Thursday, August 10, 2023

Latin Proverbs: fio (fit)

After doing a series of posts about "volo" and its forms, I thought I would do a series of posts about "fio" and its forms, starting with "fit," third-person singular present indicative.

Nihil fit sine causa.
Compare the English saying, "Everything happens for a reason."

Ex vitulo bos fit.
This is literally true, and metaphorically it applies to any small things that becomes very big. The photo is from PxFuel.

Nemo nascitur sapiens, sed fit.
Here the proverb is about human growth.

Tandem fit surculus arbor.
This is another saying about a small thing that grow large.

Saepe fit ex minima scintilla maximus ignis.
This is more ominous saying about something small becoming large.

Ex granis fit acervus.
De minimis granis fit magnus acervus.
Here the idea is how lots of small things can make one big thing.

Bonum ex malo non fit.
Here the adjectives "bonum" and "malum" are being used substantively as nouns.

Cito fit quod di volunt.
This saying also appeared in the "volo" proverbs.

Patientia laesa fit furor.
The word "laesa" is the participle of the verb "laedo, laedere," meaning "to hurt, injure."

Omnis doloris tempus fit medicus.
Compare the English saying, "Time heals all wounds."

Non lapis hirsutus fit per loca multa volutus.
Non fit hirsutus lapis hinc atque inde volutus.
Compare the English saying, "A rolling stone gathers no moss."

Fructus non multus fit, ager si non bene cultus.
This is a medieval rhyming proverb: multus - cultus.

Fabricando fit faber.
The word "fabricando" is a gerund, or verbal noun: "by making (things)."

Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo; sic homo fit doctus, non vi, sed saepe legendo.
This proverb also depends on gerunds: cadendo - legendo.

Click here for more Latin proverb posts.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Latin Proverbs: Volo (vel-)

Here's one more set of volo proverbs, this time featuring forms with vel- including the infinitive, velle, plus the second-person singular subjunctive velis and first-person plural velimus.

Aliud est velle, aliud posse.
Aliud est velle, aliud est posse.
You can find both forms: the second "est" can be implied or stated. The "aliud...aliud" idiom in Latin is equivalent to the English "one thing... another thing."

Velle bonum fieri magna pars est bonitatis.
The infinitive phrase "velle bonum fieri" is the subject of the sentence. But just wanting to be good is not enough; see the next proverb for the importance of actually doing good.

Non satis est bene velle, sed etiam bene facere.
The infinitive phrases "bene velle" and "bene facere" are the subjects here.

Non pudor est non scire; pudor nil discere velle.
Scire aliquid laus est; culpa est nil discere velle.
These two proverbs both comment in their own way on the importance of wanting to learn. If you don't know something, you should learn it; if you do know something, that's good, and you should want to learn more! Again, the infinitive phrases act as nouns here: "non scire," "nil discere velle," scire aliquid."

Idem velle atque idem nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est
Here you see the infinitive of "volo" and the infinitive of "nolo."

Stultum est vicinum velle ulcisci incendio.
Note that "stultum" is neuter nominative ("a stupid thing") which "vicinum" is masculine accusative ("your neighbor").

Leonem radere ne velis.
Leonem tondere ne velis.
The subjunctive with "ne" can express a negative command, and these two proverbs express the same idea but with two different verbs: "radere" and "tondere." The image is from rawpixel.

Ne vile velis.
This is also a negative command, with "vile" being used substantively: "(something) worthless, base, vile."

Libertatis proprium est, sic vivere ut velis.
The word "proprium" here is being used substantively to mean "a sign" or "a characteristic mark."

Si non possis quod velis, velis id quod possis.
Compare the English saying, "you can't always get what you want." 

Ut nulli nocuisse velis, imitare columbam; serpentem, ut possit nemo nocere tibi.
This combination of the dove and serpent goes back to the Biblical text in Matthew 10: Estote ergo prudentes sicut serpentes, et simplices sicut columbae. The form "nulli" is dative singular, parallel to "tibi" ("nocere" takes the dative).

Si transire velis maris undas, utere velis.
This proverb is based on wordplay: "si...velis" in the first part, but then "velis" meaning "sails" (ablative plural of "velum") in the second part.

Tales simus, quales videri et haberi velimus.
Here you see the subjunctive "velimus" from "volo" along with the subjuncdtive "simus" from "sum."

Click here for more Latin proverb posts.