If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here
Henry Vilas wrote:Translated from the Latin, George Washington's family motto is "The ends justify the means."
I am not convinced that "Exitus acta probat" in Washington's day meant what we mean by "the ends justify the means." For that matter, I'm not sure that "the ends justify the means" meant in Washington's day what we mean by it today....
Henry Vilas wrote:It's a lot older than Washington. From Ovid, it is also sometimes translated as: "The result justifies the deed."
The meaning seems apparent.
Yes, I am aware of the source. Meaning is rarely just "apparent," however, and rarely stable at that. For example "probare" is much more commonly used to mean "test, examine, evaluate," as in the phrase "the exception proves the rule." Although we now understand that phrase to mean that cases which appear to break the rules actually confirm them, it originally meant, more simply, that cases which appear to break the rules actually test them.
Thinking of "probat" in this more common sense, we can think of "Exitus act probat" as meaning that the ends test or evaluate the means. In other words, the phrase can be read to mean the something different from what we take it to mean today--not that you can do whatever you want in order to achieve a certain end, but that the results are the final evaluation of the means.
Therefore, I prefer to translate it as "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing."
jman111 wrote:I don't recall ever before having quite the level of distaste for peanut butter as I have the last several days.
I've never actually hated someone on this forum until now. I've disliked people and their ideas, but never actually hate.
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