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Latin wisdom quotes
July 21, 2019 Anniversary Wishes for Wife 5 comments

A simple, beautiful way to dive into the world of Latin wisdom: Latin Phrases + presents timeless quotes from great Latin writers against a background of other.

Back when I was a relatively new lawyer, I had a boss who wasn’t really up to the job--the kind of guy who nitpicked like a mere manager, rather than acting like a true leader. (It was this guy, in case you’re wondering.)

I wrote a memo for him once in which I used the abbreviation “N.B.” next to a very important point. He called me into his office.

“What the hell is ‘N.B.?’” he asked, accusingly. He wasn’t happy. I was surprised he didn’t know the expression; it’s short for nota bene, which is the Latin phrase for “note well,” and it’s fairly common in legal documents. It suggests simply that the reader should pay special attention to whatever comes next.

Of course, this meant that I had to start working other Latin phrases into my conversations with him. It’s probably not what my high school Latin teacher expected us to use the language for, but I found it empowering.

Some say that Latin is a dead language, but in truth it lives on--especially in the shorter phrases and concepts we often use in modern speech. I like using them--or at least thinking about them--because the act of translating them focuses the mind on their meaning. Here are a few of my favorites:

I. Ceteris paribus

“All other things being equal.” It’s useful when you want to isolate a single issue and focus on it. I studied economics in college, and I had a professor who used this phrase all the time.

II. Caveat venditor

Most of us have heard caveat emptor, which is “buyer beware.” This phrase is its counterpart, “seller beware”--a good reminder for an entrepreneur.

III. Sine qua non

An absolutely necessary component or ingredient. Determination is the sine qua non of entrepreneurship.

IV. Panem et circenses

This one is actually better known now by its English translation: bread and circuses; the idea that many people can be placated by diversions and security, rather than aiming for greatness. (See also, soda and reality TV.)

V. Carpe noctem

You know carpe diem--”seize the day.” This is its companion: “seize the night.” It could be a party anthem, but it’s more about being willing to put in whatever time is necessary to achieve a worthy goal.

VI. Carpe vinum

This one is better for party time: “Seize the wine.”

VII. Aurea mediocritas

The golden mean: a Greek phrase that lasted into Roman times.

VIII. Audentes fortuna iuvat

“Fortune favors the bold.” People who think things can’t be done are often interrupted by others who are actually doing them.

IX. Semper fidelis

“Always faithful,” the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. Even if you’re not a Marine, it’s good to know this one and what it means.

X. Semper paratus

“Always prepared,” the motto of both the U.S. Coast Guard and (in Anglicized format) the Boy Scouts.

XI. Acta non verba

“Actions, not words.” It happens to be the motto of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

XII. Mea culpa

My apology; my error. To really emphasize it, go for “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”

XIII. Ad infinitum

Thirteen phrases is a good start, but the truth is that this list could be a lot longer--on toward infinity. Contact me or share in the comments if you have some other favorites.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Dec 13, 2018- Explore emeraldpine1's board "Wisdom in Latin 52" on Pinterest. See more ideas about Latin quotes, Latin phrases and English language.

10 Latin Phrases That Will Give You Life

latin wisdom quotes

While Latin hasn’t been regularly spoken or written for hundreds of years, save for the occasional scholarly text, its legacy is still felt throughout the lexicon of both Romance and Germanic languages today. Whether you’re launching an ad hominem attack or adding etcetera to the end of a list, it’s likely you’re peppering your speech with Latin phrases without even knowing it.

That said, we can do better than exclaiming “veni, vidi, vici” following a win at Scrabble or whispering “in vino veritas” before spilling a secret over a few drinks. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the genius Latin phrases you could and should be using on a daily basis.

1. “Ad astra per aspera.”

One of the most poular Latin phrases, meaning, “Through adversity to the stars,” this utterance is generally used to describe the overcoming of adversity resulting in a favorable outcome. For instance, this common state motto—which also happens to adorn the memorial plaque for the astronauts who died on Apollo 1—can be used in conversation when you’re having a terrible go of things, but you’re confident a greater outcome awaits you.

2. “Acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt.”

If you’ve ever wanted to strike fear into the heart of your enemies (or just want a good comeback for when you catch someone cheating on game night), try out this expression. Meaning “Mortal actions never deceive the gods,” this Latin phrase certainly fits the bill.

3. “Carpe vinum.”

We’ve all heard the phrase “carpe diem” a million times, but we’ll do you one better: “carpe vinum.” Of all the Latin phrases to master, this one, which translates to “Seize the wine,” will certainly come in handy when you’re eager to impress your waiter with a fancy foodie phrase or are doing your best Caligula impression after a few glasses of pinot noir.

4. “Alea iacta est.”

Latin phrases don’t get much more iconic than “Alea iacta est,” or “The die is cast,” an expression reportedly uttered by Julius Caesar as he crossed Italy’s Rubicon river with his army. Of course, it works equally well when you’ve got the wheels in motion for a brilliant plan that doesn’t involve civil war, too.

5. “Dulce periculum.”

Do you live life on the edge? Then “dulce periculum” might just be your new motto. Meaning, “Danger is sweet,” dropping this phrase in casual conversation certainly lets people know what you’re about.

6. “Acta non verba.”

If you want to make it clear that you won’t stand for lip service, toss “acta non verba” into your everyday language. Meaning, “Deeds, not words,” this phrase is an easy way to make it clear that you don’t kindly suffer those whose behavior doesn’t match their words.

7. “Condemnant quo non intellegunt.”

If your conspiracy theorist friend needs a good talking to, there are plenty of hilarious words to describe their condition other than asking how that tinfoil hat works. Instead, hit them with a quick “Condemnant quo non intellegunt.” This phrase, meaning “They condemn that which they do not understand,” is the perfect burn for those who proudly espouse their less-than-logic-backed views and offer little supporting evidence.

8. “Audentes fortuna iuvat.”

Want some inspiration to kill it on an upcoming job interview? Repeat “Audentes fortuna iuvat” (“Fortune favors the bold”) to yourself a few times in the mirror before heading out the door.

9. “Factum fieri infectum non potest.”

For those eager to make it clear that they don’t give second chances, keep “Factum fieri infectum non potest” in your back pocket. This phrase, which means “It is impossible for a deed to be undone,” also serves as a grave reminder for your friends when they say they’re about they’re about to do something rash.

10. “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.”

Finding yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place? Pump yourself up by letting forth an “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.” This phrase, which translates to, “I will either find a way or make one,” is famously attributed to Carthaginian general Hannibal, one of history’s most famous military leaders.

11. “Qui totum vult totum perdit.”

While Wall Street may have told us that greed is good, the Latin language begs to differ. If you want to refute an acquaintance’s obsession with having it all, hit them with a “Qui totum vult totum perdit,” or, translated, “He who wants everything loses everything.”

12. “Faber est suae quisque fortunae.”

Of all the Latin phrases in the world, there’s one perfect for picking yourself up when you feel like the stars aren’t aligning in your favor. Just remember, “Faber est suae quisque fortunae” (“Every man is the artisan of his own fortune”).

13. “Aquila non capit muscas.”

If social media pettiness and idle gossip feel beneath you, try adding “Aquila non capit muscas” to your vocabulary. The phrase, which means, “The eagle does not catch flies,” is a particularly cutting way to remind others that you’re not about to trouble yourself with their nonsense.

14. “Natura non constristatur.”

While it’s natural to be upset over storm damage to a house or dangerous conditions that cause a flight to be canceled, Latin speakers were sure to make it clear that nature doesn’t share our feelings. “Natura non constristatur,” which means “Nature is not saddened,” is the perfect phrase to remind yourself or others just how unconcerned with human affairs Mother Nature truly is.

15. “Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.”

From Virgil’s Aeneid, this phrase, which means “If I cannot move Heaven, I will raise Hell,” is the perfect addition to the vocabulary of anyone whose halo is nonexistent.

16. “Ad meliora.”

Today may not be going the way you want, but you can always boost your spirits by uttering “ad meliora,” or, “Toward better things.”

17. “Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixture dementia fuit.”

Many a great idea or seemingly crazy prediction has been initially laughed off by those who don’t understand it. When that happens to you, remind your detractors, “Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixture dementia fuit,” or, “There has been no great wisdom without an element of madness.”

18. “Barba tenus sapientes.”

That guy who proclaims himself to be a genius, but seems to only reiterate derivative remarks? He’s “Barba tenus sapientes,” or “As wise as far as the beard.” In other words, this guy might seem intelligent at first, but it’s all a façade.

19. “Creo quia absurdum est.”

Occam’s razor isn’t always the best way to judge a situation. In times where belief alone trumps logic, drop a “Creo quia absurdum est” (“I believe because it is absurd”).

20. “Lupus non timet canem latrantem.”

Need a quick way to make it clear that you won’t be intimidated by a bully? Simply tell them, “Lupus non timet canem lantrantem,” translated to mean, “A wolf is not afraid of a barking dog.”

21. “Non ducor duco.”

When you’re eager to remind your subordinates at work who’s in charge, toss a “Non ducor duco” their way. Meaning, “I am not led; I lead,” this phrase is a powerful way of letting others you’re not to be messed with.

22. “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.”

Sometimes, people’s opinions can’t be changed. When that’s the case, drop a, “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt,” or, “Men generally believe what they want to.”

23. “Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc.”

The motto of the fictional Addams Family, this phrase means, “We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.” Also perfect for use in any conversation where you’re eager to terrify someone else.

24. “Amore et melle et felle es fecundissimus.”

Love is amazing, painful, and confusing at the same time, as those who spoke Latin apparently knew all too well. The next time you want to remind a friend of the exquisite agony that often accompanies a new relationship, use this phrase, which means “Love is rich with honey and venom.”

25. “In absentia lucis, Tenebrae vincunt.”

While not quite the Washington Post‘s new motto, this phrase comes pretty close. If you’re ever channeling your inner superhero, try out this expression, which means, “In the absence of light, darkness prevails.”

26. “De omnibus dubitandum.”

Do you think the truth is out there? Do you think there are government secrets that threaten our very existence? If so, this phrase, which means “Be suspicious of everything,” should be a welcome addition to your lexicon.

27. “Ars longa, vita brevis.”

There’s a reason we still admire the paintings and sculptures of long-dead masters, and luckily, one of the easiest-to-master Latin phrases just about sums it up: “Art is long, life is short.”

28. “Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit.”

Just because you think you’re a relatively sage person doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily on the ball at all times. As many a Latin speaker might remind you with this phrase, “Of mortal men, none is wise at all times.”

29. “Quid infantes sumus.”

If you feel like you’re being underestimated, don’t be afraid to spit, “Quid infants sumus?” at those who might not see your potential. While it’s not exactly a scathing insult, it’s pretty amusing to know the Latin phrase for, “What are we, babies?”

30. “Mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundant.”

Of course, not all Latin phrases are useful—some are just funny. This one, in particular—a translation of a humorous saying from Monty Python’s “Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook” sketch, simply means, “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

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The Best Quotations

latin wisdom quotes

Want to impress your friends with your erudite ways? Eager to utter completely vicious phrases that people will have to look up later? Looking for a more educated way to talk trash online? Then you, my friend, need to brush up on your Latin. The phrases below are all worth committing to memory if for no other reason than that quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

Vincit qui se vincit.

He conquers who conquers himself.
Used as a motto by many schools, this phrase speaks to the importance of first getting yourself under control, mastering your urges and temptations, before trying to control the outside world. Also, fun fact, it can be seen on a stained glass window at the beginning of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Carthago delenda est.

Carthage must be destroyed.
The Second Punic War, fought between 218 and 201 BC, was a rough one for Rome, as they initiated it only to get spanked in a very real way by Hannibal and his elephants. Following the war, noted hardass Cato the Elder would end his speeches with this phrase, which these days can be used to add emphasis and vehemence to an argument.

Non ducor, duco.

I am not led, I lead.
The motto of São Paulo, Brazil, this phrase is a great, albeit somewhat aggressive way to assert your dominance while also letting folks know that you’ve read a few books. It corrects anyone under the mistaken assumption that you aren’t the absolute boss and/or innovator of any given situation.

Gladiator in arena consilium capit.

The gladiator is formulating his plan in the arena.
This one comes to us from the philosopher, statesman and dramatist Seneca the Younger. It refers to the time jsut prior to a gladiator’s battle, when the warrior is already in the arena preparing to fight. Basically, it’s a more badass way to say “We’re already pregnant,” or, in other words: You’re too damn late.

Aqua vitae.

Water of life.
Most of the phrases listed here have at least some kind of connection to war, combat and struggle, but this one is a little different. Aqua vitae can be used to refer to any kind of liquor, whether it’s done sincerely while talking about that single barrel scotch you’ve been saving, or more ironically for a case of PBR.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Thus always to tyrants.
These days, this phrase is mostly known as what John Wilkes Booth may or may not have shouted out while assassinating President Abraham Lincoln. That association is a shame, however, as it’s a much older phrase, with a far less problematic, but equally murderous history. Prior to its debated use by Booth, the phrase was placed on the official seal of the commonwealth of Virginia, which also featured a female warrior, representing virtue, standing upon a defeated king, representing tyranny. The phrase is all about how tyrants tend to meet brutal ends, which explains why the phrase is so closely connected with a much earlier assassination: That of Julius Caesar.

Astra inclinant, sed non obligant.

The stars incline us, they do not bind us.
I love this one because it’s about as bold a one-line refutation of fatalism as you can imagine. The phrase means that while fate – whether determined by the stars, the gods or something else entirely – might nudge us in a certain direction, we are never forced in it, that free will exists and the decision of what to do in any circumstance is ultimately our own.

Aut cum scuto aut in scuto.

Either with shield or on shield.
This is actually a Latin version of an earlier Greek phrase. In Sparta, mothers were said to tell their war-bred children to either come back carrying their shield or on it. At first, that might not make a lot of sense, but when you acknowledge the size and weight of a Spartan shield, the tendency of deserters to leave it behind and the tradition of carrying dead soldiers back home upon their shield, the meaning becomes clear: Don’t surrender, never give up.

Igne natura renovatur integra.

Through fire, nature is reborn whole.
So this one’s a little confusing. First up, you need to know about INRI, an acronym for Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum, which means Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews, a phrase that was said to have been inscribed on the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Later, as part of alchemical and occult studies, this Latin backronym was created, which refers to the cleansing power of fire and the ever-repeating cycle of death and life.

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.

If I can not bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.
Originally spoken by Juno in Virgil’s Aeneid, this phrase is perhaps best-known today for appearing as a dedication in Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. But as for how to use it, it kind of works as a piece of all-purpose badassery, something to utter or growl when you’ve been stymied or prevented from achieving your goal. Give it extra punch by taking some liberties with the translation, telling people who ask that it means “If I can’t move heaven, I shall raise hell.”

Oderint dum metuant.

Let them hate so long as they fear.
I was first exposed to this phrase from its use on a t-shirt for professional wrestler Triple H, who has a long history of using different Latin phrases on his merchandise and entrance videos. This one fits Triple H perfectly, as he has a reputation for being a brutal, somewhat mercenary talent within WWE, so it’s appropriate that he would borrow a line from one of Rome’s most brutal dictators, Caligula.

These are our favorite badass Latin phrases, but we had to lose a ton of them in the process of narrowing this list down to just 11. Tell us your favorites in the comments below!

Aubrey Sitterson is the writer of the upcoming Street Fighter x G.I. Joe comic book from IDW Publishing and the creator of the ongoing, sword & sorcery serial podcast, SKALD, available on iTunes, Stitcher & Podomatic. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website for more information.

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One of the most poular Latin phrases, meaning, “Through adversity to the . “ There has been no great wisdom without an element of madness.

Legal Latin phrases and maxims

latin wisdom quotes

This is a list of Latin proverbs and sayings.

Alphabetized by first word of proverb
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · References · External links


  • A diabolo, qui est simia dei.
    • English equivalent: Where god has a church the devil will have his chapel.
    • "Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
      The Devil always builds a chapel there:
      And 'twill be found, upon examination,
      The latter has the largest congregation."
    • Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman (1701)
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 874. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Abbati, medico, patrono que intima pande.
    • English equivalent: Conceal not the truth from thy physician and lawyer.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 666. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Absens haeres non erit.
    • English equivalent: Out of sight, out of mind.
    • Source: Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 16. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Abyssus abyssum invocat.
    • English equivalent: Deep calls to deep.
    • Note: From the Bible, Psalm 42:7.
  • Quidquid præcipies esto brevis.
    • "Whatever advice you give, be short."
    • Horace, Ars Poetica (18 BC), CCCXXXV. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 10-11.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Acquirit qui tuetur.
    • English equivalent: Sparing is the first gaining.
    • Burke (2009). The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings from the Earliest to the Present Time. Heritage Books. p. 710. ISBN 0788437208. 
  • Acta Non Verba.
    • Translations: Deeds, not words - motto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, at Kings Point, New York, USA.
    • English equivalents: Words are leaves, deeds are fruits.
    • Fuschetto (2003). Kings Point: Acta Non Verba. Diversified Graphics, Incorporated. 
  • Ancipiti plus ferit ense gula.
    • English equivalent: Gluttony kills more than the sword.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 864. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Aegrescit medendo.
  • Aegroto dum anima est, spes est.
    • English equivalent: As long as there is life there is hope.
    • Erasmus, Mynors (1991). Collected Works of Erasmus: Adages II I 1 to II VI 100. University of Toronto Press. p. 467. ISBN 0802059546. 
  • Aeque pars ligni curvi ac recti valet igni.
    • English equivalent: Crooked logs make straight fires.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 683. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Age quod agis.
    • Translation and English equivalent: Do what you do, in the sense of "Do well what you do", "Do well in whatever you do" or "Be serious in what you do"
    • The Nation. Nation Company. 1884. p. 425. 
  • Age si quid agis.
    • Translation: "If there is something [quid for aliquid] you do (well), carry on", "If you do something, do it well" see also "Age quod agis"
    • English equivalent: Bloom where you are planted.
    • Lindsay (1968). Early Latin verse. Oxford U. P.. p. 21. 
  • Aliis si licet, tibi non licet.
    • Translation: If others are allowed to, that does not mean you are. (see also quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi)
    • Patrick (1810). Terence's Comedies. Gilbert and Hodges. p. 345. 
  • An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur? (alternatively: regatur orbis)
  • Aliquis in omnibus est nullus in singulis.
    • Translation: Someone in all, is nothing in one.
    • English equivalent: Jack of all trades, master of none; Jack of all trades begs bread on Sundays.
    • "Somebody who has a very wide range of abilities or skills usually does not excel at any of them."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1998). Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs (Abbreviated ed.). Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Arcem ex cloacâ facĕre.
    • English equivalent: Don't make a mountain out of a molehill.
    • Proverbs of All Nations. W. Kent & Company (late D. Bogue). 1859. p. 58. 
  • Atqui, e lotio est.
    • Translation: Yet it comes from urine.
    • Emperor Vespasian to his son Titus, when the latter, complaining about the former's urine tax, acknowledged a coin collected had no odor.
  • Auctoritas non veritas facit legem
  • Audi, vide, tace, si tu vis vivere (in pace).
    • Translation: Hear, see, be silent, if you wish to live (in peace). Roman proverb, according to this.
    • English equivalent: Rather see than hear.
  • Aut inveniam viam aut faciam.
    • Alternate phrasing: Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
    • Translation: I'll either find a way or make one.
    • English equivalent: Where there's a will, there's a way.
    • "If you are sufficiently determined to achieve something, then you will find a way of doing so."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Stone, J. R. (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Latin Quotations: The Illiterati's Guide to Latin Maxims, Mottoes, Proverbs and Sayings, Routledge. p. 351


  • Basio saepe volam, cui plagam diligo solam.
    • English equivalent: Many kiss the hand they wish to cut off.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1084. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Bellum se ipsum alet.
    • War will feed on itself.
    • Roberts (2003). The Age of Liberty: Sweden 1719-1772. Cambridge University Press. p. 19. 
  • Bene diagnoscitur, bene curatur.
    • English equivalent: A disease known is half cured.
    • Meyer, Ndura-Ouédraogo (2009). Seeds of new hope: pan-African peace studies for the 21st century. Africa World Press. p. 331. ISBN 1592216625. 
  • Brevis oratio penetrat coelos; Longa potatio evacuat scyphos.


  • Carpe diem.
    • Translation: "Seize the day." By Horace, Odes I,11,8, to Leuconoe: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero ("take hold of the day, believing as little as possible in the next"). The verb "carpere" has the literal meaning "to pick, pluck," particularly in reference to the picking of fruits and flowers, and was used figuratively by the Roman poets to mean "to enjoy, use, make use of."
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Carthago delenda est.
    • Translation: "Carthage is to be destroyed." Actually, ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("Apart from that, I conclude that Carthage must be destroyed") Cato the Elder used to end every speech of his to the Senate, on any subject whatsoever, with this phrase. Mentioned to indicate that someone habitually harps on one subject.
  • Cave ab homine unius libri.
    • English translation: Fear the man of one book.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 851. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cedens in uno cedet in pluribus.
    • English equivalent: Virtue which parleys is near a surrender.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 957. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Citius venit malum quam revertitur.
    • English equivalent: Misfortune comes on horseback and goes away on foot.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 65. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cito maturum cito putridum.
    • English equivalent: Early ripe, early rotten.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 758. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cogitationes posteriores sunt saniores.
    • English equivalent: Second thoughts are best; We shall lose nothing by waiting.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 747. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Consilio, quod respuitur, nullum subest auxilium.
    • English equivalent: He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 964. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Consuetudinis magna vis est
    • English equivalent: Old habits die hard.
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, II.37
  • Consuetudo altera natura est
    • English equivalent: Old habits die hard.
    • Breen (2010). Imagining an English Reading Public, 1150-1400. Cambridge University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0521199220. 
  • Contritium praecedit superbia.
    • English equivalent: Pride comes before fall.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge. p. 1148. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cor boni concilii statue tecum non est enim tibi aliud pluris illo.
    • English equivalent: Though thou hast ever so many counsellors, yet do not forsake the counsel of thy own soul.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1044. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges
    • Translation: The greater the degeneration of the republic, the more of its laws.
    • (Tacitus) Annals (117)
  • "Credula est spes improba.
    • English equivalent: He that lives on hope dances without music.
    • "Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords."
    • Samuel Johnson, letter of 8 June 1762, in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791), Vol. 1, p. 103
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 952. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cui caput dolet, omnia membra languent.
    • English equivalent: When the head is sick, the whole body is sick.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1117. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Cuilibet fatuo placet sua calva.
    • English equivalentː Every fool is pleased with his own folly.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "147". Dictionary of European Proverbs. I. Routledge. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-134-86460-7. 
  • Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare. —
    • Any man can make a mistake; only a fool keeps making the same one.
    • English equivalent: He wrongfully blames the sea who suffers shipwreck twice.
    • "Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. I know people who can't even learn from what happened this morning. Hegel must have been taking the long view."
    • John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1968)
    • Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippica XII, ii, 5
  • Curae canitiem inducunt.
    • English equivalent: Fretting cares make grey hairs.
    • Source for proverb: Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 631. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Custode et cura natura potentior omni.
    • English equivalent: Nature is beyond all teaching.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 764. ISBN 0415096243. 



  • Deus quem punire vult dementat.
    • English equivalent: Whom God will destroy, he first make mad.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 841. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Diem vesper commendat.
    • Translation: Celebrate the day when it is evening.
    • Meaning: Don't celebrate until you are 100% sure there is a reason to do so.; Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 200. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Difficile est longum subito deponere amorem.
    • English equivalent: True love never grows old.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1107. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Dii facientes adiuvant.
    • Translation: Gods help those who do.
    • English equivalent: God helps them that help themselves.
    • Meaning: "When in trouble first of all every one himself should do his best to improve his condition."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 150. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
    • Cantera Ortiz de Urbina, Jesús (16 November 2005). "975". Refranero latino. Ediciones Akal. p. 83. ISBN 978-84-460-1296-2. 
  • Dives aut iniquus est, aut iniqui heres.
    • English equivalent: No one gets rich quickly if he is honest.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 963. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Dives est qui sibi nihil deesse putat.
    • Translation: The rich man is the one who thinks to himself that nothing was lacking.
    • Note: Another way to phrase this is by this quote:
      • No one – not a single person out of a thousand [elderly interviewed because of their wisdom expertise] – said that to be happy you should try and work as hard as you can to make money to buy the things you want.
      • No one – not a single person –– said it's important to be at least as wealthy as the people around you, and if you have more than they do it's real success.
      • No one – not a single person –– said you should choose your work based on your desired future earning power.”
    • From: Brody, Jane (2011). 30 Lessons for Living. Penguin Group. p. 57. ISBN 1594630844. 
    • English equivalent: Wealth rarely brings happiness.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 670. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Divide et impera.
    • Translation: Divide and govern [or conquer]. Attributed to Julius Caesar.
    • English equivalent: Divide and conquer.
    • Meaning: "The best way to conquer or control a group of people is by encouraging them to fight among themselves rather than allowing them to unite in opposition to the ruling authority."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 13 August 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "823". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Docendo discimus.
    • Translation: We learn by teaching. (Seneca)
    • Vahros (1986). Docendo discimus. University Press. 
  • Duabus ancoris fultus.
    • English equivalent: Good riding at two anchors, men have told, for if the one fails, the other may hold.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Ductus Exemplo
    • Translation: Lead by Example.
    • Gray (2009). Embedded: a Marine Corps adviser inside the Iraqi army. Naval Institute Press. p. 74. ISBN 1591143403. 
  • Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
    • Translation: It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland. By Horace, Odes III, 2, 13, frequently quoted on war memorials, and notably in the poem Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, who calls it "the old lie".
  • Dulce pomum quum abest custos.
    • Translation: Sweet is the apple when the keeper is away.
    • English equivalent: Forbidden fruit is sweetest.
    • Meaning: "Things that you must not have or do are always the most desirable."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • János Erdélyi (1851). Magyar közmondások könlyve. Nyomatott Kozma Vazulnál. p. 169. 
    • Kelly, Walter Keating (1859). Proverbs of all nations (W. Kent & co. (late D. Bogue) ed.). p. 93. 
  • Dulcior illa sapit caro, quae magis ossibus haeret.
    • English equivalent: The sweetest flesh is near the bones.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "1666". Dictionary of European proverbs. II. Routledge. p. 1176. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Dum canem caedimus, corrosisse dicitur corrium.
    • Translation: If you want to beat a dog you will easily find a stick.
    • Meaning: Someone who wants to be mean will find things to be mean about no matter what.
    • Strauss, Emmanuel (1998). Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 104. ISBN 0415160502. 
  • Dum satur est venter, gaudet caput inde libenter.
    • Translation: When the belly is full, the head is pleased.
    • English equivalent: Full stomach, contented heart.
    • Cantera Ortiz de Urbina, Jesús (16 November 2005). "768". Refranero latino. Ediciones Akal. p. 68. ISBN 978-84-460-1296-2. 
  • Dum spiro, spero.
    • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope." Translated as "While I breathe, I hope" the motto of the State of South Carolina [[1]]
    • Gunter (2000). Dum Spiro, Spero: While I Breathe, I Hope. In His Steps Publishing. pp. 180. ISBN 1585350192. 
    • English equivalent: As long as there is life there is hope.
  • Dum vivimus, vivamus!
    • Translation: While we live, let us live!
    • Organization) (1972). Dum Vivimus, Vivamus: A Chronicle of the First Century of the Knights of Momus, 1872-1972. 
  • Dum vita est, spes est.
    • Translation: While there is life, there is hope.
    • Bretzke (1998). Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary : Latin Expressions Commonly Found in Theological Writings. Liturgical Press. p. 41. ISBN 1. 


  • Ecce omnis, qui dicit vulgo proverbium, in te assumet illud dicens: Sicut mater, ita et filia ejus.
    • Translation: Behold, every one that useth a common proverb, shall use this against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.
    • English equivalent: Like mother, like daughter.
    • Meaning: "Daughters may look and behave like their mothers. This is due to inheritance and the example observed closely and daily."
    • Source for meaning and proverbs: Paczolay, Gyula (1997). European Proverbs in 55 languages. p. 137. ISBN 1-875943-44-7. 
  • Effectus sequitir causam.
    • Translation: Effect follows a reason.
    • English equivalent: Every why has a wherefore.
    • Meaning: "Everything has an underlying reason."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 22 September 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 765. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Eodem cubito, eadem trutina, pari libra.
    • Translation: The elbow, the same balance, an equal balance.
    • English equivalent: Whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1219. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Et ipsa scientia potestas est.
    • Translation: "And knowledge itself, is power" (Francis Bacon, Meditationes sacrae)
    • Djité (2008). The Sociolinguistics of Development in Africa. Multilingual Matters. p. 53. ISBN 1847690459. 
  • Ex malis moribus bonae leges natae sunt.
    • Translation: Bad customs have given birth to good laws.
    • English equivalent: Good laws have sprung from bad customs.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 879. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.
    • Translation: "The exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted" (Cicero, Pro Balbo)
    • Meaning: If an exception to a rule is explicitly stated (such as a "no right turns on red light" sign at an intersection), that allows one to conclude the general rule to which this is an exception (i.e. "right turns are permitted on red lights unless a sign says otherwise").
    • English equivalent: "The exception proves the rule" (though this is often used in other senses).
  • Excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta.
    • English equivalent: A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
    • Meaning: "People who know they have done wrong reveal their guilt by the things they say or the way they interpret what other people say."
    • Source for meaning of English equivalent: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). "243". Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs. Routledge. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-136-78978-6. 
  • Extremis malis extrema remedia.
    • Translation: Extreme remedies for extreme ills.
    • English equivalent: Desperate diseases must have desperate remedies.
    • Meaning: "Drastic action is called for – and justified – when you find yourself in a particularly difficult situation."
    • Source for meaning: Martin H. Manser (2007). The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs. Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8160-6673-5. Retrieved on 10 August 2013. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 688. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Expecta bos olim herba.
    • Translation: Waiting for the grass the cow dies.
    • English equivalent: While the grass grows the steed starves.
    • Meaning: Dreams or expectations may be realized too late.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 1228. ISBN 0415096243. 


  • Factis ut credam facis.
    • English equivalent: No need of words, trust deeds.
    • Meaning: Actions may be, and indeed sometimes are deceptive in a measure though not as much so as words; and accordingly are received in general as more full and satisfactory proofs of the real disposition and character of persons than verbal expressions.
    • Source for meaning:Porter, William Henry (1845). Proverbs: Arranged in Alphabetical Order .... Munroe and Company. p. 10. 
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Festina lente!
    • Translation: Make haste slowly.
    • English equivalent: More speed less haste.
    • English meaning: proceed quickly but with caution, a motto of Marcus Aurelius
    • Rochester Institute of Technology (1980). Festina lente. 
  • Fides facit fidem.
    • English equivalent: Confidence begets confidence.
    • Strauss, Emanuel (1994). Dictionary of European proverbs (Volume 2 ed.). Routledge. p. 187. ISBN 0415096243. 
  • Fidite Nemini
    • Translation: Trust no one.
    • Cinderella, The More Things Change (1991)
    • Conciones Adventuales: De De Captivitate Petri, Figurante Captivitatem Peccatoris. Verdussen. 1737. p. 113. 
  • Finis origine pendet.
    • Translation: The end hangs on the beginning.
    • English equivalent: Such a beginning, such an end.
    • Meaning: The outcome of things depends on how they start.
  • Fortes fortuna iuvat
    • Translation: Fortune favors the brave. (cf. Audaces fortuna iuvat.) (Terence)
    • Marchesi (2008). The Art of Pliny's Letters: A Poetics of Allusion in the Private Correspondence. Cambridge University Press. p. 176. ISBN 0521882273. 
  • Fraus hominum ad perniciem, et integritas ad salutem vocat.
WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Latin Proverbs - Ancient Roman Words of Wisdom

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