You are here:

Latin/Phrase Confirmation

Advertisement


Question
Hello,

I am having a piece of jewelry engraved in Latin and would like a confirmation on the quote. I would like it to read, "Nothing is heavy to those who have wings." I've seen it translated as "alis grave nil" and also "nil grave ei qui alas habet" and wasn't sure which was the proper form.


Thank You!

Answer
Hello,

First of all I have to tell you that “Alis grave nil” does not mean “Nothing is heavy to those who have wings”, but “Nothing is heavy to wings”  which sounds quite strange in English and mostly in Latin as in ancient Rome nobody would have said it.

So, here are the correct translations for “Nothing is heavy to those who have wings”:

-“Alatis nihil grave” as well as “Alatis  nil grave ” where “nil” is a contracted form of “nihil”
or:
-“Nihil grave eis qui alas habent" as well as “Nil grave eis qui alas habent” where “nil” is a contracted form of “nihil”.

All the above translations are correct, of course, and therefore you can choose “Alatis nihil grave” or “Alatis nil grave”, if you want to use a short phrase.
Otherwise you can say “Nihil grave eis qui alas habent"  or “Nil grave eis qui alas habent”.

As for “Nil grave ei qui alas habet”, it literally means “Nothing is heavy to the one who has wings” in the singular, not “Nothing is heavy to those who have wings” in the plural.

Read more below.

Best regards,

Maria
_____________________________________________________________________________

Note that:

-ALATIS (indirect object, dative plural of the adjective ALATUS) = literally, “to the winged”, i.e. “to those who have wings"

-NIHIL / NIL  (neuter pronoun) = nothing

-GRAVE (neuter adjective agreeing with NIHIL) = heavy. The English verb “is” is omitted as it is implied in Latin.
________________________________________________________________________

-NIHIL/NIL ((neuter pronoun) = nothing

-GRAVE (neuter adjective agreeing with NIHIL) = heavy

-EIS (dative plural of the pronoun IS) = to those

-QUI (relative pronoun, nominative plural)= who

-ALAS (direct object, accusative plural of the noun ALA) = wings

-HABENT (3rd person plural, present indicative of HABEO) = have

Finally note that the Latin phrase "Alis grave nil", translated as “With wings, nothing is heavy”, is also the motto of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro,as well as the title of a novel by Barbara Schaer, but  it does not correspond at all to “Nothing is heavy to those who have wings”.  

Latin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.