The coolest Latin phrases

If you want to sound smart and impress people, if you are looking for witty and cruel phrases that will leave everyone wondering what you just said, then you are in need of some Latin phrases. Below are a few expressions worth remembering, just because, as they say, quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur, which translates to “whatever is said in Latin sounds profound”.

Vincit qui se vincit.

The one who conquers himself is victorious.

This sentence has become a motto for many schools and institutions. It suggests that one must first gain self-control and discipline, and only then set out to conquer the world. Interestingly, this phrase can also be seen on a stained glass window in the beginning of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Carthago delenda est.

Carthage must be destroyed.

The Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, fought from 218 to 201 BC, was a tough fight for the Romans, who initiated this war, only to suffer a crushing defeat inflicted by Hannibal and his war elephants. Following the war, the tough Roman senator Cato the Elder would end his speeches with this phrase, which can now be used to add emphasis and vehemence to an argument.

Non ducor, duco.

I am not led, I lead.

The motto of São Paulo, Brazil, this phrase is a great way to assert your dominance confidently. It sends a clear message and corrects anyone who might underestimate you.

See Also:  'Sesame Road' provides accessible descriptions and ASL to internet content material

Gladiator in arena consilium capit.

The gladiator is formulating his plan in the arena.

This phrase is attributed to the philosopher, statesman, and dramatist, Seneca the Younger. It is a reference to gladiators preparing themselves mentally before entering into the battle arena. In short, it means that the time for preparation is over, the moment has come and you are ready to face whatever challenge is thrown at you.

Aqua vitae.

Water of life.

Unlike most other phrases on this list, Aqua vitae has nothing to do with war or violence. It is a term used to refer to any kind of drink or liquor. You can use it in a sincere context to talk about a fine whiskey or ironically to make fun of a case of cheap beer.

Sic semper tyrannis.

Thus always to tyrants.

This phrase is mostly associated with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, who may or may not have shouted this phrase at the time. However, the phrase has a far more ancient history and appears on the seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia. “Tyrants will always meet a violent end” is the message behind the phrase.

Astra inclinant, sed non obligant.

The stars incline us, they do not bind us.

This phrase refutes fatalism, proclaiming that the stars might affect the course of our lives, but they do not determine it. Free will ultimately rules.

Aut cum scuto aut in scuto.

Either with shield or on shield.

This is a Latin version of an earlier Greek phrase. In Sparta, mothers would tell their war-bred children to come back home either carrying their shield or being carried on it. This is a nod to the fact that the Spartan shield was large and heavy, so someone returning without it would mean that they had abandoned it and run away from the battle. This phrase is a reminder not to give up, to fight till the end and carry our shield proudly.

See Also:  How you can get probably the most of your iPad's Lock Display screen in iPadOS 17

Igne natura renovatur integra.

Through fire, nature is reborn whole.

One of the more obscure Latin phrases found on this list, this one is a backronym. It is made from a phrase that was said to have been inscribed on the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, I.N.R.I. (Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum), known to occultists and alchemists. The interpretation represents the power of fire to purify and resurrect.

Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.

If I cannot bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.

Originally spoken by the goddess Juno in Virgil’s Aeneid, this phrase is a marker of all-purpose badassery. It is the perfect line to utter or growl when you are angry and have been prevented from achieving your goal.

Oderint dum metuant.

Let them hate, so long as they fear.

This phrase was popularized by the Roman Emperor Caligula and is now often associated with professional wrestler Triple H. Its meaning is clear: it’s better that people should fear you if they cannot love you.

UPDATE: May. 29, 2023, 11:42 a.m. AEST This post originally appeared on Geek. It was published on Mashable in Apr. 2020, and has been updated in May 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts