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English to Latin Translation: To Possess and To Ruin

by Dave G
(Melbourne, Australia)

Hi there, I've been surfing around trying to find the best words to convey "To possess" and "To ruin"

Thus far the options I have found are...
"Potior" which seems the best for 'possess' and "Teneo" which seems to be the second best.

The latter I've been having trouble with. I tend to find in the tools I'm using, a term which has 'ruin' as a secondary definition, so this is definitely the one thing I'm needing help with. Thus far I've found "Sepelio" and "Comburo". And recently I discovered "Scindite" but I'm unsure.

Would you be able to either confirm the best words out of my selections, or indeed suggest any that perhaps state the concept better? Really in terms of "To Possess", "Potior" seemed to suggest a grandiose manner of possession. So rather than just owning a guitar, it was as if to suggest being the master of X. This is definitely what I'm after.

As for ruin, all the words I've found typically have a literal application like "Pull apart" or "Separate". Like possess, I'm more looking for the grandiose aspect. To literally decimate, rather than those smaller more literal definitions. Thoughts?

Dear Dave,

You are right about potior, potīrī, potītus sum meaning to take possession of or to control.

Remember in writing that its object will be sometimes genitive: urbis potīrī - to take possession of a city.

Sometimes ablative: victōriā potīrī - to obtain victory.

As for saying "to ruin" in Latin, the first verb that comes to my mind is ruō, ruere, ruī, rutus. But this usually refers to an object that falls to ruin or crumbles, not to a person ruining or destroying something else.

So I suggest dēleō, dēlēre, dēlēvī, dēlētum, to wipe out, destroy, delete, erase, etc.

Hope this helps and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.



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Many thanks
by: Dave

This is excellent. A thoroughly informative answer, thanks again John

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