Questions tagged [meaning]

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

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55
votes
5answers
6k 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 (...
27
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
25
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5answers
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 ...
19
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5answers
2k 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, ...
18
votes
2answers
3k 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?
17
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2answers
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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 ...
17
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1answer
1k 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 ...
17
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1answer
469 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 ...
16
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5answers
8k 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 ...
16
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2answers
791 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 ...
16
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1answer
2k 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 ...
15
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1answer
1k 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! &...
15
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2answers
557 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 ...
15
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1answer
315 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"...
15
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2answers
181 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 '...
14
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2answers
390 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 ...
12
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7answers
2k 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 ...
12
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3answers
3k 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 ...
12
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6answers
45k 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 ...
12
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3answers
4k 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. ...
12
votes
2answers
987 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 ...
12
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1answer
8k 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 ...
11
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7answers
2k 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,...
11
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8answers
5k 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 ...
11
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3answers
3k 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 ...
11
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3answers
333 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 ...
11
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2answers
333 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 ...
11
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2answers
242 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 ...
10
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3answers
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
367 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 ...
10
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3answers
131 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 ...
10
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1answer
458 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
370 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
568 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 &...
10
votes
1answer
210 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,...
10
votes
1answer
170 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. ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
303 views

Is “ergo” an appropriate word for this context?

I'm translating this sentence into Latin: You said that I could do anything, so I went to the strip club. (It's for a late Valentine's card for my girlfriend.) So far, I have the first and second ...
9
votes
2answers
26k 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, ...
9
votes
2answers
381 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
130 views

Does “comperendinare” really mean “to adjourn for three days” (or similar) and if yes, how do we know this?

According to my (German) Latin dictionary (Stowasser), comperendinō means to summon for the third-next day of court (für den drittnächsten Gerichtstag vorladen). It always struck me as bizarre that a ...
9
votes
3answers
183 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
217 views

Why does a future passive participle have a sense of necessity?

Let me use an example to clarify: Puer librum legendum habet Very, very literally, this would be: The boy has a book going to be read This has the sense of happening in the future and ...
9
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2answers
7k views

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 ...
9
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1answer
1k 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?
9
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1answer
393 views

Meaning of “Spiritus Libertatis”

Another question from the frequent latin expressions in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Here a character is complaining about evil followers from Spiritus Libertatis. I saw that this could ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Colors of the rainbow

The classical Latin word for a rainbow seems to be Iris (Iris or Iridis, f.). Did the Romans ever list or otherwise discuss the colors of the rainbow in extant literature? I asked about colors in ...
9
votes
1answer
114 views

Aut *celer* aut *vēlōx*?

Celer and vēlōx are often treated as synonymous. I feel certain that I learned the technical distinction between them once: that celer was potential speed, while vēlōx was actual speed. So Usain Bolt ...
9
votes
1answer
129 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)...
9
votes
2answers
8k 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?