back to article That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

We asked for it, and we got: in spades. In response to our call for a stirring motto for the proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) embroidered mission patch, we were buried under suggestions from all corners of Regosphere diaspora. A proposed LOHAN mission patch Indeed, so great was the response that it's …

  1. Frederic Bloggs

    to the pub

    Like the 'ad astra et ad taverna' but it's clearly in the wrong order and not very latin really. How about "ad tabernam ad astra"?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: to the pub

      I think its supposed to be a derivative from the "our Father" prayer. More correct then would be: "Sicut inter sidera et in taberna". Between the stars as (it is) in the pub. It seems incorrect because there is a bit of sentence missing, where the implied "it is" comes from. I don't really know how to fix that without making it a rather lengthy sentence. Plus my latin is a little rusty. I last translated anything about 7 years ago.

      Edit: also, it should be taberna at least. I think Caupona would be better suited in meaning (inn, tavern, canteen. More fitting of the meaning of a pub) but less recognizable by those not learned on the dark arts of Latin.

    2. Pellinor

      Re: to the pub

      "Per taberna ad astra"?

    3. EddieD

      Re: to the pub

      I'd have thought "Ex taberna ad astra" as "From the Pub to the stars"

      I'll ask some of the classical scholars here, but I doubt they'll be too cooperative - very serious bunch the classicists.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: to the pub

        "it's clearly in the wrong order and not very latin really."

        Yeah, sorry about that but I learnt what little latin I do have from the Asterix books which when I think about it might not have been the most accurate source.

        1. Frumious Bandersnatch

          Re: to the pub

          Yeah, sorry about that but I learnt what little latin I do have from the Asterix books which when I think about it might not have been the most accurate source.

          In the same vein, how about "the sky will not fall today". A bit elliptic/tangential (being more Gaul than Roman), but it has a nice rousing feel, even if it's tinged with a sense of potential doom/failure. No idea what it is in Latin.

          On second thoughts: "hic sunt Playmonaut!" (for a mix of Greek/Latin/Plastic)

      2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        Re: to the pub

        EddieD, ex (or ab) would only be used with a noun beginning with a vowel; in this example, e taberna (“out of the pub”) or a taberna (“from the pub”) would be preferred.

      3. Irony Deficient Silver badge

        Re: to the pub

        EddieD, as a follow-up to my previous reply, I did a spot check of one of Cicero’s books. There, he much preferred ex over e for nouns beginning with consonants — I had thought that that was a feature more characteristic of mediæval Latin — and consistently used ab with nouns beginning with an H. (There was one inconsistency: a natura was used thrice, and ab natura was used once.) So, I’ll correct myself by stating that ex taberna should be fine in a motto.

  2. joeldillon

    'ad tabernam' I think - accusative case.

    (Though taberna is more like 'shop' - perhaps ad popinam?)

    1. Frederic Bloggs

      And? :-)

      Doing more research would suggest "cupona"(am) (as I am still quite liking the accusative). But "taberna" is still more universally understood and isn't actually wrong. After all "tavern", "taverna" etc still exist.

    2. Vincent Ballard

      And it would be more idiomatic to use -que than et: ad astra tabernamque.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge


    Just about the only feature of Latin I can remember is that almost always, the verb comes at the end of the sentence.

    If the sentence, like Yoda-speak, becomes? Well: too bad, that is.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone with a firm grasp of Latin grammar

    Stephen Fry, perchance?

    You could always try asking.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Someone with a firm grasp of Latin grammar

      Does he go around saying 'hujus, hujus, hujus' as if he were proud of it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Someone with a firm grasp of Latin grammar

        >Does he go around saying 'hujus, hujus, hujus'

        I've no idea, maybe you should ask Jeeves.

        1. Isendel Steel

          Re: Someone with a firm grasp of Latin grammar

          Would be the same as asking Mr Fry - as he was Jeeves to Laurie's Wooster

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Someone with a firm grasp of Latin grammar @Isendel Steel

            >Would be the same as asking Mr Fry - as he was Jeeves to Laurie's Wooster

            I despair that someone felt the need to explain that. Maybe you'd care to explain how Fink-Nottle fits in to all this as well.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Someone with a firm grasp of Latin grammar

          >I've no idea, maybe you should ask Jeeves.

          Or perhaps the Latin master at St. Custards?

        3. Daniel von Asmuth

          Google translate!

          "What goes up, must come down" ---> "Quod ascendit, deveniatur."

          There are only two native speakers: Pontifices Franciscus et Benedictus XVI.

          1. Marvin the Martian

            Re: Google translate!

            Native? Their mother tongues were German and Spanish IIRC.

  5. JimmyPage

    Word order ?

    From my recollection, Latin has no word order - you know what each word is doing by it's declension.

    One of the first computer programs I wrote was in 1981, and it decline Latin verbs. (Apple BASIC string handling was cool).

    1. Brian Griffiths

      Re: Word order ?


      Nouns decline, verbs conjugate


      I'll go now...

      1. JimmyPage

        Re: Word order ?

        Upvoted for your pedantry ... and for reminding me the program declined nouns.

        E pluribus unum ?

        Civile si ergo. Fortibuses in aro. No vile, deus trux. Watis inum ? Caux an dux.

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: Word order ?

      JimmyPage, because of the inflections, Latin’s word order is far more flexible that that of English, but it’s still quite possible to create Yoda-Latin.

  6. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    We, who are about to fly, salute thee

    I haven't done Latin for 25 years, so I open to correction on my future participles:

    We, who are about to fly, salute thee!

    Volaturi te salutant

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We, who are about to fly, salute thee

      Talking of salutes ... how about "ascendo tuum, amicus"?

  7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "XL WD"


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's Lohan, so...

    veni, vidi, concubuit ?

    or should that be Vidi concubuit veni?

  9. Robert E A Harvey

    Hows about

    "ut in ore infinitum" - to the edge of infinity

    1. Uncle Slacky

      Re: Hows about

      Wouldn't "to infinity and beyond" be better?

      Google Translate reckons it's "Ut infinitum et ultra", BTW.

  10. Kit-Fox

    Straight from the heart of the playmobil pilot & ref to a mr Pratchett, i think we should go with the following;

    We who are about to die, dont want to

    Morituri Nolumus Mori

  11. John Savard

    Word order?

    The one I understood was "Ad astra et ad tavernem". Yes, it doesn't follow the pattern of "Ad astra per aspera", but that's because it means somethig different (and hence it isn't breaking Latin word order) - "To the stars through hope" versus a more anticlimactic "To the stars, and to the pub".

    It isn't intended to claim that going to the pub makes a material contribution to getting to the stars.

  12. Pellinor

    "Lorem Ipsum dolor sit amet"?

    Or, from the same artist (abridged):

    "ut labore et dolore quaerat voluptatem" ("From labour and pain he seeks pleasure" - I think...)

    1. breakfast Silver badge

      Actually the classic placeholder text would make a funny motto.

  13. Pellinor

    "Quid agit puga agere?"?

    Possibly with an "ipsum" in there, but I think it scans better without.

  14. tony2heads

    surely it is all over by now.

    Elvis abiit ad aedificationem

    icon - its a cloak

  15. Kevin Johnston

    and this is why...

    I always regretted not learning Latin. Bad enough that I couldn't understand some of the jokes in the Astrix books but now I can't understand my favourite Tech-site.....

    I would add though that the clip from Life of Brian in the Sub-head was a real obstacle on my German A1 classes when trying to decline verbs

    1. dotdavid

      Re: and this is why...

      Agreed. I would have liked a basic translation next to each :-(

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: and this is why...

      "Latin's a dead language

      Dead as dead can be.

      First it killed the Romans

      And now it's killing me."

      1. JimmyPage
        Thumb Up


        One of the Jennings books (a *real* pedant would know which one) by the peerless Anthony Buckridge.

  16. James 36

    "the romans they go the house ?????

    whats that supposed to mean"

    what about

    those about to fly salute you (I don't know latin)

    1. cordwainer 1

      Hi James 36...

      Since I don't think anyone else has explained, to understand the joke behind "the romans they go the house", you have to be familiar with Monty Python's "Life of Brian" - where the centurian is correcting the Latin grammar of some graffiti.

  17. Thesheep

    I'll get my toga virilis...

    Latine loqui potest?

  18. markw:

    Why Latin?

    Why not an English motto.

    Or if you must have a dead language why not one closer to home such as Welsh or Cornish?

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Why Latin?

      There are a million of so Welsh speakers, aren't there?

      I'm not sure they'd be happy to have their language classified as dead.

      Maybe you had Manx in mind.

      1. markw:

        Re: Why Latin?

        Welsh is in a persistent vegetative state. As soon as life support is removed it will die out completely.

        I say that because it's true. However I also support all these minority UK languages and am perfectly happy for my tax money to be spent to keep them going.

        I also detest the homogenising effect of the internet and other modern media on regional accents and other regional differences. I also recognise that my detesting it will make no difference whatsoever and in the long term.

      2. Mike Banahan

        Re: dead Manx

        Strangely (or not) Manx is coming back from the dead. There's now a school on the island teaching purely in the medium of Manx, reviving it from numerous books and recordings of the last lot of native speakers prior to their expiring.

        You can argue how 'native' or 'Manx' it is, but this clip is illuminating:

        I'd say those kids are about as native speakers as you can get and if they carry on with it, the language is going to expand - there's a fair amount of interest in it on the island.

  19. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Veni vidi volarit

    I came, I saw, I flew.

    (I was kicked out of Latin after two weeks in 1972)

  20. Beornfrith

    Why not go for something a bit different instead of falling back on the clichéd use of Latin for these things? What's wrong with the language from that which our speech is derived, Old English?

    How about: "Se heofenas beacnian" (The heavens beckon)

    1. Beornfrith

      I just read this again and noticed I used the wrong word for 'the' in this case. It should read 'Ða heofenas beacnian' (where Ð is pronounced as 'th')

  21. TheDillinquent
    Thumb Up

    Per Ballocketry ad Astra

    Through ballocketry to the stars

  22. Don Coglioni

    mihi 0.2 sesrtertii

    "Ludonauta feminalia Lohanis non requiret"

  23. Ralph the Wonder Llama

    Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.

    Given the impossibility of my entry being adopted, it is gratifying indeed to earn a sub-headline :)

  24. Denarius Silver badge

    thank you for the reference

    I do have a dopelganger so two of me can be arranged. I thought you might want the Sestertius for commentards thoughts though. In these August pages let items of real value be discussed rather than later debased items of currency. Coat is the toga.

  25. jjk

    Ab hoc possum videre domum tuum

    (Another one stolen from Sir Pterry.)

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Ab hoc possum videre domum tuum

      and incidentally my paragliding motto!

  26. imanidiot Silver badge

    Igpay atinlay otway tarsyay

    1. imanidiot Silver badge


      sertinyay levercay atinlay unpay hereyay

  27. imanidiot Silver badge

    More seriously

    In umeris gigantium

    (on the shoulders of giants)


    Fortuna faveat, bibentes

    (fortune favours those who drink)

  28. Johnny Canuck

    Google translate

    gives me tangens caelum, for touch the sky. Which I paraphrased from the poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

    "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

    My eager craft through footless halls of air....

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

    - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."

  29. DocJames

    ipsum summa pergant

    - got to recognise the playmonaut

    Et de fumo et globum

    - can't find better latin for balloon...

  30. Vincent Ballard

    It's a few years since I did GCSE Latin, but with the help of Wiktionary to double-check the declensions I've struggled through all of the listed phrases.

    "Colei canis in vacuo": grammatically correct, translates as "The dog's balls in (a) vacuum". If the intention was "The dog's balls in space" then it should probably be "in caelis" (in the heavens) instead of "in vacuo".

    "Da da per forcipem": grammatically correct, but somewhat nonsensical. "Give give through forceps"?!

    "Ad astra et ad taverna": as commented above, it should be "tabernam" (b, not v; and in the accusative"; and it would be more idiomatic to use -que rather than et. "Ad astra tabernamque": to the stars and the pub.

    "In vacuo nemo clamorem audit": grammatically correct; translates as "In a vacuum no-one hears shouting". I'm not sure whether this was intentionally phrased to avoid calls from Ridley Scott's lawyers, or whether the submitter was avoiding the complication of which verb form to use for the object of auditere.

    "Pilas ad parietem": I'm not sure what this is trying to say. I has no verb and no subject, just two nouns in the accusative case. If the intended translation was "Mortar to the wall", it might be correct as "Pila ad parietem", but I'm not sure what that has to do with LOHAN.

    "Veni vici ballocketi" would be grammatical if there were an irregular second declension noun ballockere. I think I may be missing a cultural reference here.

    "Et anatis cum tape XL WD" is nonsense. "And of the duck with" followed by three non-Latin words. I hazard a guess that the intended meaning is "With duck tape and WD-40", which might be translated as "Cum cincta anatis et WD-XL", but the use of "cincta" for "tape" is by working backwards from modern Romance languages. And who knows what the ablative of WD-40 is?

    "Pervenientes usque pro stilo cælos in": almost grammatically correct. It's necessary to correct "caelos" (non-existent declension) to "caelis" to get "Those who are arriving all the way in front of a stake to the heavens". I am puzzled by the use of the plural "pervenientes", but I haven't paid enough attention to the LOHAN project to know how many passengers it's carrying.

    "Omnes vacuums hereditatem datæ sunt nobis": not grammatical, and it's not obvious how to fix it. "datae sunt nobis" gives a passive verb with actor "us", so it needs a nominative plural: if we correct vacuums (which isn't any of the declined forms of vacuus) to vacui then we can translate as "All voids are given an inheritance by us", but that's not very sensical. The other option for the subject is an implicit "they", but then we need one of the two objects to be a dative, and since "omnes" is plural nominative or accusative and "hereditatem" is singular accusative that's not possible.

    "De ebrietate, ingenium" is grammatical: "From drunkenness, intelligence".

    "Navis volitans mea plena anguillarum est" is grammatical: "My hovering ship is full of eels".

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      the ablative of WD-40

      Vincent, may you receive the laurel for your efforts in cleaning this corner of our Augean stables! (If you have a masochistic streak, the rest of the entries start here.) I’ll add a bit to what you’ve observed above:

      • Da has several possible meanings; my guess is that “give birth” was (figuratively) intended.
      • Pila has several meanings; my guess is that pilae was intended, as a literal translation from English for colei.
      • For the ablative of WD-40, perhaps mixtione WD-40; to also “translate” WD-40, one could use XL WD (as Mud5hark originally offered), or XL VVD (since Latin didn’t have a letter W), or XL IA (roughly translating “water displacement” as immutatio aquae). Fortunately, XL is indeclinable.

      1. Vincent Ballard

        Re: the ablative of WD-40

        Thanks for the link.

        Apparently "Da da per forcipem" was meant to say "Give me the pliers", which is nice and simple: "Forcipem mihi da".

        Your guess about "pilae" turns out to be correct.

        If we go far enough back, Latin was quite flexible about its numerals. It occurs to me that XXXX might be a more gypaetine way of writing 40 than XL.

        "pro stilo" was apparently supposed to mean "in style", but although there's an etymological link it's quite a stretched one. I think that the intended meaning of "Reaching for the heavens in style" would be better achieved as "Eleganter ad cælis perveniens".

        And the puzzling sentence ending "datae nobis sunt", which did hint at an "All your base" reference, was indeed so intended. "All your space are belong to us". Here I favour "spatia" as more punny: "Omnis spatia tuae pertinere nobis sunt" (deliberately ungrammatical).

    2. breakfast Silver badge

      I am surprised to discover the romans had no word for ballockets.

      Raises serious questions regarding what they have ever done for us.

      Which provides another possible motto: Quid pro nobis Romanos?

      ( Google translated because I know nothing about latin beyond a bit of etymology. )

    3. Michael Dunn

      @ Vincent Ballard

      ¨Ad astra tabernamque¨

      I aḿ not happy about that ´que´; it implies an equality between the two things named by the nouns. Remember the great schism, the split between Rome and the Eastern church, was prompted in part by by the inclusion of the word ´Filioque´ in the Nicene Creed.

      1. Irony Deficient Silver badge


        Michael, how does -que imply equality? Consider the first sentence of Tacitus’ Germania:

        Germania omnis a Gallis Raetisque et Pannoniis Rheno et Danuvio fluminibus, a Sarmatis Dacisque mutuo metu aut montibus separatur: cetera Oceanus ambit, latos sinus et insularum inmensa spatia complectens, nuper cognitis quibusdam gentibus ac regibus, quos bellum aperuit.
        In this sentence, Gaul is not being equated to Rhaetia, and Sarmatia is not being equated to Dacia.

        The Filioque controversy had more to do with ἐκπορευόμενον having been translated into Latin as procedit, and the differences in their respective connotations when “and the Son” was appended in Latin.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Veni, vidi, vermini - I came, I saw, I got ratarsed.

  32. VeganVegan

    As one who is Latin illiterate

    I have nought to contribute, except some mischief:

    Wouldn't it be so much more clever if the Motto also generates a witty acronym?

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