Latin quotes, mottos and words of wisdom


Many Latin expressions are used in books and in everyday English speech, and you will certainly find most those phrases listed and translated on my site. However, the existing body of Latin literature, both Classical and Medieval is extremely vast. There are many undiscovered gems of wit and wisdom, so I encourage you to study Latin :) Unlike the collections of quotes that you will find on some other websites, these lines have been actually looked at more than once by someone who knows Latin. I am sure, however, that some typos have not been fixed, so do not assume that anything you find here is good enough to be tattooed on your person! There is also a list of legal Latin maxims. The source for a quote is sometimes indcated, but one must remember that Latin quotations are often used as if they were anonymous maxims of universal wisdom. Elsewhere on this site there are Latin phrases used in medicine, heraldry, jewelry engravings, sundials and Latin love poems. There is even a motto generator that lets you create Latin phrases without knowing Latin!


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A



A bene placito - At one's pleasure

A bove majori discit arare minor - The young ox learns to plough from the older

A capite ad calcem - From head to heel

A cappella - Vocals only

A contrario - From a contrary position

A cruce salus - From the cross comes salvation

A Deo et Rege - From God and the King

A fonte puro pura defluit aqua - From a clear spring clear water flows

A fortiori - With yet stronger reason

A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi - A precipice in front, wolves behind (between a rock and a hard place)

A latere - From the side (of a pope's envoy)

A mari usque ad mare - From sea to sea (Motto of Canada)

A mensa et thoro - From board and bed (legal separation)

A pedibus usque ad caput - From feet to head

A posse ad esse - From possibility to actuality

A posteriori - From what comes after. Inductive reasoning based on observation, as opposed to deductive, or a priori

A priori - From what comes before

A re decedunt - They wander from the point

A teneris unguiculis - From tender little nails, from the earliest childhood.

A verbis ad verbera - From words to blows

A verbis legis non est recedendum - There must be no departure from the words of the law

A vinculo matrimonii - From the bounds of matrimony

Ab absurdo - From the absurd (establishing the validity of your argument by pointing out the absurdity of your opponent's position)

Ab actu ad posse valet illatio - From what has happened we may infer what will happen

Ab aeterno - From the beginning of time

Ab alio spectes alteri quod feceris - As you do to another, expect another to do to you

Ab amicis honesta petamus - We must ask what is proper from our friends

Ab asino lanam - Wool from an ass, blood from a stone impossible

Ab hinc - From here on

Ab honesto virum bonum nihil deterret - Nothing deters a good man from the performance of his duties

Ab imo pectore - From the bottom of the chest. (from the heart) (Julius Caesar)

Ab inconvenienti - From the inconvenience

Ab incunabulis - From the cradle

Ab initio - From the beginning

Ab intestato - Having made no will

Ab origine - From the origin

Ab ovo usque ad mala - From the egg right to the apples (From start to finish) (Horace)

Ab ovo - From the egg

Ab urbe condita - From the foundation of the city.

Ab/Ex uno disce omnes - From one person, learn all people

Abeunt studia in mores - Pursuits become habits

Abi in pace - Depart in peace

Abiit nemine salutato - He went away without bidding anyone farewell

Abiit, excessit, evasit, erupit - He has left, absconded, escaped and disappeared

Abite nummi, ego vos mergam, ne mergar a vobis - Away with you, money, I will sink you that I may not be sunk by you

Abnormis sapiens - Wise without instruction (Horace)

Absente reo - In absence of the defendant

Absit invidia - No offence intended

Absit omen - May the omen be absent. (may this not be an omen)

Absque argento omnia vana - Without money all is in vain

Absque sudore et labore nullum opus perfectum est - Without sweat and toil no work is made perfect

Abundat dulcibus vitiis - He abounds with alluring fruits (Quintilian)

Abusus non tollit usum - Wrong use does not preclude proper use

Abyssus abyssum invocat - Hell calls hell; one mistep leads to another

Accede ad ignem hunc, jam calesces plus satis - Approach this fire, and you will soon be too warm (Terrence)

Accensa domo proximi, tua quoque periclitatur - When the house of your neighbour is in flames, your own is in danger

Acceptissima semper // munera sunt, auctor quae pretiosa facit - Those gifts are always the most acceptable which our love for the donor makes precious (Ovid)

Accidit in puncto, et toto contingit in anno - It happens in an instant and occurs throughout the year

Accidit in puncto, quod non contingit in anno - That may happen in a moment, which does not occur in a whole year

Accipe, sume, cape, sunt verba placentia papae - Take, have, and keep, are pleasant words from a pope

Accipere quam facere praestat injuriam - It is better to suffer an injustice than to do an injustice

Accipio revocamen - I accept the recall (Ovid)

Acclinis falsis animus meliora recusat - The mind intent upon false appearances refuses to admit better things (Horace)

Acer et vehemens bonus orator - A good orator is pointed and forcible (Cicero)

Acerrima proximorum odia - The hatred of those most nearly connected is the bitterest of all (Tacit)

Acerrimus ex omnibus nostris sensibus est sensus videndi - The keenest of all our senses is the sense of sight (Cicero)

Acribus initiis, incurioso fine - Zealous at the commencement, careless towards the conclusion (Tacit)

Acriora orexim excitant embammata - Savory seasonings stimulate the appetite

Acta est fabula, plaudite! - The play is over, applaud! (Said to have been emperor Augustus' last words)

Acta sanctorum - Deeds of the saints

Ad absurdum - To the point of absurdity

Ad acta - To archives. Not actual any more

Ad alta - To the summit

Ad astra per aspera - To the stars through difficulty

Ad astra - To the stars

Ad augusta per angusta - To high places by narrow roads

Ad calamitatem quilibet rumor valet - Every rumor is believed when directed against the unfortunate (Syrus)

Ad Calendas Graecas - At the Greek Calends (meaning ‘never’)

Ad captandum vulgus - To appeal to the crowd

Ad clerum - To the clergy

Ad connectendas amicitias, tenacissimum vinculum est morum similitudo - For cementing friendship, resemblance of manners is the strongest tie (Pliny the Younger)

Ad consilium ne accesseris, antequam voceris - - Do not go to the council-chamber before you are summoned

Ad eundem gradum - To the same level

Ad eundem - Of admission to the same degree at a different university

Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit - To boldly go where no man has gone before

Ad fontes - To the sources (motto of Renaissance Humanism)

Ad fundum - To the bottom / To the end (said during a generic toast, like bottoms up!)

Ad hoc - For a particular purpose. (improvised, made up in an instant)

Ad hominem - Appealing to a person's physical and emotional urges, rather than her or his intellect

Ad honorem - In honour. Honour not baring any material advantage

Ad idem - Of the same mind

Ad infinitum - To infinity without end

Ad interim - For the meantime

Ad libitum ('ad lib') - At one's pleasure

Ad libitur - As desired

Ad limina apostolorum - To the thresholds of the Apostles

Ad litem - For a lawsuit or action

Ad locum - At the place

Ad lucem - Towards the light (motto of the University of Lisbon)

Ad maiorem dei gloriam (AMDG) - For the greater glory of God

Ad mala quisque animum referat sua - Let each person recall to mind his own mishaps (Ovid)

Ad mensuram aquam bibit - He drinks water by measure

Ad minora me demittere no recusabo - I will not refuse to descent to the most minute details (Quintilian)

Ad mores natura recurrit damnatos, fixa et mutari nescia - Human nature ever reverts to its depraved courses, fixed and immutable (Juvenal)

Ad multos annos - To many years!, i.e. Many happy returns!

Ad nauseam - To the point of making one sick

Ad nomen vultus sustulit illa suos - On hearing her name she raised her eyes (Ovid)

Ad nullum consurgit opus, cum corpore languet - The mind cannot grapple with any task when the body is languid (Gallus)

Ad omnem libidinem projectus homo - A man disposed to every species of dissipation

Ad perditam securim manubrium adjicere - To throw the helve after the lost hatchet. To give way to dispair.

Ad perniciem solet agi sinceritas - Sinceity is frequently impelled to its own destruction (Phaedrus)

Ad perpetuam rei memoriam - For the perpetual remembrance of the thing

Ad populum phaleras, ego te intus et in cute novi - Display your trappings to the vulgar, I know you inside and out.

Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora - Eggs today are better than chickens tomorrow (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush)

Ad referendum - Subject to reference

Ad rem - To the point

Ad respondendum quaestioni - To answer the question.

Ad suum quemque aequum est quaestum esse callidum - It is only right that every one should be alive to his own advantage (Plautus)

Ad tristem partem strenua suspicio - The minds of men who have been unfortunate are prone to suspicion (Syrus)

Ad turpia virum bonum nulla spes invitat - No expectation can allure a good man to the commission of evil (Seneca)

Ad unum corpus humanum supplicia plura quam membra - One human body is liable to more pains than the members of which it is composed (St. Cyprian)

Ad utrumque paratus - Prepared for either alternative

Ad valorem - By the value, e.g. Ad valorem tax

Ad vitam aeternam - For all time

Ad vitam paramus - We are preparing for life

Ad vitam - For life

Adaequarunt judices - The judges were equally devided

Adde parum parvo, magnus acervus erit - Add a little to a little, and there will be a great heap (adaptation from Ovid)

Adde, quod injustum rigido jus dicitur ense; dantur et in medio vulnera saepe foro. - Besides, iniquitous retaliation is dealt with the cruel sward, and wounds are often inflicted in the midst of the court of justice (Ovid)

Addendum - A thing to be added

Adeo in teneris consuescere multum est - Of such importance is to be well trained in youth (Virgil)

Adeo ne hominem immutare ex amore, ut non cognoscas eundem esse - Is it possible that a man can be so changed by love, that you could not recognize him to be the same? (Terrence)

Adeste, fideles! - Be present, faithful ones!

Adeste, si quid mihi restat agendum! - Be at hand, if there is anything more for me to do. (Emperor Severus’ last words, according to F. Bacon)!

Adhibenda est in jocando moderatio - Moderation should be used in joking (Cicero)

Adhibenda est munditia, non odiosa, neque exquisita nimis, tantum quae fugiat agrestem ac inhumanam negligentiam - We should exhibit a certain degree of neatness, not too exquisite or affected, and equally remote from rustic and unbecoming carelessness (Cicero)

Adhuc sub judice lis est - The point is still in dispute before the judge (Horace)

Aditus est ipsi ad omnes facilis et pervius - He has free and ready access to everyone.

Adolescentem verecundum esse decet - A young man ought to be modest (Plautus)

Adornare verbis benefacta - To enhance the value of a favor by kind expressions (Pliny the Younger)

Adscriptus glebae - Belonging to the soil, attached to the soul (of peasants)

Adsit regula, peccatis quae poenas irroget aequas - Let a law be made which inflicts punishment commensurate with the crime (Horace)

Adsum! - Here! present!

Adversus incendia excubias nocturnas vigilesque commentus est - Against the dangers of fires, he (Augustus) conceived of the idea of night guards and watchmen

Adversus solem ne loquitor - Don't speak against the sun (don't waste your time arguing the obvious)

Aeacus in poenas ingeniosus erit - Aeacus will refine in devising tortures (for you) (Ovid)

Aegrescit medendo - The disease worsens with the treatment. The remedy is worse than the disease

Aegri somnia vana - A sick man's delusive dreams (Horace)

Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur - It is said that for a sick man, there is hope as long as there is life (Cicero)

Aemulatio aemulationem parit - Emulation begets emulation

Aemulus studiorum et laborum - The rival of pursuits and labors (Cicero)

Aequa lege necessitas sortitur insignes et imos - Fate, by an impartial law, is allotted both to the conspicuous and the obscure (Horace)

Aequa tellus pauperi recluditur, regumque pueris - The impartial earth is opened alike for the pauper and the children of kings (Horace)

Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem - Remember when life's path is steep to keep your mind even. (Horace)

Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem, non secus in bonis ab insolenti temperatam laetitia - In arduous circumstances remember to preserve calmness of soul, and equally in prosperous moments restrain excessive joy (Horace)

Aequitas enim lucet ipsa per se - Equity shines by her own light (Cicero)

Aeternum vale - Farewell forever

Affidavit - A sworn written statement usable as evidence in court

Age quod agis - Do what you do well, pay attention to what you are doing

Age. Fac ut gaudeam - Go ahead. Make my day!

Agenda - Things to be done

Agnus Dei - The Lamb of God

Alea iacta est - The die has been cast. (Caesar)

Alias - Otherwise

Alibi - Elsewhere

Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent - Other people's things are more pleasing to us, and ours to other people. (Publilius Syrus)

Alis volat propiis - She flies with her own wings (state motto of Oregon)

Alma Mater - Nourishing mother. (One's old school or university)

Alter ego - Other 'I' or 'Other Self'

Alter ipse amicus - A friend is another self

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi - The deepest rivers flow with the least sound. (still waters run deep)

Alumnus - Nursling (former student)

Amantes sunt amentes - Lovers are lunatics

Amantium irae amoris integratio est - The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love. (Terence)

Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur - Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time

Amat victoria curam - Victory favors those who take pains

Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore - I hope that the memory of our friendship will be everlasting. (Cicero)

Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur - A true friend is discerned during an uncertain matter

Amicus humani generis - A friend of the human race (philanthropist)

Amicus verus est rara avis - A true friend is a rare bird

Amor animi arbitrio sumitur, non ponitur - We choose to love, we do not choose to cease loving. (Syrus)

Amor caecus est - Love is blind

Amor est vitae essentia - Love is the essence of life. (Robert B. Mackay)

Amor ordinem nescit - Love does not know order. (St. Jerome)

Amor patriae - Love of country

Amor platonicus - Platonic love

Amor tussisque non celantur - Love, and a cough, are not concealed. (Ovid)

Amor vincit omnia - Love conquers all. (from Virgil)

Amoto quaeramus seria ludo - Joking aside, let us turn to serious matters. (Horace)

An nescis, mi fili, quantilla sapientia mundus regatur? - Don't you know then, my son, how little wisdom rules the world?

Anguis in herba - A snake in the grass. A treacherous person. (Vergil)

Anicularum lucubrationes - Old wives' tales

Animis opibusque parati - Prepared in minds and resources (ready for anything)

Animus facit nobilem - The spirit makes (human) noble

Anno (an.) - Year

Anno domini (AD) - In the year of the Lord

Anno hegirae (AH) - In the year of the hegira

Anno mundi - In the year of the world

Anno regni - In the year of reign

Anno urbis conditae (AUC) - From the year of founding of the city (Rome)

Annuit coeptis - God has favored us

Annus bisextus - Leap year

Annus horribilis - A horrible year

Annus mirabilis - Year of wonders

Ante litteram - Before the letter

Ante meridiem (a.m.) - Before midday

Ante mortem - Before death

Ante prandium (A.p.) - Before a meal

Ante - Before

Antebellum - Before the war

Aqua pura - Pure water

Aqua vitae - Water of life

Aquila non captat muscas - The eagle doesn't capture flies (don't sweat the small things)

Arbiter elegantiae - Judge in matters of taste

Arcana imperii - Secrets of the empire

Arduum sane munus - A truly arduous task

Arguendo - For the sake of argument

Argumentum ad hominem - An argument against the man. Directing an argument against an opponent's character rather than the subject at hand

Argumentum ad ignorantiam - Arguing from ignorance

Armis Exposcere Pacem - They demanded peace by force of arms. (inscription seen on medals)

Ars gratia artis - Art for art's sake. (motto of MGM)

Ars longa, vita brevis - Art (work) is long, but life is short

Ars sine scientia nihil est - Art without science is nothing. (I would also claim that the opposite is true)

Artium baccalaureus - Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Artium magister - Master of Arts (MA)

Aspirat primo Fortuna labori - Fortune smiles upon our first effort. (Virgil)

Assiduus usus uni rei deditus et ingenium et artem saepe vincit - Constant practice devoted to one subject often outdues both intelligence and skill. (Cicero)

Astra inclinant, non necessitant - The stars incline; they do not determine

Astra non mentiuntur, sed astrologi bene mentiuntur de astris - The stars never lie, but the astrologs lie about the stars

Audaces fortuna iuvat - Fortune favors the bold. (Virgil)

Audere est facere - To dare is to do. (Motto of Tottenham Hotspur)

Audi et alteram partem - Hear the other side too

Audiatur et altera pars! - Let us hear the opposite side!

Audio, video, disco - I hear, I see, I learn

Auget largiendo - He increases by giving liberally

Aura popularis - The popular breeze. (Cicero)

Aurea mediocritas - The golden mean. (an ethical goal; truth and goodness are generally to be found in the middle.) (Horace)

Auribus tenere lupum - I hold a wolf by the ears. (I am in a dangerous situation and dare not let go.) (Terence)

Aurora australis - The Southern lights

Aurora borealis - The Northern lights

Aurora Musis amica - Dawn is friend of the muses. (Early bird catches the worm.)

Aut Caesar aut nihil - Caesar or nothing i.e., all or nothing

Aut disce aut discede - Either learn or leave

Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit - The fellow is either mad or he is composing verses. (Horace)

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam - I will either find a way or make one

Aut vincere aut mori - Either conquer or die

Auxilio ab alto - By help from on high

Avarus animus nullo satiatur lucro - A greedy mind is satisfied with no (amount of) gain

Ave atque vale - Hail and farewell. (Catullus)

Ave caesar! Morituri te salutamus - Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you. (gladiators before the fight)

Ave Maria - Hail Mary



For more quotes, select a different letter at the top of this page.