Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find below an ancient phrase in one language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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Ego nunquam pronunciari mendacium! Sed ego sum homo indomitus.


I never lie. But I am a savage


This fun Latin phrase is a line from the 1995 movie, Braveheart. To the best of my ability, I have not been able to determine that this line / expression existed in history prior to the film. However, the film does present the Latin line as part of a classic TV trope: The Bilingual Backfire.

There is something of a rule in basic fiction. If a conversation between Alice and Bob about Carol and a simultaneously held conversation between either Alice or Bob with Carol comprises two different languages, the likelihood of Carol knowing the language of Alice and Bob is directly proportional to the amount of trash Alice and Bob talk about Carol, and vice versa.

When two characters try Hiding Behind the Language Barrier, talking about someone else who is present in a language the third party supposedly doesn’t speak, and the third party turns out to speak that language just fine, it’s a Bilingual Backfire.