Latin Quotes about life That you Need to Know
If you’re here for the best Latin quotes about life then you’re in for a treat.
When you consider that Latin has been a dead language for the best part of 1500 years, it’s pretty cool to think that we are still influenced and inspired by Latin words in the modern world.
Many English words can trace their ancestry back to the ancient language and Latin is still present in revered sacred texts held by the Catholic church.
After such great feedback on our Latin sayings about success article, we have decided to compile more awesome phrases from the Latin language just for you.
Check out our picks for the best 55 Latin quotes about life.
11 Cool Latin phrases you should know
- Vincit qui se vincit
The English translation of this bad boy is; “he conquers who conquers himself.” Which is pretty cool, they really knew their psychology in ancient Rome!
- Vino veritas
“In wine there is truth.” Now this is a Latin proverb we can all get behind! The modern equivalent would be; ‘a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts’…not quite as eloquent.
- Cogito, ergo sum
“I think therefore I am” is a philosophical statement that was made by René Descartes and forms the basis of Western philosophy. Bit of a head scratcher that one!
- Semper fidelis
- Acta non verba
“Actions not words” is some pretty solid advice from the ancients, and one that all budding entrepreneurs should take heed of.
6. Et cetera
You will probably recognise this more easily in it’s shorthand format of etc. which we tend to use a lot in modern writing. The literal meaning of the term is; “and other similar things.”
- Memento mori
A reminder about the inevitability of death isn’t exactly what you need to brighten your day! “Remember you must die” is perhaps the darkest literal translation on our list.
- Alea iacta est
A famous phrase attributed to the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar shortly before he invaded the capital. The saying means “the die is cast,” die meaning dice.
9. Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
From it’s greatest Emperor to Ancient Rome’s greatest enemy, “I will either find a way or make one” were the words spoken by the barbarian leader Hannibal, most famous from crossing Elephants across the Alps.
- Tempus fugit
“Time flies” is as true now as it was in the Roman Empire. The author Virgil coined the phrase in his book The Georgics.
- Tabula rasa
“Clean slate” is the theory that every human being is born without any preconceived ideas and all mental content comes from their experiences.
11 Common Latin phrases About Life
- Ad astra per aspera
The perfect phrase to inspire you to do great things, this means “through adversity to the stars.”
- Mea culpa
“Through my own fault,” comes from a prayer of confession in the Catholic church meaning that one is accepting their guilt.
- Ars longa
Originally an ancient Greek word, this translates from Latin into english “skilfulness takes time.”
- Quam diu
Roughly translated as; “so long as.” this term is used by a judge and refers specifically to good behavior.
- Et alii
Nothing too inspirational about this one, the term means; “and others.”
6. Dum spiro spero
The next time you’re feeling down and out just remember these words; “while I breathe I hope!”
- Ad nauseam
I’m sure we can all relate to this one at some time or another. “To sickness” is the word for word translation but the gist of the phrase means, a task that is done so many times it makes you feel ill.
- Aquila non capit muscas
A personal favorite of ours, “the eagle does not catch flies” means that you shouldn’t be concerned about the insignificant things in life.
- Nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit
Another pretty cool phrase used by the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB),one of the largest fraternal organisations in the United Kingdom. The translation is; “of mortal men, none is wise at all times.”
- Timendi causa est nescire
“Ignorance is the cause of fear,” is an easy way to inspire someone into educating themselves on a certain topic.
- Malo mori quam foedari
This is a popular phrase attributed to family crests and coats of arms. Probably stemming from the knights of the middle ages, the phrase means “rather die than be dishonoured.”
Loving these inspirational Latin quotes about life?
Keep reading for more forgotten gems from Ancient Rome.
11 Famous Latin Quotes
- Flectere si nequeo superos acheronta movebo
A very famous phrase from Virgil’s Aeneid that is sure to get you fired up. The literal translation is; “If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.”
- Amor vincit omnia
“Love conquers all” is a painting by the Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio.
- Aqua vitae
“Water of life” is not a pure term relating to H20 but rather it reflects a highly concentrated alcoholic substance consumed in the middle ages.
- Carpe noctem
The less famous counterpart to Carpe Diem, but with the same basic concept; “seize the night”
5. Qui totum vult totum perdit
Be careful where your greed gets you, as these famous words will testify; “he who wants everything, loses everything.”
- Omnia paratus
Difficult times may be just around the corner, remember to be “ready for all things.”
- Panem et circenses
“Bread and circuses” was the formula for the well-being of the population, and thus a political strategy to control Ancient Rome.
- Festina lente
“Make haste slowly” is an ancient oxymoron, our nearest English equivalent would be “more haste, less speed.”
9. Mens sana in corpore sano
We tend to think of ourselves in modern times as such creative thinkers but the concept of mind and body working as one is not a new one. “A healthy mind in a healthy body” is the literal translation.
- Barba tenus sapientes
“Wise as far as his beard” is a mocking term for someone who doesn’t have much going on upstairs!
- Ars longa, Vita brevis
Ars longa, vita brevis is a Latin translation of an aphorism coming originally from Greek, roughly meaning, “skilfulness takes time and life is short”. The aphorism quotes the first two lines of the Aphorismi by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.
9 Genius Latin phrases
- Dulce periculum
The best way to have everyone asking questions about your real identity is to quote; “danger is sweet” as you sip your cognac.
- Astra inclinant, sed non obligant
“The stars incline us, they do not bind us” is a philosophical saying meaning that our fate isn’t set in stone and we have the power to change it.
- Sapere aude
“Dare to know,” further emphasises how important knowledge was to the Romans. Take note.
- Natura non constristatur
“Nature is not saddened” is an enduring phrase that means no matter how up and down our lives are, nature works on a different level.
- In absentia lucis, Tenebrae vincunt
Better things come when we shine a positive light, as this latin phrase says; “in the absence of light, darkness prevails.” Keep shining!
- Ubi Amor, ibi dolor
“Where there is love there is pain,” another reminder that even the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly.
- Ut ameris, amabilis esto
Many of us carry a hard exterior, using it as a defence against pain or rejection but we should all take note of this quote which means; “if you want to be loved, be loveable.”
- Amore et melle et felle es fecundissimus
These classical languages are nothing if not cryptic, “love is rich with honey and venom” is the translation of this quote…and who said romance was dead?!
- Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo
We love this powerful quote from Virgil’s Aeneid which reads, “if I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.”
13 Popular Latin Phrases used in the English language
- Caveat emptor
“Let the buyer beware” can be found on most legal documents, in layman’s terms this means, ‘sold as seen!’
- Vox populi
“Voice of the people” is a term commonly used by journalists for responses from the general public about a certain popular topic.
- Nota bene
“Note well” is often used at the bottom of a letter or email, asking the reader to pay special attention to the point mentioned afterwards.
- Modus operandi
“Method of operation” is a term used by law enforcement authorities to describe the particular manner in which a crime is committed.
- Ad hoc
Literally translated as; “to this” but will be more familiar as a term used to describe something done when necessary.
6. Bona fide
Bona fide originally described something given in “good faith,” we tend to use it in the 21st century to describe something genuine.
A pretty simple term meaning “around,” we usually use it to date something. For example, that house was built circa 1900.
- Compos mentis
Another obvious one meaning, “possessed of mind,” as in someone with sound mind, not actually possessed in the demonic sense!
- De facto
Word for word translation of “in fact.” De facto describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws.
- In loco parentis
“In place of parents” can be used for teachers, carers or other people responsible for children while the parents are absent.
11. Per se
Per se is the phrase to use when you want to refer to a particular thing on its own, the translation is; “by itself.”
- Post mortem
A bit grim but another latin phrase nonetheless, post mortem means; “after death”
- Pro rata
Often used when talking about working hours, the translation is; “in proportion.”
Latin quotes about life - The bottom line
We’ve come to the end of our list of awesome Latin quotes about life, hopefully you’ve learnt a few new ones.
Try using a Latin expression next time you’re at the dinner table and watch the heads turn in your direction, especially when you’re able to explain the meaning too.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more inspiring Latin quotes then just follow the link.
We’ve also got some fantastic success quotes from the world of sport featured below.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article and remember, Carpe Diem!