"We don't f*ck around"

George Oldroyd

New Member
Possibly a tattoo, and probably a couple of tattoos, but it's meant for a unit crest and a family crest. It's the tongue in cheek motto that my brother and I grew up on.

Man, I hope you guys have a sense of humor.

In any event, thank you all for doing this for people. It's a real mitzvah.

Oh, sorry. Wrong forum.

All the best,

George "Innappropriate Conduct" Oldroyd
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't think any equivalent expression quite as vulgar as "we don't f*ck around" is attested, but perhaps non nugas agimus would convey the meaning, albeit in a less vulgar way.
 
This is actually for more than a tattoo. It'll be part of an informal unit crest, and that will end up being tattooed on a number of us.

I have one translation that I tried to do on my own, but that clearly isn't right ("Nos non fututum circum...") , and a second that I was given by a college professor, which I'll share if you like but which I thought I'd withhold for now so I didn't prejudice your thinking.

But then I found your forum, and I have to say, what you all do here is very decent. You're very helpful and unselfish, and I appreciate any assistance you can offer.

I'm looking forward to your interpretations...

All the best,

George
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Hi,

There is no completely exact Latin translation (that is, it will at least lack some of the vulgarity of the English).
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
The problem is that you can translate 'we don't f*ck' into Latin as non futuimus, but that simply means 'we don't have sexual intercourse', which isn't what you want. If you then add circum or any other word that can be translated as 'around', it becomes ungrammatical and meaningless. The Latin verb doesn't have all the figurative meanings that English idioms with 'f*ck' plus a preposition can express. I don't think there's a handy way in Latin to convey the meaning 'we don't waste time' or the like where an obscenity could be included, but perhaps someone will think of something.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

Civis Illustris
I'm an agnostic gambler. I know where my money's going, but I also know that there is always the possibility that I am wrong.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
To sum things up, George: "we don't f*ck around" is a peculiarly English expression which is unlikely to translate perfectly into another language (at any rate, it would in none of the languages I know). Some things are untranslatable or almost so, and I think this is one of them. It is possible to translate the idea, more or less, but anything we can find will lack some of the connotation or "smack" of the original. So here you have a choice between keeping your motto in English if you want it to stay exactly the same and keep the same spirit, or taking an approximative translation if you absolutely want a Latin motto. In any case, it won't do to just try translating every individual word; the result in Latin won't make sense, or will mean something completely different from what it means in English. The only circumstance where such a literal translation would be ok would be if its purpose were humorous—if your intention were to make people (especially Latinists) laugh rather than to be accurate.
 

Imperfacundus

Reprobatissimus
Non circumfutuimus would be the dog-latin version. It definitely won't be interpreted correctly by a non-anglophone latinist, but where are you going to find one anyway ?
 
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