How to #yolo in Latin


That’s the first time I’ve seen First Things mentioned in a Boingboing post. I do hope that it will be the last.

“Credo quia absurdum est,” sed ego non volo.

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Nicely done. My high school Latin teacher used Coca Cola for first declension, and Hocus Pocus for second.

Coca Cola… Cocarum Colarum… etc.


There are many more interesting verb forms in Latin…
People should also pay attention to the alternate spelling iolo for the first person singular, which better matches the meaning of “I only live once”.

yolabam: (imperfect) I used to live recklessly
yolabo: (future) I will live only once, i.e. I will live more recklessly in the future, I’ll try to enjoy my life more.
yolavero: (future perfect) I will have lived only once, i.e. I’ll get myself killed some day

yolatus est: (perfect passive) “He has been lived only once”, i.e., he has been killed due to someone else’s reckless behavior
yolor: (present passive) not used for practical reasons
yolabor: (future passive) “I’m being lived only once”, i.e. [You are/someone is] going to get me killed!

And of course, there’s the gerundive: yolandus/-a/-um.
tibi yolandum est: “You have to live only once”, i.e. “Get a life!”

With the right verb form, it can be used as a direct insult:
yoles: (present subjunctive) May you live only once, i.e. Go away and die.

The verb yolo also appears in several important Latin phrases:

pecunia non yolet: (present subjunctive) May [my] money not live only once, i.e. I wish I had my money back.

si yolavisses, philosophus mansisses: (Pluperfect subjunctive) If you had lived only once, you would have remained a philosopher. (Now that you’ve risen from the dead, people worship you as their god).

Interestingly, the latin verb yolo forms an irregular imperative. While you would normally expect the imperative for yolo to be *yola!, this form is never used. Instead, the irregular form carpe diem! is used.



This is so full of win!

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In Greek you have the aorist verb tense, which describes an action that only happens once. Too bad I’m much too rusty to form the aorist of “live”, but I’m sure you see the implications.


yolatengo - I only live for indie-rock.

Yolent green… is people!


And here I expected Romani ite domum to be listed here.

And of course the song popularised by Mr Dean Martin ev’'ryone -

"Yolare - whoa ho, ".


I believe reduplication is also popular there, which would perhaps be appropriate for Mr J Bond - yoyolabis.

Volvo - I roll - but only once - and anybody who said it was more is a dirty liar,

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Shurely that fourth principal part should be ‘yolatum’, as the first three are clearly the first conjugation (cf amo, amare, amavi, amatum)?

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That fourth part is a participle and changes ending based on gender. Yolatum would be the neuter form, but it’s also common to list the masculine one instead.

More fun are the future participles: Yolaturi te salutant.


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