Essential Latin phrases for your next trip to southern Europe…

You never know when a little conversational Latin might come in handy. Some years ago at a lunch party I sat next to a lovely lawyer – the father of a friend of mine – whose only quirk was that halfway through a sentence he would switch from speaking English, into Latin. He would continue in Latin for several minutes before casually resuming English.

Latin not exactly being my second language, I smiled beatifically and used the downtime to chew my food.

Funny Latin phrases

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare. (I think some people in togas are plotting against me.)

What made it even more unusual was that far from this being in a romantic, vine-draped al fresco restaurant in Tuscany … or even a studious, book-lined coffee shop in Oxford or Cambridge … this was on a farm in rural Leicestershire, England.

No wonder the lawyer’s wife drank. She would be on the tipple of sweet vermouth from shortly after breakfast and by tea-time was almost catatonic. I guess her Latin wasn’t much better than mine.

To help you avoid a similar fate, here are some Latin phrases you might find useful on your travels

Non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat.
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit!
God, look at the time! My wife will kill me!

Lex clavatoris designati rescindenda est.
The designated hitter rule has got to go.

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.
I think some people in togas are plotting against me.

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
If Caesar were alive, you’d be chained to an oar.

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

(At a barbeque) Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
Ever noticed how wherever you stand, the smoke goes right into your face?

Neutiquam erro.
I am not lost.

Hocine bibo aut in eum digitos insero?
Do I drink this or stick my fingers in it?

Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur.
Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.

What are your favourite phrases in Latin?

Please share!

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Martin Fletcher says:

    Studied Latin from nine to eighteen. Forgot a lot.

Thoughts

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