School boy, you are dead meat!


New Member
I've been busy writing the second book in this series, and encouraged by the wonderful response here have included quite a lot of Latin.

And I've fallen in love with my Latin teacher character (never a good thing for a writer!) so he is no longer a minor character.

Ok, maybe the easiest thing to do is copy an exceprt from the book here where ??? represents the missing Latin(Dominic is my main character, a 15 yo boy, Mr Nikolaos is the Latin teacher, and the setting is Australia's Gold Coast (think California!)):

‘So how can I help you, Dominic?’ said Mr Nikolaos.

But before I had a chance to say anything he said ???

‘Sorry?’ I said.

‘That’s Latin for ‘Live to surf’. It seems the most popular translation I get asked these days. I believe one of our more forgetful students even had it tattooed on his buttocks. Or ???’

‘Born to skate?’ I said.

‘Very good!’ he said. ‘You’ve obviously got the makings of a Classics Scholar.’


thanks in advance,



Staff member
Welcome back to the forum, Phil. I'm a bit confused as well.

Are you looking for a word that means "skate" and "surf" as well as one that means "born" or "live?" Or will you settle for two phrases?


Staff member
Or, perhaps, is "born to skate" just a filler in place of an actual alternative meaning?

I'm curious about which translation you went with for the title phrase, and what error the teacher picked up on.

Bitmap, as an utterly impartial aedilis with no reason whatsoever to be biased in my judgment, I find your response unnecessarily blunt.

Imprecator dixit:
Haha, Nik will be happy to see this one
My, whatever for? :p


Civis Illustris
It reminds me of a passage I read in some other book
'A?' said Philly.

'Very good!' Mrs. Picklesworth replied, 'What's next?'

Philly thought for a moment.
'B?' he said with an uncertain voice.

'Excellent! I can see you've done your homework pretty well! Most of my forgetful students have never even got this far!' Mrs. Picklesworth was cheerful. She decided to push him even further. 'Go on!' she said.

Philly hesitated. He knew the answer was up there in his mind somewhere, but he just could not find it. He took a break to think really hard; his mind was an ocean amidst a heavy storm ... but suddenly, a glimpse of light appeared on the horizon. Philly started to remember now. Everything became clear before his inner eye.

'D' he replied as he lifted his eyes; his face full of newly-gained confidence.

'Oh Philly! You missed out a letter! C is the third letter of the alphabet!'

'Oh right ... I knew that ...' Philly smiled. 'So it's A... B... C... and then it's D?!'

'Very good!' she said. 'You've obviouly got the makings of a book author.'


New Member
As for the title, somebody made the very good point that if my bad guy is a smart bad guy (which he is) then his Latin should be relatively error free.

So I've gone for the translation which generally received the most approval.

As for my latest effort which has brought the wrath of 'bitmap' down on me, maybe I should explain.

I wanted the Latin translation for 'Born to surf' or maybe 'Born to ride the waves' or, to unpack it even further, maybe even 'My life is devoted to riding the waves' might be more appropriate, given that surfing probably wasn't as popular during Roman times as it is today.

And then 'Born to skate' which I can see might be very difficult.

thanks, Phil


Civis Illustris
Since you've given us a useful phrase* I'll return the favor :) Arti undis uectandi deditus sum= I'm devoted to riding upon the waves. Capitalised, the u's become V's
*Cauete Bitmap animosum! Ipse dixit


New Member
Thank you, that will do very nicely!

I'll lose the ''born to skate' reference as I see that this is indeed 'ridiculous' (thank you bitmap) in the context of ancient Rome.

I have another phrase which I would love to get translated:

'Let the dolphins swim free'

thanks in advance, Phillip


Staff member
Ah, that should be an easy one: liberi nent delphini. The words can be arranged in any order, but I like that order in particular, since it puts the primary emphasis on "free", and secondary on "dolphins".

Edit: Fixed


New Member
Wow! That's really really beautiful. You never know, you might see on a Greenpeace T-shirt one day. Thanks.

On further reflection I would like to retain the 'Born to Skate' reference. So maybe something like 'My life is devoted to riding (or travelling) the roads'.

Again, many thanks for all your hard work. And, of course, i will be crediting this excellent forum when the books are published in 2013.



Staff member
Romance words for skate:

Spanish: el pati'n/patinar
French: le patin/patiner
Italian: il pattino/pattinare
Portuguese: patim (m)/?
Romanian: ?/?

Manus Correctrix

All of those words are from the French patin, a diminutive of patte (‘animal leg, paw’), of non-Latin origin.

That might be a good source for a neologism if necessary, but I urge against it here. Make this professor use real Latin.


Staff member
Although not as good of a source as Bitmap or Cursor Nictans, none other than William Whitaker's WORDS has patino, -are, -avi, -atus as "skate (v.)" - NeoLatin, uncommon. The SOURCE_TYPE for this word is Calepinus Novus, modern Latin, by Guy Licoppe.

patina, -ae, f. also means "dish." - uncommon, SOURCE_TYPE = Cassell's Latin Dictionary.

patina made it into English as "green film on bronze."


Staff member
Presumably the Romans must have come into contact with people ice skating. Certainly, there is evidence of people skating in the mediaeval period. It seems odd that there is only a neo-latin word for it.


Staff member
Scrabulista, beware the wrath to come... from Imprecator.

I'd imagine that they probably had some word for ice-skating, but it was lost over the ages.

Here's my best shot at "born to skate" without inventing words:

natus ut rotis caligaribus vectus essem

Someone will probably either improve on this or ignore it completely as thay construct their own versions.