Latin for snake
August 20, 2006 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Why cant I find a english to latin translation for either "snake" or "serpent"? I have been trying to use online translators. and none of the ones that I have trried come up with a match.
posted by Raybun to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Bort has it, the Latin name for snake is serpens.
posted by thewittyname at 4:05 PM on August 20, 2006

...meanwhile, the search for a Latin word for 'plane' continues...
posted by seawallrunner at 4:46 PM on August 20, 2006 [5 favorites]

And Raybun, before you ask, there is no Latin word for airplane.
posted by rob511 at 4:48 PM on August 20, 2006

D'oh — dufus maximum sum!
posted by rob511 at 4:52 PM on August 20, 2006

posted by rob511 at 4:53 PM on August 20, 2006

"Cassell's Latin Dictionary" lists serpens, but also anguis as the translation of "snake." It also lists vipera as a translation used in poetry.

Serpens and anguis are also listed as the translations for "serpent."

As for "airplane" the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis has this word, aeronave, which seems to fit. The Lexicon is the Catholic Church's attempt to create Latin words for modern things. So, this, to me, counts as Latin. (For a more historical word you might try to find the word (or phrase) Da Vinci used for his flying machines.)

I leave to other MeFites, to construct "Snakes on a Plane." (since my Latin is super rusty.)
posted by oddman at 5:04 PM on August 20, 2006 [4 favorites]

angues in aeronavibus?
posted by sbutler at 6:37 PM on August 20, 2006

Wait... why did I make that plural? angues in aeronave
posted by sbutler at 6:39 PM on August 20, 2006

Whoa, Oddman, thanks for that link to the LRL. If only I spoke some Italian.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 8:23 PM on August 20, 2006

Well this is embarrasing. Schlimmbesserung's comment got me thnking and now I think "aeronave" is actually Italian. If so, the Latin would be "aëria navis."

Can anyone confirm that "aeronave" is Italian?
posted by oddman at 9:41 PM on August 20, 2006

Babelfish confirms it, Oddman.

My Latin is seriously weak, but I think that makes the Vatican SoaP into Angues in Aëria Navibus. Real Latin scholars, please be gentle.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 1:12 AM on August 21, 2006

My copy of the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis gives three possible words for aeroplane: aëronavis (-is, f.), aërovehiculum, aëroplanum. (The Italian word 'aeronave', which the Lexicon translates 'aëria navis', actually means 'airship', I think.)

So 'snakes in a plane' would be 'angues in aëronavi' (taking the ablative, because the snakes are already in, rather than going into, the plane).
posted by verstegan at 1:44 AM on August 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

Haec serpentes mater concubitum aeronavi mater concubitum dimittere volo

(Assuming 'serpens' is neutral, and concubitum is a probably incorrect gerundive, please correct)
posted by randomination at 3:57 AM on August 21, 2006 [3 favorites]

Rob511: The Latin for 'dumbass' is caudex, btw. Caudex sum, caudex es, caudex est.
posted by randomination at 4:02 AM on August 21, 2006 [2 favorites]

Verstegan: You actually own the thing? I envy. Dare I ask how much that thing set you back?

I knew to use the ablative; I just made the same mistake sbutler did and used the plural. It also probably bears mentioning that my book of grammar says the third-declension singular ablative could be either aëronavi or aëronave.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 9:10 AM on August 21, 2006

Somewhat closer to the present, Geoffrey Chaucer's blog currently features Serpentes on a Shippe!
posted by lukemeister at 3:09 AM on August 22, 2006

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