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January 20, 2014 5:17 PM   Subscribe

Hello Latin Scholars of Mefi. I have a relatively simple translation that I want to get absolutely right. English: More Is Never Enough. Latin:

I had this internet translated as "Sed non satis est."
However, "more" seems to be a sticking point. Would amplum be more apt instead of sed? Some other combination of words? And finally, is the remainder, non satis est, entirely kosher?
I have no background in Latin, so please, if you would, lay out your logic and justification for whatever you propose. These words need to be printed and then framed, so I'd prefer if they would be correct for the ages, and defensible to any vagrant Latin scholars who happen to see it.
posted by Cold Lurkey to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'd go with "Plus numquam satis"—literally "more never enough [is]". In Latin, you can drop the to be verb, for brevity and symmetry, though it could be "Plus numquam satis est" or any rearrangement of those words. There are more words to denote 'more', but plus is probably the best choice. An additional option might be "Plurima numquam satis", which would be "more things are never enough," and seems more Latin-y to me, but I'm not sure exactly what you're aiming for here.
posted by Maecenas at 5:38 PM on January 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

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posted by cr_joe at 5:39 PM on January 20, 2014

In this case "more" is the subject of the verb "is" or "is enough."

I'd go with something like this: amplia ampliaque numquam suppetunt

Amplia: neuter plural comparative of amplus = more things. Amplum (as you have it above) is the neuter singular positive form of the adjective: it means "an [ample/large/spacious] thing". The repetition amplia ampliaque, with -que suffix, translates to mean "more things and more things" and, I think, help to get at the sense of your proverb.

Numquam: adverb: never. This is simple enough.

Suppetunt: 3rd person plural present active indicative of "suppeto" meaning "they are enough" but with shades of "to have in store or ready to hand" that I think appropriate here. Note that I've changed the number of your verb to plural because "more thing" doesn't make sense to me and the verb has to match the subject number in Latin.

You could also use sufficiunt, third person plural present active indicative of sufficio which has as a cognate "suffice" in English, though my own sense prefers suppetunt.

Sed as you have it above, means "but" and can me "more" in the sense of "moreover" when paired with etiam as "but even". I don't think this is the sense you want it to mean.

So the literal translation of amplia ampliaque numquam suppetunt is "more things and more things are never enough."
posted by gauche at 5:40 PM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ah, so the confounding factor, then, which may not latinate up so well, is that More should be able to be abstract, and encompass time, time spent, a given gender, as well as things. So, if there's a conjugation that can encapsulate "more of your time, and more of you, and just more" as we're able to overload the word in english, that is what I'm looking for.
I hope that clarifies.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:47 PM on January 20, 2014

Yeah, that's the sticking point, though amplia ("more things") without a modifying noun can be taken pretty abstractly. Plus is also acceptable.
posted by gauche at 5:51 PM on January 20, 2014

Ugh, and it would be "ampliora." That's what I get for relying on memory.
posted by gauche at 5:53 PM on January 20, 2014

Not a Latin speaker at all, but just for reference, the Bond family motto (and eventually film title), "The World Is Not Enough" seems pretty close to me.

It's rendered simply as "Orbit Non Sufficit" which seems (much more than the suggestions so far) to have the brevity and directness required of the motto this seems to be. Would it not work to simply replace "Orbit" with Latin for "More"?

Insert joke about the Latin Instructor Centurion from Life of Brian here.
posted by Naberius at 6:12 AM on January 21, 2014

(It's "Orbis")
posted by IndigoJones at 12:06 PM on January 21, 2014

So, to be sure, then, Gauche, would you concurr with Plus nunquam satis est ?
That way I can claim to have consulted two latin experts.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:17 AM on January 22, 2014

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