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Latin Tattoo: Be Strong

by Nicoline
(Denmark)

Dear Latin Teacher,


I'm might getting a Latin tattoo in a few weeks and want to be sure how "Be Strong" is translated into Latin.

When I look on the internet, I'm getting two sentences: "Perfer Et" and "Perfer Et Obdura". Which one is the right one and are there a/what is the difference?

Sincerely, Nicoline


Dear Nicoline,

Perfer is a command meaning carry through or endure to the end.

Et means and.

Obdura is a command meaning be hard, persist, or endure.

Your should definitely use perfer et obdura for your Latin tattoo, which means carry on and be firm.

This Latin quote also has roots in Roman literature, in poem 8 of Catullus. Hear a recording of me reading Catullus 8 aloud. Look especially at line 11:

sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.

but with an obstinate mind, carry on, be hard.


Check out an English version of the poem here.

You may also be interested to see a previous post by Lauren, from Ontario, Canada.

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.

Sincerely,

John

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