1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Latin
  4. >
  5. Latin Line of the Day


Latin Line of the Day

Here's another Latin line for everybody. This is from Cicero's De Officiis (On duties).

Et iusta omnia decora sunt, iniusta contra, ut turpia, sic indecora.

Broken down it means:

And all just things (Et iusta omnia)- et means and, iusta is and adjective meaning just, which modifies omnia. Omnia is a substantive, which is an adjective used as a noun. We use the in English when we say "the poor" or "the rich". Omnia, which means all as an adjective, is neuter plural, and so it means "all things".

Are proper (decora sunt)- sunt is the 3rd person plural form of sum (to be) and so sunt meant are. Since it is a verb it usually goes at the end of its clause.. Decora is a neuter plural nominative adjective meaning proper (although it is actually a very difficult word to translate; proper doesn't capture the whole word.)

the unjust, on the other hand (iniusta contra)- iniusta is another substantive, and it means unjust. Contra means "on the other hand".

as (are all) shameful things (ut turpia)- ut can mean a lot of things, but here it means "as". Turpia is a neuter plural substantive which means shameful or immoral here, although literally it means dirty or disgusting. We get the English word turpitude from it. I inserted the "are all" to make the English flow better and put parentheses around it to signify that.

are thus improper (sic indecora)- sic means thus. Indecora is yet another substantive. are is implied by the parallel contruction of the sentence. An example of this parallel construction in English would be " The children wake up at 8, the adults at 7". Even though the adults wake up, you don't need to say that in the sentence because the parallel construction implies it.

So, the full sentence is: And all just things are proper; the unjust on the other hand, as are all unjust things, are thus improper.

August 28, 2019



Thanks from a Latin beginner, for these insights into the language and culture! My new goal is to learn enough to read your sources for myself.


Thank you for this. Posts like this truly enrich my study.


I understand the meaning of the words but somehow I cannot grasp what the author was trying to say. Interesting post nonetheless

Learn Latin in just 5 minutes a day. For free.