Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 1 decade ago

What does "When in Rome.." mean, and when would you say it?

Just curious lol my friend says it all the time and my teacher tells her she uses it incorrectly

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    When in rome, do as the Romans do

    [St. Ambrose, quoted in St. Augustine Letters xxxvi. 32] (Migne), quando hic sum, non ieiuno sabbato; quando Romae sum, ieiuno sabbato, when I am here [i.e. Milan], I do not fast on Saturday; when I am in Rome, I fast on Saturday; [1660 quoted in verse form in Jeremy Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium (1851) I. i. 5. 5] *** fueris Romae, Romano vivito more, *** fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi, when you're in Rome, then live in Roman fashion; when you're elsewhere, then live as there they live.

    Whan tho herd hat Rome Do so of ther the dome [when you are at Rome do as they do there].

    [c 1475 in Modern Philology (1940) XXXVIII. 122]

    That which is commonly in euery mans mouth in England Whan you art at Rome, do as they do at Rome.

    [1552 R. Taverner tr. Erasmus' Adages (ed. 3) 51V]

    My advice to you is among the Romans, do as the romans do.

    [1766 in L. H. Butterfield et al. Adams Family Correspondence (1963) I. 55]

    ‘Do at Rome as the Romans do,’ is the essence of all politeness.

    [1836 E. Howard Rattlin the Reefer I. xxii.]

    ‘I thought the English never bothered about protocol?’ ‘When in Rome, however, we do as the Romans do.’

    [1960 N. Mitford Don't tell Alfred viii.]

    One woman stationed there [Saudi Arabia] who purports to be comfortable with the rules said, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ But how far does that go? To feeding the lions?

    [2001 Washington Post 8 Dec. A25]

    Idioms: when in Rome do as the Romans do

    Follow local custom, as in Kate said they'd all be wearing shorts or blue jeans to the outdoor wedding, so when in Rome--we'll do the same. This advice allegedly was Saint Ambrose's answer to Saint Augustine when asked whether they should fast on Saturday as Romans did, or not, as in Milan. It appeared in English by about 1530 and remains so well known that it is often shortened, as in the example.


    First attested in medieval Latin si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre; si fueris alibī, vīvitō sicut ibi (“‘if you are in Rome, live in the Roman way; if you are elsewhere, live as they do there’”); which is attributed to St Ambrose.

    behave as those around do

    Usage notes

    * Often shortened to when in Rome, with the rest of the proverb understood.

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do means that when you are visiting a new place, you should try to do as the people do who are from the place. Example: "I can't eat that." Reply: "Oh, give it a try. When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

    People from different places have different ways of acting, so it is important to try to do things the way people do who are from the place that you are visiting. Example: "Are you sure we can eat this with our hands?" Reply: "Why not? All of these people are. When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

    The city of Rome was the capitol of the great Roman Empire. There were many strange and interesting things to do when visiting ("in") Rome. Example: "Back home, we never sing in front of other people." Reply: "Oh, come on. Give it a try! When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

    something that you say which means when you are visiting another country, you should behave like the people in that country.

    "I don't drink wine when I'm at home but on holiday, well, when in Rome..."

  • 1 decade ago

    It means you do the things that are common to an area, hence when in Rome you do as the Romans do! What do Romans do, however? Men are known to pinch the butts of women! But what else? I don't know of a thing. But I do know there is a big difference in the foods that Southerners prepare and eat when compared to what Yankees prepare and eat. So when in the South you eat grits, but when in the North you eat potatoes!!!

    Source(s): Me! ddt
  • P. K.
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

    it means blend in with your environment, do the expected.

    When at a swimming pool, swim

    When at a tanning booth, tan

    When at an art class, draw/paint/create

    When in Rome, do what the Romans do.

  • 1 decade ago

    "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

    Follow the rules, try to fit on, respect others' customs, etc.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    "When in Rome, do as the Romans do...." means to adapt yourself to the protocols of whatever group you are in and be sensitive to their values and customs even if you do not personally subscribe to them.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.