absumo contra exoculo

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absumo contra exoculo

Post by Archived Topic » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:01 pm

I remember this translated as "eyeballs bashing each other in".
Any idea of where this comes from?
Submitted by Friend Chickenhead (Macon - U.S.A.)
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absumo contra exoculo

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:15 pm

Or a failed attempt at "Out of sight, out of mind", which was translated by the best FBI machine into Russian and back in 1950 as "Blind and mad". Or mine of "bella intestina Catalinae" as 'the beautiful intestines of Catiline'.
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absumo contra exoculo

Post by Archived Reply » Mon Nov 22, 2004 7:29 pm

Cat gut?
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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absumo contra exoculo

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat Jan 29, 2005 7:35 am

I just resurrected this one from the archives and I was curious if any Latin scholars out their actually know what it means, if anything. I’ve had a few attempts at trying to translate Latin from its component words and failed miserably (e.g. see posting ‘Velut inter ignis luna minor’ at http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?t=4177 and watch me stumbling around like an idiot!).

If we have some ‘former’ Latin scholars who are bit rusty, I have dredged up some definitions of the pieces, which could perhaps jog memories. John Barton's humorous response (or perhaps the phrase actually is a failed attempt to translate into Latin), however, aptly demonstrates the possible pitfalls when amateurs attempt translation. And a problem may be, as Erik Kowal pointed out in my above-mentioned fiasco, that context is often critical, so it is possible that without that we may not be able to pin this down for certain.
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So, the project is: absumo contra exoculo and the pieces are as follows:

absumo: verb – spend, waste, squander, use up; take up (time); consume; exhaust, wear out

contra: 1) adverb – a) against, opposite, opposed/hostile/contrary/in reply to; directly over/level. b) facing, face-to-face, in the eyes; towards/up to; across; in opposite direction. c) otherwise, differently; conversely; on the contrary; vice versa. 2) preposition – a) against, facing, opposite; weighed against; as against; in resistance/reply to. b) contrary to, not in conformance with; the reverse of; otherwise than. c) towards/up to, in direction of; directly over/level with; to detriment of.

exoculo: verb – blind, put out/deprive of eyes/sight
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Ken G – January 28, 2005
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absumo contra exoculo

Post by dalehileman » Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:10 pm

Mistranslation is a big problem in ethnically diverse areas like mine, contributing in large part to the a lack of coordination between successive teams of the Home Depot crew replacing my roof. The preliminary team inspects the old roof and makes the estimate, when I give them any special instructions. The second tears off the old roofing; the third installs the new felt, etc. For each team I had to repeat all the special instructions.

One instruction was that the wiring installation from a former rooftop cooling unit be left in place, in case I decided later to replace it. Everything went ok until (as I remember) the fourth team, which was to install the new tiles, when the Hispanic foreman asked, "Is the electricity off?"

Perfectly reasonable question, I thought, Concerned for his workers' safety, he wanted to be absolutely sure nobody would get zapped; and so yes, I assured him, it was.

However, when you translate his question into Spanish, it apparently means, "Is the electrical equipment to be removed?" and so when I went back up later to inspect the finished job, I noted in horror that they had torn out the entire installation, including the protective conduit and the wiring, flashing and all, and boarding over the opening, before installing the tiles

To Home Depot's credit, the primary final-inspection team acknowledged the mistake and knocked off a few bucks, though I'm still miffed. The tertiary inspection team--from the company that makes the tile--confirmed that yes, mistranslations of this sort are indeed very common in the area
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absumo contra exoculo

Post by russcable » Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:21 pm

Perhaps not a full Latin scholar but I did take it for several years...

As far as I can tell, the phrase is misremembered at best. Even without knowing Latin, you might guess that a short sentence/phrase consisting of two verbs and an adverb is unusual. Taking it as it is, both verbs are first person singular present tense, i.e. I destroy, I blind, so the remembered translation can't fit as I rather than eye is the subject of the phrase.

Another possibility is that there should be a space in "ex oculo" making it a prepositional phrase "from an eye" (oculo is the singular, ablative form of oculus, and ex does take the ablative as an object) rather than a verb. "I destroy in return from an eye."
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absumo contra exoculo

Post by haro » Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:11 am

Way back in another century, when the air was clean and sex was dirty, I attended Latin lessons for six years, six lessons a week, yeah, quite a lot, and I was pretty good at it even. However, as Russ stated, that sentence simply doesn't make sense, no matter how hard I try. Googling variants such as 'absum' (first person present tense of 'abesse'), 'adsum' (contrary of 'absum'), 'ex oculo' etc. don't lead anywhere either. I guess it's either badly misquoted or just a joke or sort of a conundrum.
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