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.”

There's 5 Comments So Far

  • Sarah
    March 28th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I love that there’s a word in Latin for the “foot thumb.”

  • João Lucas
    May 28th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Question… How does one say “I gladly feast on those who would subdue me.”?

  • Dennis
    May 29th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    There are a lot of ways. One might be

    libens me domituris vescor.

    Technically libens is an adjective describing the subject of vescor (‘i, glad, feed upon’), domituris is the ablative of what you feed upon, but in the future participle to show what their intent is, and me is the object of the participle (‘those-who-are-trying-to-subdue me’).

  • Matthew
    June 14th, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Thank you so, so, so much for your break down of the movie quote. I saw it in an article on the Addams’ family and even with my cursory 2 year education in Latin I could tell that something was amis – namely from the word nunc.

  • Ian Andreas Miller
    August 26th, 2009 at 8:45 am

    LOL, I love that verb gorgiare! I should find a way to use it somehow, someday!

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