expression of eternity, and it's commonly ...
luchonacho's user avatar
  • 12.4k
11 votes
2 answers
417 views

What does cōcutit mean?

I'm translating the following sentence from Johann Weyer's book De Praestigiis Daemonum, published in 1563: In tam perniciosa varietate fanaticarum & pestilentium opinionum, quibus hoc ævo ...
Zenadix's user avatar
  • 213
11 votes
2 answers
796 views

What's the difference between fessus and defessus?

I'm curious to know what the difference is between fessus and defessus. Is de- simply acting as an intensifying prefix? Suppose I were tired at the end of night, and wanted to go to sleep. Would I say ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 12k
11 votes
2 answers
33k views

What is meant by the expression 'Sic Transit Gloria Mundi'?

The phrase is used when in the ceremony of assigning a new pope, and can be interpreted in many ways. A translation would be: "So pass the worldly glories." How would you interpret its meaning, ...
Newman's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
2 answers
474 views

Quid a "hic", "munere" significat Linnæus?

These words are inscribed over the entrance to the University of Pavia: Quid hic? Intueri naturam. Quo munere? Curiosum esse. They're translated here into Italian, which I'll translate into English ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 15.9k
11 votes
1 answer
452 views

Did "benedicere" ever mean "to blaspheme"?

I was struck by some verses in Chapter 21 of 3 Regum, Vulgata. This tells the story of Naboth, an Israelite who owned a vineyard which was adjacent to the palace of the Israeli King, Achab. Naboth ...
luchonacho's user avatar
  • 12.4k
11 votes
3 answers
202 views

Are there any Latin words with sharply contrasting meanings?

The English word madam can mean A polite form of address for a woman or lady. (slang) A woman who runs a brothel, particularly one that specializes in finding prostitutes for rich and ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 12k
11 votes
1 answer
335 views

meaning of "non omnínó"

Omnínó is defined in Lewis Elementary as altogether, wholly, entirely, utterly, at all [with numerals] in all, altogether, only, but, just by all means, indeed, doubtless, yes, certainly,...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
  • 16.5k
11 votes
2 answers
383 views

Can Latin "inde" introduce a temporal clause?

Lines one and two of book 2 of Vergil's Aeneid sparked this question: Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant inde toro pater Aeneas sic orsus ab alto: I had two interpretations. My first ...
Bounce's user avatar
  • 113
11 votes
2 answers
611 views

What does “non oportet” mean?

When verbs that recommend an action to some degree (such as should, must, ought) are negated, there are two possible interpretations: (a) the action is simply not recommended, nor anything else; or (b)...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
10 votes
8 answers
7k views

What is the Latin joke here?

The other day I watched Evil under the sun, a film about Agatha Christie's homonymous novel, where the following lines were said: Patrick Redfern: It's funny to think, if Giuseppe Verdi had been an ...
luchonacho's user avatar
  • 12.4k
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Meaning of *iuvenis*

I seem to remember reading that iuvenis referred to someone roughly between 15 and 30. However, my Collins Latin Dictionary states it refers to someone between 30 and 45. Since a man could serve as ...
TheHonRose's user avatar
  • 1,316
10 votes
3 answers
6k views

What is the definitive definition of rem?

The word rem seems to mean all sorts of things depending on the context — sometimes it means "the thing", sometimes "it", and sometimes rem can be entirely omitted from the English translation. ...
Bob Eret's user avatar
  • 343
10 votes
3 answers
175 views

Vivitne metaphora "de" in "demonstro"?

I found the following inscription above a sundial outside the York Minster: LVCEM DEMONSTRAT VMBRA This seems extraordinarily poetic to me, for many reasons. One reason is the reversal of prosaic ...
Ben Kovitz's user avatar
  • 15.9k
10 votes
3 answers
523 views

Is it gibberish, a real ceremony, or a Latin joke?

I have just been watching an old TV series called Porterhouse Blue which is a Tom Sharpe comedy about an ultra-conservative and old fashioned university called Porterhouse. At one point there is a ...
Slarty's user avatar
  • 315
10 votes
1 answer
538 views

Does animal include human?

In today's English the word "animal" can include or exclude humans, depending on context. How about the word animal in classical Latin? Does it include humans? If not, is there a term that would cover ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
530 views

Is there something special about "corpus"?

Metamorphoses Book V, the story of Proserpina. At this point Ceres has just thrown some soup in an impertinent man's face and turned him into a lizard (as you do). mirantem flentemque et tangere ...
mike rodent's user avatar
  • 1,081
10 votes
1 answer
4k views

Prae- & Ante- (before)

The prefixes prae- and ante- both have the same meaning of 'before' in place or time. Why is the existence of both words necessary?
andersj's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
3 answers
61k views

Is my interpretation of "Ad Astra per Aspera" correct?

I came across the phrase ad astra per aspera — "to the stars through difficulties." I think I know what it means, but my interpretation appears to be at odds with others. For example: The ...
faustus's user avatar
  • 253
10 votes
1 answer
235 views

Should motum be translated as emotions?

Calvin's commentary on Romans 1:18 (Latin, English translation by MacKenzie): Ira, ἀνθρωποπαθῶς, more Scripturae pro ultione Dei: quia Deus puniens, prae se fert (nostra opinione) irascentis faciem. ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
480 views

Meaning of "τρίχας" in Anacreon's Περι Γέροντος

Here's a poem from Anacreon's Odes: ΠΕΡΙ ΓΕΡΟΝΤΟΣ Φιλῶ γέροντα τερπνόν, Φιλῶ νέον χορευτήν. Γέρων δ᾽ ὅταν χορεύῃ Τρίχας γέρων μὲν ἐστιν, Τὰς δὲ φρένας νεάζει. From what I've found, τρίχας is the ...
rmdmc89's user avatar
  • 599
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

Does 'duco' refer to the art of leadership?

This follows on from my prior question. I'm working on the name for an art project concerned with physical, emotional and psychological optimisation with a view to nurturing wholesome leadership. I ...
DVCITIS's user avatar
  • 609
9 votes
3 answers
370 views

Cibus sanus — healthy food?

The Duolingo Latin course uses sanus as "healthy" in connection with meals. A healthy lunch would be prandium sanum according to the course. But I always thought that sanus is only refers to ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar

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