noli illegitimi carborundum

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Alternative forms[edit]

  • illegitimis non carborundum
  • nil illegitimi carborundum
  • non illegitimi carborundum
  • nil carborundum illegitimi
  • nil sine illegitimi carborundum
and others such as Noli illegitimi te carborundum - that puts the 'you' (Latin 'te') in the aphorism



This saying was popularized by US General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell during World War II. He is reputed to have learned it from British army intelligence. In politics, the saying became motto for 1964 Republican nominee Senator Barry Goldwater, who hung a sign in his office. The word "carborundum" in particular was not of Latin origin. [1] Carborundum is often represented as meaning grind, resulting in Don't let the bastards grind you down.The correct translation is noli nothis permittere te terere.


noli illegitimi carborundum

  1. Don't let the bastards grind you down


  1. ^ The use of the word Carborundum is a pun, a brand name of a form of silicon carbide grinding material