Quick latin translation.
December 16, 2017 10:56 AM   Subscribe

So, wondering if any of you wonderful people out there could help with a tattoo I'd like.. Could you give me a translation for "hold my avocado" in latin?
posted by faustian slip to Writing & Language (10 answers total)
Since tattoos are permanent, I suggest hiring an expert to develop a translation for you. One option is The Latin Translator ($30), operated by highly experienced, professional Latinists.
posted by jedicus at 11:36 AM on December 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

I mean, avocado's a New World fruit... so there's no word for it in 'classical' Latin.
posted by dd42 at 11:38 AM on December 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

Some people call it 'alligator pear' so perhaps you could use the Latin for 'lizard pear'?
posted by KateViolet at 11:53 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Tene persea americana mea".

Or "Tenete" if your imperative is directed at multiple people.

(I first went down the alligator pear line, thinking crocodile pear might work. But I like the version using the avocado's taxonomic name better).
posted by protorp at 11:57 AM on December 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

Or use the word for lawyer, to reflect avocado's introduction into Spanish and French, or testicle to reflect the meaning of "ahucatl," the word in its original Nahuatl. source
posted by solotoro at 11:59 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I feel as if a tattoo that translates to “hold my testicle” could perhaps be taken the wrong way.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:26 PM on December 16, 2017 [28 favorites]

protorp, would “persea americana mea” be in the accusative here and therefore have a different ending?
posted by actionstations at 3:36 PM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here's a 17th century text in Latin describing avocado -- but Johannes de Laet doesn't give a name for the fruit in Latin. Instead he says that the Spanish (Hispani) call it "by the improper name" aguacaten (instead of the native Ahuacaquahuitl). But maybe there is a Spanish colonial document in Latin that gives you a Latin name for the fruit?
posted by dd42 at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

The corrected version of protorp's translation would be Tene Perseam americanam meam. (protorp's version means "My American Persea, hold!") I think plugging the botanical name in there with the correct case ending works as a modern pseudo-Latin translation of a modern joke. Latin Wikipedia says persea was the ancient Greek name of an Egyptian tree. Its identity is unknown, though at least one of the candidates, cordia mixta (Assyrian plum or lasura), has edible fruit. A modern botanist adopted this as the genus name for avocados and related fruits, with the species name americana making it clear that it's not from Egypt and not the same as an Assyrian plum.

Another possible pseudo-Latin translation would be tene pirum advocatum meum or "hold my advocate pear" because avocados are called "lawyer fruit" or "lawyer pears" in a lot European languages based on the accidental resemblance of the Spanish name for the fruit, aguacate, and the word for "lawyer", which in most European languages is derived from the Latin word advocatus. I think this one is funnier because it can be read literally in Latin as "hold my pear which has been called here" or "my pear which has been called here to help" (the literal meaning of advocatum or advocatus in Latin), as well as a back-translation of the word for "avocado" from a lot of modern European languages.

I'd suggest running this by The Latin Translator, as jedicus suggested, to see what they think the best / funniest translation is. They're not that expensive, and it's worth it if your going to get something tattooed on yourself.
posted by nangar at 8:09 AM on December 17, 2017

Thank you so much, everyone!
posted by faustian slip at 12:46 PM on December 17, 2017

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