Without Wax

The phrase “Without Wax” means “Sincere” which it comes from the Latin words “sine” and “cera”. At least that is what most believe, there are others who give it another meaning but the main idea of the meaning remains the same; that something without the wax, comes without impurities.

As we all know, Spanish comes from Latin and thus the word “sincera” actually comes from the two Latin words previously mentioned. Even though I’m Hispanic, and Spanish is my first language, I  never thought about it that way.  All of those time I said something had no wax; “Eso esta sin cera” I never realized that the word I used to described honesty sounded exactly the same as the two words “sin” “cera”. That was until I read Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress and I loved it. This is where I first learned of the believed origins of the word “sincere”. It is said that in ancient Rome, craftsmen would use wax to cover imperfections in their marble sculptures, and that “sine cera” was a phrase commonly used by those presenting the sculptures.

Sine cera= without wax=sincere


20 thoughts on “Without Wax

  1. Thank you Laurita!

    I really enjoy this post – I also never realized the the work “sincera” could be the two words in a fraze “sin cera” – Also now I wan tot read “Digital Fortress” lol

  2. Oh dear, how dim do I feel….I speak Spanish (badly) and I did not get the “sin cera” meaning until I read the explanation. What cool meaning.

  3. I would recomend you do some research before spouting off some nonsense you read in a Dan Brown book. His poor writing skills are only matched by his inability to include a single legitimate fact.

    Dan Brown uses this explanation for sincere in Digital Fortress and the Lost Symbol but in one book attributes it to Latin, and the other to Spanish. Obviously, he is making it up as he goes along.

    Sincere is derived from the latin word Sincerus, which means clean or pure. Sincerus in turn is probably originally meant “one growth” and is built from sin which means one, and crescere which means “to grow”

    My source… the Oxford english dictionary.

    • I do have something to say regarding my nonsense. Spanish comes from Latin, therefore it is not something someone is making up as they go along.
      And I did not got my source from Digital Fortress ONLY. I did research before spouting nonsense.

      Thank you for your comment Ohyouaresowrong! 🙂

      • Oops! Actually it originally came from the practice of dishonest traders in Roman times who discovered cracks in terracotta pots caused by air trapped in the clay expanding during firing. They disguised these imperfections by filling the cracks with wax coloured by mixing it with ground up terracotta dust. The unfortunate purchaser only discovered the dishonesty when the pots were first used for cooking and the wax melted & the contents leaked out! And it does come from the two Latin words “Sine Cera”.

  4. Malcolm Bland is absolutely correct, from what I understand.

    Alabaster, being an expensive commodity during Roman times, was examined as being “without wax” by holding it up to the sun.

      • You guys are just trolling. She explained at the end that it was used as a phrase to destinguish imperfections on sculptures. So you either didn’t read the entire post or you are trolling because what you explained is what she said.
        I don’t think this post was meant for her to explain with details what the phrase means but more of why she chose the phrase.

  5. Lots of misinformation about the etymology here, but this is a more complete explanation:
    The origin of Sine Cera is Latin.
    Spanish may be a root latin language, but there is no equivalent of Sine Cera in Spanish.
    Sincere is not a derivative of Sine Cera; they each have an entirely separate etymology.
    For example:
    The origin of “Sincere” is from the Latin “Sincerus”, meaning “not falsified; clean, pure; unadulterated.”
    This is not a concatenation of “sine”, meaning “without”, and of “cera”, meaning “wax.”
    Here is a link to a deeper dive into the mythology surrounding the etymology of these words:

    • David Eldred instead of repeating what you read in some other blog to dismiss what I wrote in mine, why don’t you go and actually do some research on what the meaning is here.
      First of all, my mother tongue is Spanish which is born from the mother tongue Latin. So is Italian, French, Portuguese, and Rumanian. Reason why Latin America is called Latin America. Because Brazil, speaks Portuguese and not Spanish. Otherwise, it would have probably be called Hispanic America.
      Now that we have established this, which I already pointed out in less words on my post (the part in which Spanish comes from Latin) so it was totally unnecessary for you to point it out, but I digress… let school you in what facts are:
      Fact NUMERO UNO- Since Spanish is a language derived from Latin, most of the words (like 95% if not all) come from latin, so Sine Cera= Sin cera. LITERALLY. Sin cera = without wax. LITERALLY.
      Fact NUMERO DOS- Sincere (English word in case you missed that) is derived from the Latin Language. This I looked up on a real book, with paper and bounded, called OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY. Meaning this book knows more about English language and where it comes from than you or me or anyone else commenting here.
      Sincere origin- Latin sincerus ‘clean, pure’
      Fact NUMERO TRES- If you would be very knowledgeable of the Spanish Language you would know sin cera means without wax and sincera means sincere. All I did was write the words separate and then together, and that is the correlation to without wax.
      Now I’m going to quote from the same blog you tried to schooled me from, and failed:
      “During the Renaissance, Spanish sculptors who made mistakes while carving expensive marble often patched their flaws with cera—‘wax.’ A statue that had no flaws and required no patching was hailed as a ‘sculpture sin cera’ or a ‘sculpture without wax.’ The phrase eventually came to mean anything honest or true. The English word ‘sincere’ evolved from the Spanish sin cera—‘without wax.’ ”
      Which is what I said, less eloquently in my post.
      I hate having to explain myself so much, but I got tired of this BS going on here.
      If you think you are so smart and know it all then go write your own blog,

      • What is amazing is how a post that is well….8 years old is still causing controversy ….Love it – Laura you are my hero for staring up to the trolls and always defending your honor like a true ninja lol love you

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