28
Jun

Bad tattoo Latin!

Okay, this one actually makes me feel bad. I hate the thought that some well-meaning Marines have (semi-)permanently scarred themselves with something nonsensical:

It’s supposed to say, “Father and Son: Brothers Forever.” Of course it really says “Father and Growth: Brother! Endlessness!”

(Punctuation added, of course, for emphasis.)

NOTE: I know that natus (2nd declension) can mean son (or at least man-child), but why not use filius? I think it’s funnier this way (4th declension).

NOTE: After more than three years, I can no longer afford to give away free translations or free advice for Latin tattoos. Please use the ‘Contact Us’ link (above) rather than blog comments (now closed on this post), and make a PayPal donation (the link may be found in the page footer).

There's 380 Comments So Far

  • Anonymous
    July 1st, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Ouch! I am a tattooed Latin teacher and that is painful to see, although I’m borrowing it for a powerpoint presentation a la Harry Mount. There must be good business in proofreading / translating Latin tattoos for would-be recipients! If we stop giving free advice, we may just be able to pay off our grad school student loans!

    Congratulations on your blogtastic accomplishments! You deserve the recognition for all your hard work.

  • Jon
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Good grief! I just wrote an article with two more examples of incorrect tattoos on my blog, too!

    (Incidentally, since you’re a better Latinist than I am, I’d be interested to know whether my own suggested correction, “unus pes prae altero”, looks good to you.)

  • nicole
    June 24th, 2009 at 12:27 am

    how would you translate these?
    Love understands all languages
    Live life with no regrets

  • Dennis
    June 24th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    linguam omnem amor scit

    It would actually be pronounced something lingu’omn’amor skit. (Final syllables ending in a vowel or in -m elide when confronted with initial syllables.)

    I changed ‘all languages’ to ‘every language.’ It has kind of a double meaning in that lingua means both language and tongue: ‘love understands every language’/'love knows every tongue.’ That’s open to a lot of interpretations.

    ne vivas vitam dolens
    ne vivas vitam desiderans
    ne vivas vitam paenitens

    I put these in the negative, i.e., ‘don’t live (your) life being regretful/sorry/etc.’ (i.e., with regrets). It seemed more natural that way in Latin.

    Dolens is a more general word for feeling sorrow or grief, so it’s a little ambiguous. Desiderans has a sense of longing, or of wishing for things that you don’t have. Paenitens means feeling bad about your prior actions, and would probably be best understood as ‘don’t do things you’ll regret later’.

    Which is very good advice about tattoos. Do you want to be 35 and struggling to be taken seriously when everyone’s distracted by that thing on your arm that doesn’t mean as much as you thought it did 17 years ago?

    Traditional accessories have the distinct advantage of impermanence — just like youth. You could probably buy an insane number of bangles and necklaces from the J. Crew final sale for what a tattoo would cost, and you wouldn’t be married to your purchase for the rest of your life.

  • nicole
    June 24th, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    thank you very much for that !

    and yes but if the tattoo means something for you then why not you should not get one if you feel embarrased but you only live once so why not?

  • Heidi
    August 31st, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Hi I was wondering if you could help me. How do you say “the end of life is not the end of love”? or whatever is close to that.

  • Dennis
    August 31st, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I would say ‘mors non finis amoris.’

    This is pronounced: mo/rse known fee/ niss a mo/re iss, with the stress accent indicated by backslashes.

    Literally it says, ‘death is not the end of love,’ and it has partial rhymes that give a nice effect. ‘Mors’ is echoed by ‘amoris’ and the unaccented final syllable of ‘finis’ is echoed by the same in ‘amoris.’ The word ‘is’ has been left out, and I’ll explain in a minute.

    If you were committed to emphasizing the word ‘end’ you might also say something like ‘finis vitae non (est finis) amoris.’ (Pronounced: fee / niss wee / tie known est fee/niss a mo/re iss) The part in parentheses is optional. ‘Est’ means ‘is’ but is normally not expressed, and the repetition of the word ‘finis’ is understood grammatically, so it’s not necessary, and wouldn’t normally be found in Latin.

    I vote for ‘mors non finis amoris.’

  • tribal dragon tattoos
    September 6th, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Although I’m as strict as the pope regarding details (not only in latin) and I would be totally embarrassed to have a tattoo that says “Father and Growth: Brother! Endlessness!” LOL – I think that if they both don’t know any better, and it makes them feel good – then no harm done.

    Dave

  • Ruby Riot
    September 7th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Hey Dennis and others.

    I know you guys are not that big into tattoo’s but tattoo’s are a big part of my life. I don’t want to feature on these pages for having a badly translatable tattoo and so I shall ask you first:
    Nihil Est Sacre
    Does this translate to Nothing Is Sacred?
    or Nihil Est Sacrum.

    The idea is for a large sacred heart chestpiece with this written in script acoss the heart on a banner held by two birds (of which I haven’t decided, I am not one for doing the usual thing and having sparrows)

    I would hope you can help as I love languages and have loved latin since a young age, only I went to a city Comprehensive where such things were not even discussed, never mind taught.

    Thank you

  • Dennis
    September 7th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    My only issue with tattoos is that they’re often youthful whims that lead to permanent marks and regret. The photoblogger and illustrator Garance Dore recently wrote about her love of tattoos, and the fact that she’s never gotten one. She likened tattoos to very expensive jewelry that you wait on for a year before deciding to make the investment:

    It’s just that with tattoos, I treat them like pricey jewelry. If I ever get a desire to get one, I say to myself okay, take a year to think about it and if you still want it next year, go ahead and get it. One year, that’s short for something that will last a lifetime.

    I’ve been thinking getting one since I was 18, and not one tattoo passed the one-year test. Every time, at the end of the year, I end up saying, “Ohhhhh thank god you didn’t get that!!!”

    A fairy (at 18). The name of my boy (at 20). A ship anchor (at 23). A rose (at 25). A famous painting (I mean c’mon on now, what?) (at 26). The name of a different guy (at 28)(okay, maybe just his initial)(Just the initial? He didn’t take that so well.)(Well, what? G. That’s a good initial, am I right?).

    Having said that, I’ll give you some notes.

    The distinction is not 100%, but ‘sacer, sacra, sacrum‘ generally refers to things that are sacred in the sense of being associated with religious rites, gods, etc., while ‘sanctus, -a, -um‘ generally refers to things that are sacred in the sense of being inviolable. So a dagger used in performing a sacrifice may be sacer, but an area that’s off-limits is sanctus. Again, it’s not 100%, but that’s a generalized view of the connotations.

    And this leads us the the common (and commonly misstated) ‘is nothing sacred?’ We have several posts on this phrase, which Wes Anderson made possibly the most famous bit of bad Latin. The statement ‘nothing is sacred’ is pretty straightforward, and the same as yours (with a slight change of vocabulary):

    nihil est sanctum

    You could be more emphatic and say nihil quicquam est sanctum, ‘nothing at all is sacred.’

    When I read nihil est sacrum it says to me that the priest’s vestments and the churches, etc., are meaningless, but when I read nihil est sanctum it says to me that nothing is off-limits.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Ruby Riot
    September 8th, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Dennis you are a star,
    Just as an aside, I am a very heavily tattooed young woman (young at 33!) and feminist and I have been working hard on this design for about 3 years (it takes me that long to get things to perfection)
    When eventully done I’ll send a link to the picture and maybe I can be the first with the correct Latin tattoo, thank’s to your great help
    xoxo

  • Lloyd
    September 9th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I am looking to have “unbreakable brotherhood” or something along those lines written in Latin for a tattoo that my brothers and I are getting this Saturday. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Dennis
    September 28th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I’m sorry I couldn’t respond to this in time. The beginning of the school year was hectic, and I was tied up with meetings, lesson plans, and other commitments. I hope everything worked out for you.

  • gracey
    October 4th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Hi there,

    If anyone can translate this quote for me in Latin, I would greatly appreciate it!

    “He who is brave is free.”

    Thank you!

  • Jimmy
    October 6th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I’m trying to make sure I have the correct translation to Latin before I get this tattoo, could someone make sure for me?

    “Not even death could stop my love”

    translation I got

    “non vel nex can subsisto meus diligo vobis”

    I just used a translation tool off the net.

    Thanks

  • Kristina
    October 8th, 2009 at 4:00 am

    Hi there! I want to get a tattoo in Latin saying ‘I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief’ Do you think you could translate that for me please?

  • Dennis
    October 12th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Most simply:
    fortis est liber

    But I prefer this:
    est fortibus libertas

    ‘Freedom belongs to the brave’ (literally: “there is for brave people freedom”) This gets across the notion that freedom requires bravery.

  • Dennis
    October 12th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    “Not even death could stop my love”

    ne mors quidem amorem moretur

    I’ve removed ‘my’ for euphony. If you’re saying it, it’s implied that it’s your love, and the final syllable of quidem elides before amorem, i.e., it would be pronounced quid’ amorem.

  • Dennis
    October 12th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    ‘I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief’

    This is one very tough. The Romans weren’t much for open-mindedness, and you quickly find yourself saying the opposite of what you mean (e.g., that filling your head with anything impressive or entertaining is better even than filtering out the noise with a keen eye for nonsense).

    This one is bothering me more than any other, so I’ll give you a rather straight translation, even though I don’t particularly like it, and will ask if anyone else has a better alternative. Feel free to pipe up.

    Here goes:

    malim animum studio apertum quam fide clausum

  • ashley d
    November 2nd, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Can someone tell me what Cruor est Lucus translates to? I have a friend who payed someeone to translate “Blood runs thicker” and that is what they gave her, but I have the feeling it is WRONG!!!

  • Dennis
    November 2nd, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Oh boy. I hope she didn’t have it done yet. That says “gore is a sacred grove.”

    To go with the traditional versiom, “blood is thicker (than water),” she should use “sanguis (est) crassior,” with the “est” being optional. If she wanted to she could add “aqua” (as an ablative of comparison, meaning “than water”).

    But with the version you offered, “blood flows thicker,” you’d want to say “sanguis crassius fluit,” where “crassius” is now an adverb rather than an adjective.

    Cruor is a very ugly word, appropriate to battle scenes (which is why I translated it “gore”). Sanguis is to be preferred.

  • ashley d
    November 2nd, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I will definitely let her know! THANK YOU! Hopefully I get to her in time, I’m not sure if she’s had it done yet or not!!

  • Tynulienka
    November 12th, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    DEAR DENNIS! :)
    Please, how would you translate this:
    “Nothing lasts forever” ???
    Thank you so much!

  • Dennis
    November 12th, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    1. est nihil perenne
    2. est nihil aeternum
    3. est nihil sempiternum

    Roughly:
    1. nothing is constant (perennis, -e originally meant ‘lasting throughout the year’)
    2 & 3. nothing is forever/everlasting

    Any one of these works just as well as-is, with “est” omitted, or with “est” moved middle (e.g., “nihil est perenne”), or the end (e.g., “nihil perenne est”).

  • St. Patrick
    November 14th, 2009 at 3:12 am

    If anyone could translate “pure of heart” it would be so amazing. I am two days away from getting this tat and so far i got “purus pectus”.
    thanks for your time

  • Tynulienka
    November 14th, 2009 at 6:20 am

    You’re amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you ;)

  • Dennis
    November 14th, 2009 at 9:57 am

    The standard phrase for a “pure heart” used among Christian Latin writers is “mundum cor.”

    Matthew 1.5.8 reads, “beati mundo corde …,” literally “blessed (are those) of pure heart.” The part in parentheses is implied, not stated, and the phrase “of pure heart” is what’s called in Latin an “ablative of characteristic.” Rather than using pure as an adjective to describe you (in the nominative case), we use the adjective with something else in the ablative case to indicate that you have that characteristic or quality. For example a “very virtuous man” would be “vir magna virtute,” “a man of great virtue.”

    I would go with the ablative phrase, MUNDO CORDE, which would link you right back to Matthew 1.5.8. The context of the words being on your body would be enough to imply “(I am a person) of pure heart.”

  • St. Patrick
    November 14th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Thank you Dennis! I appreciate it so much.

  • lou
    November 17th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    hi could anyone translate this for me please “nex est estenus vit’a est non” many thanks

  • Dennis
    November 17th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    That is some very bad Latin. *Estenus is a mistake for aeternus, but nex is feminine.

    It should say something line nex (est) aeterna (sed) non (est) vita. (The words in parentheses are optional. It would be good, elegant Latin to write NEX (EST) AETERNA NON VITA.)

    “Death is forever. Life is not.”

    Nex seems an odd choice, though. Mors is more common. Nex has a connotation of violent murder, whereas mors is simply death irrespective of its manner.

  • lou
    November 17th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    thank u for your help its a tat my friend had when he was young and he had no idea what it meant. thank you for your help and speedy response thanks again

  • Terence
    November 17th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    an additional question to this response (adjusted to remove one that doesn’t relate to the question):
    By Dennis, November 12, 2009 @ 8:19 pm
    1. est nihil aeternum
    2. est nihil sempiternum
    nothing is forever/everlasting
    Any one of these works just as well as-is, with “est” omitted, or with “est” moved middle (e.g., “nihil est perenne”), or the end (e.g., “nihil perenne est”).

    Someone mentioned to me that aeternus is mideval, is sempiternus as well?

  • Dennis
    November 17th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Both words are classical and found abundantly in classical authors like Plautus, Cicero, and Vergil.

  • Bree
    November 18th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Hey I’m about to get a tattoo saying “sine paenitentia vive, sine finibus ama” that allegedly means “live life with no regrets and love with no ends.” is that correct or is there a better way to say that?

  • Dennis
    November 22nd, 2009 at 9:54 am

    “sine paenitentia vive, sine finibus ama” sounds fine.

  • Bree
    November 23rd, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Yay! Thank you very much. :)

  • michelle
    November 29th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Hey I wanted to add to a portrait tattoo of my mom, who passed away, “the end of life is not the end of love” and I saw the earlier post. I googled it and got “finis vitae sed non amoris” and I was wondering if that’s correct

  • Jessy
    December 1st, 2009 at 5:38 am

    Hey dennis
    I wanted to know how u translate
    “Live and love with no regrets”

  • kristen
    December 12th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Dennis.. how do you say love with no regrets? is it “amor per haud desiderium”

  • Dennis
    December 21st, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Kirsten,

    The form ‘amor’ is a noun. Are you going for a command or a recommendation (which would require a verb)?

    Then you would say ‘ama’ (‘love!’, pl. amate), or else ‘ames’ (‘may you love!’, pl. ametis) ‘sine pudore.’

    That really says ‘Love without shame!’ but regret is difficult to translate. See my previous comments on the subject.

    Jessy,
    You could say the same thing with the addition of ‘vive’ (pl. vivite) or ‘vivas’ (pl. vivatis) to say ‘live!’.

  • Dennis
    December 21st, 2009 at 9:33 am

    The sed may not be necessary. It sounds to me like ‘It is the end of life but not of love,’ whereas without ‘sed’ it sounds like ‘the end of life is not the end of love.’ That’s a subtle difference.

  • Hannah
    December 21st, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Hey Dennis,
    Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you’d be able to tell me the correct translation of the phrase ‘fortune favours the brave’.
    I’ve been given ‘audaces fortuna iuvat’ and ‘fortes fortuna iuvat’ and I’m not sure which is accurate.
    Thank you (in advance) for any help you’re able to give!

  • kristen
    December 21st, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    so “ames sine paenitentia” can be used also? meaning love with no regrets.. thank you again!

  • Dennis
    December 21st, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Audaces means daring, risk-taking people: ‘the bold.’ Fortes means strong, mighty people: ‘the brave.’ They are variations on the same sentiment and both have ancient authority.

  • Dennis
    December 21st, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Yes.

  • Mas
    December 27th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    I have been told that “live without regrets” in Latin is…

    ‘Vive Sine Paenitentia’

    Is this correct? Do you know where ‘vivere senza rimpianti’ comes from?

    Your help and opinion would be greatly appreciated as i want to get a tattoo saying live without regrets in Latin.

    Thanks

  • Brian
    December 30th, 2009 at 12:07 am

    hello me and my brother are looking for a good translation in latin for “brothers for all time”. please let us know we’ve found many that were not right

  • Dennis
    January 2nd, 2010 at 11:04 am

    The simplest would be ‘semper fratres’ , ‘always brothers.’ But the USMC uses ‘fratres aeterni’ in the full version of its motto:

    Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidelis, Fratres Aeterni

    ‘Often tested, always faithful, brothers forever.’ Literally: eternal brothers.

  • Dennis
    January 2nd, 2010 at 11:04 am

    It can be. See earlier comments.

  • Amanda
    January 4th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    You must get tired of translating everything on here… I would be forever grateful though, If you wouldn’t mind helping me. Of course, I’ve tried googling for a translation, But I want to be 100% positive. I know most websites just translate the words, and don’t really use them together in the right sense.

    Sorry, To get to the point: Could you translate “Without Regret”, or “Without Regrets”. (whichever sounds better). (I was originally going to get No Regrets, But I think either of the other two sound better). Its how I want to live my life, Everyday to the fullest and without regrets.

  • Shawn
    January 6th, 2010 at 7:49 am

    Hello Dennis,
    What is the proper way to say “live life to its fullest” and “live life to the fullest”. Which one translates correctly to Latin, and what options would I have as to ways of writing the sentence? Im planning on getting a tattoo very soon. Thanks!

  • elle
    January 7th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Hello Dennis,
    Sorry to bother you with another latin tattoo question! But would you be able to translate ‘courage to shine’ into latin for me?
    And could you tell me if any of these are incorrect please?
    Dum vivimus, vivamus – While we live, let us live
    Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis – All things change, and we change with them
    Si vis amari, ama – If you wish to be loved, love.

    Thank you.

  • Jennifer
    January 15th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Greetings Dennis,

    My husband and I would like to get matching tattoos that say, “Love Eternal” or “Love Forever” in latin.

    What would you recommend? I appreciate your input. :)

  • Ken
    January 29th, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Hello Dennis,
    I have been reading through comments on your page, and I am looking to get “One Life” tattoo’d in Latin. My translation has come up as Unus Vita. Would this be correct?

  • Susan
    February 1st, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I was wondering if you could translate a few things for me.

    1. wake your dreams

    2. what is the correct way to say love conquers all . I see omnia vincit amor and amor vincit omnia. Does using capitals change the meaning of it?

  • Shannon
    February 4th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Dennis,
    What would be a good Latin translation of “the words live” as in refering to books and literature being ageless and undying.
    (Think I may have a bad translation on my hands: I’ve heard “lacuna ago” as a translation for the English phrase above.) Any help is much appreciated.

    Shannon

  • Thomas
    February 10th, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Hi a friend of mine got ‘et in corde et in memoria nostra semper nam omnia vincit amor’

    Just wondering what the translation would be?

    They said it meant ‘Forever in our hearts and always remembered for love conquers all’

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I believe this has been covered in earlier comments. We probably settled on something like “sine paenitentia.”

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I would think that “live life to the fullest” would best be expressed by something more along the lines of “live a very rich life”, so how about “vive vitam divitissimam”? Alternatively you could drop the command (vive) and make it an exclamatory accusative (like “bonam fortunam”, which means “good luck!”.) You could also say simply “vive divitissime,” or “live most richly.”

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    “Courage to shine” is a little vague. Is it “I have the courage to shine?”

    The phrase “audax praestare” works. Audax is an adjective meaning something like “bod enough to, daring to” and praestare means “to stand out, be outstanding.”

    There are some minor changes to one of the others (marked in capital letters):
    Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis – All things change US, and we ARE changeD IN them

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 9:31 am

    You couldn’t go wrong with amor aeternus.

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Nouns and adjectives have to agree with one another. In your case, unus is masculine and vita is feminine.

    The fix is simple: “una vita.”

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 9:36 am

    1. excita somnia
    2. Both versions say the same thing. In Latin the word order is less important that the endings of words.

    The difference would be similar to that between “all things does love conquer” and “love conquers all things”.

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    The phrase “lacuna ago” doesn’t really mean anything. There’s just no way to make the words fit together, and whatever you did with them would never approach the meaning you want. “Lacuna” means “pit” or “gap” (it’s related to “lacus”, where we get the word lake).

    There are a lot of possibilities. Here are some:

    lit(t)erae aeternae
    lit(t)erae immortales
    lit(t)erae pervivunt
    verba aeterna
    verba immortalia
    verba pervivunt

    Notes: The -t- in parentheses is optional. Litterae means literature, books, etc. (literally “letters”), and verba means simply words. The verb pervivunt means “go on living.”

  • Dennis
    February 14th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    et…et… means “both…and…”, and there must be ellipsis of a verb like “you are,” so I would say “(You are) always in (both) our heart and in our memory, for love conquers all.” Essentially the same, but you need to understand a missing verb.

  • kristine11
    February 16th, 2010 at 5:59 am

    I just wanted to say you are very kind to respond to all the comments and questions! Extremely kind of you to help everyone out. I was thinking of getting “the end of life is not the end of love,” and saw your comment on that. I love it! It’s hard to trust any online Latin translation sites or…sites like Wikipedia that list Latin phrases. So thanks a lot! I appreciate reading all these comments. I’m finding a lot of inspiring things. And am even learning a bit about Latin. :)

  • Wenny
    February 16th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Hello Dennis,
    You have an amazing website here that answers many questions that are asked by people like me!
    So my question is if you can help me translate “To always have courage” in Latin because my friend’s father is about to pass away and I want to engrave this onto a piece of jewelry. Please respond quickly! Thank you so very much!!

  • Dennis
    February 16th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    I would take a line from one of Cicero’s letters.

    (1) to his brother Quintus:

    magnum fac animum habeas et spem bonam

    ‘See that you keep up a great (i.e., noble) soul (i.e., courage) and good (i.e., positive) hope.’

    or (2) to Appius Claudius on his exile:

    Tu fac bono animo magnoque sis meque tibi nulla re defuturum confidas.

    ‘See that you are of good (i.e., positive) and great (i.e., noble) soul (i.e., courage), and that you trust that I will never (literally: in no way) fail you (literally: be absent from you).’

    That one may be long, but you can shorten it and still keep the sentiment:

    bono animo magnoque sis, ‘May you be of a positive and noble spirit.’ (i.e., courageous)

    If you really wanted to have the word ‘always’ (though I think it’s implied in these) you could just insert the adverb ‘semper.’

  • Dennis
    February 16th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for your comments. They mean a lot.

  • Karen King
    February 17th, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Wow Dennis you are the latin God pre tattoo designs guy – I hope you’re getting a commission for this!! Not sure if this has been covered in earlier posts but does ‘dum vivimus vivamus’ mean ‘let us live whilst we live??’

  • Dennis
    February 21st, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    No commission, I’m sorry to say, though I have seen a site by another classicist offering his services for pay. I wasn’t impressed with his samples (or his site).

    That line is correct, and it’s in the vein of the common ‘carpe diem’ mottoes. It’s reminiscent of the line by Catullus, ‘vivamus atque amemus’ (‘let us live and let us love), who then goes on to compare human life with the constantly reborn sun, and says that in the end we must sleep an endless night. Moving stuff.

    I sometimes have my students translate this kind of subjunctive (vivamus is a hortatory subjunctive, a verb form used to encourage) as ‘should’, rather than ‘let,’ to get a sense of urgency. ‘We SHOULD!’, rather than, ‘hey, let’s.’

  • Kristin
    March 1st, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    i’m looking for “live the life you love” in latin or italian.

    i’ve seen “vive vitam quam amas” & “vivi la vita che ami.” are these correct?

  • Dennis
    March 3rd, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Kristin,

    The Latin is fine. As for the Italian, I only have a rough reading knowledge and can’t comment on the correctness. Maybe another commenter will be able to help.

  • Dan
    March 5th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Dennis,
    I am having trouble finding the translation for “I Am Free” to Latin.
    Also, how are dates explained in Roman/Latin?

  • Dennis
    March 6th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Dan,

    Curiously I wrote a response from my phone but it never made it here.

    liber sum (for a man).
    libera sum (for a woman).

    As for dates, it’s complicated. The Roman had three important dates each month from which they reckoned backwards, and two of these dates varied by the month. (For example, the Ides are on the 15th of this month and a few others, but the 13th of most.)

    If you need to work one out, you’re best bet is an online calculator like this one:

    http://www.guernsey.net/~sgibbs/roman.html

  • flick
    March 11th, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Hi Dennis, I have been reading this and please forgive my ignorance if it so appears but if una vita ia masculin, is there ever an occasion it would change the to feminine form of unus .. i dont know the feminine form for vita or even if there is one, vitus? is unus vitus incorrect? I was just wondering as my friend is also getting one life tattooes but she is female and i was curious of the difference … thanks

  • Dennis
    March 11th, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Flick,

    Vita is a feminine noun, and nouns do not change gender. (There are some nouns of common gender, but this isn’t one of them.) There is no form vitus. Also, the gender of the word doesn’t have any connection to the person. My life has feminine gender just as yours does.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Ken
    March 11th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Dear Dennis,

    I have been keeping up with posts on the site, and I noticed the last one by flick stating the phrase “una vita” does this say “One life”? Or does this say “my life” I have looked up how to say “one life” on online translators, and I have always gotten “Unus Vita” as a response.

    If you could clear this up for me it would be great. Because I plan on getting a tattoo that says “one life” in Latin, which I thought was “unus vita”.

    Thankyou.

  • Dennis
    March 11th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Ken,

    In Latin most adjectives change their endings based on the gender of what they describe. Unus modifies a masculine word, una modifies a feminine word, and unum modifies a neuter word. Since vita is femininethe adjective needs to be una.

    The online translator is only giving you the first dictionary form, which produces very bad Latin.

    Keep in mind, too, that una vita is just the subject form. If it’s doing something else in the sentence, the endings will have to change again.

    One must be very careful in an inflectional language.

  • Tracey
    March 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Hi there!

    I am hoping you can help me. I am trying to say “life is not eternal, love is” So far, I have come up with two possibilities. vita non aeternus, diligo est or vita non aeternus, amor est.

    I guess I should tell you that I am trying to describe a daughter’s love for her father.

    Am I even close? Thanks for your help!

  • peter mathijs
    March 19th, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Dear Dennis,

    You suggested ” vive divitissimo” as translation for “live your life at the fullest”.
    As I want something shorter, what do you think about ‘plene vive’or ‘uberrime vive’?
    Thanks for your appreciated reply!

    Grtz,Peter

  • tanja
    March 19th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    can someone translate this in latin plz….”my love is forever”….thnx

  • Dennis
    March 20th, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Tracey,
    non semper erit vita, sed amor.
    .
    This uses the future in keeping with a certain Latin usage: ‘There will not always be life, but (there will always be) love.’ I’ve based it on an old Latin proverd recorded by Seneca, non semper erunt Saturnalia, ‘It won’t always be Saturnalia,’ i.e., the party’s going to end some time.
    .
    .
    Peter,
    Plene can have connotations of fatness, so it could be read as a joke, but it’s fine otherwise (though plenissime is the superlative, ‘most fully’). Uberrime really gets its sense from milk-filled breasts or udders. (Udder and uber are actually the same word.)
    .
    .
    Tanya,
    amor mihi aeternus
    .
    I’m using a dative of possession. Literally it says ‘love for me is eternal’ (the word ‘is’ is often omitted), but the construction in Latin means the same thing as ‘I have’, so it means, ‘I have eternal love.’
    .
    It would be pronounced as amor mi aeternus because the final syllable of mihi would elide, and the h is practically silent.

  • Cecilia
    March 24th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I wanted to get a tattoo that says “one life, one love” in latin. From the research i did i came up with “Una Vita, Unus Amor” is this right? I would really appreciate the help =) THANK YOU!

  • Dennis
    March 30th, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Cecilia,
    That’s literally correct. I wonder about idiom, though. That’s fine if you mean something like “(there is) one life, (there is) one love.” If you mean that the two are the same, or are inextricably linked or something, I might go with a different phrase.

    simul vita, simul amor
    pares amor vitaque

    Roughly: ‘at once both life and love’ and ‘equal are love and life.’

  • Bill
    March 30th, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Not related to tattoos, I have heard latin mottos before and taken stabs at a couple myself in past ventures. Not really having anyone to proof them, I’ve gone with the best I could come up with, but would appreciate finally knowing how close or far I came in my efforts:

    “We are not afraid” (nos non timidus)

    and

    “To protect is the authority to act” (patrocinor est vox vocis duco)

  • ashley
    April 6th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    hello, I was vacillating between 3 ideas for a tattoo:
    either just the word “live”, which I am pretty sure is “vive” in Latin
    or
    luceat lux vestra (let your light shine)
    or
    semper ad meliora (always toward better things)

    but I wanted to make sure that all of these were proper Latin.
    Thank you so much.

  • Lane
    April 15th, 2010 at 1:48 am

    There seems to be many friendly experts on this blog. So I pose a question in order to not look like a douche in having the wrong wording. How to say “My life ended” or “My life as I knew it ended” something alone those lines.

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    As always, these represent what my gut tells me is good Latin style and idiom, and will most likely differ from what others say.

    Bill:
    nobis nihil timoris (literally, ‘for us there is nothing of fear’)
    tutela actionem permittit (literally, ‘protection grants action’)

    Ashley:
    ‘Vive’ is fine, but just know that it’s directed to one person. If you’re talking to more than one it’s ‘vivite’.

    ‘Luceat lux vestra’ uses the 2nd person plural pronoun, so you’re telling more than one person to let their collective light shine (‘hey, y’all … let you’re light shine.’) I would put the adjective before the noun (‘luceat vestra lux’), and to make it singular you should say ‘luceat tua lux,’ which has a nice ring to it.

    ‘Semper ad meliora’ is fine.

    Lane:
    “My life ended” or “My life as I knew it ended” is best taken from literature. Vergil’s Aeneid, book 4, line 653.

    vixi et quem dederat cursum Fortuna peregi

    ‘I have lived and the course which fortune had given me I have completed.’

    The verb tenses are important here, and echo Aeneas’ earlier state that Troy ‘has been’, i.e., that it is no more.

    This is Dido finally making clear what she has been hinting at, namely that she believes her life is over and she is about to commit suicide. That may sound rather bleak, but poetry is always taken out of context, especially by other poets.

    It can be stated as simply as vixi: ‘I have lived.’ Again, the verb tense makes it clear that living is finished.

  • Rasmus
    April 26th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Hello Dennis! I want to translate this frase to latin for a tatoo:

    Live the life you love, love the life you live.

    Please help me!

    /Rasmus sweden

  • Dennis
    April 26th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Rasmus,

    I like this for simplicity.

    vitam ama et vive amatam

    Literally this says ‘love (your) life and live (a life) (having been) loved,’ but it works poetically (‘live and love a loved life’). It’s a condensed version of something like this:

    vive vitam quam amas et ama vitam quam vivis

  • Rasmus
    April 26th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    And what exact does it means: vive vitam quam amas et ama vitam quam vivis

    /rasmus

  • Dennis
    April 26th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    “Live the life which you love and love the life which you live.” That’s very literal, but I think a Roman would be more likely to compose the short version.

  • Lane
    May 2nd, 2010 at 1:57 am

    That’s awesome of you! Thanks for your time :).

  • Emily
    May 2nd, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Hi dennis,
    this blog is AMAZING! i’m thinking of getting something next week in remembrance of my late aunt. i was hoping to get a translation of “forever with me” or “forever/eternally a part of me” whichever sounds truer to the latin form in your opinion. how would that look translated?

  • Dennis
    May 5th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    While it may sound like a direct translation, Roman poets did use the phrase ‘pars mei’ (‘part of me’). You could also say ‘mecum’, which means ‘with me’.

    You could use and adverb like ‘semper’ or ‘perenne’ to say ‘forever, always,’ or you could use an adjective like aeterna.

    Any combination of the above works, but I think I like ‘pars mei aeterna.’

  • Giancarlo
    May 7th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Wow ur blog is amazing and I’ve learned allot. But jus to make sure yet again. “sine paenitentia vive” means “live life with no regrets” And, what
    does “Sine ullo vivere desiderio” mean? One more, what’s the translation of “Live without regrets” in Latin? I know I sound all redundunt now but u will be a big help. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Steve
    May 8th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Need some help for a family tattoo. How would you say “blood is thicker than water”? Thank you so much in advance, i dont know anyone latin speaking.

  • Dennis
    May 9th, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Some variation of the following:
    sanguis est crassior quam aqua
    You can rearrange the words, but ‘quam aqua’ has to remain a unit.

  • Dennis
    May 9th, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Giancarlo,
    They all mean essentially the same thing. ‘Sine ullo desiderio’, however, is common in Christian Latin to mean ‘without any desire’ to do something.

  • Niki
    May 12th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Hello, is there a translation for….
    1.Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.
    2.What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
    Any help would be appreciated thank you so much :o)

  • Bazza
    May 12th, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Hey Dennis, this blog is amazing!! Ive searched the online latin translations…but I know they’re not 100%. I have several phrases I need a latin translation on….

    1) ‘Nothing lasts forever’
    2) ‘Love life, live life’
    3) (And also something along the lines of)….

    ‘Tomorrow is never promised’

    Thanks heaps Dennis :)

  • Wenny
    May 14th, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Hello. I would like to know if you can translate “angel” for me in Latin. Thank you very much :)

  • Katie
    May 18th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Hey Dennis,
    I was wondering if you could tell me what “Courage conquers all things” would be in Latin?
    thanks so much :)

  • Dennis
    May 18th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Niki, How about this:
    somnia quasi semper vivas.
    vive quasi hodie moriaris.

  • Dennis
    May 18th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Bazza,
    1. nihil semper superat
    2. ama vitam, vive vitam
    3. dies crastinus numquam promittitur

  • Dennis
    May 18th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Wenny,
    Angel is just the Greek word for a messenger. It was used in the New Testament for the ‘messengers’ of god, and the word was taken up as an English word.

    In the Latin translations of the New Testament and in the writings of the early Church fathers, the word is transliterated from the Greek as angelus. Its masculine in gender. If it were translated into Latin (which it isn’t, for some written), it would be nuntius.

  • Dennis
    May 18th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Katie,
    virtus omnia vincit

  • Katie
    May 18th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    thanks so much, you are awesome :)

  • Melsa
    May 19th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Dennis, I was wondering if you could translate “If there is a will, there is a way” to Latin? Thank you!

  • Peter
    May 19th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Dennis, thanks for all the help! I was wondering if you could tell me the translation for “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned” in Latin, and also for “If there is a will, there is a way”

    Thank you.

  • Dennis
    May 22nd, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Melsa,

    I might say ‘potes si vis’ (‘you are able if you are willing’).

    Another alliterative (and more literal) take: ‘est via si voluntas.’

  • Dennis
    May 22nd, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Peter,
    Luke 15.18 (in the Vulgate), I believe, is the source: ‘pater, peccavi’: ‘father, I have sinned.’

    The common variants seem to be these:

    benedic mihi, pater, quia peccavi (‘bless me, father, for I have sinned’)
    ignosce mihi, pater, quia peccavi (‘forgive me, father, for I have sinned’)
    parce mihi, pater, quia peccavi (‘spare me, father, for I have sinned’)

  • MBiz
    May 28th, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    This is sad, because the intended sentiment (that they are comrades in arms) is beautiful … but the actual message is awful. The only thing worse than the grammar is the speculation this causes regarding their mother!

  • Marcus
    May 31st, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I was wondering what “Brothers” is in latin. If you could help me out I would appreciate it. Thanks

  • Dennis
    May 31st, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Brothers = fratres, from the nouns frater, fratris (m.)

  • tj
    June 4th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    could you help me i was wondering if sed amor aeternus would read..but love eternal?

  • Anna
    June 5th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    This blog is amazing! Can you help me with a phrase i’ve been trying to translate? It’s

    “I Live as I desire”

    All I came up with is Ad Libitur meaning as desire.

    Thanks =D

  • Nicola
    June 11th, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Hi dennis. Can you give me the best translation for ” everything hapens for a reason” please? I’d really, really appreciate it. Thank you :)

  • Avalon Hall
    June 15th, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Hi there :)

    I want to get the word “DAD” tattooed in Latin and from my research I have found the word “PATER” to be the translation, is this right? Also, I want it in the Latin alphabet but I can not seem to find the letter “R”. Could you please help ????

  • Hannah Watts
    June 17th, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Hi.
    I am trying to translate “Always in our hearts” i have been told it is “Semper nobis cordi es.”

    I want it to mean loved ones who have passed on will always be in our hearts.

    Thanks

  • Frankie
    June 17th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Hey, I am just trying to double check a phrase before ink hits skin.
    Does
    respice adspice prospice
    equal
    look to the past, look to the present, look to the future?
    Thanks

  • Dennis
    June 18th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    TJ,
    Yes. With ellipsis of the verb ‘is’ (Latin: est) it reads as ‘but love is eternal.’

  • Dennis
    June 18th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Anna,
    I read that and hear ‘I live the life that I desire to live.’

    That might be something like vivo vitam quam aveo.

    It’s really common to say ‘live life’ in Latin rather than just ‘live.’

  • Dennis
    June 18th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Nicola,
    I disagree, but the best way to express the sentiment in Latin is ex nihilo nihil fit: ‘nothing comes from nothing.’

  • Dennis
    June 18th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Avalon,
    pater = father
    tata = daddy
    I don’t know what you mean by the Latin alphabet. We use the same with the addition of a few letters. Please double-check what you’re doing. I’m worried that you’ll mistakenly use Greek letters or something. (See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_alphabet#Origins)

  • Dennis
    June 18th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Hannah,
    Your phrase literally says ‘you (singular) are always for the heart for us.’ It’s really a poetic way of saying something like ‘you are always agreeable to me’ (in other words, ‘you don’t ever get on my nerves’).

    I would go for something more vague and say ‘semper in animo.’

  • Dennis
    June 18th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Frankie,
    I would change the spelling on the second word, but otherwise it’s a fine, old motto. (The spelling change is relatively minor, but ads- strikes me as old-fashioned and pedantic.)
    respice, aspice, prospice
    The prefixes imply the time periods in the translations (re- = ‘back’ and so implies the past and pro- = ‘forward’ and so implies the future). It’s a phrase with a long history.

  • Anna
    June 18th, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Thank You! =D

  • Hannah Watts
    June 18th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    what about something like “semper in pectoribus nostris.” would that be better?

  • Tiffany
    June 19th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Wow! Your blog is awesome! I wanted to get a tattoo that says, “Forever in Love.” Can you give me the proper translation? Thanks so much!

  • Kate
    June 20th, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Hi.
    I also want to make sure that this phrase is correct before I get the tattoo. I want “always toward better things”, which i thought was “semper ad meliora”. I read somebody did already ask you about that, and when I google it, it says that is correct also. But I had somebody who studied Latin check it and he said he thought it was wrong, and that the “ad” part did not fit. And on an online English to Latin dictionary, it said that “always” was “usquequaque”.

    What do you think?

  • Avalon Hall
    June 20th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks heaps Dennis! Yeah I realised that they use the English alphabet so I am just going to get it in a cool font lol. Thanks again.

  • lou
    June 22nd, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Hey i want a tattoo in latin saying ”let your light shine” but i have found three differnt words and not sure which one is right.
    1. luceat lux vestra
    2.luceat vestra lux
    3.Lux tua luceat
    Could you tell me which one it is.. thanks

  • Dennis
    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Hannah,
    That could work, too.

  • Dennis
    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Tiffany,
    I might say semper amantes (literally ‘always lovers/loving’).

  • Dennis
    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Kate,
    Semper ad meliora works just fine and has been used in print for many years. There’s an implied verb like trahas or tendas, i.e., ‘may you strive.’ Usque quaque really means ‘everywhere.’

  • Dennis
    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Lou,
    They all work. The first two say exactly the same thing, but #1 has the more common word order.

    Vestra means ‘your’, plural, while tua means ‘your’, singular. Again, the word order doesn’t matter much.

  • Jen
    June 24th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Hi there,
    As I do not want to fall into this category, I thought I would seek your help. I would like a translation of “always believe” and was wondering if “semper credo” would be correct. Or perhaps “always and forever.” Thank you for your assistance.

  • Mia Sørensen
    June 26th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Hi. I want to get a tattoo that says “Amor in aeternum”.. But does it make any sence? Thx

  • Andreas
    June 28th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Hi Dennis
    I was wondering about what “Family for ever” is in latin. I saw a tattoo on a dude which said: “In Aeternum Familia”. Is this incorrect or is “Familia in aeternum” the right way to say it? Or is there a theird way and better way? Thanks a lot :)

  • Megan
    July 2nd, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Hi,

    I really would like to get a tattoo that says “Live without regrets, love without fear” in Latin or possibly “Live with no regrets, love without fear” , whichever is shorter nd makes more sense. Could you help me out with the translation? \

    Thank you!

  • Niki
    July 7th, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Does anyone know if “nihil sine causa” is correct for everything happens for a reason? im told this translates to “nothing without reason” is that correct?

  • mike
    July 16th, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Hello Dennis. Looks like you are the man to go to for a translation to Latin. Would you be willing to try,
    “True to My Own Soul”
    and “Sing to God”?
    Thank you!

  • Ms Book
    July 26th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I want to check my latin phrase before I get it tattooed.

    Viam inveniam aut faciam

    I shall find a way or make one.

    Is there a better way of saying that and have I got it right? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let me know. :):):):):):):):):):):):)

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Jen,
    ‘Semper credo’ say ‘I always believe.’ To tell someone else you could say, ‘semper crede,’ or to tell more more than one person to always believe say ‘semper credite.”

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Mia,
    ‘Amor in aeternum’ is a common sentiment in Christian Latin. ‘In aeternum’ means ‘for ever’ so it should be ‘love (exists/stands/remains) for ever.’ You could also say ‘amor est aeternus’ (with or without ‘est’), ‘love is eternal.’

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Andreas,
    Word order doesn’t matter here. ‘In aeternum familia’ sounds a little grander or more poetic.

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Megan,
    You could try some variation of this: ‘vive sine paen­i­ten­tia; ama sine timore.’

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    ‘Nihil sine causa’ sounds like a very elegant and classical way of saying just that. There’s an implied verb (as often in Latin) such as ‘is.’

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Mike,
    For faithful to my own soul I might say: ‘fidelis animae meae.’ Sing to god can be taken from the Vulgate translation of the Psalms: ‘cantate Deo.’ That’s plural. For the singular use ‘canta.’

  • Dennis
    July 29th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Ms Book,
    Perfect.

  • c
    July 31st, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Hello Dennis. You seem to be the man to ask for a translation. My boyfriend is looking to get a tattoo in Latin but it’s hard to find a reliable source for translation. I decided to look as well but I’m having trouble, as I can figure out each word but have no idea how to put it together. He would like the tattoo to read: ‘live life free’ or ‘live your life free’ or ‘live your life with freedom’ whichever one sounds more grandiose with a nice flow. Your help would be much appreciated as I don’t want him to end up with some nonsensical incorrect translation. Thanks in Advance! C

  • Dennis
    August 4th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    C,
    I always like to use classical phrases or make references to classical authors whenever possible. So many efforts at writing Latin (for tattoos or anything else) seem ambiguous or like translationese (just English translated badly into Latin), and there’s a perfect one for this. Cicero, the great Roman orator and statesman, wrote, ‘Quid est enim libertas? Potestas vivendi ut velis.’ ‘For what is liberty? The power of living as you wish.’ From this we can distill a nice motto: ‘vive ut velis,’ i.e., ‘live as you wish’ or ‘live how you want to.’

  • Ms Book
    August 4th, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Dennis thank you :D I was fairly sure it was okay but its nice to be sure before doing the permenant. lol

  • Shane
    August 5th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Dennis,
    I am trying to translate “always faithful to the one i love” into latin, but I am having a very hard time. Any insight you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Also, is “Sine amore, nihil sum” the translation of without love, I am nothing. Thanks for your help.

  • Bryanna
    August 11th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    This site is fantastic, I am truly in awe of your talent and knowledge.

    I am a student interested in ancient latin, hoping to have a phrase translated if you would be so kind-
    “You’ve got to lose to know how to win.”

    I understand it is slang and colloquial English, but the closest translation would be fantastic! Thank you so very much.

  • Andy
    August 15th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Hey Dennis

    I want to have a tattoo with the words

    “Blood is not water” or the more common
    “Blood is thicker than water”

    I know the last one you have already answered but is there a shorter version?

    I want to get the tattoo in a double helix with the latin phrase in one of the strings and the other in string in english

  • Ty
    August 25th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Dennis, I was wanting to get the phrase “i am stronger” tattooed and I have no idea what the correct translation is. I wanted to use fortius from the olympic motto to mean stronger, but I am not sure what to use for “i am.” I was thinking “sum fortius”, but I honestly have no idea.
    What do you think is best?

    Thanks

  • Dennis
    September 6th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Shane:

    ‘Semper fidelis in amores et delicias (meas).’ The adjective ‘meas’ is optional. A shorter version can be attained by dropping one of the nouns after ‘in’, and saying simply, ‘semper fidelis in amores (meos)’ or ‘semper fidelis in delicias (meas).’ (Note the difference in spelling between ‘meos’ and ‘meas.’ Be very careful with this. If you’re confused, you’re better off not using it.) The motto of the USMC is semper fidelis, ‘always faithful,’ and ‘amores et deliciae’ is very evocative of romantic love in Roman writers. Literally it means something like ‘my loves and delights,’ but that’s how you say ‘the one I love’ in Latin. Otherwise you have to say something unattractive like ‘semper fidelis in quem amo.’

  • Dennis
    September 6th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Bryanna,
    I would say ‘vincendo discis vincere,’ i.e., ‘by losing you learn to win.’

  • Dennis
    September 6th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Andy,
    How about ‘sanguis non aqua’?

  • Dennis
    September 6th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Ty,
    I hope you haven’t done this yet because ‘fortius’ is neuter. ‘Sum fortius’ would say ‘I am a stronger thing.’ In the Olympic motto it’s being used as an adverb and so means ‘more strongly.’ Both the masculine and feminine form are the same, and so can be used by either men or women. That form is ‘fortior.’ You want ‘sum fortior.’

  • Keelie007
    September 7th, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Very kind of you to assist everyone with your knowledge of Latin. How sad knowing some people out there have tattoo’s with very incorrect sayings.

    I would like to get “a mother’s love” for two reasons:

    1. The love my mother gives me as her daughter

    2. The love I have as a mother – for my children.

    Does “Amor Matris” seem appropriate?

    Thank you so much for your time!

  • Dennis
    September 7th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Keelie,

    I think the phrase you want is “amor maternus.” You could say “amor matris” but it’s an ambiguous phrase: it’s either “mother’s love” or “love of mother,” i.e., either the love a mother has for her child or the love a child has for his mother). This phrase is also used by Propertius of Medea, an association you want to avoid.

    The phrase “amor maternus” clears up the ambiguity: it’s a mother’s love, i.e., love from the direction of the mother.

  • Jasmine
    September 7th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Hi there! I was wondering if you could clarify the translation of “Be Strong” or “Stay Strong” in latin.

    I’ve looked a few places and seen “Exsisto validus” as the translation but a latin student at my uni said this was wrong.

    The context of the phrase “be strong” refers to me staying strong through the hurdles in life that I’ve had to go through as well as a reminder to be strong throughout life in general?

    Help! lol

    Thanks x

  • Dennis
    September 9th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Jasmine,

    I like to look to literature for these things, and I immediately thought of ‘obdura.’ The sentiment you’re going for sounds more to me like ‘endure, keep going.’ Using roots related to strength don’t seem to capture the sense in Latin, and ‘vale’, for example, is ambiguous because it commonly means ‘farewell.’

    Catullus (carmen 8.11) has ‘perfer, obdura’ (‘carry through, endure’) Horace (Satire II.5.9) has ‘persta atque obdura’ (‘keep standing and endure’), and Ovid (Tristia V.11.7) has ‘perfer et obdura’ (‘carry through and endure’).

    The complete line by Ovid very nicely uses reference to past difficulties as a way of getting through future difficulties (and recalls Aeneas’ speech to the stranded Trojans in Vergil’s Aeneid at 1.199 ff.). Here’s Ovid:

    ‘perfer et obdura; tulisti graviora multo’
    ‘Carry through and endure; you’ve been through far graver things.’

    Any one of those three would be perfect, and you have the added benefit of claiming a piece of literature as the source.

  • Jasmine
    September 10th, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Thank you so much!
    I will be getting this tattoo in the next month and I’ll use “perfer et obdura”, I really wanted to be sure of the translation. I’ve been thinking about it for years now but haven’t been able to get a straight answer from anyone. Thanks for you help, It means so much!!

  • Cathy
    September 11th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Hey Dennis! Such a nice service you are doing. It is appreciated :) I was wondering what the correct Latin translation for ‘Live Free’ would be. Thank you so much!!

  • Dennis
    September 12th, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Cathy,

    This one was answered for someone else on August 4th of this year: ‘vive ut velis’ (literally ‘live how you wish’). Search this page for the original note (ctrl+f to bring up the search box) and read the description which explains the choice. I think it’s a good one with an authentic Roman source.

    Best wishes.

  • Bryanna
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Thank you so much Dennis. My e-mail address is included, just in case I can ever return the favor.
    -B.

  • Joshua
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Hey Dennis, love what you’re doing here :). Can I ask for you to translate the phrase “I was born for this. I am not afraid.”? It would be a great help, as I’m conjugating sloppily and I don’t want something incorrect pasted to my flesh, but I really need this.

  • Dennis
    September 15th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    natus ad hoc. non timeo.

  • ben
    September 18th, 2010 at 10:50 am

    could you please translate ‘may you live forever’ into latin. it is not aimed at any specific person or group.
    i have done some research and believe ‘vivas in aeternum’ would work but i believe ‘semper’ is direct translation to forever so dont know how it works.
    cchers,
    ben

  • Dennis
    September 18th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    ‘Vivas in aeternum’ is among a number of valid expressions found in the Roman catacombs, and so it’s an excellent way to say it. I also like ‘aeterna tibi lux’, with the verb ‘may there be’ implied: ‘may there be light for you always.’ ‘Lux’ is symbolic of life.

  • Joshua
    September 19th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks Dennis :D

  • Nate Johnston
    September 22nd, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Can you please clarify the following english terms into Latin?
    “Love and Forgive”
    “Even through death, Love still Grows”
    “God is Love”

    Also I just wanted to make sure “numquam cede” would this be the correct way to express “Never Give Up”

    Thank you for your time,

    Sincerely,
    Nate

  • tony
    September 27th, 2010 at 5:45 am

    hi, is semper ad meliora definately ‘always towards better things’? does it refer to myself or ‘he’is’ ? what pretense is it

  • Hege
    October 19th, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I’m getting my first tattoo, on my lower abdomen, and I was wondering what the correct translation of “Live beautiful, live free” is?

    I got a lot of different answers. For example; vivo pulchra vivere liber
    Is this correct?

  • James
    October 26th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Hi Dennis,

    Would you be so kind as to tell me which one of the following Latin phrases best captures the meaning behind the phrase, “Death, thou shalt die.” It’s the last line from DEATH, BE NOT PROUD by John Donne.

    1) MORS, MORIERIS

    or,

    2) MORS, TUTE IPSA MORIERIS

    Thanks!

  • sasha
    October 28th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    bless me Father for i have sinned” in latin.
    is it “Ignosce mihi, Pater, quia peccavi” ??

    id love to have this saying as a tattoo…

    thanks for your time!!
    - Sasha

  • Sandy
    November 2nd, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    hello,

    I would like to kno if this is the correct translation please,

    haec olim meminisse ivvabit – Time heals all things, i.e. Wounds, offenses

    if not, what is the correct translation for “time heals all things?”

    thank you,!

  • justine
    November 7th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Hi Dennis,

    Was hoping you could help me translate “gone forever but never forgotten”
    Is.. “abiit numquam oblivione semper” correct ??
    Thanks
    Justine

  • nika
    November 21st, 2010 at 5:55 am

    hey! great work Dennis! Could you please trans­late ‘never let the sun go down’ and ‘live the life you dream’ into latin. Please!:) byee!

  • Abbi
    December 17th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Hey Dennis,
    I have looked at numerous sites and after reading past posts on here I figured it would be best to get your input.
    I am looking to get something along the lines of: live so that you may life
    i found:
    -vive ut vivas
    -Memento Vivere: they said it means a reminder of life (literally remember you have to live)

    I also was looking for something that said time waits for no one:
    -Tempus neminem manet

    I know you are busy but my boyfriend who is currently deployed liked how the Latin translation sounded for freedom belongs to the brave, but was wondering if you could help him out with while we breathe, we shall defend.
    -Dum spiramus tuebllmur

    If you can help or get around to any of these I would be forever thankful!

  • steve
    December 20th, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Hi Dennis,

    I am wondering if you could provide some assistance with the following translation in reference to my grandparents
    “forever in our hearts and prayers”

    Thank you very much

    steve

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Having a baby and transitioning to a new job. I’ve put these comments on the back burner. In the future, anyone who really wants a good translation quickly, please e-mail me at the link above. Paypal donations will ensure an immediate response.

    ‘Love and forgive’ sounds like a command, so ‘ama et ignosce’ or ‘ama et parce.’

    ‘Even through death, Love still Grows’ works well as ‘etiam morte amor crescit.’

    ‘God is Love’ is ‘deus est amor.’

    ‘Never give up’ could be ‘noli umquam se dedere.’

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Having a baby and transitioning to a new job. I’ve put these comments on the back burner. In the future, anyone who really wants a good translation quickly, please e-mail me at the link above. Paypal donations will ensure an immediate response.

    ‘Semper ad meliora’ is a prepositional phrase with an adverb. It means ‘always toward better things’ without reference to any person, and there is no verb, so it works well as a motto. It can imply something like ‘(I am) always (moving) toward better things,’ but that’s really what makes it work.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Having a baby and transitioning to a new job. I’ve put these comments on the back burner. In the future, anyone who really wants a good translation quickly, please e-mail me at the link above. Paypal donations will ensure an immediate response.

    ‘Vivo pulchra vivere liber’ is ungrammatical. If it were to mean anything it would be ‘I, a beautiful (woman), live to live as a book.’

    ‘Live beautiful(ly), live free’ sounds like an injunction.

    With adverbs (as above):
    ‘vive pulchre et libere.’

    With accusative (‘live a beautiful and a free life’):
    ‘vive vitam pulchram liberamque.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Having a baby and transitioning to a new job. I’ve put these comments on the back burner. In the future, anyone who really wants a good translation quickly, please e-mail me at the link above. Paypal donations will ensure an immediate response.

    The phrase ‘tute ipsa’ just adds emphasis (like ‘you your very self’), but the form ‘tute’ also has an archaic ring (cf. the familiar, jingling line from Ennius, ‘O Tite tute Tati …’). So I like that one.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Having a baby and transitioning to a new job. I’ve put these comments on the back burner. In the future, anyone who really wants a good translation quickly, please e-mail me at the link above. Paypal donations will ensure an immediate response.

    The phrase ‘si peccavi, ignosce’ (‘if I have sinned, forgive me’) actually goes back to Cicero. The form you give seems to be the usual Christian version, and it works just fine.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Hav­ing a baby and tran­si­tion­ing to a new job. I’ve put these com­ments on the back burner. In the future, any­one who really wants a good trans­la­tion quickly, please e-​​mail me at the link above. Pay­pal dona­tions will ensure an imme­di­ate response.

    This is one of the most famous line from Vergil’s Aeneid. The hero, Aeneas, has assembled his fellow Trojan refugees on the shore near Carthage after a devastating storm at sea which separated some of their ships (and sank one). He tells his men ‘forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit,’ ‘perhaps one day it will help even to recall these things.’ It’s used today often in the sense of ‘we’ll look back on this and laugh’ or as you said, ‘time heals all wounds.’

    In the greater context, Aeneas recalled past trials, and the storm they’ve just survived. Our past survival gives us hope when faced with adversity, and that, I think, is the real message.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Hav­ing a baby and tran­si­tion­ing to a new job. I’ve put these com­ments on the back burner. In the future, any­one who really wants a good trans­la­tion quickly, please e-​​​​mail me at the link above. Pay­pal dona­tions will ensure an imme­di­ate response.

    Your version is ungrammatical. I would say this:

    ‘Semper absens sed praesens in animo.’

    This literally says ‘always gone but present in mind/spirit,’ which I think captures the sense and style of the English while staying true to Latin and retaining the kind of wordplay of ‘never/forever’ (albeit with ‘absense/praesens’).

    I personally think this one is very elegant.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    NOTE: Sorry for the long delay. Hav­ing a baby and tran­si­tion­ing to a new job. I’ve put these com­ments on the back burner. In the future, any­one who really wants a good trans­la­tion quickly, please e-​​​​mail me at the link above. Pay­pal dona­tions will ensure an imme­di­ate response.

    ‘Never let the sun go down’ is an odd phrase, and I’m not sure what you mean by it. The phrase is usually followed by words like ‘on your wrath,’ and means, in effect, ‘don’t go to bed angry.’ This comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, as he instructs Christians on the conduct of their lives. The Vulgate Bible has this: ‘sol non occidat super iracundiam vestram,’ ‘may the sun not set on your anger.’

    You could just say, ‘sol non occidat,’ ‘may the sun not set’ or ‘let the sun not set.’

    ‘Live the life you dream’ would be ‘vive vitam in somnis visam’ (‘live the life seen in dreams) or ‘vive vitam quam in somnis vides’ (‘live the life which you seen in dreams’). The first has a nice ring to it.

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    ‘Vive ut vias’, or ‘live so that you may have life’ is often taken to mean ‘live life to the fullest,’ but grammatically it contains a purpose clause and should mean something like ‘live in such a way that you may continue to live.’ The Latin is fine in that case.

    ‘Memento vivere’ is a reversal of the common phrase ‘memento mori,’ literally ‘remember to die,’ which is used to remind people of their own mortality, and so either to be moral or conversely to get the most out of life. Which of the conveys the message better (‘remember to live’ or ‘remember to die’) is up to you.

    ‘Tempus neminem manet’ seems okay. I like the classical phrase ‘tempus fugit’ (it originates with Vergil). It’s always translated ‘time flies,’ but it really means ‘time flees.’ In other words, time doesn’t wait. We could make this into a motto by adding another word: ‘tempus omnes fugit,’ ‘time flees everybody.’ But maybe ‘tempus fugit’ is enough.

    Finally ‘dum spiramus, tuemur’ seems good (‘we defend as long we breathe’), but ‘dum spiramus defendimus’ may be clearer. If you’re set on using the future, change it to ‘tuebimur’ or ‘defendemus.’

    All the best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    December 22nd, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Steve,

    ‘Semper in pectoribus precibusque.”

    Latin doesn’t commonly use ‘heart’ (‘cor’) to mean heart, instead using ‘mind’ (‘mens’) or — as in this case — ‘chest’ (‘pectus’). This literally says, ‘always in our hearts and prayers.’ (An alternative would have ‘et precibus’ at the end, but ‘precibusque’ means the same thing: ‘and in prayers.’)

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Tracy
    December 27th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    This is fascinating! If you have the spare time, and the inclination to do so, would you mind translating these three phrases – either verbatim (ha! I know ONE latin word!) or just the closest common Latin phrase? I seem to use these often:

    1. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage

    2. Its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog

    3. I’ll sleep when I’m dead (meaning ‘I’m going to do it now and not take a nap, as I will have plenty of time for napping when I’m dead. Now, I work/play/do it!”

    Thank you!

  • Dennis
    December 28th, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    1. Life shrinks or expands in pro­por­tion to one’s courage
    ‘virtuti vita respondet.’
    Literally: ‘(One’s) life accords with (one’s) virtue.’ It’s simpler than your statement, but very Roman.

    2. Its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog
    The pun here doesn’t work naturally in Latin. You could say ‘magnitudo certaminis non canis,’ i.e., ‘(it’s) the size of the fight, not of the dog,’ but it’s a real stretch. For a good classical passage that covers similar ground, you may want to consider Martial’s Latin version of Homer’s description of Tydeus: ‘ingenio pugnax, corpore parvus (erat),’ meaning ‘(he was) warlike of character, small of stature,’ i.e., ‘big heart, small body.’ Applied to a woman you would need to change ‘parvus’ to ‘parva’, but the rest would stay the same. Drop the ‘erat’ (‘he/she was’) and it makes a fine motto (or tattoo).

    3. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
    You could say ‘mortuus dormiam’ (for man) or ‘mortua dormiam’ (for a woman). Literally: ‘Having died I will sleep.’

    Best,
    Dennis

  • steve
    December 30th, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Hi Dennis,

    Thank you very much for your response. I would like to make a ‘donation’, however, I am unsure regarding the amount.

    Please suggest a sum??

    Thanks
    Steve

  • Dawson
    December 30th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Little bit different question. I would like to learn how to read latin. What would you recommend for an at home beginner. If it helps, my interests include both classical Rome as well as medieval latin as found in charters and the like (circa 1000 AD Anglo-Saxon to be specific).

    Thanks both for any recommendations and for all of these translations above.

  • Dennis
    December 30th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Steve,

    I’m a little uncomfortable asking for any set amount. There are other Latinists online who sells phrases for tattoos at $20-$30 a pop (and another $20 to tell you how to pronounce it properly). I’ve given away hundreds of translations, and would welcome any fraction of that amount.

    Whatever you think is fair would make me more than happy. I enjoy working these out, so a donation is just a bonus.

  • Dennis
    December 30th, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Dawson,

    It gets knocked a lot these days by people who think they know better, but Wheelock’s Latin is a great text that has lots of helpful materials, and provides probably the best set of materials for motivated self-learners.

    There’s the book itself:

    The workbook:

    An excellent companion reader (highly recommended):

    Another, optional reader (though if you only get one, get the other):

    Finally, a totally optional companion intended for students who need fuller explanations (e.g., if you’re weak in the basics of grammar this may be helpful). It tries to be a stand-in for a teacher, but many people think it’s unnecessary:

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dawson
    January 2nd, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Thank you Dennis for the list of books!

  • Roy
    January 3rd, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Hey Dennis I am trying to get a tattoo in Latin saying “Live Life Without Regrets” and I got “Vive Vitam Sine Paenitentiis” is this correct or do you have a suggestion? Thanks

  • les
    January 3rd, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Hi am wondering if u would be able to help me and translate this to latin for me please? ‘I have a strong will to love you for eternity’ I have tried several different tools on the net to get translation but every time i get different answers.. would be greatful if you could lend your expertise..

  • Dennis
    January 3rd, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Hey Roy,

    That technically works, but I feel that imperatives (‘Live!’) are overused in tattoos and that a subjunctive (roughly equivalent to ‘may you live’ or ‘you should live’) often sounds better in Latin. There’s also often a bit of English-to-Latin translationese in these sorts of straightforward sayings. For example, just because we use the plural or a prepositional phrase in English doesn’t mean we have to in Latin.

    It’s for reasons like these that I once gave the following suggestion for the same phrase:

    ne vivas vitam paenitens.

    That says ‘live life without regrets’ in a way that’s natural to Latin idiom. Literally it says ‘May you not live your life (being) regretful.’

  • Dennis
    January 3rd, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Les,

    In the examples below I’ll put phrases in square brackets to show that they should stay together as a unit. Beyond that you can shuffle the elements around to what looks or sounds best to you, but the word is free. (Word order does have some significance in Latin but it’s negligible with a phrase like this.)

    I would go with something like this:

    pervolo [te amare] aeternum

    or

    pervelim [te amare] aeternum

    ‘Pervolo’ means ‘I greatly desire’ and ‘pervelim’ is sort of like ‘I would very much like to,’ but the basic meaning behind the verb (they’re forms of the same verb) is ‘to have a strong will to’ do something. Alternatively you could use an adverb like ‘valde’ (‘strongly, very much’) with the verb ‘volo’ (‘I want, have the will to’):

    [valde volo] [te amare] aeternum

    That’s as close to a literal translation as you’re going to get in good Latin.

  • Glenva
    January 5th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I would love a translation on a quote I found long ago and wish to get a tattoo….this is what I remember……
    “The soul that speaks with its’ eyes also kisses with a gaze”……if you are familiar with the quote and I don’t have it right, feel free to correct me!…….thank you so much!

  • Dennis
    January 5th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Glenva,

    How about this?

    loquens oculis animus obtutu osculatur

    ‘A soul speaking with its eyes kisses with a gaze.’ To be closer to your formation you could say ‘animus qui oculis loquitur obtutu osculatur,’ but the participle (loquens) has the same effect as the relative clause (qui …), and it has a nice ring to it. Either is fine.

  • T
    January 15th, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    would “family is forever” translate to semper familia? willing to paypal some money for your help..

  • Dennis
    January 17th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    T,
    That would be more like ‘there’s always family,’ which some smart-aleck could read as, ‘(you may not have any friends, but at least) there’s always family.’

    I would say ‘familia aeterna.’ You could put ‘est’ (‘is’) anywhere in there to be more explicit. You can even change the word order. For example, this sounds good to me:

    aeterna est familia

    Family is in emphatic position, and this seems a very natural way to say this in Latin.

  • Dennis
    January 17th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    By the way, T, sorry for the late reply, but it was a busy weekend for the family. I hope that helped.

  • Kendra
    January 17th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Hi Dennis, I’m getting a tattoo this weekend and came up with “Eis quos amo vivo”…does this translate to “I live for those I love” in latin? Thank you so much!!!

  • Dennis
    January 18th, 2011 at 12:15 am

    That actually works find. There’s a family motto in a similar vein: “vivo et morior pro quibus amo.” (I live and die for …). The grammar’s a bit different, but the sentiment is the same.

  • queenj
    January 19th, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Hi Dennis,

    Impressive! Can you please translate ‘as strong as the love of a mother’ / ‘the love of a mother’ / ‘motherly love’ to Latin? I have been seeing different translations .. mostly they can only translate the keywords … “amor maternus”, “amor materna”, “amor matris” But what is it really? .. Thanks a lot.

  • Dennis
    January 23rd, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    queenj,

    tam valens quam amor maternus

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Marco
    January 25th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Dennis,
    What you’re providing here is a very nice gesture! If you could help me out with my translation that would be great. I was wondering how to translate a few things to Latin (masculin) as I’m not 100% on what my tattoo will say yet, the first phrase is:

    1.’Lost without you’ does ‘sine te perdidit’ make any sense?

    2. ‘My Love is Eternal’ is ‘amor aeternus’ correct?

    Thank you very much for your time!
    Marco

  • Tang
    January 26th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Hello Dennis,

    Love the work you are doing on here!

    Is the adjective and noun combination “Invictus Virtus” grammatically correct? I want it to mean “Unconquerable Courage” in reference to a male character. Thank you for your time!

  • Dennis
    January 26th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Marco,

    1. ‘(I am) lost without you’ = sine te pereo. None of the words specify gender, so it’s safe for anyone to use. Yours says ‘he has destroyed/wasted/lost (something) without you.’

    2. ‘My love is eternal’ works the way you have it (amor aeternus) because Latin often leaves forms of the verb ‘to be’ (is, am, etc.), and often omits possessive adjectives when the context is clear (e.g., if I say ‘may wife says,’ Latin omits ‘my,’ because everyone understands that I’m probably talking about my wife. You can be more explicit and say ‘meus amor aeternus,’ still leaving out the verb est, and, I think, producing a more pleasing rhythm. The genders of the words here refer to love, and so the gender of the person for whom the statement holds doesn’t enter into the Latin. Again, it’s safe for anyone.

  • Dennis
    January 26th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Tang,

    Virtus is feminine, so it should be virtus invicta. (I reversed the order of the words because most Latin adjectives tend to follow the noun.

    (NOTE: virtus is probably derived from vir, which means ‘man,’ and so virtus is often understood as ‘manliness’. But this has no bearing on the gender. Abstract qualities and concepts are usually feminine in gender, and this word is no exception.)

  • Marco
    January 26th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks Dennis!

  • Susanne
    January 26th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Dennis
    I’m writing to you all the way from Denmark and I hope you’ll have the time to help me, even though I can see you are busy.
    I desperately need a translation of the saying
    “one life, one chance” One chance, as in one opportunity to do it right….
    Hope you can help me.
    Thanks…

  • Dennis
    January 26th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Susanne,

    una vita, una occasio

    You wouldn’t pronounce the -a on the second una, so even though it’s written as above, it sounds like ‘una vita, un’ occasio.’

    Best,
    Dennis

  • natalie
    January 26th, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    HI, just wondering if you could help me. what would the translation in latin be for this phrase ” born to fly, i am free”
    i want a tattoo but i don’t trust random googling answers, i thought you seemed knowledgeable on the subject, i really don’t want a tattoo that says something i don’t want it to.

  • Susanne
    January 27th, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Wow thank you so much. It really means a lot…!!!
    What does it mean if you write
    Una vita una forte?
    Is that also chance?

  • Dennis
    January 27th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Susanne,

    The form ‘forte’ means ‘by chance, by accident’ and doesn’t work grammatically. It’s a form of the word ‘fors,’ which means chance as in luck or happenstance, not chance as in opportunity. It’s confusing only because we use the one word with two different meanings in English.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    January 27th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Natalie,

    You could say this:

    nata volare, libera sum

    It may be a bit poetic to say ‘nata volare,’ but if you can’t be poetic in a tattoo, then where can you be?

    (A man, by the way, would have to say natus volare, liber sum.)

  • natalie
    January 27th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, DENNIS!

  • James
    January 27th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Hey Dennis. Amazing site, it seems you know what your talking about!

    I have a request for a translation when you have the time.
    The quote is ” Seize the day, or die regretting the time you lost”
    I know what “seize the day” is in Latin but I’m just wondering how close the rest of the sentence would be in latin, or if it would even make sence lol. If you could help me out I would appreticate it.
    Thanks

  • Dennis
    January 27th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    James,

    How about this?

    carpe diem aut desiderans tempus morieris

    The root behind desiderans is where we get the word ‘desire,’ but it means longing for something that’s lost, so it can be used to simplify the expression.

    As I type this I’m thinking that instead of ‘tempus’ you could also say ‘horas’, which literally means ‘hours’ but is used in the same was as the word for day, to express the times of one’s life.

    I’ve actually come across an ancient Latin funerary inscription recently that says in part ‘vive in dies et horas,’ ‘live in days and hours,’ because there’s nothing else.

    So here’s the final product:

    carpe diem aut desiderans horas morieris

    ‘Take hold of the day or else you will die longing for (lost) hours.’

  • James
    January 27th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Wow thats great Dennis and also, thanks for the speedy response.
    I might possibly like that better then the original quote.
    One question. For the original one you posted, what would tempus mean?

    Sorry to derail this a bit but does “Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis” mean something like “It is best to endure what you cannot change”

    Thanks again

  • Dennis
    January 27th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Hi James,

    Tempus means time (tempus, with the stem tempor-, is where we get words like temporary).

    As for the other quote, when I read it in Latin, it read the same as your translation, so it looks good to me.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Tim
    January 30th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Dennis.
    First off I think it’s really good to have someone this reliable around the net that you can consult with regarding latin phrases, Keep up the good work!
    Secondly I want to get a tattoo in latin saying “A life without regret” or simply “life without regret” now the translation I’ve found for this is: vita sine paenitentia and I’m just wondering if that’s the correct translation?

    Many thanks, Tim

  • Josh
    January 31st, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Hey Dennis. I just recent got a tattoo of an infinity symbol and i would like to caption it with “Ad Infinitum”. Basically i am trying to say “without end”, “to infinity” “forever”. Does Ad Infinitum” fit with my tattoo’s theme?

  • Mike
    January 31st, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Hey was wondering if you could provide the closest possible translation for “Reality is just what the status quo believe it to be.”
    i know thats probably not easy but thought I would ask.

  • Erica
    February 1st, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Hi Dennis. I’m looking for a correct translation of the phrase “more than my own life”. As in, (I love you)more than my own life. I’ve come across many different translations, (magis vita mea, plus vita mea, plus quam vita mea, magis quam vita mea, etc.) but I’d like to make sure its correct so I’m not one with an embarrassingly incorrect tattoo. Thanks!

  • Tiffany
    February 1st, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Hi, i am interested in a phrase regarding “a mother’s love is eternal or some form of it”
    Thanks

  • Dennis
    February 2nd, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Tim,

    Thanks for the kind words, and your version works.

    We’ve covered a similar saying in previous comments, namely the command form of the same sentiment: ‘live without regrets.’ This was ‘vive sine paenitentia.’

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    February 2nd, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Josh,

    The phrase seems perfect (it means just what you want it to mean), but what’s the greater context? It’s always possible that there’s something better suited if there’s a definite theme.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    February 2nd, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Mike,

    What makes this difficult is trying to understand what you want it to say. The phrase ‘status quo,’ for example, is Latin, and doesn’t mean what you think it means. It doesn’t refer to people but to the state (‘status’) in which (‘quo’) things exist at a given time. But ‘reality’ in the sense you intend wasn’t a Roman conception. Philosophically, etc., such a notion would have been virtually meaningless to them.

    Still, you might say something like this:

    ‘res ipsa est quod esse vulgus credit.’

    This would be more vague than your thought (by necessity) and would say ‘the thing itself is that which the masses believe it to be.’

  • Dennis
    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Erica,

    If you want to say (or at least imply) the I love you part, then it’s important to remember that ‘my own life’ is not being compared to the implied (‘I’) subject but the object (‘you’). If you use ‘vita mea’ in that form, than the implied statement is ‘(I love you) more than my own life (loves you).’

    The full sentence would run like this:
    (te amo) magis quam vitam (meam)

    I put the possessive adjective (‘meam’) in parentheses because it’s often omitted in Latin except to clear up ambiguity.

    You could simply say ‘magis quam vitam.’

    Putting ‘life’ in the accusative case makes it clear that there’s an implied verb phrase, like ‘I love you.’

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    February 2nd, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Tiffany,

    We could modify one from a previous comment:

    aeternus amor maternus

    The verb ‘is’ is often omitted in Latin, and it’s also common when defining things to give the definition first, then the thing defined, so we essentially reverse the order and produce what sounds to us like Yoda-speak: ‘Eternal a mother’s love (is).

    (It doesn’t say ‘eternal love is motherly’ because the usual practice is to place attributive adjectives directly after nouns — the opposite of English–, and so ‘amor maternus’ is a unit, and ‘aeternus’ is separate and so predicative).

    This phrase has the benefit of framing ‘love’ with two adjectives of the same formation and rhyming in two syllables. It has a pleasant effect.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Ces
    February 6th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Dennis i was just wondering if you could please translate this for me into Latin “forward, onto (towards) better things”.

    Thank You

    Ces

  • Conal
    February 14th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Greetings Dennis,

    First and foremost, thank you for what you are doing.

    Secondly, I have a friend, an EMT, who wishes to have “Life and Death are brothers.” inked.

    The best I’ve managed was “Vita et mors fratres sunt.” but I’d not let him near ink with my 35 year old guesses.

    I’d appreciate your translation.

    Conal

  • Dennis
    February 15th, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Ces,

    A combination of recent suggestions:

    prorsum ad meliora

  • Dennis
    February 15th, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Conal,

    Your guess is a good one. You could always tinker with the word order, and I like this: ‘fratres sunt mors et vita.’ I like the rhythm as well as the transposition of subject and predicate: ‘brothers they are, death and life.’ It strikes me as very Roman.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Conal
    February 15th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Dennis,

    Thank you so much for your quick response. I’ll forward on your suggestion.

  • Pix
    February 17th, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Hello all, stumbled across this on google and reading it is quite interesting! I was asked by a friend to take a crack at translating a song lyric, even though I dont really have a clue when it comes to latin… the lyric is “Some die just to live”, what I came up with was “nonnullus pereo ad vivo”. How badly wrong am I? :-) Any ideas how to tidy it up?

    Thanks

  • Clairette13
    February 19th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Hello Dennis,

    First I want to say that is so great what you are doing. It is nice of you to help everyone
    I am french, so excuse me in advance if I make some mistakes.
    I’d like to know how to translate “always go forward” or “always improve”.
    Thanks a lot for your response

  • Zach
    February 27th, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Dennis,
    Hi, I have read through this a little and was wondering if you could tell me what “brothers forever” or simply “brothers” is in latin. It is part of a tattoo I am getting. I did read the part about tattoos being youthful whims. This is somewhat true, however I have been wanting one for several years, but could not think of anything important enough to get. I think now is a fair time seeing as my friend who is getting one like mine may not come back from Afghanistan.

    Thanks,
    Zach

  • Rosco
    February 28th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Great site,hoping you could translate some Latin for me, pre tattoo as per everyone else. was wanting to get, Vivere fortis

    Interested to see your translation, when you have time.

    Thanks Regards
    Rosco

  • Rosco
    February 28th, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Great site,hoping you could translate some Latin for me, pre tattoo as per everyone else. was wanting to get, Vivere fortis

    Interested to see your translation, when you have time, also where is the link to paypal ?

    Thanks Regards
    Rosco

  • Rosco
    February 28th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Great site,hoping you could translate some Latin for me, pre tattoo as per everyone else, was wanting to get, Vivere fortis,
    I am interested to see your translation.

    Also how would i say “pain is temporary, quitting last forever” in latin or word to that effect.

    When you have time, also where is the link to paypal, disregard found link?

    Thanks Regards
    Rosco

  • Rosco
    February 28th, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    Sorry for the multiple copies of my request, I am as good with computer as I am Latin. Made a donation to your site, do you have a set fee per translation? If not you should have for your service.

    Thanks again much appreciated

    Rosco

  • Dennis
    March 1st, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Hi Rosco,

    The phrase ‘vivere fortis’ sounds like a motto. Latin mottoes frequently employ the infinitive, and it’s normal to use adjectives where we would use adverbs in English. This would be ‘to live bravely’ (or literally ‘to live (as a) brave (person).’ It’s curious that the phrase doesn’t seem to have occurred before. If you want it to say something else or to be more precise, I’d be happy to help.

    As for your translation, I might say this:

    dolor ad tempus, deditio ad aeternum est.

    Thanks for the donation and best wishes,
    Dennis

  • Rosco
    March 1st, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for your super quick response, Live strong, is what I have searched for and a number of sites translated it as Vivere fortis,
    Most came back saying that, fortis meant “strong, stronger, brave, courage, courageous. I found your site today and just wanted to confirm.

    The translation is going on the wall, so not quite as permanent, but still nice to be correct.

    Thanks again for you help and quick reply.

    All the best Rosco.

  • Rosco
    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Thanks dennis,

    With the Vivere fortis, I went searching the net for a translation for Live strong, most searches returned that fortis meant , strong stronger, brave, courage courageous, etc, So thank you for this. I found your site and wanted to confirm the meaning.

    The translation is a quote for the wall at home not as permanant but nice to have correct.

    Thanks for your help.
    All the best Rosco

  • Hannah Williamson
    March 2nd, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Dear Dennis,

    Would you kindly trans­late some Latin for me before i get it inked.

    I’d really like “My memories keep me strong”
    The best i could come up with from search engines is – “Meus monumentum servo mihi validus”

    I am inter­ested to see your translation.

    Thank you!!

    Kind Regards

    Hannah Williamson

  • Angie
    March 7th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi dennis

    I been wanting to get a tattoo in latin for some time now and i would like to know how to write “Live like heaven begins tomorrow”. I got different traslations but i would like to know the right one so i can finally get it done.

  • Penny
    March 10th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Hi Dennis

    I feel so cheeky for asking but is ‘memoria semper amore’ correct for Forever remembered with Love?

    Many Thanks
    xx

  • Rosco
    March 11th, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Hi Dennis

    Back again, Told my friend about your site and he sent me some latin and asked if I could get it checked by you.

    “pro totus of cado, nunquam fade absentis”

    He believes it to means “for all of the fallen, never fade away”.

    If you could confirm or correct it would be much appreciated, I will direct him to your site to make a donation.

    Thanks again Rosco.

  • Alexis
    March 16th, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Hi, I was wanting a translation regarding having a daughter and what she means to me

    Somewhere along the lines of “because of her, I exist” or “I am”
    Any help would be greatly appreciated-Thanks!

  • Dave
    March 24th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    How would you translate “These have always brought me luck” into Latin — ha with Liz Taylor’s passing and all —

  • MPG
    March 25th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    How correct/Incorrect is this: Lux Amoris Aeterni

  • andy
    March 26th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Hi dennis,
    Could you please translate for me..

    Remember love.

    Your work is awesome, greetings from the UK..x

    thanks andy

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Andy,
    How about a take on ‘memento mori’ (‘remember to die,’ i.e., be aware of your own mortality):

    memento amore

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    MPG,

    That depends. It means ‘the light of eternal love.’ If that’s what you want it to mean, then it’s good.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Dave,

    How about this?

    Haec mihi fortunam tulerunt.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Hmm … here are two options.

    filiae gratia sum

    filia est, ergo sum (inspired by Descartes.)

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Sorry for the delay, Rosco.

    That’s clearly been done by an online translator (the ‘of’ is a dead giveaway).

    I’m not sure what it means exactly. Is it saying that you should never fade away for the sake of those who have fallen? Is it a message for the fallen, that they will or should never fade away?

    Let me know, and I’ll turn it into Latin. Right now it’s meaningless.

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Penny,

    For a man: semper memoratus amore
    For a woman: semper memorata amore

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Angie,

    vive vitam quasi caelum instat

    Literally ‘live (your) life as if heaven is upon you.’ Vitam is optional, but it’s common to say ‘live life.’

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Hannah,

    This sounds good to my ear:

    memoriae me validam sustinent

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Zach,

    Sorry for the late reply. The blog has been on the back burner.

    This sounds like an extended version of the U.S. Marine Corps motto, which sometimes has appended ‘brothers forever.’ That portion goes like this:

    fratres aeterni

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Dennis
    March 29th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Clairette,

    This sentiment has been treated before, either in the traditional form ‘semper ad meliora’ (‘always toward better things’) or in my variation ‘prorsum ad meliora’ (‘onward toward better things’).

    Nearer to your phrase, though, we might say something like this:

    semper te meliorem efficias

    “May you always make yourself better.”

  • acacia
    March 30th, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Is “the blood is the life” translated as “sanguis vitam est?” Your help is truly appreciated.

  • andy
    March 31st, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks Dennis..

    Your a star. Really appreciate the translation.

    Cheers again, Andy

  • Dennis
    March 31st, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Acacia,

    Vitam is the wrong case form. It should be ‘sanguis est vita’ or ‘sanguis vita est.’

  • Matty
    April 3rd, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Hi Dennis

    It would be awesome if you could confirm whether:

    saucio percuro est – translates to ‘to be badly hurt/wounded is to be cured/healed completely

    Thanks in advance

    Matty

  • Dennis
    April 3rd, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Matty,

    Your text says ‘I wound. I cure completely. It is.’

    Here are some possibilities:

    sauciari est percurari
    vulnerari est percurari

    You may want to add the adverb graviter to the beginning to get the sense of ‘seriously’ on the idea ‘to be wounded.’

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Hannah
    April 4th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    How would you trans­late “Holding on to a fairytale” into Latin?

    Holding meaning in my mind/influencing, not actually grasping?

    The whole phrase to me is to stand firm and stick by my thought of how i expected life to be like, to hold it in my thoughts as one day my life might be like the fairytales i have read.

    Thanks x

  • amanda
    April 11th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Dennis!

    I have read some of the comments but is not quite sure how you would translate

    “live and love with no regrets”

    into Latin. Can you say “vive et ames sine paenitentia”?
    Is that correct? I would really appreciate if you could answer!

    Thanks in advance,
    Amanda

  • Angie
    April 13th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you so much Dennis. I really appreciate your help. Your truly amazing.

    Thanks again,
    Angie

  • Andre
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    I came across a Latin poem with a line that translates to:

    Summer is wherever you seek it

    Latin: quacumque est tu petis, aestas

    I want to get a tattoo of this? Is this right, keeping in mind that it is part of a poem?

    Thanks,

    Andre

  • Kane Pharr
    April 14th, 2011 at 2:48 am

    I’ve got another one for you guys!

    “I am a new creature”
    &
    “Remember (the) love”

    I’m interested in the latin language, and did a bit of studying…Closest translations I found are as Follows, Respectively:

    “Sum Nova Creatura”
    &
    “Momento Amoris”

    Think you guys are doing great! Keep it up!

  • Jo
    April 15th, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Hi Dennis,

    I wonder if you could traslate the following phrase into latin for me:

    I live for those I love

    I did find the following translation but I am not sure if it is correct..

    Eis quos amo vivo

    Thanks in advance,

    Jo

  • Derek
    April 16th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    First off, this is so cool that you are doing all these translations for people. Second, the translation I’m asking about is “Quod me nutrit me destruit” in English “What nourishes me destroys me” is this correct??

    Thanks a bunch,
    Derek

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Pix,

    To say ‘some people …’ it’s common to say instead ‘there are those who …’ (sunt qui…):

    sunt qui moriuntur ut vivant

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Hannah,

    This phrase is culturally dependent. There’s no simple way to translate ‘fairy tales.’ The best we can do is probably to qualify fabula (tale, story) with the Greek word ‘mythical,’ to make it clear that these aren’t just any stories. As for holding, the metaphor is the same: holding can mean holding with your eyes, your mind, etc.

    tenens fabulas mythicas

    Otherwise you could say ‘tenens fabulosa,’ which would mean ‘holding onto fabulous (things)’, i.e., the sorts of things told in stories.

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Amanda,

    You’ve mixed an imperative with a subjunctive: ‘live! and may you love.’

    You can say ‘vive et ama’ (which may be too forceful) or ‘vivas et ames.’

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Andre,

    I guess it almost works, but ‘est tu’ kind of kills it. The pronoun ‘tu’ would be used for emphasis, and here it sounds like it means you and only you (i.e., no one else but you can seek summer). The ‘est’ is misplaced and disrupts the grammar. This isn’t a case where the relative freeness of Latin word order makes it okay, because Latin grammar is built around the verb, and every clause can have only one verb. That means that ‘quacumque est’ is a clause (and, incidentally, a sentence fragment), and ‘tu petis’ is another, separate clause, with nothing to join them. English can fool you into reading this as ‘wherever it is (that) you seek, (it’s) summer,’ but Latin doesn’t work that way. This says ‘Wherever it is. You seek, summer (is).’

    Better:

    aestas quacumque petas

    The first clause is represented by ‘aestas’ with an implied verb (est, it is, or erit, it will be), and the second clause is put in the subjunctive: ‘wherever you may seek.’

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Kane Pharr,

    memento amoris (NOT momento)

    Good work.

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Hi Jo,

    Close: vivo pro quibus amo.

  • Dennis
    April 20th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Derek,

    This is a variation of the more familiar motto ‘quod me alit, me extinguit.’

    The version you give appears on a painting purported to be of the young playwright Marlowe, Shakespeare’s rival. The more familiar version appears later in Shakespeare’s Pericles (and again in English in one of the Sonnets).

  • Rita
    April 25th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I was wondering is it possible to translate – “Someone’s watching over me”?
    I would appriciate anything whith similar meaning.

    Thank you!

  • Dennis
    April 28th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Rita,

    aliquis me tuetur

  • becca
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    hey, would you be able to translate “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” Thank you.

  • Alejandra
    May 4th, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Hi Dennis,
    I was wondering if you could help me with the translation for this phrase:
    “Love without fear, Live without hate”
    Thank you!

  • steve
    May 5th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    How about “Cinco de Mayo”?

    :)

  • Dennis
    May 5th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Interesting question. There are a number of ways to do this. If we try to follow the logic of the Roman dating system, we may write this:

    III. Non. Mai.

    This is the usual shorthand for ‘dies tertius ante Nonas Maias,’ or ‘the third day before the May Nones.’ The Romans referenced dates from three fixed days each month (the Nones and the Ides of this month, and the Kalends of the next), and so the fifth day is reckoned as the third day before the Nones.

    To follow our own logic we could just say this: dies quintus Maii, ‘the fifth day of May.’

  • Alicia
    May 17th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    i there. i was wondering if you can help me with the the phrase “always in my heart” or “always a part of me” i would like to have it tattooed in Latin.. thank you for your help dennis.

  • Dawne Acton
    May 18th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Let me start with this is an extraordinary site as is what you are doing. Thank you.

    I am looking to get a tatoo using lating of course and I would like it to say either, “To each his own is beautiful” or “This is nothing I will survive”. (I may just get both). Would you be so kind as to give me the correct wording.

    Again, thank you.

  • Marvel
    May 23rd, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Dennis,

    You are amazing for translating all of those quotes. Huge favor my friend is looking to get a tattoo with the phrase “know thyself” so far she found two: “Nosce te ipsum” and “Temet nosce” are these correct? and which one would be the most appropriate?

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!

  • Kayla
    May 25th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    This is an amazing site! I was wondering if you could translate this for me.
    “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.”
    thank you!

  • Brad
    May 26th, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Wow, you’re amazing mate, i am truly impressed by your incrediable knowledge of latin.
    I was hoping you could do me a favour (as i guess everyone here has been) and translate one of the following:
    I live for you
    For you i live
    I will live for you
    I’ll live for you.

    I dont really mind which one, and from my understanding the first two is just ‘tibi vivo’ or that reveresed. I’d much prefer ‘I’ll live for you’ but the only translation i can find is ‘vivam tibi’ and i’m not sure if thats right. Thanks alot for your help!

  • Brittney
    May 30th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Could you please translate “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned” for me? Thanks!

  • Anonymous
    June 4th, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Hello Dennis

    “curīs vīve abiectīs, fīnibus amā neglēctīs”
    can this be translated into English as
    “live without regrets, love without limits”
    if not, i would like to know correct version of it
    THANK YOU DENNIS!!!

  • Mark
    June 4th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Hello Dennis
    “curīs vīve abiectīs, fīnibus amā neglēctīs”
    Does this mean
    “live without regrets, Love without limits”
    if not,can you please tell me the correct version
    THANK YOU!

  • April
    June 7th, 2011 at 2:31 am

    Hi there,

    I know you’re probably sick to death of translating potential tattoo phrases, but I hope you will do me the service of translating nonetheless so that you might save me from a potentially incorrect and very permanent tattoo. I would like to have the phrase “God, save my soul” as a tattoo and I was able to only find one translation online which was “Deus, Erue animam meam.” Is this correct? Punctuation / capitalization and all? Thanks in advance!

    -April

  • Channade
    June 9th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Can any one tell me what the proper translation from English to Latin would be for:

    Live the life you love ; Love the life you live

    Thanks so much. I keep getting so many different variations from people, I don’t know which one is correct.

  • ashli
    June 12th, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    hi,
    im trying to do something special for my fiance cause hes leaving town for awhile and i bought a silver cross and wish to engrave it. hes a latin fanatic and i know he thinks latin is beautiful so ive been putting thought into different sayings. i cant have anything too long cause its a smaller cross. im think 4 words tops. i was thinking eternal love. what is the proper way to translate that? also do you have any other ideas as im not very familiar with latin and the internet is often wrong.

  • Elvis
    June 16th, 2011 at 4:35 am

    How would you say “The World Is Not Enough”
    Is it Non Sufficit Orbis?

  • name
    June 17th, 2011 at 6:35 am

    lol it is very funny this blog.
    A marines tattoo could be :
    ibis redibis non morieris in bello

  • Dennis
    June 17th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Becca,

    I searched Google for the phrase that popped into my head, and it turns out that it’s fairly commonly used already (“vive quasi cras …”).

    But I also found a slightly better and older version from Abraham de la Cloche, a 17th century Huguenot pastor who died in 1656. When he was 18 he wrote to Guillaume Rivet (three years his senior and soon to be name pastor at Taillebourg) a letter which reads as follows:

    “So learn as if never, so live as if tomorrow (you are) going to die.”

    To a man most distinguished in virtue, learning, and piety, Dr. Guillaume Rivet, in surety of a perpetual and never decaying friendship, I leave behind these few (words).

    The way the lines were composed, though is interesting, and my rendering doesn’t do them justice.

    These two lines are written one on top of the other:

    Sic disce quasi nunquam
    Sic vive quasi cras

    To their right is an angle brack, like this: }

    It joins the two line to the same conclusion: moriturus.

    One note of caution: moriturus is masculine. A woman would want to use the feminine form: moritura.

    Second note: the word nunquam is more commonly written numquam today (notice the change of n to m before the q), but either form is fine.

    I like the idea of following the novel arrangement of the lines, but here it is as a single line for clarity’s sake:

    sic disce quasi nunquam, sic vive quasi cras moriturus (or in your case ‘moritura’)

  • Dennis
    June 17th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Alejandra,

    ama sine metu
    vive sine odio

  • Dennis
    June 17th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Alicia,

    semper in animo

    This has Classical roots and was actually used by Cicero in a letter reassuring a friend of his devotion. Animus means mind/soul, and was the word a Roman would use where we use heart.

    An alternative may be something like this:

    tu es alter ego

    ‘You are another I.’ This is an expression that shows deep closeness between friends, and also goes back to Cicero.

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 17th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Dawn,

    I’m not sure I understand your request, but I’ll give it a shot.

    Do you mean ‘”to each his own” is a beautiful (idea/sentiment)?’

    pulchrum est noscere suum cuique

    The literal translation sounds funny:

    ‘It is a beautiful thing to come to know that for each there is his own thing.’

    But I think it captures the sense.

    I assume that your second sentence needs some punctuation: ‘this is nothing; I will survive.’

    nihil est; supervivam

    When I first read it i though it said ‘this is nothing (that) I will survive,’ which is a very different thing.

    I hope I got it right.

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 17th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Marvel,

    Temet nosce is possible, but the word order is reversed from what you expect with a command or injunction. Nosce temet, on the other hand, has a long pedigree as a Latin translation for this Greek sentiment.

    The common version nosce te ipsum would be better Latin if changed to nosce te ipse. The difference is a minor one, but the pronoun ipse would normally agree with the subject rather than the object. The translation is the same. (Essentially it would literally say ‘You yourself know you,’ but literal translations are often misleading.)

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 17th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Kayla,

    I’ll do you one better and give you what the Vulgate (i.e., the Latin Bible) says:

    omnia possum in eo qui me confortat

    The pronoun eo here refers to Christ. If you want to make it clearer you can replace eo with Christo or Christo Iesu.

    omnia possum in Christo Iesu qui me confortat

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 17th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Brad,

    I would say pro te vivam.

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 17th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Brittney,

    See this comment for previous discussion:

    http://thecampvs.com/?p=684#comment-9533

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 18th, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Works for me.

    Literally: ‘Live with cares cast away, love with limits unheeded.’

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 18th, 2011 at 7:41 am

    April,

    I was sure I’d answered this very same request already, but searching past comments turned up nothing. I’m sure I’ve warned someone against using erue (‘tear out,’ which can mean save in a specific kind of circumstance, e.g., pulling someone out of a bad situation).

    I would use a form of the verb servare, which means ‘to save’: O Domine, serves animam (meam). ‘Lord, may you save (my) soul.’

    I used Lord because it’s a more common form of address in Christian Latin writers. You can use Deus if you’d like. ‘My’ (meam) is optional, but not often used.

    Notice the verb form is subjunctive, not imperative. The imperative (as in your version) is a command, but the subjunctive is a wish.

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 18th, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Hi Channade,

    Check out this comment:

    http://thecampvs.com/?p=684#comment-9017

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 18th, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Eternal love: amor aeternus
    Love conquers all things: omnia vincit amor

    The second one is a lovely line from Vergil’s 10th Eclogue. The rest of it says et nos cedamus amori, ‘and let us give in to love.’

    I think those first three words, though, can be used to help you get through the time part: love conquers all things, and it can conquer this distance.

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 18th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Hi Elvis,

    ‘The disk does not lay the foundation.’ The phrase could mean what you want it to mean, but it’s ambiguous, and not as nice (for wont of a better term) as the English original.

    I’m going to go with my gut here and say mundus non satis.

    This is the kind of simple expression that people often turn into awkward (often excessively wordy) Latin, but Latin is just as flexible as English, and I don’t think any digging or hunting will turn up a translation closer in spirit or meaning than this.

  • Lynn
    June 20th, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Hello Dennis,
    Your site is amazing, and truly appreciated when people are about to put permanent words on their body…it is a tad nerve racking. I hope things are well with you new addition to your family and new job.

    I lost both parents before the age of 37, both tragically, and just recovered from yet another soul jolting experience…and I am quite frankly when people say God can only give you what you can handle…I think I am pretty fried. But one thing in my life is consistent and that is the love of my older brother, a Navy Seal, and he constantly reminds me that “this too shall pass”. So I am hoping to get this tattooed on my wrist as soon as I can…I need the personal reminder to remain strong and feel supported…thank you for any input you may have…

    All by best,
    Lynn

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 20th, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for the kind words, and sorry to hear about your loss.

    It’s interesting. This saying, ‘this too shall pass,’ is supposed to appear first in Persian Sufi poets of the 11th and 12th centuries, but I found it in Seneca’s little-read tragedy Thyestes (1st century).

    sed et hoc peribit

    ‘But even this (or “this too”) shall pass.’

    Thanks for this. I think I’ll write a blog post on the subject.

  • Lynn
    June 20th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Thank you so much Dennis…Just to clarify “peribit” is the tranlsation from latin literature, where as when I literally try to translate “This too shall pass”, I seem to get many versions of the word “transeunt”. I just want to understand the difference from your perspective…thank so much!!

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 20th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Hi Lynn,

    There are always a number of options for a translation.

    You could use transibit (not transeunt, though, which is 3rd person plural, present tense), but it usually means to pass or cross over, so it’s more appropriate to crossing a stream, joining the enemy, or glossing over minor details.

    That brings up another possibility: praeteribit. Praeterire overlaps with both transire (‘to pass over’) and perire (‘to pass away’). (I prefer perire because it says that this will end, not just be done with us and move along, still looming out there somewhere.)

    I found praeteribit mentioned as appearing on the book plates of a couple named Budgett, ca. 1895: hoc etiam praeteribit.

    I always like to go with the Classical source when possible, though, because it gives you some real history and a solid authority, so I would stick with Seneca, but you’re free to use any of these variations:

    et hoc peribit.
    etiam hoc peribit.
    hoc quoque peribit.

    et hoc praeteribit.
    etiam hoc praeteribit.
    hoc quoque praeteribit.

    et hoc transibit.
    etiam hoc transibit.
    hoc quoque transibit.

  • les
    June 26th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    hello would apprecite a little help if u could? what wouldd be the correct latin for the phrase ‘they loved me so I stand strong….

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 26th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Les,

    The two verbs that come to mind for ‘stand strong’ are consto and valeo.

    valeo ab eis amatus

    or

    consto ab eis amatus

    Literally, ‘I am/stand strong having been loved by them.’

    The form amatus is a perfect passive participle, and is often used where we would things like ‘when/since/because/although X.’ In this case it would like saying ‘I stand strong because I have been loved by them.’

    There are other ways to say it, of course, but I think this is the most natural way to say it in Latin.

  • John
    June 27th, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I would really appreciate it if you could translate these two phrases for me. “No regrets” and “Live Free”. I believe you have covered some version of these before but I’m not sure if there is a female and masculine version of words. Thanks in advance.

  • les
    June 27th, 2011 at 9:13 am

    thank u xx

  • Cat
    June 28th, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Hello Dennis,

    I can’t find any translations for:

    “You can never rely on anyone but yourself” or “Never rely on anyone but yourself”

    and “no expectations, no diappointments” or “never expect anything from another human being”.

    I would appreciate any other suggestions you may have along these lines. I couldn’t bear to have such a sentiment tattooed permanently on me and get that wrong too :) Thanks very much for your help, I am in awe of your knowledge and kindness,

    Cheers,

    Cat

  • Cat
    June 28th, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Hi again,

    Sorry, I forgot to ask if there is any Latin translation for “I am what/who I am” or even better, “I am what/who I am and I won’t apologise”

    Thanks Dennis,

    Cat

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 28th, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Hi John,

    For ‘no regrets’ I now like the classical phrases me non paenitet (Pliny the Elder) and nihil me paenitet or me nil paenitet (both from Plautus).

    If I were choosing I’d go with Plautus, and probably the second. His are more explicit than Pliny’s (whose line leaves something to be supplied). Of the two by Plautus, the second is more colloquial (nihil and nilare the same word pronounced just a bit differently).

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 28th, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Cat,

    Try these:

    confide nulli nisi tibi, ‘trust in/rely upon no one but yourself.’

    sine spe non fallaris, ‘without hope/expectation you will not be deceived/disappointed’

  • Dennis McHenry
    June 28th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    There’s the biblical line, ego sum qui sum, ‘I am who I am.’

    You can add to that et non tergiversor, ‘and I do not turn my back,’ which is used to mean that you don’t run away, i.e., that you’ll stand up and face anyone who questions the way that you are. Alternatively you could add non me excuso, ‘and I do not excuse myself,’ i.e., apologize for it.

  • morten
    July 1st, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    hey Dennis i can see that you translate a lot of different latin quotes. Can you help me translate face your fears and also I am my brothers keeper .

    best regards

    Morten

  • Tom
    July 6th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Dennis, i’ve seen you translate a lot of englisch to latin frases.

    I’m thinking about getting a tattoo that says: family is forever.

    Wich one of these translations is correct?
    1 familia aeterna est?
    2 familia in aeternum?

    if you could help me out i would be gratefull!
    becauese i don’t want to get the wrong spelling tattooted.

    Greetings Tom from holland

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 8th, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Morten,

    Face your fears:

    timoribus obviam i

    (literally “to your fears – in the way – go!”) This also suggests conquering your fears because obviam (“in the way”) has a sense of cutting something off. So go confront/cut off your fears before they overwhelm you.

    The other request is from Genesis 4.9, so here’s St. Jerome’s version from the Vulgate Bible:

    custos fratris mei sum

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 8th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Tom,

    Both work, but the first is better because in aeternum is really adverbial and so would attach to a verb that isn’t there. Perhaps an implied ‘exists’ or ‘will remain.’

    But the first is clear, concise, and good Latin without any problems.

  • Rapunzal
    July 9th, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Hi,

    Im wanting to get a tattoo with the words
    Live, Love, Laugh, Learn in latin.
    What would be the best translation for this??

    Greatly appricate your help!!!

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 9th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I guess you could say vive, ama, ride, disce, if you’re telling one person to do those things. If you want to tell more than one person, say vivite, amate, ridete, discite.

    Here’s a variation that plays off of the poet Catullus carmen 5 (vivamus … atque amemus, ‘Let us live and let us love …’):

    vivamus atque amemus, rideamus et discamus

    Let’s live and love, let’s laugh and learn.

  • Engie
    July 10th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Dennis,
    I have been reading through your responses and I am having a really hard time “creating” a quote in latin. I want to say “live at/by/on your own will/desire/pleasure”. I would like it to be a general saying to everyone, or maybe just to one person, whichever of the combinations I can get to sound the best, but again I don’t think my translations are accurate. Do you think you could help me out? It would be much appreciated. I would

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 10th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I might say this:

    sis tuae spontis

    It literally says ‘may you be of your own will’ but the verb could also be read as ‘you should be’ as well as ‘may you be.’

  • Engie
    July 11th, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks that sounds a lot better than what I was thinking. Thank you for your time and knowledge.

  • Lucas
    July 11th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    How would you say “family is eternal”?
    I’ve heard two translations: sanguis est aeternum/sanguis aeternum est and familia est aeternum/familia aeternum est.

    I want to get this tattoo in memorial for my brother who passed away, but I intend to be 100% sure I have it right before its on me forever.

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 11th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Sanguis is blood, and familia is family. The position of the verb est doesn’t really make a difference. The problem with the second option is that the adjective is in the wrong form. Use this:

    familia est aeterna

  • Lucas
    July 11th, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I was told that contextually, blood implies family, while familia translates to household and implies ‘the people by whom you were raised and with whom you were brought up.’
    What are your thoughts on that?

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 11th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    You can read a bit about the word familia in my response to another request:

    http://thecampvs.com/?page_id=1924#comment-55286

    In classical Roman terms familia wouldn’t necessarily mean what we mean by family, but in later Latin (e.g., Christian Latin) it does, and in a modern context it’s clear. But one of the things to consider is that just because the usage of familia to mean family in Classical Latin is ‘rare,’ that doesn’t mean it’s not good Latin: it appears in Plautus, whose plays record the speech of everyday life rather than high, elevated literature.

    Sanguis could stand for family connections in poetry, so you’re free to choose that if you like the image, and since the idea itself is a bit abstract or poetic, that’s a good option. But in that case the adjective should be masculine to agree with sanguis:

    aeternus est sanguis
    aeterna est familia

    (Or swap the word order.)

  • Kirppu
    July 12th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Dear Dennis!

    How would you translate these?

    -One life,One chance,live it.

    -good night,I fall a sleep if I fall a sleep,good night if I fall a sleep.

    Thank You so much <3

  • Lucas
    July 12th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Dennis,

    Sorry I never got back around to thanking you yesterday. You have been so much more than helpful! This was my first time stumbling upon this site, and I couldn’t have been happier. Thank you for lending your knowledge to all of us.

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Your first request has been treated before:

    http://thecampvs.com/?p=684#comment-39258

    I would leave the ‘live it’ part implied.

    Another way to convey this idea comes from Catullus, carmen 5:

    soles occidere et redire possunt;
    nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,
    nox est perpetua una dormienda.

    ‘Suns can fall and rise again; for us, when our brief light sets, one endless night must be slept.’

    Your second request doesn’t make sense.

  • Claire
    July 13th, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Can you please translate the following quotes into latin:

    “Never give up”

    “Time heals all wounds”

    It would be a huge help.
    Thankyou,
    Claire

  • Madeline
    July 14th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Hello Dennis,

    I’m looking to get “I love The Pope” translated, as strange as that may sound. I’ve seen Amo Papa, and am wondering if it’s that simple? For some reason I thought it would be longer than that.
    Thank you so much, I’d be happy to give you a PayPal donation if you would be so kind as to email me the link!

    Thanks
    Madeline

  • Gomorra
    July 17th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    hello denis,

    How would you translate these (Family Forever)?
    -semper familia
    -familia in aeternum

    Thank you so much:)

  • Lindsay Henderson
    July 19th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Hi there – this is amazing I can’t believe how wrong you can get it! My late father was fluent in Latin I have been wanting to get a tattoo in memory of him for some time now I always wanted “my father’s daughter” the translation I have (not from him I might add) is “filia patris mei” please advise many thanks Lx

  • Erin Griggs
    July 21st, 2011 at 12:41 am

    This site is like crack for me! 5 years of Latin, and a friend throws a Latin tat idea I can’t parse.

    “I’m every cliché , but I simply do it best”

    The Latin for cliché? I do not know.

  • Shep
    July 23rd, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Hi Dennis, what your doing is great! I was hoping you could translate these two lines in Latin?
    1) to live would be an awfully big adventure.
    2) to love would be an awfully big adventure
    Thank you so much!

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 24th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Claire,
    “Never give up” = nil desperandum (from the poet Horace, literally, ‘there is nothing to lose hope over’)

    “Time heals all wounds” = tempus omnia sanat (literally ‘time heals everything.’)

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 24th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Madeline,

    Sorry for the delay in replying. Things got a little hectic. I actually thought I already replied to this.

    It’s close. When the church elects a new pope they say ‘habemus Papam,’ and the ending (-m) indicates that ‘pope’ is the direct object of the verb. That’s what you need.

    amo Papam
    Papam amo

    Either is fine.

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 24th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I would use ‘aeterna est familia’ or some variation (‘familia est aeterna,’ ‘familia aeterna est’). The word order is up to you.

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 24th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    When St. Jerome wanted to write the phrase ‘daughter of my father’ for his Latin translation of the Bible he wrote ‘filia patris mei,’ so I can’t argue with that.

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 24th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    John Traupman suggests verbum tritum (cf. English ‘trite expression’), but you’re using cliché in a broader sense. Perhaps omnium simulator, sed optimus sum.

  • Melanie
    July 26th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Dennis,
    You are a saint to endlessly translate for people when other people charge the earth for each word. It’s possible that you have been asked this translation before, so apologies – does ‘amor per haud desiderium’ translate as ‘love with no regret’?

    Many many thanks for taking the time to do this :)

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 27th, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Melanie,

    Thanks for the kind words. That would say ‘love, by no means through longing.’ That exact phrase has been asked about before, as have variations. Hit control-F and search this page for the word ‘regret.’ You find a number of discussions and probably one that suits you. Let me know if you still have questions.

  • Melanie
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Thank you Dennis. So if I understand all that I have read correctly, i can use ‘ames sine paenitentia’?

    Out of interest, before finding your website (which is so interesting and informative), I had come across ‘sine desiderio’ or ‘ sine desideriis’ – what would that translate to?

  • Debs
    July 27th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Hey there

    I had this translated into latin and would like to know if it exactly says Live life with no regrets…..I’m keen on getting the exact translation right as I would not be too happy if it’s wrong seeing as it’s for a small tattoo on my inner wrist……thanks in advance latin guru….Vitam sine ullo vive desiderio

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 27th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Paenitentia (‘repentance’) is like regret for something you’ve done wrong, and desiderium (‘longing’) is regret for something you’ve lost. The former contains the root of both ‘penalty’ and ‘penitentiary,’ while the second contains the root of ‘desire.’

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 27th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Debs,

    Search this page for the word regret (including the most recent replies to Melanie). sine ullo desiderio means ‘without any longing,’ and people probably take that to mean ‘wishing you’d done things differently,’ but it generally means longing for something once had but now lost. In that case, it would seem to mean something more like ‘don’t worry about the things that are gone,’ which isn’t what you mean. Let me know if there are any other questions once you’ve read the other discussions on the page.

  • Dennis McHenry
    July 27th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    vivere sit maximus casus
    amare sit maximus casus

  • Loyd
    August 15th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    hi dennis. what is the latin word for strength? also im looking for a phrase or proverb that says something about being an open minded, free thinking person or maybe about freeing yourself from hatred and bigotry and living a stress free life.any suggestions? i looked all over this page for the email address to make make a paypal donation and couldnt find it. i would be more than happy to donate. thanks so much

  • Loyd
    August 15th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    i see the paypal icon now

  • Dennis McHenry
    August 15th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Lloyd,

    Strength is generally expressed by vis (weese) or the plural form vires (WEE-race) if physical strength is what’s meant (like ‘bodily powers’). This word can also have a negative connotation meaning something like violence, but it’s also the source of ‘vim’ in the phrase ‘vim and vigor.’

    The synonyms firmitas (FEAR-mi-tas) and firmitudo (fear-mi-TWO-dough) both mean strength in the sense of resistance.

    Finally, a good, poetic option is robur, which originally refers to an oak or other strong tree, but very often is used in Latin to mean strength, vigor, power, toughness, firmness, etc. This is also the origin of the English word ‘robust.’

    For me, the expression that best captures the essence of anti-bigotry is the famous line of the playwright Terence:

    homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.
    I am a man (i.e., a human being): I consider nothing human foreign to me.

    The original means something more like ‘anything that concerns people is relevant to me’ but it has been taken up and used as a motto expressing tolerance.

    There’s a line from Rome’s greatest poet Vergil:

    ulterius ne tende odiis
    Go no further in your hatred.

    Or you could try something new:

    sine odio et sine animi angore vivas tuo iudicio
    “Without hatred, without mental anguish, may you live by your own judgment. “

  • Gladys Mugica
    August 30th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Hello Dennis,

    I came across your sight and I am actually pretty happy I did. I tried sending a message earlier but I am not certain it went through.

    So I want to get a tat symoblizing my nephews recent diagnosis of a pretty serious condition. Hes is less than a year old.

    I initially wanted it in Medieval Spanish but havent really found many sites that have information. So I thought Latin would be nice….

    So basically I want to say:

    Marcelo is beautiful love.

    I also wanted to know how is dob would look in Latin- October 18,2010-

    I am still on the fence about as to what route to go. Would like to see how Marcelo is beautiful love looks. Im Cuban and in spanish its : Marcelo es amor bello. But oddly enough I dont think I want it in spanish.

    I appreciate your feedback. Best, Gladys in MIami.

  • Dennis McHenry
    August 31st, 2011 at 12:54 am

    I’m very sorry to hear about your nephew. I have a son who’s just two months older, so I’m very sympathetic to anything involving small children.

    Spanish is, of course, the daughter of Latin, and you’ll find that in this case the language hasn’t changed too much.

    Spanish: Marcelo es mi amor bello.
    Latin: Marcellus est meus amor bellus.

    Some people might use ‘pulcher’ instead of ‘bellus,’ as ‘pulcher’ is the word that Latin textbooks teach, but ‘bellus’ is good in this case, and is common in poetry, which seems suitable.

    The date is where the real complexity lies. The Roman calendar counted the days each month backwards from three fixed days: the Nones, the Ides, and the Kalends. Instead of saying ‘October 18′, a Roman would say ‘the 15th day before the Kalends of November.’

    But the Roman calendar set by Julius Caesar (the Julian calendar) and the calendar that we use (the Gregorian calendar) are off by 13 days. We would then have to say that it was ‘the third day before the Nones of October.’ Both dates refer to the same day, but by different calendars (I told you it gets complicated).

    Also, the Romans reckoned the date from the legendary founding of the city of Rome by Romulus, which was 753 BC according to our calendar. 2010 A.D., then, becomes 2763 A.V.C. (ab urbe condita, ‘from the founding of the city’ or ‘since the city was founded’).

    In the proper form the date would be given like this:

    A.D. III NON. OCT. MMDCCLXIII A.V.C

    A.D. stands for ‘ante diem’ (before the day).
    NON. is for ‘Nones,’ one of the important calendar days that they counted backwards from).
    OCT. is for October (spelled the same in Latin as in English).
    MMDCCLXIII is 2763 in Roman numerals.
    A.V.C. is ‘ab urbe condita’, as explained above.

    (The Romans didn’t use lower case letters or the letter U. The letter V was both a vowel and a consonant. It’s normal today to distinguish in Latin among U and V only with lower case letters, but to use V for both letters when writing in all caps.)

    If that seems complicated or too long you could simply use this:

    XVIII OCT. MMX
    18 October 2010

    Best,
    Dennis

  • Gladys Mugica
    September 8th, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Hey Dennis. Thanks so much for your help!!! Definitely worth the donation….If anyone is reading this post it is well worth making a donation.

    Dennis emailed back and forth with me and helped me find the perfect phrase.

    Semper est Marcellus pars mei

    Thanks so much again!!!!!

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  1. Moira Russell