Latin translation

It sounds silly, but I’m serious.

Can any of our learned Latin-knowin’ types please translate a phrase for me? “It’s hard to fly like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys.”

I know there’s not a Latin word for “turkeys”, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.


I’m really not into sig lines, but if I were that is one I’d consider.

Cum cingeris ab “turkeys [ablative],” volare ut aquila difficile est.

Just use (or modify) the scientific name (or part of it):

Eastern wild turkey: meleagris gallapavo silvestris
Florida wild turkey: meleagris gallapavo osceolam


In which case, gallopavo would mean turkey. The meleagris is the genus and the gallopavo is the species. Silvestris and osceolam are sub-spieces terms, indicating that the “type” bird is found in the forest or near Osceola.

Gallo would come from “chicken”
Pavo would come from “peafowl/peacock/peahen”

So a turkey would be a really showy chicken.

Using gallopavo to mean turkey:

Cum cingeris a gallopavonibus, volare ut aquila difficile est.

The standard Spanish word for a turkey is “pavo”, a peacock being a “pavo real” (royal peacock)… when you see a wild turkey, with its iridescent feathers and its similar size, you can kind of see what the conquistadors who named turkeys peacocks were talking about… it certainly makes a lot more sense than calling them after completely the wrong country.

BTW, “Gallopavonibus cincto, difficile volare ut aquila” is probably more stylish.

Thank you all most kindly. :bows:

kniz, if you like that, consider the sig I use at work: “I could answer that, but I’ll need a working model of the solar system.”

I do not know about more stylish; however, the way you have it written there is slightly in error. Cincto must agree with gallopavonibus and should be cinctis. It would then be:

Gallopavonibus cinctis, difficile volare ut aquila.

I like mine better though, mostly because I wrote it, but also because it seems to me that even though a cum clause and an ablative absolute are basically equivalent, the cum clause is more appropriate here because it expresses the generality of the situation more explicitly, and I also prefer leaving est in, perhaps because difficile est was a common impersonal statement that my Latin teacher used in exercises.

[hijack]Ya know, the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of the thread (without reading the OP) was my sig. :smiley: [/hijack]


Cincto isn’t supposed to agree with gallopavonibus: “surrounded by turkeys” (where gallopavonibus is the agent (in the ablative) of the surrounding that is happening) rather than “the turkeys being surrounded” – though if you use “circumsto” instead of “cingo” it would be doable, I think.

And there’s definitely nothing wrong with “difficile est” – though I’m pretty sure that with an animate agent (eg a turkey) rather than an inanimate instrument, one doesn’t use “a” but rather the naked ablative.

As you say, though, it’s mainly a matter of style and the particular way you’ve been taught Latin :O)


How about translating Archancellor Ridcully’s motto: “When You’re Up To Your Ass in Alligators, Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life”?

Can anyone post a latin translation of “Loose Lips Sink Ships” or an equivalent phrase?

How about, “Pull the other one, it’s got bells on”.

Of course, my favorite dog latin phrase appears in the sig.

Is ‘Carpe Jugulum’ grammatically correct? If not, what’s the correct way, and where would you recommend it tattooed?

Oh, hmm, yes, I sort of see. You can’t use cincto though; if you want “surrounded by turkeys” you’d need cinctus. Since you had it in the ablative I thought you were going for an ablative absolute, which needs to be at least a two word phrase agreeing in number and case, so I pluralized it into cinctis. The ablative absolute doesn’t really work there though; you’d need something like “me cincto a gallopavonibus…”

The general rule regarding a in an ablative of agent is that you do use it with an animate object (Necatus sum a servo), but you do not use with an inanimate object (Navis deleta est tempestate).

Carpe jugulum is fine.

I don’t know of a Latin word for alligator, but I do know crocodile. Somewhat literally (bear in mind that this makes little sense in Latin):

Cum crocodili usque ad clinem tuum praesunt, hodie est primer dies porro omnium annorum.

Somewhat literally back into English, “When crocodiles are present all the way up to your buttocks, today is the first day of all the years to come in the future.”

Thanks! Do you think that would make an impression if I quoted that to the judge on Monday?

How about this one: “I came, I saw, I plundered”.

Having had absolutely NO Latin schooling, the best I considered was “Veni, vidi, praedari”.