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How to Say You're Dead - Latin Death Vocabulary

Words in Latin for Death and Dying

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Roman sarcophagus with the 9 muses.

Roman sarcophagus with the 9 muses.

CC Flickr User Trinity (Rebecca Partington)

Latin Death Words | Latin Funeral Vocabulary

Here are some expressions from Classical Latin dealing with death. In general, the infinitives need to be conjugated. [The infinitive is like the English form of the verb with "to" in front of it, as in "to die," "to kick the bucket" or "to push up daisies." Conjugation here refers to putting the proper ending on the verb, depending on who is doing the dying. In Latin this involves more than adding or removing a final s as we do in English to change "he dies" to "they die" or "she pushes up daisies" to "you push up daisies."]

Leave This Life

If you want to refer to someone's departure from life, you could use a conjugated version of one of the following phrases:
  • [(de) vita] decedere
  • (ex) vita excedere
  • ex vita abire
  • mortem obire
  • de vita exire
  • de (ex) vita migrare

Give Up the Ghost

In Latin you can "give up the ghost" by saying:

  • animam edere or efflare
  • extremum vitae spiritum edere

Before One's Time

Someone who dies before his time dies in these ways:

  • mature decedere
  • subita morte exstingui
  • mors immatura or praematura

Suicide

Committing suicide can be done in a variety of ways. Here are Latin expressions connoting self-inflicted death.

  • mortem sibi consciscere
  • se vita privare
  • vitae finem facere

Suicide by Poison

Taking poison for suicide:

  • veneno sibi mortem consciscere
  • poculum mortis exhaurire
  • poculum mortiferum exhaurire

Violent Murder

Killing someone violently:

  • plagam extremam infligere
  • plagam mortiferam infligere

Noble Suicide

A patriotic Roman death might be described using the following:

  • mortem occumbere pro patria
  • sanguinem suum pro patria effundere
  • vitam profundere pro patria
  • se morti offerre pro salute patriae

Take the Latin Death Words Quiz

Source:
C. Meissner's Latin Phrase Book

Please let me know if I've made an error.

The Past Tense

Suggestion from a reader: vixit = 'he lived'.

Latin-English Differences: Agreement | Case | Word Order | Gender | Articles | Alphabet

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