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Why is the language of ancient Rome called "Latin" instead of "Roman"?

The Latin language is named after the area it was spoken in — or the people that spoke it. (It is impossible to distinguish the two.) Latin, by name, is the language of Latium (Lazio in today's ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
45 votes
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Did the Romans use any swear words?

Yes, they used swear words all the time! There's actually a whole book on the subject, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary by J. N. Adams. Cinaedus (a pejorative term for a 'bottom'), mentula (male genitalia),...
cmw's user avatar
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38 votes
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Is Cola "probably the best-known" Latin word in the world? If not, which might it be?

Cola is a Latinized form of kola, taken from some Niger-Congo language (it's not clear which) and applied to a genus of plants. It isn't a native Latin word and would have been unfamiliar to the ...
Draconis's user avatar
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36 votes
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"Oh no!" in Latin

I think the word you want is ēheu, which L&S define as "an interjection of pain or grief". It's often translated as "alas", mostly because it appears in epic poetry where a grandiose and formal ...
Draconis's user avatar
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33 votes
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Why hippopotamus instead of potamohippus?

As you mention, Latin hippopotamus, -i comes from Greek ἱπποπόταμος, which is a compound of ἵππος (hippos = horse) and ποταμός (potamos = river). In Latin, Lewis and Short cites instances in Pomponius ...
brianpck's user avatar
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31 votes
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Can you say "the" in Latin?

The book is correct. There is no equivalent to "the" in Classical Latin. In Vulgar Latin, the demonstrative ille (which means "that" in Classical Latin) got bleached into a definite article, with a ...
Draconis's user avatar
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28 votes

How do you say "yes" and "no" in Classical Latin?

In Classical Latin, there were no words exactly corresponding to "yes" and "no". Non and ne were negatives, but they needed to combine with other words (like "not" in English). There were, however, ...
Draconis's user avatar
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28 votes

"Oh no!" in Latin

Seneca the Younger gave the following irreverent account of Claudius' last words: Ultima vox eius haec inter homines audita est, cum maiorem sonitum emisisset illa parte qua facilius loquebatur: &...
Vincenzo Oliva's user avatar
26 votes

Why is the language of ancient Rome called "Latin" instead of "Roman"?

The word latin comes from latinus, "of Latium," a region in central Italy. In this territory, around the turn of the first millennium BC, lived a tribe known as the Latins, and their language was the ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
25 votes
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What did Romans call their language?

All the terms you used are used by Classical authors (and then some), but some differences must be noted. Lingua Latina is what the Romans called their language. If you ever see Latina by itself to ...
cmw's user avatar
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25 votes
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How do I say "Brexit" in Latin?

The word "Brexit" is a noun, meaning "the exit of Britain from the EU". The noun "exit" is exitus, fourth declension. Therefore a natural analogue of the English "...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
25 votes

What is bullshit in Latin?

Nugae! Ineptiae sunt aniles! Fabulae, logi, somnia! Gerras loqueris; hariolaris, vaticinaris! Nugae, ineptiae, gerrae are dedicated terms for nonsense, balderdash, trifles, idle speech, silliness, ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
24 votes
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Why doesn't Latin have words for "Yes" and "No"?

English once did not have words for "yes" and "no" as they are precisely used today. Yes, for example, comes from ge (whence "yea") + sie, a subjunctive form of to be (...
cmw's user avatar
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24 votes

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

In Republican and early Imperial Latin, mulier was more common, and fēmina was more markedly respectful Although it might seem surprising to speakers of modern languages where using the word "...
Asteroides's user avatar
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22 votes
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What is the most common classical Latin word that we don't understand?

This is a great question: it's certainly difficult to find Latin words with uncertain meaning that are not hapax legomena. My entry is cortumio, -nis. L&S says that it is "an old word of the ...
brianpck's user avatar
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21 votes

How do you say "please" in Classical Latin?

In Latin you need a verb to say "please". The verb quaesere mentioned by ktm5124 is a good one, but not the only one. That verb is used typically only in first person singular or plural present ...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
21 votes
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Why do Latin nouns (like cena, -ae) include two forms?

The second form is the genitive singular. The above answers address the substance of your question, but I wanted to add as a supplementary answer something that doesn't appear to be explicitly stated ...
brianpck's user avatar
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21 votes
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What are the moon phases in Latin?

This question makes me recall my childhood. I see two approaches to an answer: 1. there is a complete list from a XVII century author, and 2. a compilation of classical and post-classical names by L&...
Rafael's user avatar
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21 votes

Is Cola "probably the best-known" Latin word in the world? If not, which might it be?

My impression is that "Latin name" here means "scientific name (of a species)". Many people seem to conflate scientific names and Latin names, although the two are different concepts. The way I see it,...
Joonas Ilmavirta's user avatar
21 votes

ATM in Vatican City: "Inserito scidulam quaeso ut faciundam cognoscas rationem"

The source of this Latin ATM message, as confirmed is a few profiles (such as this one from the Catholic Herald and this one from The Telegraph) is the lately-deceased Reginald Foster, who was ...
brianpck's user avatar
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19 votes
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What are the key differences between the main Latin verbs meaning "to kill"?

The thesauri and dictionaries offer marvelous help with some of these. Adapted from Döderlein's Hand-book of Latin Synonymes: Interficere and perimere are the most general expressions for ...
Joel Derfner's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why are the words for "children" (liberi) and "book" (libri) so similar?

These words are unrelated: they developed independently from different Proto-Indo-European roots, according to Michiel de Vaan's Etymological Dictionary (337–38). First, liber or librī, meaning "book,...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
19 votes
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How did mundus come to mean both world and clean?

It's possible that the identity is a coincidence and that the adjective and the noun are unrelated homophones. De Vaan's etymological dictionary lists the two words as separate entries and does not ...
TKR's user avatar
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19 votes
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Is *Moscovia* a latinists' invention?

Latin was the general language of civilised Europe until as recently as the 17th century - Newton’s Principia is written in it - so there is nothing unnatural about wanting to refer to Moscow and ...
Martin Kochanski's user avatar
19 votes
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Is there a Latin equivalent for this particular nsfw term?

The place to look these things up is J.N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (1982). There's a discussion of terms for orgasm starting on p. 142. As Manuel says, the most common verb is patrāre, lit. &...
TKR's user avatar
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18 votes
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What do animals say in classical Latin?

Unfortunately, the verbs have survived much better in writing than the actual onomatopoeia. A few of these are fairly clearly based on the sound: baubor "bark", hinnio "whinny", ululo "howl" (and ...
Draconis's user avatar
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18 votes

What is the most common classical Latin word that we don't understand?

I wouldn't even try to guess which words are most commonly 'not understood'. The natural world is a rich category here, with many examples of species that cannot be exactly identified: though ...
Tom Cotton's user avatar
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18 votes
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Are there nouns that change meaning based on gender?

The masculine noun flāmen denotes a type of priest. The etymologically unrelated neuter noun flāmen means 'a blast, gust (of wind)' or 'an exhalation, breath.' Also, generally, the words for various ...
cnread's user avatar
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18 votes

How do you say this phrase in latin? Venisti, vedisti, you destroyed?

Well, to get the simple problem out of the way, it should be vidisti, not vedisti, but I assume that was just a mistyped letter. On to the main problem: You say you cannot find a word for destroy. ...
Sebastian Koppehel's user avatar
18 votes
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Why 'Vir' is the only word of 2nd declension with -ir ending?

Vir developed its s-less ending from the process of syncope described in Alex B.'s answer to "Why do some 2nd decl. "-er" adjectives and nouns drop the "e" in the stem?": ...
Asteroides's user avatar
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