Useful Latin Sayings

By Mark D. Harris

Ab ovo – from an egg

Ad alta – To the summit

Ad astra – To the stars

Ad libitum – at liberty, at one’s pleasure

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – To the greater glory of God – motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

Alcuns volon ligar – Some desire to read

Alea iacta est – The die has been cast. (Caesar as he was crossing the Rubicon River)

Altiora te ne quaesieris – Seek not things above you.

Ars longa, vita brevis. – The work (art) is long, the life is short. Hippocrates

Aut vincere aut mori – Either to conquer or to die

Bis vincit qui se vincit in victoria – He conquers twice who conquers himself in victory (Publius Syrus)

Bis vivit qui bene vivit – S/he lives twice who lives well

Botulus – sausage

Candor dat viribus alas – Sincerity gives wings to strength

Carpe Diem! Seize the day (Horace)

Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware

Caveat lector – Let the reader beware

Caveat venditor – Let the seller beware

Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei – The heavens declare the glory of God

Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore, I am (Rene Descartes)

Conlige suspectos semper habitos – Round up the usual suspects

De omnibus dubitandum – Doubt everything – Karl Marx

Deo Vindice – Under God, our vindicator. (Motto of the Confederate States of America)

Dimidium facti qui coepit habet – He who has begun has the work half done (Horace)

Divide et impera – Divide and rule

Dona Nobis Pacem – Grant us peace

Dum spiro, spero – While I breathe, I hope (a motto of South Carolina)

Dum vita est spes est – While there’s life, there’s hope

E Pluribus Unum – One from many

Ex cathedra – With authority

Ex opera operato – Done in the doing (example – the act of taking the Eucharist confers salvation on the recipient, regardless of the state of his or her heart).

Faber est quisque fortunae suae – Every man is architect of his own fortune

Hoc est enim corpus meum – For this is my body

In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas. In necessary things unity, in non-necessary things liberty, in all things, charity. Rupertus Meldenius, 1627 A.D.

Ipsa scientia potestas est – Knowledge itself is power.

Ipsissima verba – very words

Ipso facto – by that very fact or act

Jus gentium – law of nations

Jus sanguinous – right of blood, usually used regarding citizenship in which citizenship is not conferred by place of birth but by blood relations to citizen parents.

Lex orandi, lex credenda – What you pray is what you believe.

Meum pactum dictum – My word is my bond

Modus operandi – Method of work

Multi famam, conscientiam pauci verentur – Many fear their reputation, few their conscience. (Pliny)

Nemo me impune lacessit – No one provokes me with impunity. (Motto of the kings of Scotland)

Nil desperandum – Never despair

Non ministrari, sed ministrare – Not to be served, but to serve

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomine Tu o da gloriam – Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory.

Nulli secundus /nulli secunda – Second to none

Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis – It is best to endure what you cannot change. -Seneca, Moral Epistles

Per aspera ad astra! Through difficulties to the stars!

Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim – Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.

Possunt quia posse videntur – They can because they seem to be able to (they can do it because they think they can do it)

Prima facie – “first face”, based on the first impression, accepted as correct until proved otherwise

Primum non nocere – First do no harm

Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est – A sword is never a killer, it’s a tool in the killer’s hands (Lucius Annaeus Seneca “the younger” ca. (4 BC – 65 AD)

Qui audet adipiscitur – S/he who dares wins (or: s/he who wins dares)

Qui tacet consentit – He who is silent agrees.

Quod potui feci; veniam da mihi, posteritas – What I could have done, me you will (please forgive), posterity – The epitaph of Leonardo da Vinci

Quod scripsi, scripsi – What I have written, I have written—Pilate

Res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself

Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet – He who feared he would not succeed sat still. Horace.

Semper Fidelis – Always Faithful (Motto of the US Marine Corps)

Si vis amari, ama – If you want to be loved, love. Seneca the Elder, This Latin phrase comes from Epistularum Moralium Ad Lucilium, Book 1, IX.

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war.(Flavius Vegetius Renatus c. 375 AD.)

Sic transit gloria mundi – Thus passes the glory of the world

Sine labore nihil – Nothing without work

Sine qua non – Without which no…

Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone the Glory

Soteer, dominus, et deus – Savior, Lord and God

Studium discendi voluntate quae cogi non potest constat – Study depends on the good will of the student, a quality which cannot be secured by compulsion. (Quintilian Institutio Oratoria, iii)

Tempus edax rerums – Time devours all things (quote from Roman poet Ovid)

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito – Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them

Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem -The one safety for the vanquished is to abandon hope of safety

Veni, vidi, deus vicit – I came, I saw and God has won (Polish king Jan Sobieski after defeating Turkish army on the outskirts of Vienna in XVI century)

Veni, Vidi, Dormivi – I came, I saw, I slept

Veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered. (Caesar)

Veritas vos liberabit – The truth shall make you free

Viam aut inveniam aut faciam – “I will either find a way or make one.” Hannibal’s response to his generals telling him that it was impossible for elephants to cross the Alps.

Vincere morbo – Conquer disease!

Vincit omnia veritas – The truth conquers all

Vincit qui se vincit – He conquers who conquers himself.

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