non illegitamati carborundum

English translation: Don't let the bastards grind you down

12:09 Apr 13, 2004
Latin to English translations [Non-PRO]
Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
Latin term or phrase: non illegitamati carborundum
Latin is a best guess as to the language this is in. I got it in an e-mail as a sign off and am just curious as to what it means. An on line Italian dictionary didn't recognize the words.
Gary Ginn
English translation:Don't let the bastards grind you down
Explanation:
You are right, this is Latin (pseudo-Latin, in fact). The original quote seems to be "Illegitimis non carborundum", meaning "Don't let the bastards wear/get/grind you down". Here is some background:

"Yes, this means "Don't let the bastards grind you down", but it
is not real Latin; it is a pseudo-Latin joke.

"Carborundum" is a trademark for a very hard substance composed
of silicon carbide, used in grinding. (The name "Carborundum" is a
blend of "carbon" and "corundum". "Corundum" denotes aluminium
oxide, and comes to English from Tamil kuruntam; it is related to
Sanskrit kuruvinda = "ruby".) "The "-ndum" ending suggests the
Latin gerundive, which is used to express desirability of the
activity denoted by the verb, as in Nil desperandum = "nothing to
be despaired of"; addendum = "(thing) fit to be added";
corrigendum = "(thing) fit to be corrected"; and the name Amanda,
from amanda = "fit to be loved").

Illegitimis is the dative plural of illegitimus =
"illegitimate"; the gerundive in Latin correctly takes the dative to
denote the agent. Illegitimus could conceivably mean "bastard" in
Latin, but was not the usual word for it: Follett World-Wide Latin
Dictionary (Follett, 1967) gives nothus homo for bastard of known
father, and spurius for bastard of unknown father.

The phrase seems to have originated with British army
intelligence early in World War II. It was popularized when U.S.
general Joseph W. "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell (1883-1946) adopted it as
his motto. Various variant forms are in circulation."
Selected response from:

Marina Khonina
Canada
Local time: 05:05
Grading comment
Best answer, especially the information about Vinegar Joe. I originally received slogan from an old army buddy.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +1don't let the bastards grind you down
Fernando Muela Sopeña
4 +1Don't let the bastards grind you down
Marina Khonina
4don't let them get to you
David Hollywood


  

Answers


12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
don't let them get to you


Explanation:
literally "illegitamati" are "bastards" but maybe tone in down

David Hollywood
Local time: 10:05
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
don't let the bastards grind you down


Explanation:
illegitimate - 1536, "born out of wedlock," formed in Eng., modeled on L. illegitimus "not legitimate." Sense of "unauthorized, unwarranted" is from 1645. Phrase illegitimati non carborundum, usually "translated" as "don't let the bastards grind you down," is fake Latin from c.1939. Carborundum was a brand of abrasives (reg. trademark U.S. June 21, 1892, by Carborundum Co. of Monongahela City, Pa.). The compound was made from carbon and silicon; the word from carbon + corundum.
http://www.etymonline.com/i1etym.htm

Fernando Muela Sopeña
Spain
Local time: 14:05
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
53 mins
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24 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Don't let the bastards grind you down


Explanation:
You are right, this is Latin (pseudo-Latin, in fact). The original quote seems to be "Illegitimis non carborundum", meaning "Don't let the bastards wear/get/grind you down". Here is some background:

"Yes, this means "Don't let the bastards grind you down", but it
is not real Latin; it is a pseudo-Latin joke.

"Carborundum" is a trademark for a very hard substance composed
of silicon carbide, used in grinding. (The name "Carborundum" is a
blend of "carbon" and "corundum". "Corundum" denotes aluminium
oxide, and comes to English from Tamil kuruntam; it is related to
Sanskrit kuruvinda = "ruby".) "The "-ndum" ending suggests the
Latin gerundive, which is used to express desirability of the
activity denoted by the verb, as in Nil desperandum = "nothing to
be despaired of"; addendum = "(thing) fit to be added";
corrigendum = "(thing) fit to be corrected"; and the name Amanda,
from amanda = "fit to be loved").

Illegitimis is the dative plural of illegitimus =
"illegitimate"; the gerundive in Latin correctly takes the dative to
denote the agent. Illegitimus could conceivably mean "bastard" in
Latin, but was not the usual word for it: Follett World-Wide Latin
Dictionary (Follett, 1967) gives nothus homo for bastard of known
father, and spurius for bastard of unknown father.

The phrase seems to have originated with British army
intelligence early in World War II. It was popularized when U.S.
general Joseph W. "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell (1883-1946) adopted it as
his motto. Various variant forms are in circulation."


    Reference: http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxillegi.html
Marina Khonina
Canada
Local time: 05:05
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
Grading comment
Best answer, especially the information about Vinegar Joe. I originally received slogan from an old army buddy.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Papaprodromou: Good work!
43 mins
  -> Thank you!
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