Latin Quotes, Sayings, Tattoos, Phrases & Mottos

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.

300 Most Common Latin Words

Tuesday, August 5, 2008, 17:39 - Latin Words - Meanings and Definitions, Learn Latin Language
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300 most common Latin words

300 words is not a lot, but they go a long way! Typically, around 2000 words in any language is enough to be able to figure out simple texts with the use of a dictionary. A much shorter word list of 300 entries may be a good start for an absolute beginner or someone who merely wants to understand mottos and basic Latin quotes.

Names for Businesses: Never Boring!

As I sat down to ponder what Latin words can be used for naming a business it did not take long before an actual company name came to my attention as a good example of, let's say, dubious appropriateness of a business name...

I decided to come up with a few ideas for companies that take pride in delivering goods or services very promptly. Some good suggestions would be to use such words as celer, velox, rapidus (fast). Then there is a nice verb "festinare". A sonorous name. There is even something festive about it:) Lo and behold, there is a company that is called "Festina" ("make haste!", an imperative). Well, the problem is that this company manufactures watches. Would you really want to have a watch that is fast? The only appropriate way of using this word in this context would be in the slogan "Festina lente" (make haste slowly). Now, that would be a clever way to describe what a good mechanism for keeping time is supposed to do! Also, this was a motto used by the famed Aldus Manutius, one of the greatest Renaissance book publishers.

In general, it seems that all good Latin names for businesses are already taken (and not used wisely, I must add). My advice would be to have a good look at Greek words. In fact, I may do some research in this area myself.

See also:
Restaurant Name Suggestions

That's recession for ya

Thursday, April 10, 2008, 17:45 - Latin Words - Meanings and Definitions
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Walked up to the nearest used bookstore -- closed.

recessio, onis, f., a going back, receding, recession

If recession really meant "a going back" that wouldn't be so bad, because previously the store was at a different location. But I fear it's just gone. I wonder what will open in that fairly attractive merchant location. Probably another "Dollar tree." I am sure someone will figure out a way to make money in this unfortunate situation.

In order to recession-proof another bookstore nearby, the one that deals in new titles, I went there immediately and bought a book: The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: History. I don't mean that everybody should do the same, but if you hope for small booksellers to survive... They were having a bad time as it is, and let's face it: bookstores are fun. The more, the merrier. Let's keep them afloat.

Meaning of "Sasha"

Friday, February 8, 2008, 05:06 - Etymology and word roots, Latin Words - Meanings and Definitions
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Speaking of meanings... There is one area of popular etymology where results have been absolutely horrifying and disturbing. I am taking about the etymology of proper names, most often featured on numerous 'baby names' sites. It is absolutely unbelievable what these people come up with. What's worse, that not only you will be likely to find erroneous etymologies and explanations for certain names - I once found a site that claimed to have the largest collection of boys' and girl's names in existence. What they actually did was collect data from online chats around the world and then presented people's nicknames and usernames as actual proper names. This process created a mishmash of names that were wrongly attributed as originating from languages that had nothing to do with them! Also, there were a lot of 'baby names' that were made-up nicknames, quite often obscene! No doubt, some of them were rather melodious and exotic sounding... So, I would advise everyone to at least stick with the names they have heard. But as far as interpretation goes, you should probably consult with printed books, although I have seen a good amount of errors in 'baby name books', as well.

Anyway, I got thinking about all this after I saw this entry on some big-time new baby naming website:

The boy's and girl's name Sasha \s(a)-sha\ is pronounced SAH-shah. It is of Russian origin. Short form of Alexander (Greek) "man's defender". The -sha ending may not be feminine in Russia, though it is in the US.

Yes, the true origin of this name is Greek. It should probably be taken to mean 'the defender of men'. And it is entirely incorrect that Sasha cannot be feminine in Russia. It is short for Alexandra, the female version of Alexander. More importantly, the article does not attempt to explain how Alexander and Sasha can be etymologically related. I should probably clarify this. 19th century Russian literature has some examples of another short version of Alexander - Aleksasha (the Russian suffix used here is probably cognate to the German diminutive suffix '-chen'). This is were 'Sasha' comes from! And, as if things were not complicated enough, 'Sasha', in its turn, produced yet another form: Shura. This one stems from a diminutive form of 'Sasha' - 'Sashura'.

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