Archives for March 28th, 2009

28
Mar

Bad jewelry Latin

Bad Latin really tries my patience.

Bad Latin really tries my patience.

I love finding Latin in unexpected places.  That being said, it spoils the effect if the Latin is incorrect!  While shopping today I saw this Jessica Kagan Cushman bracelet, original price: $125.   It says: QUOSQUE TANDEM ABUTERE PATIENTIA NOSTRA?, which is nonsense.  She was trying to quote Cicero’s First Catilinarian, which begins: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?, or (roughly) “How long will you abuse our patience, Catiline?  The bracelet’s “quosque” is meaningless in the context, since abutere takes the ablative.  I would suggest, Ms. Cushman, next time you quote a Latin phrase, that you double-check your source before production.

28
Mar

Bad movie Latin!

This is one is really, really bad. I was browsing around at some well-known blogs to see what sorts of useful things I might include here, and as I scanned the rather spartan Instapundit I came across this unfamiliar and baffling line in the sidebar:

Sic gorgiamus [sic] allos [sic] subjectatos nunc!

I knew that gorgiare was not a Latin verb, and that allos must be a mistake for alios (others).

The source is apparently the 1991 film adaptation of the Addams Family, and it serves as the family motto (you can see it in the script here), and the translation at least sounds like a motto: “We gladly feast upon those who would subdue us.”

If gorgio, gorgiare meant anything it would mean to speak gutturally, possibly to growl. (I found a reference to DuCange that suggests some authority for this meaning in Late Latin.) What’s really interesting, however, is the meaning of allus: it’s your foot thumb, better known as the big toe.

I feel that gorgiare should take indirect discourse, and so we should understand elision of esse with subiectatos. So what does it sort of mean?

“Thus do we growl that (our) big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!”

Will Hollywood never learn to consult a proper Latinist?

I might suggest something like this: “Laeti vescimur nos subacturis.”