Idioms

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I thought it could be interesting to have a thread where we can post some idiomatic expressions we find when reading. I've collected a few ones from Petronius (it's good to mention the source if possible, unless someone remembers an expression but has forgotten where it came from). I'll give both literal translation - for people who don't know Latin, or not enough yet, that could come by here and be interested - and translation of the meaning for each one.

Ab acia et acu: from thread an needle = in great detail.

Ab asse crescere: to grow from a penny = to start from nothing (then become rich).

Aliquem in rutae folium conicere: to throw someone into a herb rue leaf = to defeat someone decisively, to make him feel very small, to "knock him into a cocked hat".

Apud se (non) esse: (not) to be among oneself = (not) to be in one's senses.

Costas alicuius recorrigere: to put someone's ribs right = to "put him on his feet again".

In ultimis esse: to be in the last ones = to be on the point of death.

Lorum in aqua: a leather strap in water = (someone) weak or flabby.

Malam parram pilare: to pluck a bad parra (a bird, don't know the exact species, whose cry was considered ill-omened) = to have bad luck.

Manum commodare: to lend a hand = this one has a perfect parallel in English, simply "to give a hand, help".

Manum de tabula!: hand off the table! = leave off! Stop working!

Mentum alicui/alicuius tollere: to raise someone's chin (as if above water) = to help someone out of trouble.

Sua re causa facere: to do, one's business (being) the reason = to relieve oneself, do one's business, satisfy the needs of nature.

Suaviter est alicui: it is sweetly/agreeably to someone = one is having a good time, enjoying oneself, having fun.

Suaviter sibi facere: to do sweetly/agreeably to oneself = to enjoy oneself, have a good time, have fun.

Suis se tenere: to keep oneself to one's things = to mind one's own business.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Bonum equidem consilium. Cum quid lectu dignum videro, heic certe adnotabo.
 

Bestiola

Sciura Tigrina Croatica
Staff member
pro se with quisque - "according to his [each one's] ability"
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yeah, I also like that one.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
While reading Erasmus: simul flare sorbereque haud facile, to drink and whistle at the same time, i. e. to do two things at once, Plaut. Most. 3, 2, 104.—
In English this also exists as "to burn the candle at both ends"
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Heh, that's funny, we've got an expression in French that says literally the same thing as "to burn the candle at both ends", "brûler la chandelle par les deux bouts", but it doesn't mean "to do two things at once", it means like to live in such a way that you're not going to live old, or to spend your money in such a way that it won't last long, things like that...
 

LCF

One of "those" people
mihi volup est = mihi placet <-> aegre est = mihi non placet
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
non valet lotium suum, lit. he's not worth his piss
"a good-for-nothing fellow"
It appears in Petronius 57
I wonder if PP has come across this
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Of course I've come across it. So you're in the Satyricon in your turn now, he?
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Minime quidem. I happened upon that word lotium in Erasmus, I think...
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It's just been to assistance to me right now! Thank you!
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Concedere alicui sanguinem: to concede the blood to someone = to spare someone's blood, his life.

Source: Anonymus Valesianus, Chronica Theodericana (6th century AD).

Reminds me of the contrary in Petronius: sanguinem alicui mittere: to send the blood to someone = to make someone (well, in the text it was about a werewolf killing cattle, but I suppose it could be said of people as well) bleed (so as to kill him).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Extremam claudere diem: to close the last day = to die.

(From Chronica Theodericana too.)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Nodum in scirpo quaerere: to look for a knot in a bulrush = to give oneself unnecessary trouble.

I read it in Jerome; it also appears in Plautus and Terence.
 

Acsacal

Civis Illustris
Aliquem in rutae folium conicere:
I was once puzzled by a meaningless French translation of this idiom caused by a misunderstanding of ruta (that translates rue, homonymous of rue=street)
 

Ignis Umbra

Ignis Aeternus
This one is a relatively simple idiom.

Memoriam (insert genitive) tenere - to remember X
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Cornicum oculos configere: to pierce the crows' eyes = to deceive the most perceptive ones.
 
Top