November 03, 2006

Suus cuique crepitus bene olet

In English: To each person his own his fart smells nice.

Yesterday's proverb, suum cuique pulchrum est, "to each person his own is beautiful," was a kind of subtle dig at the way people have blinders on when it comes to judging the quality of something that belongs to them. This proverb puts it much more bluntly. People's sense of self-admiration is strong that they think even their own farts don't smell too bad!

The Latin word crepitus can actually refer to any kind of crackling or popping sound. For example, the phrase crepitus digiti means a "snap of the fingers." In this proverb, however, the context - smelling nice - indicates that the sound here is definitely the sound made by a fart.

You can read more about the Latin "crepitus" at Laudator Temporis Acti in his delightful posts Crackling Wind, God Save the King, The God Fart (with this follow-up post), as well as his discussion of today's proverb in a post entitled Executive Washroom. Cheers to Michael Gilleland for this excellent blog - if you have not visited it before, you will find all kinds of fascinating things to read there.

Not surprisingly, farts and farting are a motif found in proverbs and folklore from all over the world. Dan Ashliman's fantastic folklore and mythology website has this collection of stories in English for your reading pleasure, Breaking Wind: Legendary Farts, including The Historic Fart and The Father of Farts (1001 Nights); How Till Eulenspiegel Became a Furrier's Apprentice, Till Eulenspiegel and the Innkeeper at Cologne, Deceiving the Devil and Timmermann's Fart (Germany); and General Pumpkin (Korea).

Meanwhile, here is today's proverb read out loud:

1508. Suus cuique crepitus bene olet.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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Stephen Bujno said...

I'm sorry to say that just yesterday my family was discussing as to whether or not one minds their own brand. This maxim weighs in on my side. Thanks for the lighter note today!

Laura Gibbs said...

Ha ha, Stephen, I am glad you enjoyed it! I should update this blog post to include a FANTASTIC story about farting which turned in one of my student's folklore projects here: the fart himself is actually a character in the story! It is HILARIOUS!

The Rich Man and the Poor Man (a Palestinian folktale)