50 Popular Latin Phrases to Impress Your Friends

Forget about ‘carpe diem’. It’s time to ‘veni, vidi, vici’ like a veritable Julius Caesar.

50 Popular Latin Phrases to Impress Your Friends

Far from being a dead language, Latin is very much alive in our day-to-day conversations. Carpe diem, et cetera, cum laude, curriculum vitae and mea culpa are just a few of the Latin phrases still widely used today. It’s unclear whether Latin made a comeback or it has been this cool for hundreds of years. But one thing is sure: Latin phrases are nowadays the cooler siblings of slang words. And Julius Caesar approves this message. So, let’s see the most famous Latin phrases you can use to impress your friends.

Famous Latin Phrases you need to know

These are nearly as famous as Julius Caesar himself.

Veni, vidi, vici. — I came, I saw, I conquered.

Famously attributed to Julius Caesar in a message he supposedly sent to the Roman Senate to describe his swift, conclusive victory against King Pharnaces II of Pontus near Zela in 47 BC.

Alea iacta est. — The die has been cast.

Another Latin phrase said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon to enter Italy and begin the long civil war against Pompey and the Optimates. The meaning of this phrase refers to the point of no return.

Carpe diem. — Seize the day.

Probably the most popular Latin phrase of modern times. Luckily, we have an even better one: carpe vinum. Literally ‘seize the wine’. The only Latin phrase you’ll ever need on a Friday night out. And speaking of night, you should also remember the carpe noctem variation which literally translates to ‘seize the night’. Either way, the general meaning is to make the most of everything.

Cogito, ergo sum. — I think, therefore I am.

A dictum (‘a short statement that expresses a general truth’) coined by French philosopher René Descartes in Latin.

What Descartes doesn’t know is that nowadays people prefer the bibo, ergo sum version which literally means “I drink, therefore I am”.

In vino veritas. — In wine, there is truth.

Be careful if you carpe vinum on that Friday night out we talked about. This Latin saying suggests that you’ll probably spill all your secrets if you drink too much alcohol.

Et tu, Brute? — “And you, Brutus?”

Or “You too, Brutus?”. This Latin quote appears in William Shakespeare‘s play “Julius Caesar” at the very moment of Caesar’s assassination. Upon recognizing his friend, Marcus Junius Brutus, as one of the assassins, Julius Caesar utters these last words.

That scene is very tragic indeed, but nowadays, the phrase can be used jokingly to condemn a friend’s change of heart.

Acta, non verba. — Deeds, not words.

Similar to res, non verba, the English equivalent of this phrase is “actions speak louder than words”. In other words, act upon it or always follow your declarations with actions.

Carthago delenda est. — Carthage must be destroyed.

Prior to the Third Punic War between Rome and Carthage, Cato the Censor, a Roman politician, used to conclude all his speeches to the Senate with this phrase. While he did this in an attempt to push for the war, nowadays the expression can be used figuratively as a way to express your absolute support for an idea.

latin phrases

Using some Latin phrases here and there will automatically make you look smarter.

Common Latin Words & Sayings

  • Ad hominem — To the person

Short for argumentum ad hominem (literally meaning ‘argument against the person’). It refers to a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the other person rather than the substance of the argument itself.

  • Quid pro quo — Something for something

Or ‘this for that’. A favor granted in return for something else. Similar to “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.

  • Deus ex machina — God from the machine

A plot device used to resolve a seemingly unsolvable problem. It’s often considered a lazy or cheap way to tie loose ends in movies or books. A good example could be Arya killing the Night King in Game of Thrones.

  • Ad hoc — For this

Or ‘for this purpose. Something that is not planned, but done only when it’s needed. An ad hoc meeting.

  • Mea culpa — Through my fault

An acknowledgment of one’s fault or an admission of guilt.

  • Status quo — The existing state (of affairs)

Mainly used with regard to social or political issues. “The officials wanted to maintain the status quo, so they did not vote to admit the new members.

  • Per se (and not ‘per say’) — By itself or in itself

Used to describe or talk about something on its own, rather than in connection with other things. “I’m not a fan of the Latin language per se, but rather its influence on modern languages.”

  • Alma mater — Nourishing mother

Used to identify the institution of education that one formerly attended. It suggests that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students.

  • De facto — In fact

Describes something existing in fact, although perhaps not legal. It contrasts with de jure, which refers to things that happen according to law.

  • Persona non grata — An unwelcome person

Especially used in diplomacy, but also in day-to-day conversations. “Julian is a persona non grata for us since he offended Miriam.

  • Bona fide — In good faith

If something was made bona fide, then it is sincere, genuine or authentic.

  • Sui generis — Of its/his/her/their own kind

Constituting a class alone. Unique. Think of Mozart for example.

  • Sine qua non — Without which, not

Something absolutely essential. A more clear translation could be ‘without (something), (something else) won’t be possible’. “Creativity is a sine qua non for writing novels.”

  • Ad infinitum — To infinity

Unlike the previous Latin words, this one is pretty self-explanatory.

  • Et cetera — And other similar things

Every student’s favorite. We all know what this one means, don’t we?

in vino veritas
“In vino veritas” by Daniel Vogel©

Cool Latin that are still used today

Do you know what’s the coolest thing about these following cool Latin phrases? They’re evergreen. If time travel gets invented in a few years, these phrases are gonna come in handy regardless of the century you choose to travel to. Besides, this selection includes only the most relevant expressions so you don’t have to worry about redundancy.

Get ready to bring your Roman alter ego to life in 3… 2… 1. Go!

  • Castigat ridendo mores.Laughing corrects morals.

According to this phrase, one supposedly corrects bad habits by laughing at them. Of course, you shouldn’t laugh at strangers, but your close friends will probably like the idea.

  • Cui bono?Good for whom?

Or who benefits? Similar to the expression sequere pecuniam (“follow the money”), this phrase suggests to look for the culprit in the person who would benefit from an unwelcome event.

  •  Me vexat pede.It annoys me at the foot.

Similar to the English saying “a pebble in one’s shoe”, me vexat pede refers to a trivial situation or person that is being a nuisance. The Romans don’t seem so serious anymore, do they?

  • Mulgere hircum.To milk a male goat.

Am I wrong or is this your soon to be favorite Latin phrase? Although it hints at attempting the impossible – which is a very serious matter – you can not help but smile at the image.

  • Ex nihilo nihil fit.Nothing comes from nothing.

Or so Lucretius said. Originally meaning “work is required to succeed”, the modern reinterpretation suggests that “everything has its origins in something”.

common latin phrases
“Laughing” by Peter Lloyd©
  • Nemo saltat sobrius.Nobody dances sober.

Have you heard about Cicero? The famous Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic Skeptic? Well, he said this. Probably after an interesting night during which carpe vinum was his favorite motto.

  • Nitimur in vetitum.We strive for the forbidden.

From Ovid’s ‘Amores’. This behavior is no stranger to the modern world. Highly disputed between philophers, nitimur in vetitum was also what drove Eve to take a bite from the forbidden fruit.

  • Caesar non supra grammaticos.The Emperor is not above the grammarians.

Know any grammar nazis? Because they’ll love this Latin phrase. Its origin goes back to 1414, when the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg made a grammar mistake during his speech to the Council of Constance. After the error was pointed out to him, Sigismund angrily decided to simply change the grammar rule to his liking. At his point, a member of the Council apparently stood and said “Caesar non supra grammaticos”. Pretty cool story, isn’t it?

  • Pecunia non olet.Money don’t smell.

According to Suetonius, when to Roman emperor Vespasian imposed a urine tax, his son Titus complained of the money’s disgusting nature. Now you’re probably asking yourself what in heaven’s name is a urine tax. Well, the urine collected from Rome’s public urinals was sold as an ingredient for multiple chemical processes. So no, the people of Rome didn’t pay a tax to urinate. Instead, the buyers of the urine did.

You can probably imagine what happened next. Vespasian’s answer to his son was to hold up a gold coin and ask whether it smelled. The rest is… history.

  • Plenus venter non studet libenter.A full belly does not like studying.

To be honest, my belly does not like studying when it’s empty either. What about yours?

Anyway, it seems that the Romans believed it is difficult to concentrate after a heavy meal.

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  • Festina lente.Hurry slowly.

An oxymoronic phrase attributed to Augustus. Genius if you ask me. Equivalent to “more haste, less speed”, festina lente essentially encourages you to proceed quickly, but cautiously.

  • Barba non facit philosophum.A beard doesn’t make one a philosopher.

Want to sweep everyone off their feet with your erudite ways? Use this Latin phrase instead of its English equivalent: “clothes don’t make the man”. Or the similar cucullus non facit monachum (“the hood does not make the monk”).

  • De gustibus non est disputandum.Of tastes there is nothing to be disputed.

Different phrase, same story. You’re welcome.

  • Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.I fear Greeks even if they bring gifts.

Similar to equo ne credite (“do not trust the horse”). The phrase belongs to Laocoön when he supposedly warned his fellow Trojans against accepting the wooden horse from the Greeks. Nowadays, this expression can be used figuratively between friends.

  • Dulce est desipere in loco.It is sweet on occasion to play the fool. / It is pleasant to relax once in a while.

By Horace in ‘Odes’. Criminally underused genius Latin phrase. I trust you shall change this.

  • Audentes fortuna iuvat.Fortune favors the bold.

Supposedly Pliny the Elder’s last words before leaving the docks at Pompeii to rescue his friend Pomponianus from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79. The phrase also appears in Virgil’s Aeneid.

  • Ita vero.Thus indeed.

Funny thing about Romans. Apparently, they had no word for ‘yes’, so they went with ita vero instead.

  • Lupus in fabula.The wolf in the story.

The Latin equivalent of “speak of the devil”. When you speak of someone and they suddenly appear, almost as if you were summoning them, this proverb is perfect.

  • Memento vivere.Remember to live.

We all heard about memento mori (“remember that you [have to] die”), but apparently a more optimistic view over life also existed.

  • Risus abundat in ore stultorum.Laughter is abundant in the mouth of fools.

Similar to per risum multum poteris cognoscere stultum (“by excessive laughter one can recognize the fool”). Do you have that one friend who laughs at their own jokes even before saying them? If yes, then this saying is for them. Only if they are not easily offended, of course.

  • Surdo oppedere.To belch before the deaf.

You gotta love the Latin language. After learning of this phrase’s existence, I no longer regarded my attempt to learn as many Latin phrases as possible as futile.

If it wasn’t obvious enough, surdo oppedere refers to a useless action.

  • Aut Caesar aut nihil.Either Caesar or nothing.

Or “all or nothing”. This was the personal motto of the infamous Italian cardinal Cesare Borgia. Nowadays, the expression can be used to denote the absolute aspiration to be the best.

  • Mortuum flagellas.You are flogging a dead man.

Have you ever criticized someone who did not feel remorse over their actions? This phrase is exactly about that but said in a much more creative and interesting way. Gotta remember this one.

latin words
“Roman statue” by engin akyurt©

Latin Words and Phrases for Love

To conclude our exploration of the Latin phrases in a positive tone, let’s see what the Romans had to say about love. It’s true they talked more about wars, but you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, do you? Why learn Latin phrases about war, when love wins no matter what?

  • Si vis amari ama.If you want to be loved, love.

Written by Seneca in the sixth of his letters to Lucilius. The phrase has a double interpretation: ‘only loving souls can inspire love’ and ‘you cannot ask for love from those you do not love yourself’.

  • Amor vincit omnia.Love conquers all.

Famously attributed to the Latin poet Virgil, this popular Latin phrase is also the title of a painting by the Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio.

  • Ubi amor, ibi dolor.Where (there is) love, there (is) pain.

No matter how beautiful, love can also hurt. This expression refers to the pain love can inflict upon one’s soul especially if we’re talking about unrequited love.

  • Amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus.Love is rich with both honey and venom.

It seems that love was no different in Ancient Rome. This quote appeared in Titus Maccius Plautus’ play ‘Cistellaria’.

  • Hei mihi! Quod nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.Oh me! Love can not be cured by herbs.

From Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. We know your pain, Ovid.

Speak Latin like Julius Caesar

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Soon enough, you’ll be able to speak like a veritable Julius Caesar yourself.

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Diana Lăpușneanu - Linguist at Mondly Blog

Diana is a Linguist at Mondly by Pearson. Learning English as a second language early on fueled her lifelong passion for language learning, leading her to pursue a diverse array of languages as a hobby alongside her academic endeavors. With a Master’s Degree in advertising and a fascination for historical linguistics, she brings a unique perspective to her role, making language learning fun for readers worldwide.

112 comments on “50 Popular Latin Phrases to Impress Your Friends

  1. Great article. A couple more useful ones:
    – respondeat superior (let the master answer)
    – experto credite (trust one with experience)

    1. That reminds me of “Magister Dixit” (teacher says… wisdom that shouldn´t be questioned). Always a favorite.

  2. I am debating with a conspiracy theorist and find she deifies ancient academic concept. Thus she accepts my critique if I say accipere nihil provocatione omnia
    for accept nothing; challenge everything. My problem is I don’t know if the internet is using the established latin phrase or just translating my english. Any more correct phrases would be apprecciated. I am very dyslexic and don’t use search engins easily

  3. I think “accipere nihil provocatione omnia” is a translation of each word. However accipere is the present infinitive, i.e. “to accept” and provocatione is a noun i.e. “a challenge”.

    The present imperative of accipere is accipite. But then this verb is more like accept in terms of receiving something. “To believe” is credere, with the present imperative being credite.

    The verb “to challenge” is provocare, but I think this is more like challenge to a fight. I think interrogare is a better verb as this means to ask or to question. The present imperative is interrogate.

    Also I think the verb comes at the end in Latin. So my translation would be:

    nihil credite, omnia interrogate

    which would translate as “believe nothing, question everything”.

    Not an expert so please point out any mistakes

    1. Btw, in case you didn’t know, in latin, the letter ‘v’ is pronounced as if it were a ‘w’.

    2. I have found latin more interesting to learn. Sometimes scholars can use Latin jargons to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

  4. Quid lucrum istic mihi est, What’s in it for me? (From author Donald Westlake)
    Semper in execretum solum profundum veriat. Always in the shit only the depth varies. My motto of construction.

  5. Will write down and memorize, ” Semper in excretum…”
    I also far from expert, however think I understand word order in Latin does not matter in the least, say it smoothly however you wish.

    1. How sinister and also intriguing about the group that managed to abolished most of Roman’s teachings and disciplines they bothered to create multiple languages based on Latin grammar, books of laws mostly Roman’s teachings, arts ,astronomy, astrology, philosophy, etc .
      a NWO back in the days . a waste of time.
      who knows maybe will relive it all over again..

    2. Compared to English, Latin word order is almost without rules, but there are exceptions. (It’s not totally willy nilly.) And then there’s also the difference between what is allowable and what is common. Latin verbs don’t have to come at the end of a sentence, but most commonly they do.

  6. Omnia mea mecum porto.

    “All that is mine I carry with me.”

    I think it refers to character and intelligence, but I like to say it when I leave the house to avoid forgetting things.

  7. I love Latin wish I could learn how to speak fluently……
    This piece is awesome

  8. I love Latin wish I could learn how to speak fluently…
    Thanks to the person who compiled this …

  9. Motto over the bar at Jacob Wirth’s in Boston
    “Suum clique”-to each his own.
    Unfortunately Jake’s is gone.
    Sic transit Gloria Mundi !

    1. First, Jacob Worth’s is in the theater district of Boston. 2nd, I too have written down the above saying about always in the shit. Only the depth varies. I work in the lumber department at home Depot and I am going to share that with my construction customers lol!

  10. Fantastic article and comments too.
    The richness of English is partly due I feel to the ability to freely absorb and use Latin and vocabulary from other languages. Not sure if we use Greek phrases at all however although some words are of Greek origin. Could be another article?

  11. Hodie mihi Cras tibi
    (Every dog has its day)

    Sic frangit crustum Dulce
    (That’s the way the cookie crumbles)

    1. Omnium rerum mors est extremum. Death is the end of all things. (Cicero)

  12. At the end of one episode of the TV show Rosanne, Rosanne Barr is in her daughter’s high school principal’s office. She grabs the microphone connected to the principal’s public address system and broadcasts to the entire school, “Students. If you’re taking Latin you’re wasting your lives!” America tends to celebrate celebrated banality.

  13. “The strong warrior fights not because they hate who is in front of them, but because they love who is behind them” translate?? Or something similar?

    1. Verus miles pugnat, non quia oderit quod est ante se, sed quia id quod post se est amat

    2. Miles fortis oppugnat non inimicum odiendo sed suos amando

      This is my attempt. It’s not a literal translation but more like “A strong soldier fights not by hating the enemy but by loving his own (people).” It’s been a long time since I studied Lating. I hope it’s correct, at least.

  14. Latin is not a dead language. I am a Latin teacher with 32 years of teaching experience in 5 countries, 2 continents. In 1997 I started teaching in US, where I teach students with a future or career goal in mind and they are enrolled in Latin courses. Latin for any English- speaking person is almost mandatory. I learned it at my catholic school where Italian and French were the languages at my school and home. I always remember Francis Bacon, a prestigious writer, who wrote 48 books, 44 in Latin and only 4 in his English language, at that time he understood Latin was the language of science and future. Nowadays Latin still the root, the resource, the base for science and for English language that was modified and derived from it during the Roman occupation and later in the French Norman period. The American founding fathers were smart and look at mottos in hundreds of American seals nationwide including the dollar bank note telling us that Latin continues to lead and to offer an incredible resource in all science and technological areas. I always remember my first Latin teacher, an old Italian priest from Florence who told me if you love Latin and master it, you will teach it any where on earth. Wow! I am 60 years old and his prophetic words became real when I received my Master Degree in Language and Latin Literature and later, I also received my master degree in Foreign languages in Italian, French and Spanish. I teach conversational Latin like I teach French, Italian or Spanish. I do respect any colleague that teach Latin for reading and translating classical Latin passages, but I can’t do that. Latin is a language and I teach it like Romans did centuries ago. It is really engaging to see students speaking Latin and reading and explaining all those classical phrases in a logical and natural way. Translating classical Latin phrases will be boring and sleepy for me, I love the energy and the active participation of my students challenging me everyday to do a better job and to help them to be globally competitive.

    1. Can you please help me find similar group of words like “vox populi” that is used as sender of a letter under anonymity yet representing a group of people. I saw one that is very seldom used; I just forgot it unable to locate again.

    2. In my high school and early college days, I was not adept at writing papers for any subject. However, after 3 semesters of Latin, I had learned how to organize thought into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into a flow of thought that convinces professors into granting much better grades. I am now 71 years old. If you were near my home (Illinois, a little north of St Louis, MO), I would take your classes!

    1. As usual, the author has no idea of what Quid Pro Quo actually means, you can thank Hollywood for that. QPQ means something for something else, yes, but not in the sense of trading something for something else – it means to misunderstand something, not to actually trade something for something else. Iacta should be jacta and the list of errors and misconceptions goes on and on and on.

    2. Luctor et Emergo – I struggle and emerge.
      Motto of the Dutch province of Zeeland.

  15. For: Plenus venter non studet libenter – A full belly doesn’t like studying… I think this refers to appetite to work. If you’re already fully rewarded you won’t want to put in the work… staying hungry = striving for greater.

    1. Hi…por favor…
      Find it in you
      Find it in yourself in Latin please…

  16. “Motto over the bar at Jacob Wirth’s in Boston
    “Suum clique”-to each his own.
    Unfortunately Jake’s is gone.”

    Ahem… I’m afraid it’s “unicuique suum” (more or less “don’t let a poet fix the plumbing”)
    Anyway “parce sepultis”, don’t take it out on the dead…

  17. @ J. Rod di Barressa:

    I beg to differ: Latin IS a dead language, though still a pretty active one. Not unlike ancient Greek, it left behind just a few (and conflicting) clues about how it was pronounced when it was currently spoken by commoners [think e.g. of Tzesar, Kesar, Tchesar , Seesar for ‘Cesar’], and nowadays no ‘commoner’ would use it to communicate other than in emergency situations. ‘Est usus qui facit linguas’…
    We may call it a zombie language if you wish, but hardly a live one. Should you or I be sent to year 1 BC, most likely we’d be regarded as barbarians, the ‘stutterers’ that are quite fluent in their own mother tongue but have severe difficulty uttering the strange sounds the conceited conquerors see as The One and Only Language – ‘nihil sub sole novum’ actually 🙂
    Latin’s staying afloat for so many centuries should probably be ascribed to the Roman Catholic Church that adopted it as its official language and throughout the Middle Ages was virtually the only reference point for those skilled, wealthy and curious enough to do something more than just survive till the next ravaging horde.
    That’s most likely also the reason why it was retained as the ‘scholarly language’ once the Roman Church proved more greedy, power-thirsty and mundane than most empires and kingdoms: it had rooted so deeply into all sciences that its link to the Church had become little relevant.

    Hope you’ll forgive me such a heretic point of view – for 8 of my best years I’ve been sitting on the other side of the barbed wire, forced to repeat ‘ad nauseam’ “rosa, rosae… etc.” by inflexible Latin teachers that took utmost care in despoiling it of any charme. That occurred in the times when duty and pleasure were regarded as different, non-overlapping and completely antithetical concepts, a morbid mentality that lasted barely long enough to make Latin a nightmare for me and my fellow pupils.

    To make up for that, several decades later I landed into a crazy physics research institute where most of the jokes were circulated in Latin or in ancient Greek, so I made peace with Latin and now treasure those ancient notions stuck forcibly down my throat.

    BTW: here an unwanted child is known as a ‘lapsus talami’. I’m not sure if Cicero used it, but we do 🙂

    1. For a ‘zombie’ or ‘retired’ language its still busier than many ‘living’ languages. I think it rates as living (and quite active in retirement) because it’s use remains significant and persistent. It’s arguably even an ‘immortal’ language that has grown beyond the bounds and needs of its original, birthing, state and culture. It doesn’t matter that we’re uncertain of Latin pronunciation since, for example, English speakers in different parts of the world can pronounce things differently but that doesn’t invalidate any one pronunciation. Just my ten cents worth.

  18. How to annoy your partner, who enjoys Latin (South American) (dance) music.
    Shall I play/put on something Latin?

    Play your favourite chanting monks.

  19. If status quo is the way things are, how would you say “the way things could be” in Latin? Thanks!

  20. Excellent article, interesting comments. « Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit “ rates a mention. Suitable for just about any situation, particularly the unpleasant ones.
    Michael Hanemann
    BA Latin, Tulane 1967

  21. Latin is my favourite language of all.
    This piece is awesome it helped me a great deal.

  22. “Vita Immolatur Aliis Vivere” –
    My Life Sacrificed for Others to Live
    Motto of U.S. Air Force Special Operations ParaRescue or “PJ’s”

  23. You can close your eyes to what you don’t want to see but you can’t close your heart to what you don’t want to feel.. could anyone translate to Latin please?

    1. Oculos tuos claudere potes quod videre non vis, sed cor claudere non potes quod sentire non vis..

  24. I’m thinking of getting a tattoo in Latin: “Alia primus” — others first. A reminder to be less egocentric.

  25. Hi everyone, I am trying to find the Latin phrase which translates as ‘That which divides also connects’. Can anyone help with the phrase and/or where it comes from? Thanks in advance.

  26. Could I get help with translating “Love the Journey” and “Love the Journey, not just the destination”. Not sure if the first part changes based on the second.

    Thank you!

  27. What about: O me miseram! Totally the thing to say when you slap the back of your hand against your forehead, look suitably dejected, and want to wail! Love this article.

    1. Yeah me too. I’m typing a story and the latin phrases helped. thanks!

  28. Very interesting topic 🙂 I would like to add these to the list:
    “Omnia Videre, Multa Dissimulare” = See everything, Pass over (as Fine to conceal over) Things”
    “Pulvis Et Umbra sumus” = We are Dust And Shadow
    “Qui Valet Hic Mundus, Quid Gloriam, Quidve Triumpus Post Miserum Fonus” = What is the value of this world, what is the glory, what is the triumph behind the rope of misery?

    1. Errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum. To err is human, to persist is of the devil. Here’s the more contemporary translation. To make mistakes is human, to keep making the same mistake is diabolical. (Seneca)

  29. The Latin for love conquers all is ” OMNIA VINCIT AMOR”
    This is due to the syllables in omnia being longer than amor as its Hexmeter latin.

  30. Carved in stone over the door of the gym at the Catholic boy’s school I attended: “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano.” A strong mind in a strong body.

  31. Missing is “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
    (literally Who Guards the Guards?
    meaning, “if the police are supposed to guard against corruption, what do you do when you find the police are corrupt?”
    This is supremely relevant to institutions in most countries.

  32. Fantastic article – and so many useful comments as well.

    I do believe #10 Plenus venter non studet libenter (A full belly does not like studying) can be interpreted in the same way as “necessity is the mother of invention”, not just literally as being tired from eating too much 🙂

  33. My favorite latin phrase that I didn’t see in the lists is “Tempus Fugit” meaning “Time Flies” The older I get the more true this phrase is.

  34. Igitur quī dēsīderat pācem, præparet bellum – ‘Therefore let him who desires peace prepare for war.’ attrib: Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus ‘Dē Rē Mīlitārī’
    Often paraphrased as si vis pacem, para bellum. – If you seek peace, prepare for war. Favoured by John Wick.

  35. “Alea iacta est” is incorrect. As Caesar is quoting Menander he would have uttered it in Greek.

  36. I don’t speak any Latin but I once heard a phrase which has been bothering me ever since. I think it ends with … absurdum. It means roughly that if you take any idea or rule and push it to its limits you end up in the absurd. can any one help?

  37. Two of my favourite ones are missing: Nihil ultra meaning Nothing beyond, the highest.
    Per ardua ad astra meaning By dint of hard work, towards the stars.

  38. trying to find the proper Latin translation for the phrase ‘All is well that end’s well’… there’s a few different offerings through google search… input is appreciated before tattooing on my body. 🙂

  39. One I really liked but have forgotten I my senior years is Never let the bastards gri d you down” Latin translation please

  40. Very enjoyable thanks for the work you put into this article Diana. May I suggest one small and insignificant correction. Point 11 interpretation should read, Less haste, more speed. It’s fallen out of fashion now, however Speed has two meanings. One is the speed at which things are carried out the other is luck or fortune. Thus a play on words and why the original saying seems to make no sense at all.

  41. “Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo.”

    “I was not. I was. I am no more. I don’t care.” -Epicurus-

  42. Hi,
    I’m searching for a Latin phrase that goes something like “explaining the complex makes it seem trivial” or “When the complex is explained, it appears mundane”.
    I remember it being used in an episode of Sherlock Holmes many years ago (BBC production with Jeremy Brett), when Holmes said to Watson in Latin, and Watson translated.
    It was just two or three words. Thanks for your help. Cheers, Jaro

  43. Thanks to all it was a joy reading this.
    “In hoc signo vinces” And the world changed. Thanks be to God!

  44. ‘Et tu, Brute’ does not mean ‘And you, Brutus’ – it means ‘Even you, Brutus’ – i.e. that even Brutus, who was Caesar’s friend, has joined the conspirators. This kind of extended use of ‘et’ is also in the phrase ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’: with ‘eram’ understood it means ‘I also was in Arcady’ – meaning that the speaker enjoyed pastoral life of innocence before the fall of man – or (with ‘sum’ understood) it can mean ‘Even I Am in Arcady’ – with the ‘I’ denoting death. Poussain’s 2 famous paintings with the same title illustrate both these meanings.

  45. Ama Deum et fac quod vis. — Augustine of Hippo.

    Love God and do what you will.

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