Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Favorite Latin Phrases

My translation of my favorite Latin phrases.

Vipera in verpecula est.

Vipers are in violets.
i..e. Don't go by looks alone. A thing may look lovely, and still contain danger.


Vincit qui patitur.
The perseverer prevails.


Veritatem dies aperit.
Time tells the truth.


Varitatio delectat
Variation vivifies.
i.e. change is pleasing.

Ut sementem feceris, ita metes
Whatever you sow, that exactly, and that exactly, shall you reap.


Ubi bene, ibi patria
Where well, welcome home.
i.e. The place where you feel well is your natural home.


Tolle, lege; Tolle, lege!
(from Augustine's Confessions)
Take; read! Take; read!
Note: it's hard to capture the loveliness of the sound. The latin is poetic: To-lay-le-gay; to-lay-le-gay, cf. a similar poetic phrase, "Cellar door."


Sunt facta verbis difficiliora
Work is worth more than words.


Si vis pacem, para bellum.
Prize peace? Then, for war, prepare.


Roma die uno non aedificata est
Rome rose not in one day.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who watches watchmen?


Qui tacet consentire
Silence is consent.


Qui non proficit, deficit.
Where no profit, deficit.
i.e. go forward, or you are going backward.


Praemonitus, praemunitus
Forewarned; forearmed.


Potius sero quam numquam
Better now than never.
 i.e. the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; second best time, today
Periculum in mora

Delay = Danger.

Otia dant vitia.
Ease leads to vice
i.e. Spurgeon, "The peril of prosperity."


Optimi natatores saepius submerguntur.
The best swimmers often drown
i.e., beware your strength


Adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit
Add little to little and there will be a lot

 — Ovid.


Aeque pars ligni curvi ac recti valet igni.
Crooked logs make straight fires.

Obscuris vera involvens

Obscurity envelopes truth.

- Virgil
  • English equivalent: Truth gives a short straight answer; lies go round about.

Non quia difficilia sunt non audemus, sed quia non audemus, difficilia sunt. 

Most reason: because things are difficult, we do not dare -- but, the truth is: because we do not dare, things are difficult.

(Seneca, Letter to Lucilius, letter 104, section 26, line 5)

You can never have too much protection: only, too little.


Nocere facile est, prodesse difficile
To hurt is easy; to benefit, difficult.


Age quod agis.

Do what you do.

Aliis si licet, tibi non licet.

Good for one is not good for all.
i.e. what is good for another may be bad for you.

Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

The world desires to be deceived; therefore it is.

-Attributed to Petronius


Memento mori

Remember mortality.


Malum consilium quod mutari non potest.

Only a bad plan cannot be changed.


Iucundum est narrare sua mala.

Problems shared are problems halved.
i.e. A burden shared weighs less.


Interdum stultus bene loquitur.

A fool may give a wise man counsel.

*Learn what you can from all.


Inimicum quamvis humilem docti est metuere
Experience teaches us to dread every enemy, no matter how small.
Shakespeare: Better to weigh an enemy more might than he seems.


Improbe Neptunum accusat, qui iterum naufragiam facit.

Don't complain about the sea on your second shipwreck.


Imperare sibi maximum imperium est.

Self-control is the ultimate control.
i.e. better to be king of yourself than king of the world.


Hostium munera, non munera.

Gifts of enemies are no gifts.


Honor sequitir fugientem.

Honor follows the fleeing.


Homines quod volunt credunt.

Men believe what they want to.
-Julius Caesar


Fortes fortuna iuvat
  • Fortune favors the brave.
Factis ut credam facis.
  • Translation: Deeds, then I may believe you.

Dum vita est, spes est.
  • Translation: While there is life, there is hope.
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
Diem vesper commendat.
  • Translation: Celebrate the day when the day is over (lit. when it is evening).
  • Meaning: Don't celebrate until you are 100 % sure there is a reason to do so

Deus quem punire vult dementat.
  • Whom Gods will destroy, they first make mad.

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges
  • A more corrupt republic leads to more laws (Tacitus)

Consuetudo altera natura est
  • Habit is second nature.

Consilio, quod respuitur, nullum subest auxilium.
  • He who won't be advised, cannot be helped

Cogitationes posteriores sunt saniores.
  • Second thoughts are sounder.

Cedens in uno cedet in pluribus.
  • Yielding in one place results in yielding in many places.
  • In for a penny; in for a pound.
  • Virtue that parleys is near to surrender.

Cave ab homine unius libri.
  • Fear the man of one book.

Bene diagnoscitur, bene curatur.
  • Good diagnoses lead to good cures.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.
  • Translation: I'll either find, or make, a way

Abbati, medico, patrono que intima pande.
  • There's two people you should always tell the truth: your doctor, and your lawyer.

Abyssus abyssum invocat.
  • Deep, to deep, calls.

Acta Non Verba.
  • Acts, not words.

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