List of Latin proverbs

The following is a list of some Latin and Roman proverbs and sayings, in alphabetical order, with English translations.

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

A

  • Ab imo pectore -- "With all [my] heart" (attributed to Julius Caesar)
  • Absentem laedit, qui cum ebrio litigat. -- "He who quarrels with a drunk hurts an absentee."
  • Acta est fabula -- "What happened is a fable," or "The fable is ended" (Augustus' last words)
  • Ad astra per aspera - "To the stars through difficulties," motto of Kansas. (more frequently as "per aspera ad astra")
  • Aegroto dum anima est, spes est. -- "As long as a sick person is conscious (or, has a good character, or reacts), there is still hope."
  • Age quod agis - "Do what you do", in the sense of "Do well what you do" or "Be serious in what you do"
  • Amor patriae nostra lex. -- "Love of the fatherland is our law."
  • Alea iacta est. -- "The die is cast!" (Said by Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon, contrary to law.)
  • Ars longa, vita brevis. -- "Art is long, life is short."
  • Asinus asinorum in saecula saeculorum. -- "The greatest jackass in eternity."
  • Audaces fortuna iuvat -- "Luck helps those who're brave." (Vergil, Aeneis 10,284)
  • Audi, vide, tace, si tu vis vivere. -- "Hear, see, be silent, if you [wish] to be alive ."
  • Audiatur et altera pars. -- "The other part should be heard, too."
  • Auri sacra fames. -- "The accursed hunger for gold." (Vergil, Aeneis 3,57; later quoted by Seneca quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames -- "What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!")

B

  • Beati pauperes spiritu -- "Lucky are those of a poor mind" (Sermon on the Mount)
  • Beatus, qui prodest, quibus potest. -- "He is lucky who helps everyone he can." or, very differently, "He is lucky the one who gets ad advantage from those on which he has some power."
  • Bene diagnoscitur, bene curatur. -- "Something that is well diagnosed can be cured well."
  • Bis dat, qui cito dat. -- "He who gives quickly gives twice."
  • Bis repetita non placent -- "Repetitions are not well-received." (Horace, Ars Poetica 365)
  • Bona diagnosis, bona curatio. -- "Good diagnosis, good cure."
  • Bona valetudo melior est quam maximae divitiae. -- "Good health is worth more than the greatest wealth."

C

  • Carpe diem -- "Use the day" (Horace, Odes I,11,8)
  • Cibi condimentum est fames. -- "Hunger is a spice for any meal."
  • Concordia civium murus urbium. -- "Harmony of citizens is the wall of cities."
  • Consuetudinis vis magna est. -- "The power of habit is great."
  • Consuetudo altera natura est. -- "Habit is second nature."
  • Contraria contrariis curantur. -- "Opposites are cured by their opposites."
  • Contra vim mortis non est medicamen in hortis. -- "There's no herb against the power of death."
  • Cuiusvis hominis est errare -- "Every human can err." (Cicero)
  • Cura, ut valeas! -- "Take Care."

D

E

F

G

  • Gloria victis. -- "Glory to the defeated."
  • Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed saepe cadendo. -- "A drop drills the rock not with force but by falling repeatedly."

H

I

L

  • Laborare est orare. -- "To work is to pray."
  • Laborare omnia vincit. -- "Labor conquers all."

M

  • Major e longinquo reverentia. -- "Viewed from a distance, everything is beautiful." Cornelius Tacitus, annals 1,47
  • Manus manum lavat. -- "One hand washes the other."
  • Medicus curat, natura sanat. -- "The doctor cares [for his patient], nature heals [him]."
  • Memento mori. -- "Remember your mortality." Also, ironically, "Remember to die." it is the motto of the Friars of Trappa.
  • Mens sana in corpore sano. -- "A healthy spirit in a healthy body." (This quotation is out of context: As quoted here, it appears to say that a healthy body is the prerequisite for a healthy spirit, but that's not how it was meant initially. The complete quote is Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano, which means "Let's hope that there is a healthy spirit in a healthy body."; Juvenal, Satires 10, 356)
  • Morituri te salutant -- "Those who are doomed to die greet you" (traditional greeting of the gladiators prior to battle; passed on by Suetonius, Claudius 21)

N

O

  • O fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint, agricolas -- "Oh fortunate farmers [i.e., non-mariners], if only they would see their luck" (Vergil, Georgica 2, 458ff.)
  • O tempora! O mores! -- "Oh times! Oh morals!" (Cicero, Catilina I, 1, 2)
  • Oculi plus vident quam oculus. -- "Several eyes see more than only one."
  • Omnes homines sibi sanitatem cupiunt, saepe autem omnia, quae valetudini contraria sunt, faciunt. -- "All men wish to be healthy, but often they do everything that's disadvantageous to their health."
  • Omnia mea mecum porto. -- "All that's mine I carry with me."
  • Omnia vincit amor. -- "Love conquers all."
  • Omnium artium medicina nobilissima est. -- "Medicine is the noblest of all arts."
  • Optimum medicamentum quies est. -- "Peace is the best medicine."
  • Ora et labora. -- "Pray and work."

P

Q

  • '\'Qualis artifex pereo'' -- "What a great artist dies with me." (attributed to Nero by Suetonius)
  • Quid novi ex Africa? -- "What's new from Africa?" (derived from an Aristotle quote)
  • Quidquid agis, prudenter agas, et respice finem! -- "Whatever you do, may you do it prudently, and toe the line!"
  • Quidquid discis, tibi discis. -- "Whatever you learn, you learn it for yourself."
  • Quidquid id est timeo puellas et oscula dantes. -- "Whatever it is, I fear the girls, even when they kiss." (a variant on Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes)
  • Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur. -- "Anything said in Latin sounds profound."
  • Qui habet aures audiendi audiat -- "Those who have ears to hear, hear!" (Bible)
  • Qui rogat, non errat. -- "Who asks isn't wrong."
  • Qui scribit, bis legit. -- "Who writes, reads twice."
  • Qui tacet, consentire videtur. -- "Who is silent seems to agree."
  • Qui vult dare parva non debet magna rogare. -- "He who wishes to give little shouldn't ask for much."
  • Quo errat demonstrator -- "Where the prover errs" (a pun on Quod erat demonstrandum)
  • Quo vadis? -- "Where are you going?" (Bible)
  • Quod erat demonstrandum -- "What was to be proven" (Euklid)
  • Quod licet Iovis, non licet bovis. -- "All that is allowed to Jupiter is not necessarily allowed to an ox."
  • Quod medicina aliis, aliis est acre venenum. -- "One person's medicine is another's foul poison."
  • Quot capita, tot sententiae. -- "As many opinions as people."
  • Quousque tandem? -- "For how much longer?" (Cicero)

R

S

T

U

  • Ubi concordia, ibi victoria. -- "Where there is harmony, there is victory."
  • Ubi fumus, ibi ignis. -- "Where there's smoke, there's fire."
  • Ubi tu Gaius, ibi ego Gaia. -- "Where you are, Gaius, there I, Gaia, will be." (This is said to have been a nuptial formula, but it is only known from Greek sources.)
  • Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem
  • Unum castigabis, centum emendabis. -- "If you reprove one error, you will correct a hundred."
  • Usus magister est optimus. -- "Practice makes perfect."
  • Ut ameris, amabilis esto. -- "Be amiable, then you'll be loved."
  • Ut sis nocte levis, sit cena brevis! -- "That your sleeping hour be peaceful, let your dining hour be brief!" (Sis is one hour before sunset.)

V

  • Vade retro -- "Step back!" (Publius Terent, Formio I, 4, 203)
  • Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas -- "Everything's vain" (Bible)
  • Veni, vidi, vici -- "I came, I saw, I triumphed" (Julius Caesar, after defeating king Pharnakles near Zela in 47 BC)
  • Ventis secundis, tene cursum. -- "Go with the flow."
  • Verba docent, exempla trahunt. -- "Words instruct, illustrations lead."
  • Veritas odium paret -- "Truth creates hatred" (Terence, Andria 68)
  • Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni -- "The victorious cause pleased the gods, but the [female] defeated pleased Cato" (Lucanus, Pharsalia 1, 128)
  • Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor -- "I see the better and acknowledge it, but I follow the worse (Ovid)
  • Vinum et musica laetificant cor -- "Wine and music delight the heart" (Bible)
  • Vox populi, vox dei. -- "The voice of the people is the voice of God."

See also




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