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List of Latin proverbs

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Here are some Latin and Roman proverbs and sayings, in alphabetical order, with English translations.

A

  • Absentem laedit, qui cum ebrio litigat. -- "He who quarrels with a drunk hurts an absentee."
  • 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."
  • 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."
  • Audiatur et altera pars. -- "The other part should be heard, too."
  • Auri sacra fames. -- "The accursed hunger for gold." (From quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames -- "What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!" -- Seneca)

B

  • 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."
  • 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

  • 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."
  • Cura, ut valeas! -- "Take Care."

D

  • De gustibus non est disputandum. -- "Matters of taste ought not to be disputed."
  • De mortuis nihil nisi bene. -- "Of the dead, nothing but good.; Say only good things about the dead."
  • Deliriant isti Romani. -- "They are mad, those Romans"; -- René Goscinny, Asterix and Obelix comic
  • Divide et impera. -- "Divide and govern."
  • Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. -- Horace, Odes III, 2, 13 -- "It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland."
  • Dum spiro, spero. -- "As long as I breathe, I hope."
  • Dura lex, sed lex. -- "It may be a hard law, but it still is the law."
  • Dura necessitas. -- "Necessity is harsh."

E

  • E fructu arbor cognoscitur. -- "The tree can be recognized by its fruits."
  • Errare humanum est. Perseverare diabolicum. -- "To err is human. To repeat error is of the Devil."

F

  • Festina lente ! "Make haste slowly" - proceed quickly but with caution, a motto of Augustus Caesar.
  • Fide, sed qui, vide. -- "Trust but take care whom."
  • Fortes fortuna uvat. or Audaces fortuna juvat. -- "Fortune favors the brave."

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

  • Habent sua fata libelli. -- "Books have their fate."
  • Hannibal ante portas. -- "Hannibal before the gates," i.e. wasting time while the enemy is already here.
  • Hic Rhodus, hic salta. -- "It's Rhodos, jump here." Aesop
  • Hodie mihi, cras tibi. -- "What's to me today, tomorrow to you."
  • Homines quod volunt credunt. -- "Men believe what they want to." (Julius Caesar)
  • Homo homini lupus est. -- "Man is a wolf to man." Hobbes
  • Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto. "I am human, so nothing that is human is foreign to me."

I

  • Ignorantia iuris nocet. "Being ignorant of law harms."
  • Ignorantia legis non excusat. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."
  • Ignoti nulla cupido. "The unknown does not tempt."
  • Inter arma enim silent leges (Musae). -- "During wars laws" (or "arts") "are silent." Cicero, Oratio Pro Annio Milone (IV)
  • In vino veritas. -- "There is truth in wine." That is, "Wine in excess will bring out truth."
  • Is fecit, cui prodest. -- "Done by the one who profits from it."
  • Iurare in verba magistri. -- "Swear by teacher's words."
  • Justitia omnibus. -- "Justice for all."

L

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

M

  • 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.")

N

  • Naturo abhorret a vacuo. -- "Nature abhors a vacuum."
  • Nec Hercules contra plures.
  • Nemo me impune lacessit. -- "No-one attacks me with impunity," the Scots national motto.
  • Neque ignorare medicum oportet quae sit aegri natura.
  • Nihil lacrima citius arescit. -- "Nothing dries more quickly than a tear."
  • Nil sine numini. -- "Nothing without Providence."
  • Nomen est omen. -- "A name is an omen."
  • Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo. -- "I was not, I was, I am not, I don't care." (found on tombstones abbreviated NFFNSNC)
  • Non omnia possumus omnes. -- "All of us cannot do everything."
  • Non scholae, sed vitae discimus. -- "We don't learn from school but from life."
  • Non ut edam vivo, sed ut vivam edo. -- "I don't live to eat, but I eat to live."
  • Non vestimentum virum ornat, sed vir vestimentum. -- "Not the raiment graces the man, but the man the raiment."
  • Non vini vi no, sed vi no aquae.
  • Nondum amabam, et amare amabam. -- "I did not love, even if I yearned to love."
  • Nosce te ipsum! -- "Know thyself!"
  • Nulla dies sine linea. -- "No day without a line."
  • Nulla est medicina sine lingua Latina. -- "No medicine without Latin."
  • Nulla regula sine exceptione. -- "No rule without exception."
  • Nulla res tam necessaria est quam medicina. -- "Nothing is so necessary as medicine."

O

  • 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

  • Pax melior est quam iustissimum bellum. -- "Peace is better than the most just war."
  • Pecunia not olet. -- "Money does not smell (Remark by Roman emperor Vespasian on the plan to tax public urinals.)
  • Per aspera ad astra. -- "Through hardships to the stars." (The motto of NASA.)
  • Per scientiam ad salutem aegroti. -- "To heal the sick through knowledge."
  • Plenus venter non studet libenter. -- "A full belly doesn't like studying."
  • Plures crapula quam gladius perdidit. -- "Drunkenness takes more lives than the sword."
  • Post cenam non stare sed mille passus meare. -- "Do not rest after dinner, but walk a mile."
  • Post hoc non est propter hoc. -- "'After this' is not 'because of this'."
  • Praesente medico nihil nocet. -- "In the presence of a doctor nothing can harm."
  • Praevenire melius est quam praeveniri. -- "It is better to precede than to be preceded."
  • Primum non nocere. -- "First, do no harm" (a physician's principle).

Q

  • 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."
  • 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."
  • 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."

R

  • Repetitio est mater studiorum. -- "Repetition is the mother of study."

S

  • Saepe morborum gravium exitus incerti sunt. -- "The effects of serious illnesses are often unknown."
  • Salus aegroti suprema lex. -- "The well-being of the patient is the most important law."
  • Sic transit gloria mundi. -- "Thus passes worldly glory." In Bible; repeated during the coronation of the Pope.
  • Similia similibus curantur. -- "Like cures like."
  • Sine labore non erit panis in ore. -- "Without work there won't be any bread in your mouth."
  • Si decem habeas linguas, mutum esse addecet. -- "Even if you had ten tongues, you should hold them all."
  • Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses. -- "If you had kept your silence, you would have stayed a philosopher."
  • Si vis pacem, para bellum. -- "If you want peace, prepare war."
  • Si vis pacem, para iustitiam. -- "If you want peace, prepare justice."
  • Summum ius summa inuria. -- "More law, less justice."

T

  • Tarde venientibus ossa. -- "For those who come late, only the bones."
  • Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis. -- "The times are changed, and we are changed in them."
  • Tres faciunt collegium. -- "Three makes a company."

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.)
  • 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

  • Ventis secundis, tene cursum. -- "Go with the flow."
  • Verba docent, exempla trahunt. -- "Words instruct, illustrations lead."
  • Vox populi, vox dei. -- "The voice of the people is the voice of God."

See also



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