Invective

 

 Epithets and Other Roman Interjections

The Romans weren't much different from us. When frustrated or angry, they, too, name-called, swore, and cursed their fellow man. In the following table, I've listed some of the more common interjections used. Some of the sources I've drawn these from are Latin dictionaries, an informative on-line conversation with C.J. Cherryh on CompuServe, and various other books included in the bibliography on the Ancient Rome page.

Unfortunately, I don't really have any idea as to which of these were used in the Late Republican era and which may have evolved later during the Empire. So if you have any information as to when any of these interjections first appeared or were commonly used, please contact me and point me to a reference or other bona fide information source. Also, if you know of any additional Roman interjections used during this period, I'd like to hear about them too.

 

 LATIN WORD OR PHRASE 

 ROUGH LITERAL TRANSLATION 

 OTHER POSSIBLE TRANSLATIONS 

 NOTES 

Aio!

Really?!

You don't mean it!

Expression of surprise

Certo Pol!

Most assuredly!

 

 

Cunnus! 

Cunt! 

Strumpet!  Whore! 

 

Di Immortales! 

Immortal Gods! 

Good Gods! Gods Above! 

Used when startled 

Di Omnes! 

All the Gods! 

Gods!

Used when startled 

Dis vos aufert or Dis te aufort! 

May the Gods Take You Off! 

Devil take you! Damn you to Hades!  

 

Edepol 

By Pollux! 

Gad! God! 

Mild expletive usually used by men 

Ehem! 

Ha! 

Aha!

 

Eheu! 

Alas!

Oh Shit! 

Used when expressing pain

Eho! 

See here! 

Look here now! 

Used when rebuking someone 

Eho dum! 

Look here now! 

 

 

Ei!  (or Hei!) 

Ah!

 

Expressing fear or dismay 

Eia! (or Heia!)  

 

Ah! Aha! Good!

Expressing joy or surprise 

Eia! (or Heia!)  [second meaning]

 

Quick! Come on! 

Used when in a hurry  

Eia age! 

Come on! 

Up then! 

 

Eu!

 

Fine! Great! Terrific!

 

Euax!

 

Hooray!

 

Euge or Eugepae!

 

Fine! Great! Terrific!

 

Fortuna te favet! 

Luck favors you! 

You lucky so-and-so! 

 

Hem!

Well!

 

Expression of surprise

Hercle! (or Ercle!) 

By Hercules! 

 

Used for emphasis or to express strong feeling. Used by men only.

Heu!

Oh! Ah!

Alas!

Expression of pain or dismay

Heus!

Hey!

 

Used to draw attention

Hui!

Wow!

 

 

Ita me di juvent! 

So help me Gods! 

 

 

Mecastor!

By Castor! 

Goodness gracious! 

Mild expletive usually used by women 

Mehercle!

Mehercule!

Mehercules!

By Hercules!

 

 

Merda! 

Shit!

 

 

Ohe!

Oh!

 

 

Perge modo!

Go on now!

Now get going!

 

Podex!

Ass!

 

 

Pol!

By Pollux!

Gads! Oh God!

 

Pro Iuppiter 

By Jupiter! 

By God! 

Used in anger or solemnly 

Vae!

Woe!

 

 

Vah!

 

Ah! Oh!

Expressing dismay, pain, annoyance, or contempt

Vaha!

 

Aha!

Expressing pleasant surprise

Vappa!

Flat Wine!

Brat! Good for nothing!

 


 

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Copyright 1998 Rich Hamper 

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Last Updated:

Sunday, January 20, 2008