Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Useful Latin Phrases

"Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur – anything said in Latin sounds profound."

It's true; when it comes to witty/pithy sayings, nothing does it better than good old Latinate. The ultimate romance language, from which most European tongues originate. With the notable exception of Greek, Latin is the most important language of Western Civilization, because it forms the core of so many other languages, and almost all classical literature is drawn from it.

But here's why I love Latin: it makes for great quotes! Seriously, I never sound more intelligent than when rolling a string of the good old Latinate off my tongue. It's impressive in ways that makes librarians all hot and bothered. Not to mention the fact that the quotes are themselves damned useful for arguments, debates, educating the ignorant masses, or just plain discourse and conversation.

Here's a selection of Latin phrases that every good Saboteur Academian should know, from legal arguments to proud declarative statements. Learn 'em, love 'em, live 'em.

Acta est fabula plaudite. The play has been performed - applaud!

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.

Audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret. Slander boldy, something always sticks.

Veni, vidi, vici. I came, I saw, I conquered.

Cacoethes scribendi. Bad habit of writing.

Coitus more ferarum. Congress in the way of beasts (having sex doggy-style).

Carpe diem. Seize the day.

Carpe noctem. Seize the night.

Alea iacta est. The die is cast. Said by Julius Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon with his army into Italy proper. A point of no return, unless through victory or death.

Luctor et emergo, victrix. I struggle and I emerge, victorious.

Cogito ergo sum. I think there I am.

Bibo ergo sum. I drink, therefore I am.

Credo quia absurdum est. I believe because it is absurd.

Esse quam videri. To be, rather than to seem.

Fortes fortuna adiuvat. Fortune favors the bold.

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro. Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book.

Media vita in morte sumus. In the midst of our lives we die

Mundus vult decipi. The world wants to be deceived.

Obscuris vera involvens. The truth being enveloped by obscure things.

Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? (Not originally an Allan Moore phrase.)

Sapere aude. Dare to be wise.

Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. mock-Latin motto of the Addams family.

Piscem natare doces. You teach a fish to swim.

Sic et non. Yes and no.

Tempus edax rerum. Time, devourer of all things.

Ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant. They make a desert and call it peace.

Quis leget haec? Who will read this?

Vi veri universum vivus vici. By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.

Most of these phrases come from Ovid, Virgil, Tacitus, with a sprinkling of mock-phrases and Greek-to-Latin translations. They're pretty random, I think, and mostly hard to find - unless you spend hours on Wikimedia like I do.

Be sure to employ these conversational ploys with extreme prejudice, because otherwise you'll just look like an over-educated ass.

Cheers my fellow saboteurs!

7 footnotes:

emily said...

i like the one about slandering boldly.

however, i don't get the picture. it definitely looks the the salon in paris.

Zek J Evets said...

the first picture doesn't have anything to do with latin phrases at all. i just thought it was a cool painting, and since i was going all "classical", i'd toss it in there.

JacqueRoxx said...

I thought it was "Luctor et emergo, victrix"..

are there multiple spellings?

Zek J Evets said...

ahhh damn! i misspelled it.

good catch there jacque, thanks.

Lex said...

nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Zek J Evets said...

don't let the bastards grind ya down?

i was gonna use that one, but couldn't find a translation i liked.

Lex said...

yeah, "grind/get" I like that one if I substitute words.