A Latin phrase meaning, roughly "There's no disputing of taste." Roughly equivalent to the English saying "One man's meat is another man's poison."



After reading CRConrad's writeup below, and havingSylvar called my attention to the issue the spelling of "disputandum"/"disputandem" as well, I took to Google to find the correct form of the phrase. The general consensus seems to be for "disputandum" over "disputandem", however the issue of word order was in favor of ending with "est", by a fairly small margin.

I did a little digging for the Latin scholars out there. Disputandem does not exist in any dictionary I can find. Anyways, unless it was very irregular it would be a third declension noun in the accusative, and so would not agree with gustibus.

Disputandum is the correct declination. It is nominative or vocative case, depending on interpretation. Also singular, future, passive participle.

I'm uncertain why a future particple would be used with the present tense est, it could simply be a little bit of poetic license on the original author's part. Ovid did this frequently.

While gustibus appears to be third declension (this is probably why there there is the dispute about dusputandum). It is fourth declension, masculine, and dative or ablative construction. I would guess that it is ablative absolute.

So.... While a more correct translation might be something awkward like there shall be/have been no accounting of taste I think the above translation stands.
/msg me if you disagree...and check out the Latin Language Metanode.

An addition: Gone Jackal says the phrase is from Francis Bacon and "de + prepositional object in the ablative + negative partical + gerundive + 3rd sing present of verb to be in passive paraphrastic expressing. disputandum is the gerundive of disputo, to calculate, estimate, judge. So, "concerning tastes it must not be judged" After taking a second look, I definitely agree.

In philosophy, de gustibus is used to distinguish discussions of subjective versus objective truth. If you tried to prove that vanilla was the best flavor of ice cream, the only thing I could really say would be, "De gustibus non est disputandum," (aside from that fact that I would agree).

It's perfectly true that I like vanilla best, and that as far as I'm concerned it's the best flavor. But in regards to subjective issues, issues "of taste", truth is truth for me. What is absolutely true of me is totally inapplicable to you. This as compared to "objective truth", (for those who believe in it), which is independent of the perceiver.
This construction in Latin is called the Passive Periphrastic and is one way Roman authors accomplished the idea of necessity. It has basically two parts, the gerundive or future passive participle plus a form of the verb to be. The gerundive declines like a first/second declension adjectives which is why the ending is "um" and not "em" as a third declension would be.Since the participle is an adjective it needs to agree with the subject. In this case the subject is impersonal and omitted therefore neuter nominative. The doer is typically expressed by a dative of agent, omitted in this case. Should the subject have been "taste" the form would have been disputandus since the noun in Latin is masculine, fourth declension.A literal translation is awkward but the idea here is "there ought to be no dispute regarding tastes (personal)" and the idea is more likely aligned with the English sentiment, "to each their own". You're more likely to find the est following disputandum, at least in prose. You may see the est before disputandum in poetry to fit meter.

 

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