Cicero made a pun which he never knew.

By John Cook, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Oct 14, 2018.

  1. John Cook New Member

    In pro Milone, Cicero mentions a " vulnus in latere, quod acu punctum videretur ". A wound in his side, which seemed like a pin prick. acu punctum, however, could today be safely in this instance be translated as acupuncture, which gives an even greater contrast.
  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    I would say "at a stretch" rather than "safely".
  3. John Cook New Member

    Hmmm, in order not to stretch this point too far, I still think that I would translate acu punctum as a " pin prick " , but as a pun, acupuncture hits the mark. How would you translate " Salus " in these lines Nasonis?

    " Hanc tuus e Getico mittit tibi Naso salutem;
    mittere si quisquam, quo caret ipse, potest. "

    Obviously, the Latin combines the meanings of Hello, and Safety, Good health, et alia, but in English the connection is a bit strained. Very loosely, I would translate it as Goodday. What do you think?
  4. scrabulista Consul

    • Consul
    Origin of acupuncture

    1675–85; < Latin acū with a needle (ablative of acus needle) or acu- (as combining form of acus) + puncture Unabridged
    Greater contrast, perhaps, but then it loses the point. If I'm reading it rightly, the pin prick is not meant to be therapeutic as acupuncture. It's a feeble attempt to injure.
  5. Westcott Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Yes Scrabulista, I was going to make the same point. This isn't a pun. A pun is one word with two meanings. "Acupuncture" is a manufactured word to mean curing by pin prick. Acu punctum, acupuncture, same thing. On the other hand there's a pun in my first sentence (not a very good one).
    Issacus Divus likes this.

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