contra mundum

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peter199083

Senior Member
Mandarin
Hi all,
I was watching Brideshead Revisited coming across a Latin word 'contra mundum'. And my dictionary says it means to 'fight or defy against world'.
Charles: I've got no family.
Sabestian: You've got me.[pause] Sabestian and Charles, contra mundum.

Do you ever use it in your daily life? Like, you are with your best mate, chum or even partner, will you say 'You and me, contra mundum'? Does the sentence sound intimate or romantic at all?
 
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Such Latin phrases were, and to some extent still are, used by those with a classical education. That was for centuries the traditional education of the English middle and upper classes, based on Latin and Greek language and literature.
    On the one hand a phrase like this would separate those using it from the majority of the population, and identify them as part of the privileged elite.
    On the other hand, it would evoke a sense of fellowship from the shared educational experience.
    That is a comment on the language.
    The meaning of the words would convey a more personal message of standing together in the face of the world.
     

    morzh

    Banned
    USA
    Russian
    Something about Latin proverbs:

    Some of them became part of almost every culture, and it is so understood, that an educated person has to, even without knowing the first thing about Latin, know some of the most popular maxima / proverbs from Latin.

    Like "Quod licet Jovi....", "Ex ungue Leonem ....", "Mea culpa", "De gustibus"....etc etc.

    So, English-speaking folks, who know them, will use them, not as part of English, but as a "look at me! I know Latin proverbs!" thing.

    But some became part of the language, same as French expressions etc.

    Like the same "mea culpa", or "coup d'etat". One will find them in a regular dictionary. Many people who do not know other languages at all, or proverbs, will use those.

    So it depends.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Do you ever use it in your daily life? No, never. That was the first time I had seen it.

    Like, you are with your best mate, chum or even partner, will you say 'You and me, contra mundum'? No - they would think I was a lunatic.

    Does the sentence sound intimate or romantic at all? No.
    Did the sentence sound intimate or romantic at 80 years ago? It sounds to me as if it is a pledge of loyalty.

    The problem with Latin phrases is that they often come in huge lists, of which about 0.5% are well-known but there is no way of knowing which are which.
     
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