Short Latin translation please!
May 1, 2011 2:10 PM   Subscribe

How do you say "Get your head out of your ass" in Latin?

My Father has a birthday coming up soon. The most common phrase he said to my siblings and I while growing up was, "get your head out of your ass!" It has become somewhat of a family motto and we were thinking of putting it on fake family coat of arms.

I understand that literal translations in Latin are often awkward, but the phrase is so common amongst exasperated fathers, that I imagine something very similar to it must have been used back in the day.

For the phrase "Remove your head from your arse", Google translator gave me: caput auferas culi.

Is this correct?
posted by chillmost to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
There's a black metal album called:Caput tuum in ano est which means "You have your head up your anus".
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on May 1, 2011

A regular imperative would probably make more sense than "Auferas," which is in the subjunctive and would mean something like "Let you carry out..."

I'd go with "Caput ex ano extrahe" - "Extract your head from your ass."
posted by oinopaponton at 2:55 PM on May 1, 2011

Response by poster: If you saw that on a tshirt, would you know what was meant?
posted by chillmost at 7:31 AM on May 2, 2011

I would, but I also wrote it, so you might want to wait for someone else to come along and set eyes on it...
posted by oinopaponton at 9:33 AM on May 2, 2011

Best answer: Okay, this is going to get a little ... specific.

I'd stay away from anus (TWSS!) as it refers to the shape of the sphincter more than the specific anatomy. (We get "annulus", the perfectly standard word for "ring" from this -- it means a little circle.)

The word is probably culus, which refers to the ass and has the sense of being obscene but probably not as bad as some other profanities. The somewhat safe alternative would be clunes, which means "buttocks" or "butt".

You're talking about removing or pulling out, so we're probably in ad + accusative territory here.

As for the verb: you can use a jussive subjunctive in the second person, which is a kind of deeply respectful instruction of the sort translated into English as "may you please do this" I'd stay away from that construction and go with a standard imperative, such as would be translated "do this!" in English.

I'd go with revello for my verb, meaning to pull loose, pull away, remove, or wrench away out. You might just go with vello, which has a simpler meaning of pluck (as one's hair or a plant), pull out, or uproot. In any case, for singular, you will say revelle or velle, and for plural revellite or vellite.

For "head" we almost certainly want caput.

Putting it together...

For address to a single individual, caput revelle a culum (or velle) although this merely means "remove the head from the ass" so we probably should add some possessives here. caput tuum revelle tuum a culum. You can play with the order a little bit to emphasize different parts. You might keep the "tuum a culum" bit for the end as a bit of surprise, or you might put it up front and even shift it around as "culum a tuum" to make the ass the prominent feature of the sentence, depending on the effect you want, although I recall that this particular construction, with the noun preceding the proposition, is a bit disfavored.

For plural forms of the sentiment, all of the same considerations apply, although you will want to make sure you use plural forms of all the words. It won't do to remove your heads from your ass, for instance. So:

capita tua vellite tui a culi would be "your heads, pluck them from your asses".

To clean it up, you would use clunes in the plural at all times, since the two buttocks make up your butt. So it would be:

caput tuum revelle tui a clunes, for instance, or caput tuum a tui clunes revelle.

As I write, I kind of like this construction: caput tuum velle tuum a culum. It's nicely chiastic, and the agricultural sense of "vello" may be appropriate.

Does this help?
posted by gauche at 1:40 PM on May 4, 2011

Best answer: Correction: I spaced, was probably thinking "ab + accusative" rather than "ad". Unfortunately, that's not right, either, and you really want "ex + ablative" instead. So it would be caput tuum velle tuo e culo for the singular.
posted by gauche at 4:23 PM on May 4, 2011

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