Blood is thicker

mamiITM

New Member
Can someone please help me with a tattoo translation.

My sisters want us all to get

"Blood is thicker"
or maybe even
"Blood is thicker than water"

But I'm wanting to make sure it's correct before I do it (nothing worse than a tattooist with a bad tattoo)
Thanking you in advance.
 
sanguis est crassior quam aqua
blood is thicker than water
or
sanguis crassus est (blood is thick - I don't think blood is thicker would work in my mind, but maybe it does)
sanguis crassior est (blood is thicker - could work because the expression is really well known)

My Latin isn't that great, so you should wait for others ;3
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It's right. You could also say it using the ablative of comparison: sanguis crassior est aqua/sanguis aqua crassior est: blood is thicker than water.
 
It's right. You could also say it using the ablative of comparison: sanguis crassior est aqua: blood is thicker than water.

I missed the section on adjectives in my Shelmerdine so I didn't really have the knowledge to try it. On some work I had to do 'quam' was used so I felt better suggesting that. It was good practice doing this and having to look it up. :)
Secondly, I liked the way it could be read, having the same amount of words as the English because as a tattoo when other people see it you can be show them what each word means rather than maybe trying to express the ablative (maybe I over estimate people's interest in Latin ;3)
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
It's worth pointing out that the phrase does not carry the same figurative meaning in Latin.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Could it have it even in English before it was translated from German?

I find the second comparison weird. Blood = family, ok; but water = relations other than family...? Where does that idea come from? Weird.

sanguis est crassior quam aquam (or is it aqua?)
Hey, I hadn't seen that! Or have you edited? It's aqua, of course, not aquam. (There's no reason for it to be accusative; it's like a subject, not an object: sanguis est crassior quam aqua (as if there were est implied here; blood is thicker than water (is)).
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
How do you know it was German?
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Could it have it even in English before it was translated from German?
At least among the educated native speakers who introduced it to English. Latin doesn't have those anymore, though, and only people familiar with the German or English phrase would understand the Latin translation unless it were accompanied by some long-winded explanation.
 
Hey, I hadn't seen that! Or have you edited? It's aqua, of course, not aquam. (There's no reason for it to be accusative; it's like a subject, not an object: sanguis est crassior quam aqua (as if there were est implied here; blood is thicker than water (is)).

Sorry I edited it even though I was sure it was aqua. Just stuck me as weird that it would be nom and not accusative. Having thought about it a bit more I can see why it is nominative, at least I think I can. So that crassior agrees with aqua as in 'blood is thicker than water thicker'. At least that's how it makes sense to me;3
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
"blood is thicker than water thicker'. At least that's how it makes sense to me;3
Not exactly... Rather "blood is thicker than water (is (thick))".

Secondly, I liked the way it could be read, having the same amount of words as the English because as a tattoo when other people see it you can be show them what each word means rather than maybe trying to express the ablative (maybe I over estimate people's interest in Latin ;3)
Not that in this particular case the version with quam is less good than the one with the ablative; but more generally speaking, you shouldn't translate while having in view to stick the most closely possible to the number and order of English words; it can often lead to not-so-good translations; seeing that English and Latin stuctures are different, so you don't just have to translate the words one by one, but give it a "real" (or as real as possible for us) Latin look. The best translation will not necessarily be the one which looks the best when back-translated word-for-word into English.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
For an obvious example, Latin has no words for "a" and "the". Any time those words come up, they are summarily discarded in translation to Latin.
 
Not that in this particular case the version with quam is less good than the one with the ablative; but more generally speaking, you shouldn't translate while having in view to stick the most closely possible to the number and order of English words; it can often lead to not-so-good translations; seeing that English and Latin stuctures are different, so you don't just have to translate the words one by one, but give it a "real" (or as real as possible for us) Latin look. The best translation will not necessarily be the one which looks the best when back-translated word-for-word into English.

I'm not doubting that the ablative version is better than quam but can you explain why this is the case for me? :)
Wait, I misread what you put! Can you explain the differences between quam and the ablative and when and why I'd use one over the other? Or simply preference?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
For an obvious example, Latin has no words for "a" and "the". Any time those words come up, they are summarily discarded in translation to Latin.
Obviously! Then even someone seeking to translate each word by a word couldn't do it (unless they imitate (very) late latin and take ille and unus).

I was thinking of an example like, say:

As I was having dinner, your letter was delivered to me.

Cum cenam haberem, tuae litterae sunt redditae mihi. (Me; and it would be correct if we conceded to make "having dinner" into one word, cenarem).
Fairly litteral back translation = as I was was having dinner, your letter was delivered to me. (Looks good English - at least as far as I can tell).

Mihi cenanti litterae tuae sunt redditae. (Cicero)
To me having dinner your letter was delivered. Looks less good in English. But is it less good Latin? It's just that that usage of the participle is a feature of Latin which English doesn't have to the same extent, but it expresses fairly the same thing that you would express in English with "as/when I was..." So if someone asks me to translate a similar sentence, I won't hesitate to use the participle in that way, even if it's word-for-word less close the English "as I was..."

I'm not doubting that the ablative version is better than quam but can you explain why this is the case for me? :)
Wait, I misread what you put! Can you explain the differences between quam and the ablative and when and why I'd use one over the other? Or simply preference?
I didn't say one was better than the other. :) Either is perfectly correct. I said:
Not that in this particular case the version with quam is less good than the one with the ablative
I was saying the rest in general.
 
I didn't say one was better than the other. :) Either is perfectly correct. I said:
I was saying the rest in general.

Yeah I edited what I put and added 'Wait, I misread what you put! Can you explain the differences between quam and the ablative and when and why I'd use one over the other? Or simply preference?' :)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I haven't myself studied the question of when one is likelier to be used than the other. I would think they're rather interchangeable, but...

I mean interchangeable in the case where to things are compared in the form X is more/less X than X.

Now in a case like, say, "they stole more money to from me than to from you", of course it wouldn't make sense to say mihi plus pecunae te furati sunt; you would necessarily use quam: mihi plus pecuniae furati sunt quam tibi.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Now in a case like, say, "they stole more money to me than to you", of course it wouldn't make sense to say mihi plus pecunae te furati sunt; you would necessarily use quam: mihi plus pecuniae furati sunt quam tibi.
In English usage one steals from another ;)
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
We just had to be different :p

Anyway, I'll reiterate for everyone involved:

Here are two valid translations:
sanguis est crassior quam aqua
sanguis crassior est aqua

One is as good as the other, but the first one in particular follows the English word order and includes "than".
 
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