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Eastern to Western: Latin for Toothbrush Tree

by Ehsan
(Irvine, CA, USA)

Dear Latin Teacher,

For centuries in the Middle East they have used the branches/twigs of the Peelu Tree (Salvadora Persica) as a toothbrush. It actually works great, and I'm assuming at some point in history there were Latin-speaking folk who also used it.

My question is, how would I describe this kind of toothbrush in Latin?

Virga Dente? Virga Dentis? Something else all together?


Dear Ehsan,

I have never heard of such a thing in Latin, and I must admit that it was news to me even in English.

Your ideas of virga denti or virga dentibus may be the best thing going for a Latin translation. Notice that the dative must be used for the third declension word dens, dentis.

Other words for twig include ramulus and vimen.

The standard words for toothbrush in Latin are:

peniculus dentarius

peniculus dentibus detergendis

peniculus dentium

So you might get away with peniculus dentarius persicus

Sorry for the uncertainty on this one! But I do hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.



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