what the fuck? [equivalent Latin profanity?]

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New Member
English, USA
How would one translate the exclamation "what the fuck?" into Latin (as in, "what the fuck was that?")? I'm cognisant of the cultural context surrounding Latin profanity and the uses of pedicare and irrumare, as well as the earthiness of Latin martial culture, so what would the proper (or equivalent) idiom here be?
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I once asked a Catholic priest how to translate your phrase and he offered "Quid coitio!" But he also agreed with relativamente's position.


    Senior Member
    I once asked a Catholic priest how to translate your phrase and he offered "Quid coitio!"
    That would be about as likely as someone saying "What the sexual intercourse!" in English…

    As far as I know, the only attested reinforced interrogative form is quisnam/quidnam, which is very tame ("who/what, pray?"), and I don't think it can be used exclamatively. I imagine that more colorful expressions were used in non-literary contexts, and since the modern Romance languages tend to go for taboo body parts (che cazzo/minchia, qué carajo/coño, què collons, ce pula mea…), I would suggest something like Quid mentula (mentulae?) for Latin.

    See also:
    What the fuck (All languages)
    what the fuck (Wiktionary)


    Sorry to interject, but quid mentula it is not correct. It says "what a d.ck", "how big is your d..." It is more an observation of facts than an exclamation, a profanity.
    There are a lot of examples of profanities in Latin. Latin was used in europe by scientist and philosophers to transmit knowledge until the end of XVIIth century, and it is still in use in the Catholic Church as a written and spoken language. Goliardic Latin has been used in European university for centuries and it is rich of example of profanities...

    Quid coitio seems a better "literal translation" of WTF...

    But because the very sense of the WTF is to express concern, like when you say "alas!" in english, a more correct translation could be "Vae!" (Hey you!) or "me lasso" (poor me!)...
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