Tweeting in Latin

Reggie detail suggests tweeting in Latin

Reginald Foster

How do you refer to tweeting in Latin?

The prize for the most clever Latin word introduced this year goes to Reginald Foster for his Ciceronian rendition of “tweet” “tweeter” “to tweet”.


Reginald says: “I almost jumped out of my skin when I remembered that Cicero says this in the first word of his letter to Atticus: Breviloquentem iam me tempus ipsum facit : ‘The circumstance itself is making me a brief talker’. He says it all in one word Breviloquentem” (ad Atticum book 7, letter 20, line 1).


The whole story is recounted in Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary under the heading for breviloquens and following. From Cicero’s word breviloquentem we can get the verb brevis-loquor written as one word breviloquor.


Thus, we might use Cicero’s expression to say in our day:


a person tweeting is breviloquens, entis adj. “speaking briefly


the act of tweeting or the habit of tweeting is breviloquentia, ae f. “brevity of speech”


tweet is a breviloquium, ii, n. “brevity in speech”


tweeter is described as a breviloquus, a, um, adj. “short in speech, speaking briefly


So we could say:


Amicam habeo breviloquam : I have a tweeting girlfriend.


breviloquamur invicem : Let’s tweet to each other

brevilocutus est nudiustertius He tweeted on the day before yesterday


Latine nunc nos breviloquimur omnes : Now we all are tweeting in Latin


This all comes from one reference in all of Latin literature made by Cicero himself. Seneca is reported to have criticised Cicero for inventing words, among them breviloquentia and suaviloquentia (Gell. 12, 2, 7).
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