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    What "Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum" Means on Handmaid's Tale

    The famous phrase "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" from 'The Handmaid's Tale' returns in the Season 4 finale. Here's what to know.

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    ’s Famous Latin Phrase Returns

    Nolite te bastardes carborundorum makes a cameo in the Season 4 finale. Here's what it means.

    BY ERICA GONZALES

    JUN 16 2021, 1:38 PM EDT

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    Spoilers ahead.

    “I’m going to put Fred on the wall,” June Osborne says in The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 finale, craving vengeance on her abuser, Commander Waterford. “On the fucking wall,” she repeats.

    And that's exactly what she does.

    Fred, who was held in custody for his crimes, was about to walk free. He shared confidential information about Gilead in exchange for his freedom. He would be tried in Geneva and would ultimately leave unscathed. So June takes the consequences into her own hands. She gets Commander Lawrence to set up a trade: Return Fred to Gilead to stand trial in exchange for the 22 women held hostage for being part of the resistance. On the other side of the Canadian border, Nick drives Fred into No Man's Land, where he is met with June and a group of women who brutalize him to death.

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    Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford

    HULU

    At first, the actual state of Fred's fate is unclear. We see June emerge from the forest bloodied and bruised, but not her victim. One of Fred's severed fingers (and wedding ring) is sent to his wife, Serena, in the mail. It's not until the final moments of the episode that we see the confirmation, plain and simple: Fred is dead, his headless body hanging on the wall where miscreant handmaids were hung. Below his feet read the words, "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum," in bloodred.

    The fake Latin phrase is not new for Handmaid's Tale viewers; it appears in Margaret Atwood's book and earlier in the series, and was even the title for Season 1, Episode 4. In the context of the story, the idiom roughly translates to, "Don't let the bastards grind you down," but it's composed of made-up words.

    "I'll tell you the weird thing about it: It was a joke in our Latin classes," Atwood said of the slogan, which evolved into a popular rallying cry and tattoo design. "So this thing from my childhood is permanently on people's bodies."

    Speaking to Michael Fontaine, a classics professor from Cornell University, Vanity Fair previously broke down the saying.

    “Nolite” means “don’t” (plural) in Latin, Fontaine wrote in an e-mail, while “te” means “you.” “Bastardes,” however, is a made-up word with a Latin suffix, and “carborundorum” is not Latin either.

    Per Fontaine, “carborundorum” is an English word that originated around 120 years ago; the Oxford English Dictionary, indicates that carborundorum was an industrial product used as an abrasive.

    Despite the term's fabricated origin, there's no denying the power behind it, especially on-screen with Fred getting what he deserves.

    "It's fantastic to see Fred Waterford on the wall," Elisabeth Moss told The Hollywood Reporter of the Season 4 finale. "And, [Joseph Fiennes, who plays him] would agree! He said the same thing. After everything June and those women have been through, it's fantastic."

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    What Does "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum" Mean on 'The Handmaid's Tale'?

    The Latin phrase "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" is used in the Season 4 finale of 'The Handmaid's Tale,' but what does it mean?

    Home > Entertainment > The Handmaid's Tale

    SOURCE: HULU

    "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum" Is Still Important on 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    BY CHRISSY BOBIC

    JUN. 17 2021, PUBLISHED 1:49 P.M. ET

    The final moments of the Season 4 finale of The Handmaid's Tale show a headless body hanging on a wall with the words "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" written behind it. Most dedicated fans of the show (and the book, for that matter) know this is a callback to other seasons, and Season 1 in particular. However, there are some viewers who are still a little foggy on what the Latin phrase means and its significance in the series.

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    So, what does "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" mean on 'The Handmaid's Tale'?

    In Season 1 of The Handmaid's Tale, while June is at the end of her rope and fearing for her safety and future in the Waterford home, she sees the words "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" carved into her closet wall. The words were put there by the handmaid who had been in the home before her. And, when June felt brave enough to ask Fred what the Latin words meant without telling him where she saw them, he translated for her.

    SOURCE: HULU

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    In the show, "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" translates to "don't let the bastards grind you down," and it makes sense, given June's position as a handmaid and the life that she and other handmaids are forced to live in Gilead. But, as The Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood explained to Time in 2017, the actual "Latin" words in the phrase are made up.

    "I'll tell you the weird thing about it," Margaret told the outlet. "It was a joke in our Latin classes. So this thing from my childhood is permanently on people's bodies."

    Some fans have the so-called Latin phrase have it inked on their bodies forever. Even if the translation is off, it still holds meaning and weight among fans.

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    SOURCE: HULU

    Who was the handmaid who wrote "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" on the wall in Season 1?

    In Season 1 of The Handmaid's Tale, June learned that the handmaid who had been placed in the Waterfords' home before her died by suicide. Before she died, though, she carved those pseudo-Latin words into the closet wall.

    It was eventually revealed that Fred had taught the phrase to her before her death. She was only featured in a flashback that explained her relationship with Fred, but her words still remain part of the series.

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    June could be starting her own revolution on 'The Handmaid's Tale.'

    One of the last scenes of The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 shows Fred hanging from a wall, just like handmaids who are believed to have broken laws in Gilead. Their punishments are often severe, and in Season 1 especially, there were many instances of handmaids being hung from walls to show the world how they had sinned.

    Because June writes "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" on the wall by Fred's lifeless body, it might mean she will seek out other ways to get justice against other Gilead commanders.

    She is essentially at the point of no return, and if she can take one life and leave behind such a weighted message, she might lead other former handmaids to do the same.

    Source : www.distractify.com

    Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum: Translation & Significance

    “Praise be”, “Blessed be the fruit”, “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum” – these are just a few memorable phrases from the critically acclaimed Hulu series, The Handmaid’s Tale. But what is the meaning behind these words, particularly the last one? Here, we tell you everything you need to know about the Latin phrase.

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    What Is The Meaning Of “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum”?

    Why is “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum” such a popular phrase for Handmaid’s Tale fans? - by Rhys McKay

    15 AUG 2019 @[email protected]#=img=#

    You may have encountered the words “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum” on social media, on tattoos, or even on merchandise like shirts or mugs. But where did it come from and what does it even mean?

    “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum” is a Latin phrase that became a kind of rallying cry in season one of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Based on a novel by feminist writer Margaret Atwood, the show follows the story of June, a handmaid forced into sexual slavery in a dystopian near future. The show became a hit for tackling themes of totalitarianism and misogyny, which have become increasingly relevant today.

    And so, the phrase (along with other great symbols on the show) has been adopted by those fighting for women’s rights. Curious about the phrase? Let’s get you up to speed about the empowering motto.

    RELATED: The Secrets Behind 'the Handmaid’s Tale'

    Where Did The Phrase First Appear?

    “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum” first appeared in the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, which was published in 1985. In 2017, Hulu released the first season of the show, which covers the entirety of the events depicted in the novel. The phrase appears in episode four – named “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum”.

    In the episode, June (or Offred) is locked up in her room as punishment for not getting pregnant. See, handmaids are forced to have sex with their masters (in June’s case, the “Commander”) in order to bear children for them and their wives. During her solitary confinement, she discovers the phrase etched into a closet wall.

    In a tense private meeting with the Commander later that night – figuring he knows Latin – she asks him for a translation.

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    "Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes."-Offred... I hope you liked my takeover!! I'll be back with more soon;) #HandmaidsTale -EM @elisabethmossofficial

    What Does It Mean And How Is It Pronounced?

    The novel explains that when translated from Latin to English, “Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum” roughly translates to “don’t let the bastards grind you down”. In the Handmaid’s Tale episode, June’s pronunciation of the phrase sounds like “no-lee-tey teh bas-tar-dehs car-bor-un-door-room”.

    Is It A Real Saying?

    Upon deeper analysis, the Commander brushes it off as a made-up saying – something bored schoolboys must have invented during their Latin lessons. And as it turns out, this tidbit isn’t entirely fiction! In an interview with Time Magazine, Margaret Atwood explains that the phrase was “a joke in our Latin classes”.

    June, in her darkest moment, finds strength in the phrase. She realises that the phrase was scratched in by the household’s previous handmaiden, who killed herself because she felt that life in those conditions had become “unbearable”. She suspects it the phrase must be a warning of some sort: don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    The episode ends with a powerful monologue by June: “there was an Offred before me, she helped me find my way out. She’s dead. She’s alive. She is me. We are handmaids. Nolite Te Bastardes Carburondorum, bitches”.

    handmaidsonhulu View Profile

    2,930 likes - View Post on Instagram

    The wall says it all. This picture was from the premiere party in Hollywood, where I had just come from seeing the pilot for the first time. Needless to say, I was completely blown away, a little in shock, and also super ready for a margarita. Don't let the bastards grind you down! I hope you all have enjoyed my Instagram takeover. I have loved sharing a little of what I saw and felt from behind the scenes. Being a small part of this extraordinary show has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. I can't wait to see what the brilliant team of writers has cooked up for the next season. -EC @officialevercarradine #nolitetebastardescarborundorum

    The Handmaid’s Tale’s Significance Today

    Since the show aired in 2017, the phrase’s popularity skyrocketed. It became a kind of rallying cry among feminists who want to remind themselves and other women to keep fighting in the face of misogyny and oppression.

    The Handmaid’s Tale became a massive cultural force over the past couple of years due to its chillingly relevant subject matter. It’s supposed to be set in a dystopian near future, however, it’s incredibly easy to find parallels between the show and today’s events.

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    The Significance Of The Handmaid’s Costume

    In The Handmaid’s Tale, the U.S. government slowly revoked women’s rights, transferring control of their bodies to men. These days, there is an increasing number of conservative politicians worldwide working towards banning abortions or refusing to consider the issue altogether – effectively stripping women of their bodily autonomy. Even celebrities like Pink have said that the abortion bans happening in the U.S. felt like a scene straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale!

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    Pro-choice rally planned for Toronto this week - NOW Magazine

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