Funny Latin Phrases
February 3, 2003 2:30 AM   Subscribe

Quanto putas mihi stare hoc conclave ? That's "How many prostitutes does it take to change a lightbulb?" in Latin. No, actually it's "How much do you think I paid for this apartment?". Here's hoping, in the wake of the BBC's superb The Roman Way series, written and presented by David Aaranovich, that good old Latin is on its way back, albeit in an Internet, soundbitey way. Those intending to smuggle some into MetaFilter should definitely start here. The owner, for instance, might find Ne ponatur in mea vicinitate useful - "Not in my backyard". And Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione - "I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult" should prove popular in the God threads. Vale!
posted by MiguelCardoso (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sola lingua bona est lingua mortua.
posted by apostasy at 2:35 AM on February 3, 2003

Num me vexo?
posted by y2karl at 2:38 AM on February 3, 2003

"Nuntii Latini", si latine loqueris.
posted by RavinDave at 2:57 AM on February 3, 2003

When I was in fifth grade, we said the pledge of allegiance in Latin every day.

"Ego vexillo unitoruum statuum americae ac rei publicae quam designatem spandeo. Uni nationi sub deo, indivisible, cum libertate atque justicia omnibus."

Or something to that effect.
posted by padraigin at 3:55 AM on February 3, 2003

Quidquid latine dictum sit, alturn viditur.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:29 AM on February 3, 2003

Hee hee. Here is a good list of English/Latin online resources.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:38 AM on February 3, 2003

Illegitimati non carborundum
Don't let the bastards grind you down.
Or something like that.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 6:08 AM on February 3, 2003

Brian: Aih! Ooh! Not dative, not the dative, sir! Nah, aah! Ooh! The...accusative! Accusative! Aah! Domum, sir! Ad domum! Aah, ooh!
Centurion: Except that domus takes the...?
Brian: Aah! The locative, sir! Aah!
Centurion: Which is...?
Brian: Domum! Aah, ah, aah...
Centurion: Understand?
Brian: Yes, sir!
Centurion: Now, write that a hundred times!
Brian: Yes, sir! Thank you, sir! Hail Caesar, sir!

- Monty Python, "Life of Brian"
posted by soundofsuburbia at 6:28 AM on February 3, 2003

Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia!!
posted by gimonca at 7:37 AM on February 3, 2003

Henry Beard wrote a couple of Latin for All Occasions books, full of "funny" Latin. They have many useful phrases like

Satine caloris tibi est?
(Hot enough for you?)

Est mihi nullus nummus superfluus.
(I don't have any spare change.)

My favorites were the ad-related ones (Avenida Madisonis). I can't remember the translations anymore, but he had "Let's run it up a flagpole and see if anybody salutes it" and also "Let's divide it into three parts and see if anybody conquers it."
posted by O9scar at 7:45 AM on February 3, 2003

This month's tag ling for my weblog is, Da mihi porco amictum!

Rather loosely translated, "Make mine bacon-wrapped!"
posted by chuq at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2003

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione - "I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult"

Must. Refrain. From. Using. Here.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:42 AM on February 3, 2003

I wish Babelfish could do English < ---> Latin.
posted by alumshubby at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2003

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum.
a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:57 AM on February 3, 2003

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but why not just use English (or whatever language you actually speak) to express what you want to say? It's hard enough communicating in a language that everyone understands, let alone one that only a few people can read with any degree of certainty. Unless it's a way to maintain some sense of intellectual superiority (not in a pejorative sense)? I mean, I think even the Catholic Church doesn't conduct mass in Latin anymore.

Sorry if I sound militant about this, it's just that I keep encountering unnecessary Latin phrases in the stuff I read all the time.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 11:30 AM on February 3, 2003

Catullus LVI (non securum ad officium).

semper ubi sub ubi!
posted by eddydamascene at 12:04 PM on February 3, 2003

Potest salire aedificium magnum soltu solo.
(He is able to leap tall building in a single bound).
posted by seayson at 12:09 PM on February 3, 2003

Not to rain on anyone's parade, but why not just use English (or whatever language you actually speak) to express what you want to say?

Ali G: Why do people read books when anyone can afford a TV?
posted by y2karl at 12:17 PM on February 3, 2003

Because books provide a way to express oneself (and experience the expressions of others) that television doesn't? I understand the use of Latin (or other foreign language) if it is in order to express some concept that is otherwise inconveniently expressible (hence, I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of borrowing words), but in general, that's not how Latin phrases are used (at least going by the examples in this thread). I also understand (although not entirely agree with) using Latin phrases when the expression was originally expressed in Latin (such as is often done in law). But as an example (and sorry to pick on you seayson), I don't believe that "Potest salire aedificium magnum soltu solo" was originally a Latin phrase. So what's left seems to me to be merely an idea that because something is in Latin, that makes it intrinsically better somehow, but I don't see why. Perhaps it sounds better in Latin, but if you are trying to convey an idea or concept, it's probably better to convey it in a medium which aids, and not detracts, from the clarity.

Anyway, it's all personal preference, so use as much Latin (or any other language) as you wish.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 12:59 PM on February 3, 2003

Why does it not surprise me that EBAG has posted thrice to metatalk and but once to the front page?
posted by shabrem at 2:45 PM on February 3, 2003

Nimium parenthesium, EatenByAGrue.
posted by languagehat at 3:51 PM on February 3, 2003

I am truly sorry if anyone has construed what I have said to indicate anything other than what is ultimately a personal preference (and I am being sincere, not sarcastic, about that). But despite languagehat's accurate comment (if I am translating my Latin correctly), I will nevertheless comment further and add that I am not the only one who believes that it is best to avoid foreign words and phrases if possible. If you refer to The Elements of Style, Strunk himself, in his twentieth style rule, states that use of foreign languages "is a bad habit. Write in English." His reason for such a rule is exactly my reason; it can (in certain instances), show "no regard for the reader's comfort." William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style 81 (3d ed. 1979).

Oh, and I am unsure why it doesn't surprise you, shabrem, that I have more posts in metatalk than metafilter. If you could email me (as I could not email you) and let me know why, I'd appreciate it. (Again, not trying to be sarcastic nor get into some kind of pissing match with you, I really am puzzled.)
posted by EatenByAGrue at 5:27 PM on February 3, 2003

salvete caudices,
O9scar - i actually have that book and the translations you quoted are:
id in tres partes dividamus ut videamus utrum quis id vincat, necne!
id in summum longurium quasi vexillum tollamus ut videamus utrum quis id salutet, necne!
posted by euphrosyne at 10:29 PM on February 3, 2003

There was an article at K5 recently that is apropos: A beginner's guide to the Latin language, part 1
posted by tbc at 11:25 PM on February 3, 2003

pax vobiscum
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:02 AM on February 4, 2003

Anyone who wonders why this is amusing to anybody SHLOUD see: Urquhart's Rabelais
posted by shabrem at 2:14 PM on February 18, 2003

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