Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nouns, No Verbs: Ita vita.

Here are some proverbs with nouns, no verbs (see the Index for more proverb groups):

Ita vita.
ita: thus, so
vīta -ae f.: life

Medium certum.
The idea is that while the thing in the middle is certain, anything at the extremes is uncertain, unreliable, dangerous, etc. Compare the notion of the "Golden Mean," in Latin: mediocritas aurea.
certus -a -um: sure, fixed; certē, certainly, surely
medius -a -um: middle, central

Multa paucis.
The implied context here is communication: multa paucis (verbis), to say many things in just a few (words).
multus -a -um: much, many; multō, by far
paucī -ae -a: few

Nihil sacrum.
nihil, nīl: nothing; not at all
sacer sacra sacrum: holy, sacred

Rarum, carum.
cārus -a -um: dear
rarus -a -um: wide apart, loose, thin; rare, seldom

Semper fidelis.
This is the motto of the US Marine Corps, often abbreviated to "Semper fi." For more about this motto, see this Wikipedia article.
fidēlis -e: faithful
semper: always, ever

Felix culpa.
The phrase, starting with Saint Augustine, has been used to refer to the Fall of Man, which necessitated the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Consider, for example, the Easter Vigil hymn called the Exsultet which begins: "O felix culpa..."
culpa -ae f.: guilt, fault, blame
fēlīx -īcis: lucky; adv. fēlīciter

Rara avis.
You will also hear the expression "a rare bird" in English. You can find the expression in Juvenal's Satires 6.
avis -is f.: bird
rarus -a -um: wide apart, loose, thin; rare, seldom

Dulce domum.
Notice the use of the neuter adjective here: the proverb does not say that a home is sweet, but that home is a sweet thing, a pleasant thing. This is also the title of the school song of the Winchester College, a boys' school in Winchester, England.
domus -ūs f.: house, home
dulcis -e: sweet

Ecce homo.
The famous words of Pilate, presenting the scourged Jesus to the crowd.
ecce: behold!
homo hominis m.: human being

(Ecce Homo, by Bosch)

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