Toast: Here is to us and those like us... damn few left

By Anonymous, in 'English to Latin Translation', Sep 4, 2006.

  1. Anonymous Guest

    Cheers All!

    I will be attending a veterans reunion event shortly that will require me to make a "toast" to the group.

    I know and can pronounce several small "toasts" in Latin, but what I am really looking for is a way to say,

    "Here's to us and those like us... damn few left!"

    I would prefer both literal and idiomatic translations if possible, and will probably use the one I am able to pronounce the easiest.

    Thanks for your kind response, and for making this query possible.

    Kind regards,

  2. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    My understanding is that the ancient Romans had a custom somewhat similar to, and somewhat different from, our present "toasting". One tasted one's drink, made some appropriate short speech, and gave the cup to the person honored. This was called propinare; the person honored was spoken of in the dative. To drink (someone's) health was (alicui) salutem propinare.

    Now at some (presumably postclassical) point, people began to use the verb prosum as a sort of toast, especially in the third person singular present subjunctive prosit, that is "may it do good". This form was imported into German, and survives in modern German as a noun "Prosit" (n), meaning "toast", and as an interjection, "prosit"-- "Prosit X" (in German) means "here's to X"

    So for "Here's to us and those like us... damn few left!"? I would have two translations. If you require that we confine ourselves to classical forms:

    Propinate nobis similibusque...damnabiliter paucibus reliquis!

    If you will accept something less ancient, then I would prefer

    Prosit nobis similibusque...damnabiliter paucibus reliquis!

    Both of these I would backtranslate literally as "Here's to us and those like us... to the damnably few remaining".

    This is a very interesting enquiry that certainly deserves further discussion. I hope some other of our colleagues will jump in here.
    RomanesEuntDomus likes this.
  3. Anonymous Guest


    Thank you for the quick reply and for the interesting insight into the Roman "toast."

    I'm struggling with the "damnably" part though. Perhaps a bit too coarse for the event?

    Are you aware of whether or not intensifiers were/are regularly used in traditional latin conversation? For example, "damn" is really an emphatic version of "very" in my toast?

    What do you think?

    Kind Regards,

    -Lee R. Zimmerman
  4. deudeditus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    you could just use 'damn' in place of damnabiliter. :D

    Prosit nobis similibusque...damn paucibus reliquis! :lol:

    I think it's cool. about intensifiers.... I don't know if they were used regulary or not. I'm interested to find out, though... that would be nice to know.

  5. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    Whoops. I made a mistake there-- should be paucis, not paucibus. I'm not sure what I was thinking-- as soon as I saw it again I knew it was wrong. Maybe I was echoing the similibusque. In any case I'm sorry.

    I don't know your audience, but the "damn" doesn't seem very strong to me, especially in Latin. It's amazing what you can say if you say it in Latin.

    But it can just be left out. Or you could intensify the paucis by making it perpaucis (to the very few)

    Prosit nobis similibusque...damnabiliter paucis reliquis.

    Prosit nobis similibusque...paucis reliquis.

    Prosit nobis similibusque...perpaucis reliquis.
  6. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    I like deudeditus' idea of leaving the one English word in, reversing the usual practice by translating everything but the naughty word into Latin.

    Our knowledge of how the ancients (especially non-elite ancients) actually spoke day-to-day is limited, and derived mostly from dialog preserved in writing, especially by playwrights, particularly Terence and Plautus. We know more about later spoken Latin.

    The language as we now have it certainly does include a number of "intensifying" devices. Probably the commonest one is to put an adjective or adverb into the superlative. A beautiful woman is femina pulchra; femina pulchrissima is a very beautiful woman. There are interjections, of course, and certain adverbs. And there are prefixes (like the per- in perpaucis) and suffixes, like the -met and the -pte used to intensify certain pronouns.
  7. traduttore New Member

    Re: Propinate nobis similibusque

    Did anybody see this week's episode of Boardwalk Empire? They use this quote, just the section quoted in the subject line. Reasonable to assume they got it from this website? I don't think it was boilerplace language, but originated by Inyx right? Nice!

    RomanesEuntDomus likes this.
  8. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Tangentially, 'malum' would do well for 'damn' -- damnabiliter is ridiculously ponderous to represent such a light expletive.
    ...paucis malum reliquis
  9. Bitmap Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Cygnea, Gena
    you may even do without paucis because reliqui - as opposed to ceteri - hints at the smaller rest of a whole unit, anyway. (I wonder if you even find the connection pauci reliqui anywhere)
  10. socratidion Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I find 'reliquos equites consectati paucos' in Caesar -- haven't checked it but I guess it means 'the cavalry followed the few remaining ones'.
    As long as 'paucis' is emphatic, as it is here (the rest of us -- damn few!), it's worth keeping, surely.
  11. Nikolaos schmikolaos

    • Censor
    We do realize this this is a five-year-old topic, right? It's a bit late to change the phrase :p

    Traduttore: I would guess that it probably did come from here. Do you know if the scene is on YouTube or anything like that? I would be very interested in watching it!
  12. traduttore New Member

    Hi Nikolaos,

    didn't find it on YouTube, and it is HBO so I wouldn't expect it there. Here's some references though. "Grey ancient men who toast in an extinct language." Ha! ... -2-review/

    Later in the episode Eli calls his brother from the Commodore’s study, Nucky offers his brother one chance to walk away from his conspiracy – but Eli declines and “twists the knife” asking Nucky boastfully to “look around brother – what you got?” What Nucky has is Margaret, a great lawyer and his youth. The Commodore may have money and allies, but youth? Even with Jimmy on board, not so much. When Eli meets the Commodore’s investors, they’re all grey ancient men who toast in an extinct language (and one of them, the guy with the particularly hilarious mutton-chop/goatee ensemble, is the man Nucky recognized from the Klansman’s funeral in the previous episode).

  13. Girdeux New Member

  14. RomanesEuntDomus New Member


    I know that this thread is rather old and has already been disturbed in its eternal peace once... so I hope you won't mind if I do it again.

    I was wondering, just out of curiosity:
    How would I change the meaning from damnabiliter paucibus reliquis in the sense of
    "[there are] damn few [of us] left"
    "damn the few others" or "damn the few remaining [others]" or "damned be the few ones that remain" in the sense that these "others", the remaining ones that are not in our group/here with us, are not like us and can, well, be damned :)

    That gives the whole toast more of an elitist sentiment, no doubt, something that the guy with the white sideburns in the Boardwalk Empire scene mentioned above could have very well added, too.

    So, as a whole:
    "Here's to us and those like us... - damn [or: damned be] the few remaining" [i.e. the few others that aren't like us/aren't here]
    "Propinate nobis similibusque... - damnatur something something?"

    I do kind of like the rhythm and sound of "damnabiliter paucibus reliquis", so the goal would be to change the meaning as per above mainly by fiddling with the grammar but, if possible, not by adding many new words to the toast. I want to keep it short and in a way that rolls just nicely off the tongue like that.

    I look forward to reading your ideas.
    If you want, feel free to include what forms and grammar you are using and what that signifies (my grammar's unfortunately a bit rusty nowadays but I still try to understand what happens on the grammatical level if somebody cares to explain).

    By the by: Thewhite-sideburn guy in Boardwalk pronounces it "similibus-ke" (like a Spanish "¿qué?"). Is that correct or would you rather say "similibus-kwe" (like in "quick")? I understand there are many different ways to pronounce Latin: Italians and the Pope, I guess, pronounce it very differently from a German or English scholar while the average English (or American) speaker usually pronounces it as they do French (namely as if it were English). So anyway, opinions? :)

    Thanks in advance,
  15. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    damnentur relictos quamvis paucos
    may the rest be damned, however few
  16. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    relictos would mean "those left behind"; "the rest" should be reliquos.
  17. RomanesEuntDomus New Member

    Thanks for the ideas! Any variations?

    Huh... I always try to read it out loud and see if it has a nice "ring" to it. I reckon you are flexible in Latin that way, you can express things in endless variations (I guess, that's why the machine translators all fail so utterly with Latin), so you might as well utilize that flexibility for rhetorical optimization, make it more poetic... :)

    @Cinefactus et al., general question: Why would you use the hortative (present passive subjunctive iirc) in "damnentur" rather than, say, future passive indicative ("damnabuntur") - or even future imperative (although that probably does not sound as good)?

    ... damnabuntur paucos reliquos?

    Nah, that doesn't sound good or right... Shouldn't it be ablative or something? Oh, I don't know :-( Please enlighten me. ;)

    Maybe if we turned it around, so it's 4 - 3 - 2 syllables:
    ... damnabuntur reliquos paucos. Better?

    The stress, is it on damnaBUNtur or damnAbuntur? Four syllables, ends in consonant, so the former, I guess? DamnAbunter would sound better in this toast, though, wouldn't it?

    By the way, what kind of form is "paucibus" anyway (as used above in the original)? I've been thinking but I can't put my finger on it.

    Any opinions as to the pronounciation of similibusque (vide supra)?

  18. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Because that's the most fitting translation. "Damn them" means "let them be damned". It's an optative.

    The subject should really be nominative, though: damnentur reliqui quamvis pauci

    damnabuntur pauci reliqui would mean "the remaining few will be damned". The ablative isn't called for.

    Yes, the former.

    What "sounds better" is a subjective value judgement. All I can say is that it wouldn't be Latin if pronounced that way.

    It's either dative or ablative plural.

    I don't have any opinions per se, but I can tell you that the primary accent is on the penultimate syllable [bus].
  19. RomanesEuntDomus New Member

    Wow, thanks for addressing my questions in such detail! Very helpful!

    I see. I was actually thinking more along the lines of "they shall be damned" (similar to: "we shall damn them", or "they shall be damned because we say so"), you know?

    I thought maybe future passive indicative could be translated with "shall be...", hence my proposal.

    De gustibus non est etc..., yeah, right. :)
    I might disagree slightly though, although I guess I may have been a tad imprecise in expressing my motivation for this:
    Don't you agree, if you are trying to be poetic (as opposed to plainly prosaic) you will strive to make it sound good as well (of course only to the extent that you will grant me that this can be objectively determined) - function follows form in some way, isn't that true for poetry - and I think a toast should count as poetry, shouldn't it?

    I read a long article about palindromes recently (even found it through a thread on this forum) - that's certainly one extreme example of the lengths to which you might go in abandoning the usual rules of a language, its grammar, spelling, hyphenation and yes, accentuation, to the point that it can become barely understandable (although you would obviously seek to minimize that effect as much as possible).

    "Poetic license", so to speak?

    Of what? Dative and ablative plural of paucus, few, is paucis, no?
    Maybe it's just getting too late for me and I can't think straight anymore :)

    Yeah, that I know.
    No, I was actually asking about the last syllable (see my first post above), referring to the scene from Boardwalk Empire where they stole (borrowed, were inspired by) the toast from this very thread and where they pronounce it "similibus-ke" and I wondered whether that was correct or whether it should be more like "similibus-kwe" (and if yes/no, what's the rule for that).

    Let me know your thoughts!
  20. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Actually I think Imber Ranae was telling you that the termination -ibus is dative or ablative plural, not that paucibus as a whole is OK; it has already been established earlier in the thread that paucis is the standard dat./abl. plural.
    Interestingly though a dat. fem. pl. form paucabus is attested, and Vulgar Latin allows such things as alumnibus and amicibus. The longstanding presence in Latin of 1st decl. forms such as filiabus probably had some influence on paucabus and on the later, Vulgar Latin forms.

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