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Q: Translating an English phrase into Latin ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Translating an English phrase into Latin
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: pollywog-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 24 Jan 2006 08:05 PST
Expires: 23 Feb 2006 08:05 PST
Question ID: 437163
How would you translate the following phrase into Latin, or is there
an existing famous phrase that means much the same thing?
"Beware of gold, for it can turn even the best of friends into enemies."
Subject: Re: Translating an English phrase into Latin
Answered By: livioflores-ga on 26 Jan 2006 10:53 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

After researching I did not found a famous quotation related to your
request, so I worked on the translation of your original phrase and I
got this for you:

"Cave aurum, nam id quidem amicos optimos mutare [or vertere] in inimicos potest"

Here are some explanations:
Comments below suggested you "Caveo aurum", that means "I beware" so I
prefer "Cave aurum" which means "Beware of gold!". You can find a
similar construction in the famous inscription at the entry of Roman
houses "Cave canem" which means "Beware of the dog!"

You can use "pro" instead "nam", but there is a significant difference
between these words; "pro" means 'on (in) behalf of' so "nam" [(conj.)
for] is more appropiate in this case.

"quidem" is the proper adverb, many missuse the word "etiam" that is a conjuction:
Mendaci homini, ne verum quidem dicenti, credere solemus.
Liars aren't believed even when they are telling the truth.
(Cicero, De divitatione)

Pericla timidus etiam quae non sunt videt.
The fearful one sees dangers even that are not there.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 452)

You can also use "vertere" instead of "mutare", here is your choice, I
feel that mutare more meaningful for modern English speakers.

I use "potens" because it express in a more enphatic way the power to
make the change than the use of "possibile est".

For better understand of meanings, etc. see the following page and links on it:
"Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid":

For mottos and examples see the following pages:
"Sententiae Latinae -- Latin Maxims":

"Famous Latin quotations, translations, phrases, latin to english,
quotes, sayings, US Armed Forces mottos":

"Latin Quotes, Latin Phrases, Latin Mottos and Latin Quotations":

You can also try a demo version of QuickLatin:

Search strategy:
Use of QuickLatin and Words programs to help me with the translation.
Use of the online dictionaries for the same.
Used my own (very low) knowledge.
Search on mottos and phreses for similar constructions (with no much success).
Used the following keywords at to find the helpful pages:
latin phrases 
latin english translation
latin "quidem"
latin "etiam"
latin "beware" "gold" turn

I hope this helps. Please feel free to use the clarification feature
if you find something unclear and/or incomplete before rate this
answer. I will be glad to give you further assistance on this if you
need it.

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by livioflores-ga on 26 Jan 2006 11:45 PST
Hi again!!

I think that I found a more elegant translation:

"Cave aurum, pro id quidem amicos optimos in inimicos mutant (or vertant)"

(Beware of gold, in behalf of it even the best friends may turn into enemies)

Hope this helps.
pollywog-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Dear livioflores,
Thanks for your hard work! I accept your answer.

Subject: Re: Translating an English phrase into Latin
From: joe916-ga on 24 Jan 2006 12:26 PST
"Beware of gold, for it can turn even the best of friends into enemies."
"Caveo of aurum , pro is can verto vel optimus of amicitia in hostilis."
Subject: Re: Translating an English phrase into Latin
From: tutuzdad-ga on 25 Jan 2006 10:31 PST
Please consider these and let me know if one or both suffice as an answer:

"Caveo aurum - Dosis facit venemon"

"Beware of Gold - it is the dose that makes the poison."

"Ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes viros." 

"Fire tests gold; adversity tests strong men."

Subject: Re: Translating an English phrase into Latin
From: pollywog-ga on 25 Jan 2006 11:53 PST
Dear Tutuzdad-ga,

I'm sorry - I really need a phrase that implies gold is dangerous
because it can turn people against each other - even if it needs to be
"made up" or a literal translation of the phrase I wrote in English.
Thank you! Pollywog ga
Subject: Re: Translating an English phrase into Latin
From: hlabadie-ga on 27 Jan 2006 07:28 PST
Cave aurum, quod amicos pectoris inimicis permutare potest.

Beware gold, because it is able to change bosom friends into enemies.


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