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Spicy

Laurentius

Civis Illustris

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Location:
Lago Duria
How would you say this? Went to some Indian (I think) diner today and it crossed my mind that I didn't have a fitting word in Latin. I have found acer, asper and mordax but these seem somewhat lacking.
 

kizolk

Civis Illustris

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Location:
Bourgogne, France
Smith and Hall (via Latinitium) gives:

spicy:
  • 1. ŏdōrātus: cf. Sil. 17, 658, where the epithet is applied to the Indi, because of the spices which abound in the Indies: Tib.
  • 2. condītus, aromatis (odoribus) condītus: v. spice, and to season.
  • 3. ărōmătĭcus (v. rare): in Spart. Hadr. 19, aromatica = spices. (Occasionally used fig.: bene conditus: conditior.)
But they don't seem to convey what you want.

The foods you would usually call "spicy" tend to contain chili peppers, but the Romans probably didn't know them. Pepper is interesting too, from which you get piperātus:

Lewis & Short dixit:
pĭpĕrātus, a, um, adj. [piper], peppered, seasoned with pepper.
  1. I. Lit.:garum piperatum, Petr. 36: acetum, Col. 12, 47, 5.
    1. B. Subst.: pĭpĕrātum, i, n., peppersauce, Cels. 4, 19; Apic. 3, 14.

  2. II. Trop., peppery, pungent:piperata facundia, Sid. Ep. 5, 8; 8, 11.
    1. B. Sharp, thievish: non fuit Autolyci tam piperata manus, Mart. 8, 59, 4.
Then I thought about mustard, whose name comes from mustum... ardens!

Wikipedia dixit:
The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice (the must) with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make "burning must", mustum ardens—hence "must ard".[6] A recipe for mustard appears in De re coquinaria, the anonymously compiled Roman cookbook from the late fourth or early fifth century; the recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, pepper, caraway, lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dill, celery, thyme, oregano, onion, honey, vinegar, fish sauce, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar.[7]
PHI didn't find any occurrence of it, and I searched it in the above mentioned cookbook but couldn't find it; not sure when it's been used for the first time.
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris

  • Civis Illustris

Location:
Lago Duria
Thanks a lot! Interesting ideas, and I think piperatus sounds perfect!
 

kizolk

Civis Illustris

  • Civis Illustris

Location:
Bourgogne, France
Only now do I notice something went wrong with the formatting on the "peppery" entry. The forum superimposed an Arabic numeral list, but the original only had the two Roman numerals and the B's.
 

syntaxianus

Civis Illustris

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Location:
Massachusetts, USA
I see nothing wrong with the suggestion of acer:

Smith & Hall, s.v., pungent:

ācer, cris, cre (the primary sense of the word): let him avoid p. things, such as mustard, onion, garlick, ut vitet acria, ut est sinapi, cepa, allium, Varr. in Non. 201, 14.
 

Michael Zwingli

Civis Illustris

  • Civis Illustris

How about "acutus"?
I think so, though. Note Lewis' dictionary entry, under the first figurative sense "Fig., to the senses":


Is not something "sharp" or "pungent" to the sense of taste what we today call "spicy"?

The Romans didn't have most of our modern "spices". Your average American who douses everything in "Frank's Red Hot" sauce probably would think everything in the Roman diet to be exceedingly, unbearably bland. The Latins didn't know Chile peppers of any kind or anything else containing capsaicin, nor any of the spices from the orient. Basically what they had to sex up their food were European herbs. Even so, according to Lewis, if something was "sharp" or "pungent" tasting, like a meaty "ragù" with an excess of basil and oregano (I know, the Romans didn't have spaghetti yet, but bear with me), it was acutus/-a/-um.

EDIT:
To my mind, the problem with acer, asper, and the like, are that they suggest something bad tasting...not "spicy" in a good way, such as something excessively bitter. If you don't like acutus, then you may have to get creative: pungibilis < pungō + -bilis (?)
 
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