21 votes

What would be a "night owl" in Latin?

The verb lucubrare means (OLD definition 1) 'To work by lamplight (i.e. late at night), "burn the midnight oil."' For example, Pliny uses this verb in letter 3.5 to talk about his uncle's work/study ...
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Latin word for "code" or "program" (the verb)

For almost twenty years, the de facto standard for Latin technology vocabulary has been the Vocabula computatralia. You can and should use and peruse it for all types of programming-related vocabulary,...
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17 votes
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What did the Romans use to close their letters?

If you have a look at Cicero's letters, many of them do not have any valediction at all. In a pair of letters exchanged between Q. Metellus and Cicero (Cic. Fam. 5.1-5.2), the two men simply stop and ...
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17 votes

What would be a "night owl" in Latin?

Seneca is your man. In Ep 122 he uses the word lychnobius: one who lives by lamplight. I'll quote the passage in full, because it's so great. Pedonem Albinovanum narrantem audieramus (erat autem ...
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How can I say "undo" in Latin?

You could use retexo, literally "unweave, unravel", but also used to mean the below: B. Trop., to break up, cancel, annul, reverse It depends a little bit on the context, though, what the best ...
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16 votes
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Was there a word which meant roughly the same thing as "nerd" or "geek" does today?

Perhaps graeculus, often translated as Greekling? It refers to Greeks who held positions of some import in Roman society due to their education and higher learning yet were considered too Greek to ...
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Is there an English word derived from τάσσω, with a similar meaning of arranging/organising?

The word you are looking for would be taxonomy, from τάσσω, fut. τάξω, to arrange in a certain order, e.g. of troops. Τακτικός is that which is required for the arrangement: the tactics.
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15 votes
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Term for the water/wine ratio chooser?

The Latin term for this is magister bibendi or arbiter bibendi, or "master of drinking." Here's some context: After a roll of the dice, a magister bibendi was chosen. By appointing a certain ...
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What's the Latin word for "jade"?

From my googling so far, it appears that jade did not reach Ancient Rome, and classical Latin has no word for it. Possibly Pliny mentioned it in the Naturalis Historia, but he mentioned a number of ...
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14 votes
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What is the most neutral word for "shield"?

Clipeus was originally a round, metal shield. It is fairly common. Scutum was originally a long, oval wooden shield with iron fittings and covered with leather, used by soldiers. It is also used for ...
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13 votes
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What Latin word could I use to refer to a grocery store?

The word to use is probably macellum. Lewis & Short offers: macellum, i (macellus, i, m., Mart. 10, 96, 9), n. root μαχ-; cf. Gr. μάχομαι, to fight; cf. μάχαιρα, μάχη, and mactāre; prop. butcher'...
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How To Say "-able" in Latin

As brianpck mentioned, the English suffix "-able" is borrowed from Latin. The rules for applying it in Latin are more transparent than the English alteration between "-able" and "-ible". EDIT: And are ...
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A good Latin word for "point"

Maybe simpler than you think! The following are extracts from Smith's Latin-English Dictionary (1871), under the head "point": II. Fig., the sting or telling feature of an epigram, etc.:aculeus (a ...
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12 votes
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Latin words for “engineer”

Besides machinator, I found two words for engineer in classical Latin that are primarily directed towards the devising of buildings and fortifications. aedificator A builder, derived from aedes (...
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12 votes
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A word for bad quality joke

Frigidus / cold can be used metaphorically to describe any kind of speech that seems flat and lifeless, whether it was an attempt at humour or not. But here we see it being applied specifically to ...
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12 votes

What is "vocabulary" in Latin?

The word 'vocabulary' is derived from vocabulum, meaning a word specific to some particular thing, as distinct from verbum, which is the word in general, and dictum, the spoken word. Cicero (de ...
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12 votes

What would be a "night owl" in Latin?

I suggest the word nocticola, which literally means "night-dweller". The entry in Lewis and Short describes it as "fond of the night" and gives one use example. Unfortunately the word seems to be ...
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What is an eve?

There are three major holidays that come to mind when considering "eve": Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and Halloween (All Hallows' Eve). When one looks up those holidays in the Morgan and Silva ...
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Did the Romans 'tip' for good service?

It seems that corollarium was used in this sense. Lewis and Short describe the original meaning as "money paid for a garland of flowers", but elsewhere it is described more like money put in a ...
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12 votes

How to translate "what" when used as an ironic interjection

Latin allows the use of "Quid?" in a similar way. See, for instance, Cicero in the First Cataline Oration: Quid? cum te Praeneste Kalendis ipsis Novembribus occupaturum nocturno impetu esse ...
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12 votes

How to say "black market" in Latin?

According to the Vatican's Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis, parvum verborum novatorum Léxicum: mercato nero [Italian]     mercatūra clandestīna [Latin]
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Nomen agentis of 'Quaerere'

These agent names are typically derived from the past participle stem. For quarere the participle stem is quaesit-, so we should expect quaesitor. And indeed, quaesitor is an attested word meaning &...
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11 votes

"All-forgiving" expressed with the omni- prefix

I found two examples (from 1667 and 1709) that uses the first portmanteau that came to my mind: omnimisericors. ...laudo, adoro, & revereor te, Domine DEUS, Omnipotens, Omnimisericors, qui ...
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11 votes
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How would you say "cafe" in Latin?

There have already been a few answers, but I have always liked the Morgan and Silva Furman University Lexicon, so here are the terms it gives for "cafe": thermopolium, -i, n. taberna ...
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11 votes

How to say 'striped' in Latin

My dictionary offers four options for "striped": Virgatus "striped" (is used for striped clothing, at least in poetry and post-classically) Virgulatus "striped" (seems to be very similar to virgatus ...
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10 votes

What's the Latin word for "jade"?

The term jade refers to two separate types of metamorphic rock, according to its Wikipedia entry. Both forms, jadeite and nephrite, share the same etymology, which is detailed in the entry for ...
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What is a skeleton called?

Lewis & Short has sceletus (second declension masculine), which must be etymologically related to the English "sceleton". It is described as eviscerata forma diri cadaveris, "a disemboweled form ...
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Translation of "...quae parvas aves capit et est."

Indeed, it means [he] eats; it is a contracted form. It's not very common, nor extremely rare. Lewis & Short even call it "very frequent", which I think is an exaggeration: The contr. forms es, ...
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10 votes
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What would "high school" be in Latin?

If you want a single word meaning "high school" specifically, I think the closest would be lycēum. I think the word schŏla "school" would also be appropriate in reference to a high school. As you ...
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10 votes
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What is a "monster" in Latin?

For natural monsters, perhaps belua: Belua immanis, crocodillus ille qui in Nilo gignitur … That colossal monster, the crocodile born in the Nile … Apuleius, Apologia, 8 Belua is often used ...
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