Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: VIDEO

Today's Latin word is VIDEO (video, videre, vidi, visus), which means "I see" in Latin - but of course we use the word "video" as a noun in English, too!

There is an enormous number of Latin words with the root vid- or vis- (you can remember that form of the stem by thinking of the English word "vision"). One of the most interesting is the word invidia, meaning "envy" (the English word itself is derived from Latin invidia). For the Romans, envy was related to the idea of the "evil eye." Invidia meant looking at someone with resentment, begrudging that person else the good things that they have.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Esto quod esse videris.

Cui des videto.

Dis aliter visum.

Quod vis videri, esto.

Unus vir non omnia videt.

Ite et videte.

Non semper ea sunt quae videntur.

Vide et crede.

Veni, vidi, vici.

Quis est vir qui vivat et non videat mortem?

Mens videt, mens audit.

Esse quam videri.

Video alta sequorque.

Oculus videns alia, seipsum non videt.

Plus vident oculi quam oculus.

Omnia videt oculus domini.

Magis vident oculi quam oculus.

Si stas, vide ne cadas.

Qualis vis videri, talis esto.

Quales sumus, tales esse videamur.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: AUTEM

Today's word is AUTEM, one of those words which is pretty much impossible to translate into English. In many ways, autem is more like a punctuation mark in Latin than it is a word you would need to translate into English.

You will only find autem in what is called "postpositive position," meaning that it cannot come first in a sentence. instead, it comes after the first word (or word-phrase), and indicates that there is something surprising coming up, something that is unexpected. It might be something that contradicts what was previously said, or it could indicate that something from the previous sentence is going to be amplified in some surprising way.

Look at this saying:

Dii autem omnia possunt.

The word autem here (in second position) indicates that the gods are different from something else - from humans! Humans cannot do everything; the gods autem can do everything. Do you see how the autem is carrying out a function very similar to the semicolon punctuation mark there in the English? It is a special kind of semicolon. You might call it the semicolon of surprise!

Here are some other examples to look at. Don't try to translate the word autem into English; it's basically impossible to do that. Instead, just try to see how the autem is being used to mark out the first word of the saying, calling special attention to it.

Spes autem non confundit.

Nihil autem mundo melius.

Bona autem admonitio amici.

Qui autem sapiens est, audit consilia.

Cultura autem animi philosophia est.

Res autem durissima vivere solum.

Factum autem stultus cognovit.

Omnis autem piger semper in egestate est.

Iustus autem ex fide sua vivet.

Gloria autem est fructus virtutis.

Super omnia autem vincit veritas.

Sapientiam autem non vincit malitia.

Ab initio autem non fuit sic.

Quid autem tentare nocebit?

Apud Deum autem omnia possibilia sunt.

Verbum autem Domini manet in aeternum.

Here you can see pairs of sentences, with autem coordinating the pairs:

Caelum stat, terra autem movetur.

Multi multa sciunt, se autem nemo.

Alii laborabant, alii autem fruebantur.

Alios potes effugere, te autem numquam.

Homo videt in facie, Deus autem in corde.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: ITER

Today's word is ITER, one of those third-declension nouns where the stem is not easy to recognize: itiner-is. The gender is neuter - which is easy to remember if you know the Latin phrase, O durum iter!

The English word "itinerary" can help you to remember the stem of the Latin noun. Other English words from iter include "iterate" and "itinerant."

The most basic meaning of iter is "going" (compare the verb ire, "go") and also "going to a far place, a journey." You can have different kinds of journey: iter terrestre is a journey by land, while iter pedestre is a journey on foot.

The word can also mean the "way" by which you go, in the sense of "a path, a passage," as in the phrase iter ingredi, "to hit the road." The compound adverb obiter means "on the way" or "in passing."

Here are some phrases and sayings that use today's word:

Virtutis iter arduum est.

Virtus, negata via, tentat iter.

Ferro iter aperiendum est.

Iter breve et efficax per exempla.

Aliud alii natura iter ostendit.

Cum pane et vino conficietur iter.

Nullum iter longum est, amico comitante.

Longo in itinere etiam palea oneri est.

Cum improbis viris iter cave ineas.

Iter ad mortem durius quam ipsa mors.

Iter est, quacumque dat prior vestigium.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: UBI

Today's word is the wonderful little UBI, which is an adverb of both place ("where") and time ("when"). You can see this Latin root in the English word "ubiquitous" - something that is "everywhere."

When ubi is used spatially, it correlates with ibi as an expression of location: Ubi? Ibi! Where? There!

When ubi is used temporally, it correlates with tum or with tunc as an expression of time: Ubi? Tunc! When? Then!

To emphasize the spatial meaning of ubi, you can find it used with terrarum or with loci, as in the expression Ubi terrarum? Where in the world? You can also find this same expression with gentium, as in Cicero: Ubinam gentium sumus?

There are many Latin compounds with ubi, such as ubicumque, "wherever, whenever," ubique, "everywhere, anywhere" and also ubilibet and ubivis, "wherever you want, whenever you want." To emphasize the interrogative use of ubi, it can be joined with the interrogative particle nam, resulting in: ubinam.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Ubi sunt?

Ubi amor, ibi oculus.

Patres vestri ubi sunt?

Ibi valet populus, ubi valent leges.

Ubi amor, ibi fides.

Ubi bonum, mihi patria.

Patria est ubi bene est.

Ibi patria, ubi bene.

Patria est ubi bene sit cuique.

Ubi amor, ibi dolor.

Ubi pericula, ibi gloria.

Ubi opes, ibi amici.

Ubi amici, ibi sunt opes.

Quam miserum est, ubi consilium casu vincitur!

Ubi spes, ibi pax.

Ubi omnis vita metus est, mors est optima.

Ubi maior est, minor cedat.

Ubi peccat aetas maior, male discit minor.

Ubi non est scientia animae, non est bonum.

Mortem ubi contemnas, omnes viceris metus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: LITTERA

Today's word is LITTERA (which you will sometimes find spelled lītera). In the singular, the word refers to a letter of the alphabet, In the plural, litterae, it refers to an epistle. Sometimes in poetic usage the singular littera could also mean an epistle, just as we say a "letter" in English, referring to something we would write and send to someone by mail. You can find the diminutive litterula, meaning "a little letter."

The expression scire litteras, "to know the letters," meant to be able to write. As such, the word litterae also came to refer to learning or scholarship in general.

Here are some sayings and proverbs that use today's word:

Litteras disce!

Vita sine litteris mors est.

Litterae sine moribus vanae.

Litterae non dant panem.

Litterae non erubescunt.

Litterae scriptae manent.

Litteris absentes videmus.

Non quivis ad litteras natus est.

Duplum cernunt, qui litteras didicerunt.

Cave ne litteras Bellerophontis afferas.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: DE

Today's word is DE, one of the most common Latin prepositions. It is equivalent to such a wide range of English words that it is well worth taking a look at the article in the Lewis & Short Dictionary.

The basic idea is one of removal or separation, a semantic space it shares with the prepositions ex and ab.

Another important use of de is to express reference; compare the similar etymology of the English word "about" (which is from Old English ambutan, "from by the outside"). You can find this use of de in Latin book titles for example, such as Cicero's De Amicitia.

You can see de used to create many compound verb forms, including some where you might not recognize the compound because of a contraction: debeo, for example, is a contraction of de-habeo.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Qui de terra est, de terra loquitur.

Ne aliis de se quisquam plus quam sibi credat.

De corde, non ex ore tantum.

Maioresque cadunt altis de montibus umbrae.

Plus aliis de te, quam tu tibi, credere noli.

De vivis nil nisi verum.

De absentibus nihil nisi bonum.

De absentibus nisi bene.

Nulla tam bona est fortuna, de qua nil possis queri.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Noli de mortuo gaudere, sciens quoniam omnes morimur.

Omnia de terra facta sunt et in terram pariter revertentur.

De alieno disce periculo.

Ne pugnes de alieno.

Omnia quae de terra sunt, in terram convertentur.

De fructu arborem cognosco.

Noli de mortuo inimico tuo gaudere.

De praeteritis non est querendum.

Faciamus de necessitate virtutem.

Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: REDDO

Today's word is REDDO, a compound of the root verb do meaning "give back, return." You can see the telltale reduplication in the perfect stem even in the compound: reddidi.

You can see this Latin word in the English "render" and "surrender" and "rendition" via the French rendre.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Redde cuique quod suum est.

Redde, quod debes.

Nulli malum pro malo reddete.

Redditur terrae corpus.

Reddite quae sunt Caesaris Caesari, et quae sunt Dei Deo.

Dux bonus bonum reddit comitem.

Multa rogant utenda dari; data reddere nolunt.

Ordo et modus omnia breviora reddunt.

Solet hora, quod multi anni abstulerunt, reddere.

Vestis virum reddit.

Ut ver dat florem, studium sic reddit honorem.

Fac bene, dic parum, si te vis reddere carum.

Suum cuique reddere decet.

Accipe, redde, cave.

Postquam promisimus, necessario reddere debemus.

Fraus est accipere, quod non possis reddere.

Aetate prudentiores reddimur.

Da requiem; requietus ager bene credita reddit.

Beneficia plura recipit, qui scit reddere.

Beneficium saepe dare, docere est reddere.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: INTER

Today's word is INTER, a preposition which takes the accusative case. It can also be used adverbially, although its use as a preposition is far more common. For the adverb, you are more likely to find the form intra (which can also be used as a preposition).

It can refer to being in-between two objects: inter spem metumque. It can also refer to being in the midst of two or more objects, or surrounded by them: inter hostium tela.

In an expression of time, it means within a certain period of time: inter decem annos, "within ten years." It can also have the sense of "meanwhile" or "during," as in the expression inter haec.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Lumina inter umbras clariora sunt.

Primus inter pares.

Inter spem et metum.

Inter utrumque tene; medio tutissimus ibis.

Inter saxum et sacrum sto.

Communia amicorum sunt inter se omnia.

Inter cineres condita flamma manet.

Amicitia, nisi inter bonos, esse non potest.

Inter canem et lupum.

Inter dictum et factum multum differt.

Inter amicos numquam amor exstinguitur.

Silent enim leges inter arma.

Leges silent inter arma.

Inter arma silent Musae.

Firmissima est inter pares amicitia.

Sicut agnos inter lupos.

Fratrum inter se irae sunt acerbissimae.

Sublata lucerna, nihil interest inter mulieres.

Multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labra.

Tantalus inter undas sitit.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: AIO

Today's word is AIO, an odd little verb which is very commonly found in the third-person forms ait and aiunt, even though you will not find it in many other forms. You will also sometimes see some other present-tense forms aio and ais. That second-person form, ais, is most commonly found in the interrogative form Aisne? which is usually abbreviated to Ain? Other forms of the verb are quite rare - although you can see an imperative form in the saying Aut ai aut nega.

Etymologically, you can see the same Indo-European root in the English word "aye" (and hence "yea" and "yes").

In Latin, the root appears in a few very intriguing words, such as adagium (a "saying") and nego (literally, I "say not"). The verb autumo (aitumo) is a lengthened form of aio.

There are not a lot of sayings which actually involve the word aio, although the phrase ut aiunt is regularly used to introduce a proverbial saying. Most of the sayings below involve the word nego, although there are a few examples of aio, too!

Aut ai aut nega.

Cupimus negata.

Sors nulli negata est.

Nulli negabimus iustitiam.

Iustitiae dilatio est quaedam negatio.

Negandi causa avaro numquam deficit.

Cras do, non hodie: sic nego cotidie.

Virtus, negata via, tentat iter.

Dat virtus quod forma negat.

Quod natura negat, labor praebet.

Una dabit quod negat altera.
(una = una hora)

Non poscunt sancti quod negatur a Deo.

Qui non negat, fatetur.

Bis peccat qui crimen negat.

Non purgat peccata qui negat.

Negatio facit rem dubiam.

Alii affirmant, alii negant.

Qui timide rogat, docet negare.

Mendaces aiunt furibus esse pares.

Aiunt solere senem rursum repuerascere.

Quae nata sunt, ea omnia denasci aiunt.

Aiunt enim multum legendum, non multa.

Multos modios salis simul edendos esse amicis aiunt.

Posteriores cogitationes, ut aiunt, sapientiores esse solent prioribus.

Credula vitam spes fovet, et melius fore cras semper ait.

Pereat qui crastina curat! Mors aurem vellens "vivite" ait, "venio."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: AMBULO

Today's word is AMBULO, a first conjugation verb: ambulo, ambulare, ambulavi, ambulatum.

There are not too many English words from this root, but there are a few: "ambulatory" and "ambulance" are the most obvious, but there are also "funambulist," "somnambulist," and "preamble." The very nice word "amble" also derives from the Latin. The British "pram" is a shortened form of "perambulator."

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Ambulate dum lucem habetis.

Cum bonis ambula.

Pedibus ambulo meis.

Qui ambulat in tenebris, nescit quo vadat.

Recta via ambula.

Solvitur ambulando.

Stultus in tenebris ambulat.

Surge et ambula.

Tu dormis, et tempus ambulat.

Natare non didici, pedibus ambulo.

Durum ad nutum alterius ambulare.

Post prandium stabis, post cenam ambulabis.

Si claudo vicinus habitaveris, et ipse claudus ambulare disces.

In solitudine sine baculo ne ambula.

Hic cocti porci ambulant.

Cum Deo ambulare est animam salvare.

Ambulemus in lumine Dei.

Canta et ambula

In circuitu impii ambulant

Semitam per quam non revertar ambulo.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: LICET

Today's word is LICET. This is one of my favorite words in Latin, but because it does not have a simple English equivalent, it can often make Latin students a little nervous. So: don't be nervous! Licet is a very expressive word in Latin and it's important to learn about its different meanings.

The word is the third-person form of a verb that can be used impersonally, meaning "it is lawful" or "it is permitted" (as in the English word "license"). The impersonal subject of the verb is often an infinitive: licet dicere, "speaking is allowed." It can also take a dative: mihi dicere licet, "I am allowed to speak." It also has a perfect form: mihi dicere licuit, "I was allowed to speak." Notice that English often relies on a passive construction, but the Latin is not passive; instead, it is an impersonal verb with a dative complement - but active: mihi licet.

If you are using the infinitive esse as the subject of the verb, the predicate of the infinitive is sometimes in the accusative: gladiatorem tibi esse non licuit, "you were not permitted to be a gladiator." The complement of the verb can also be in the dative, agreed with the dative complement of licet: for example, licet tibi esse otioso, "you are allowed to be lazy."

Licet can also be used with a subjunctive clause rather than a dative construction: ludas licet, "you are allowed to play."

In addition to these uses of licet as a verb, licet is also used as a conjunction meaning "even if" or "although." When used as a conjunction, licet usually introduces a subjunctive verb, as in this fine saying from Seneca: vita brevis est, licet supra mille annos exeat.

Here are some more proverbs and sayings with licet:

Si libet, licet.

Quod non est vetitum, licet.

Aliis si licet, tibi non licet.

Dum licet, fruere.

Fruere die dum licet.

Poetis mentiri licet.

Solis poetis licet insanire.

Semel in anno licet insanire

Vim vi repellere licet.

Arma armis repellere licet.

Menti quolibet ire licet.

Peccare nemini licet.

Nec scire licet omnia.

Non licet contra legem agere.

Non licet bis in bello peccare.

Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.

Dum licet fugere, ne quaere litem.

Non omne quod licet honestum est.

Non licet omnibus adire Corinthum.

Amicum laedere ne ioco quidem licet.

Quidquid non licet, magis desideratur.

Omnes cupimus, at non licet ditescere.

Ad omnia trepidat, licet vel mus movet.

Bursa manet vacua, licet vox ampla tua.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: FUGIO

Today's word is FUGIO, a third conjugation verb: fugio, fugere, fugi, fugitum. It's important to distinguish between fugio, "I am fleeing, I run away," and the related first conjugation verb fugo, "I put to flight, I make (someone else) run away."

There are lots of English words from this root, such as fugitive, refuge, subterfuge, and centrigual.

The verb can take a direct object: lupum fugio, "I flee the wolf, I run away from the wolf." " It can also be used figuratively, as in the expression, res me fugit, "it escapes me, I'm ignorant of that thing."

You can also use the verb with an infinitive to mean "avoid doing something," as in the famous words of Horace: quid sit futurm cras, fuge quaerere.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Dum loquimur, tempus fugit.

Mors sequitur; vita fugit.

Vive tibi et longe nomina magna fuge.

Saepe malum petitur; saepe bonum fugitur.

Fuge magna.

Quod sequitur fugio; quod fugit, ipse sequor.

Tempus fugit.

Honor fugientem sequitur, sequentem fugit.

Dum loquor, hora fugit.

Hora fugit.

Dum quaeris, hora fugit.

Felices sequeris, mors, miseros fugis!

Gloria fugientes magis sequitur.

Fugit gloria sequentem et sequitur fugientem.

Hora fugit; stat ius.

Fugiens animam servas.

Tempus fugit: utere!

Tempora sic fugiunt pariter, pariterque sequuntur et nova sunt semper.

Dum umbra fugit, homo transit, at Deus est.

Satius fugere quam male manere.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: DEUS

Today's word is DEUS. This is a standard second declension noun in Latin but with a few special forms, such as the plural forms di (in addition to dei) and deum (in addition to deorum) and dis (in addition to deis and also diis).

The reconstructed Indo-European form is *deiwos, which is also related to the name *Dyeus, the chief god of the proto-Indo-European pantheon; compare the name of the Greek god Zeus or the etymology of Roman Iuppiter from *dyeu-peter, "god-father."

The Latin word divus is also from this same root; divus can also appear in the form dius.

Here are some examples of today's word in Latin sayings and proverbs; for more information, see the page at the Scala Sapientiae, which contains notes on some of the proverbs cited below, as well as additional proverbs:

Dii omnia possunt.

Deus omnia non dat omnibus.

Dis aliter visum.

Deus dat cui vult.

Deo Volente

Sic dii voluerunt.

Omnes filii Dei estis.

Dare Deo accipere est.

Vox populi, vox Dei.

Omnia debeo deo.

Mentis sol amor dei.

Cuncta potest facere deus.

Non cunctis dat cuncta deus.

Dei Gratia

Dei gratia sumus quod sumus.

A Deo rex, a rege lex.

Muneribus vel dii capiuntur.

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

Di fortioribus adsunt.

Dii meliora dent!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Verbum Hodiernum: INGENIUM

Today's word is INGENIUM. This is one of those impossible-to-translate words! It basically means something inborn or innate (in-gen-ium). So, in that sense it can mean something like personality or character in English. At the same time, it also can refer more specifically to something more like talents or abilities, and hence the English borrowing "ingenuity." Finally, the word ingenium can refer not to a person or a personal quality, but an actual invention or discovery, something that is the result of talent rather than the talent itself. That is how we end up with the word "engine" in English - the "engine" is an ingenious invention, a very clever thing!

There are quite a few word formed from this root in Latin, such as ingeniosus and ingenuitas. There is even a dismissive diminutive form: ingeniolum.

Here are some Latin phrases and sayings with the word ingenium and its compounds:

Egestas ingeniosa.

Ingeniosa gula est.

Etiam stultis acuit ingenium fames.

Pinguis venter caret ingenium.

Necessitas dat ingenium.

Necessitas largitrix ingenii.

Non vi, sed ingenio et arte.

Alit lectio ingenium.

Aemulatio alit ingenia.

Ingenium industria alitur.

Aerugo animi robigo ingenii.

Ingenium mala saepe movent.

Ingenium superat vires.

Ex tuo ingenio alios iudicas.

Suum quisque noscat ingenium.

Vinum animi speculum, ingenii fontes.

Lupus pilum, non ingenium mutat.

Pilos, non ingenium mutat vulpes.

Immortalis est ingenii memoria.

Vivitur ingenio, cetera mortis erunt.

Praecocia ingenia cito deficiunt.

Summa ingenia in occulto latent.

Sub sordido pallio ingenium saepe latet.