Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Real Meaning Behind the Addams Family Motto

"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc!"
“We gladly feast upon those who would subdue us.”

Not just pretty words? Well, according to Dennis of the Campvs, the Addams Family Credo might be just that: pretty words. Dennis, graduate student linguist, translates the meaning of the Addams Family movie's bit of Hollywood Latin, "Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc!":

“Thus do we growl that (our) big toes have,
at this moment, been thrown up from below!”

He then offers a possibly more accurate Latin verse:

“Laeti vescimur nos subacturis.”


Full notes on the translation at The Campvs

22 comments:

Nacho said...

I feel betrayed!!!
I wanted to have a tatoo with the addamses´ motto but i think i´ll change my mind.

Michael-Alexander Gomez said...

I have studied latin and speak Spanish, French, and I can read Italian as well. I do not concur with the translation at all. The original meaning is correct. Gorgiamos has germanic connotations linguistically similar to gorge or swallow (to eat) ALLOS connotates a plural form of "they" or "those" SUBJECTATUS is also a connotation that means "to subject" "to suppress" or "to subjugate" and NUNC is the latin negative variation meaning "infintely no" "NO", "NEVER" which eventually trickles down to spanish NUNCA, which mean never also. Loose Latin-Anglo Translation: Sic Gorgiamos Allos Subjectatus Nunc= Never submit, we would rather feast on those who try to. or We feast on those who would subdue, never submit. Or We gorge on those who would forever subdue us eternally. or "we gladly feast on those who would subdue us..." meaning: "we will never submit, but rather devour those who would subdue us."

Anonymous said...

tiestox Nice job, really good article mate free iphone 4s
tiestox 3653

Anonymous said...

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return
the favor”.I'm attempting to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Feel free to surf to my webpage men clothing stores online

Anonymous said...

Hello there, You have done a great job. I'll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited
from this web site.

Here is my site; new cellulite treatment

Anonymous said...

Hi, I desire to subscribe for this blog to obtain most up-to-date updates, therefore where can
i do it please assist.

Feel free to visit my web site ... cheap party pills

Anonymous said...

What's up colleagues, nice piece of writing and pleasant urging commented here, I am genuinely enjoying by these.

My blog post: legal ecstasy

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Mr. M.-A. Gomez, but your analysis is way off. "Nunc" means "now" in Latin, not "never." The motto is just fake-Latin, and definitely does not mean what it claims to, for precisely the reasons given in the link above.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Anonymous (Nov. 22): Mr. Gomez is incorrect. He appears to think that you can read a text in Latin based on vague resemblances between the Latin words and superficially similar words in modern languages. It doesn't work that way.
To take one example, Latin nunc does indeed look like Spanish nunca, but the two are not related. Nunca is from the Latin word numquam, which is a compound of ne "not" + umquam, "ever". Nunc means "now", as a quick glance at any Latin dictionary will confirm. The word allos means "big toes" (perhaps Mr. Gomez is thinking of alios, but even that would mean "others", not "they" or "those"), and there is nothing in Latin remotely resembling gorgiamos

Signor Anthony Addams Bondioli said...

The Addams Family credo has generally been denounced by scholars as "bad" or "inaccurately translated" Latin. They are correct. The phrase is rendered in Dog Latin (i.e., pseudo- or mock-Latin, often created for comedic effect). With that in mind, however, consider at least the following, and appreciate the fact that it can be supported by some kooky train of thought:

(To slightly paraphrase M-A Gomez's explanation)... GORGIAMUS has Germanic connotations, linguistically similar to "gorge" or "swallow" (to eat). ALLOS connotes a plural form of "they" or "those." SUBJECTATOS is also a connotation that means "to subject," "to suppress," or "to subjugate," and NUNC is the Latin negative variation meaning "infintely no," "no," "never," which eventually trickles down to Spanish NUNCA, which means "never" also. Therefore, a loose Latin-Anglo translation of Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc could be, "Never submit, we would rather feast on those who try to," or "We feast on those who would subdue, never submit," or "We gorge on those who would forever subdue us eternally," or "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us," meaning that "We will never submit, but rather devour those who would subdue us."

Again, this is only a generously loose translation, and one that would probably make serious scholars of Latin cringe. That, to me, contains much of the beauty of it. If I were to ever have the family credo tattooed on my skin, it would be in the admittedly inaccurate Dog Latin cited in the film, as spoken by Angelica Huston in her portrayal of Morticia. The Addamses are nothing if not irreverent. Why should they bother with proper Latin, when something so much more fun and free as Dog Latin exists as an alternative? They know what they mean, and that's all that matters. If the square remainder of the world really "got it," what fun would that be? We gladly feast on those who would subdue us. That goes for anally retentive Latin authenticity mavens, as well as any other would-be subjugators.

BellaDonna said...

I agree with you kinda common sense I would think

The Hot Girl in the Comic Shop said...

Signor Anthony Addams Bondioli; you are a true and proper Addams. We couldn't care less what anyone else thinks!

Anonymous said...

Even a cursory glance at a Latin dictionary might cause you to change your mind. Why not start with "nunc", which means "now" in Latin, not "never"? Spanish "nunca" derives from Latin "numquam".

Anonymous said...

*sigh* And yet another group of people that miss the point.
The Addams family danced as Nero fiddled. They danced for Jack the Ripper. They keep an uncles summer wardrobe, winter wardrobe and EARTHLY REMAINS in the cupboard! They use a real electrical chair in childrens games, and throw swords at the family lawyer, being annoyed that they miss.
In a movie containing such elements, you're upset because the LATIN doesn't make sense?!

Anonymous said...

Yes! This! A thousand times this!!!

Anonymous said...

Using a poor translation that most consider to be incorrect or strange... Seems to be exactly the way the Addams family would want it.

Benedict 16th said...

I would agree with "Signor Anthony Addams Bondioli", but here is my take on the phrase

sic is so or thus (exclamation), gorgiamus or "gorge" literally "throat", -the suffix -iamus, probably a corruption of -ismus like ignoramus (a word made up in the 15th century), is "to verb a noun", allo(s) greek for other, or simply they, Subjectatus to make the subject of, (-atus from singular -atio - to noun a verb), nunc latin for now...

Thus (to) throat those (who) subject* (us) now.

* the noun of the verb subject when referred to the first person plural would be 'subject us'.

I suspect a bit of schoolboy latin would have created the word gorgiamus, like Debbie's other film, deep gorgiamus.

Unknown said...

Well said, I couldn't agree with you more.

kempesz said...

Ha ha, love you, signore Bondioli!

Jack silver said...

nos libenter festum super illis qui
noluit subicite nobis

Farmer Ashley said...

There is an older wood sign (no older then 20yrs) that has this engraved on it in from of my neighbors house. They live in an old school/hospital. We luv out in the country in rural Southern Missouri... I looked it up when I first moved out here. Weird!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately no one understands it's not Latin it's Addams.

The motto on my family crest is Sedo Sed Serio which can mean not only "We are richer than you are" but "Late but in earnest" but also "Meanwhile, serious?"

Sounds so sexy when Anjelica Huston says it.