Quod erat demonstrandum
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|The JC’s guide to pithy Latin adages
“Quod erat demonstrandum”. A jolly good Latin expression, meaning “the very thing that you were trying to prove”; to be used when you are trying to show off, seem articulate or be witty. But steer clear of it if you are trying to inform, because, Q.E.D., those without a classical education won’t understand it and may grow restive.
But it was in the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
- Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.
- The argument goes something like this: “I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.”
- “But,” says Man, “The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. Q.E.D..”
- “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
Also, my secret Latin advisor tells me, “demonstrandum” is a gerundive. Which is nice.