75 Best Latin Quotes & Phrases

The Best Collection of Latin Phrases (2023)

These best Latin quotes on the internet will deliver a whole new sense of gravity and mastery to the spoken word.

Some of the most common sayings still used today were first introduced by our Latin ancestors, thousands of years ago, making it one of the most powerful languages on Earth.

Have you ever wondered what ‘Etc’ or ‘Bona Fide’ actually mean? 

Keep reading to uncover the meaning behind Latin phrases and sayings that are still embedded in the way we speak today.

10 Famous Latin Quotes

1. Carpe Diem

Perhaps the most recognised Latin phrase in existence today. Originally taken from the Odes of Horace, the literal translation is “seize the day,” meaning don’t waste it!

2. Lupus non timet canem latrantem

Are you getting sick and tired of internet trolls or someone pushing their luck with you? Why not take the moral high ground with the motto above which translates as; “a wolf is not afraid of a barking dog.”

3. Dulce bellum inexpertis

Some words of caution from a nation that knew a thing or two about going to war, “war is sweet to those who have never experienced it.

4. Qui totum vult totum perdit

A word of caution for the wall street aficionados, this means “he who wants everything, loses everything. Take note Gordon Gekko.

5. Faber est suae quisque fortunae

“Every man is the artisan of his own fortune,” more words to inspire you to break from the norm and carve out your own path.

Best Latin Quotes

6. A bove ante, ab asino retro, a muliere undique caveto

Of all of the phrases across many internet sites, this is without doubt a Maverick Mindsets favourite. Like a lot of Latin quotes, it won’t fit in with today’s politically correct standards, but we liked it. “Beware of the bull from the front, the donkey from behind, and women from all sides.”

7. Sapere aude

“Dare to know,” is something that we should all be inspired to do. Keep learning.

8. Carpe noctem

“Seize the night.” Much like it’s daytime counterpart the meaning of this is to put in whatever time is necessary to achieve a worthy goal.

9. Alea iacta est

Another famous phrase attributed to the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. The saying means “the die is cast” and was apparently uttered when he crossed his army obver the Rubicon river.

10. Acta non verba

Modern readers will possibly be able to guess the meaning of this common saying which translates as “deeds not words,” we would more likely say “actions not words” these days.

Best Latin Quotes

15 Best Latin Quotes

1. Sic semper tyrannis

These were the famous words shouted by John Wilkes Booth when he jumped on the stage after assassinating Abraham Lincoln. The English language translation is “thus to be tyrants.”

2. Vox populi

A term used in media circles, the English translation is ‘voice of the people.’

3. Barba tenus sapientes

That guy who proclaims himself to be a genius but seems to only reiterate derivative remarks? He’s “barba tenus sapientes,” or “as wise as far as the beard.” In other words, this guy might seem intelligent at first, but it’s all a façade.

4. Nota bene

Often abbreviated to the initials NB in important documents. The term means that special attention should be paid to that part of the document.

5. Aqua vitae

An ironic term used by the ancients that translates as ‘water of the Gods.’ This refers to a particularly potent form of alcohol.

Best Latin Quotes

6. Aegroto dum anima est

Some pretty inspirational Latin words that translate as ‘as long as there is life, there is hope.’

7. Tempus fugit

I’m sure that we’ve all heard this one before, the ancient Latin expression simply means, ‘time flies.’

8. Cogito, ergo sum

Coined by the French philosopher René Descartes in his Discourse on Method. Modern people will come to know it as, ‘I think therefore I am.’

9. Bona fide

A Latin term that originally meant ‘good faith,’ this term has evolved into representing the word genuine.

10. Beati pauperes spiritu

A Beatitude from Matthew 5:3 in the Vulgate: beati pauperes spiritu, means ’blessed are the poor in spirit.’

Best Latin Quotes

11. Pro Bono

A common term that the corporates amongst you may recognize. The phrase literally means, ‘for good.’

12. Ex nihilo nihil fit

We are starting to get philosophical with this bit of Latin, ‘out of nothing comes nothing.’

13. Carthago delenda est

You might be forgiven for not knowing the literal meaning of this phrase. However, in ancient Rome, ‘Carthage must be destroyed,’ was much more common than it is now.

14. Alma mater

Quite a strange term used to describe one’s former educational establishment, some translations have it to mean, ‘nourishing mother.’ The idea being that the school acted as such, told you it was strange!

15. Amor est vitae essentia

A Latin phrase for the romantics amongst you. The meaning of which is, ‘love is the essence of life.’ Amen.

15 Famous Words from Ancient Rome

Best Latin Quotes

1. Status quo

Not just an aging rock group, this term actually means the ‘current state of affairs.”

2. Ad victoriam

You can almost hear the Roman soldiers shouting it out, ‘to victory,’ is the war cry.

3. Alias

A term that we use today, meaning at another time.

4. Alibi

Another ancient term that’s found in the world today, in Rome meant, ‘elsewhere.’

5. Audio

Quite simply meaning, ‘I hear.’

Best Latin Quotes

6. Aut neca aut necare

We love this bold phrase which translates as, ‘either kill or be killed.’

7. Barba non facit philosophum

The modern equivalent would be used for people on social media, the translation in ancient times meant, ‘a beard does not make one a philosopher.’

8. Corpus christi

The religious readers amongst you will know that this means the body of Christ.

9. Deo volente

A later Latin term which means, ‘God willing.’

10. Dictum factum

‘What is said and done.’ Couldn’t have put it better myself!

Best Latin Quotes
Best Latin Quotes

11. Et tu Brute?

I couldn’t resist putting in the last words of Caesar (allegedly), ‘and you Brutus?’

12. Ex nihilo

This profound term translates as, ‘out of nothing.’

13. Hoc es bellum

You’re bound to get the blood pumping with this phrase, ‘this is war!’

14. Invicta

A word that has recently been adopted for film based on the life of the great Nelson Mandel, the meaning of which is, ‘unconquered.’

15. Magnum opus

If you want to impress your colleagues, why not greet them with ‘great praise,’ next time they have done something well?

Best Latin Quotes
Best Latin Quotes

10 Powerful Latin Quotes & Phrases

1. Sapere aude

A popular Latin school motto, this one means, “Dare to know.” It’s commonly associated with the Age of Enlightenment and may be the reminder you need to never stop learning, no matter your age.

2. Carpe vinum

We’ve all heard the phrase “carpe diem” a million times, but we’ll do you one better: “Carpe vinum.” Of all the Latin phrases to master, this one, which translates to “seize the wine,” will certainly come in handy when you’re eager to impress your waiter with a fancy foodie phrase or are doing your best Caligula impression after a few glasses of pinot noir.

3. Ad astra per aspera

One of the most popular Latin phrases, meaning, “Through adversity to the stars,” this utterance is generally used to describe the overcoming of adversity resulting in a favorable outcome. For instance, this common state motto—which also happens to adorn the memorial plaque for the astronauts who died on Apollo 1—can be used in conversation when you’re having a terrible go of things, but you’re confident a greater outcome awaits you.

Best Latin Quotes
Best Latin Quotes

4. Dulce periculum

“Danger is sweet” is sure to raise a few eyebrows at your next dinner party.

5. Condemnant quo non intellegunt

Another one for the intellectuals, this means “they condemn that which they do not understand.” Strong words, especially if you’re caught out at work.

6. Vino veritas

Something we can all relate to; “in wine there is truth.”

7. Et cetera

This is the term often found at the end of a sentence, meaning ‘and other similar things,’ commonly abbreviated to etc.

Best Latin Quotes
Best Latin Quotes

8. Caveat emptor

You will find this phrase on most formal transactional agreements. The meaning of which is ‘that the buyer is responsible for checking their goods.’

9. Fléctere si néqueo súperos Acheronta movebo

Stoking the fires with this famous Latin quote from Virgil’s Aeneid next time you are playing in a big game is a great way to bring in some passion. The literal translation is; “If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.” Powerful!

10. Semper fidelis

“Always faithful,” the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps. Even if you’re not a Marine, it’s good to know this one and what it means.

7 Common Latin Phrases

1. A coelo usque ad centrum

This pretty cool sounding Latin phrase is actually part of Scottish land law and means “from the heavens to the centre (of the earth).” Basically your ownership is the land and everything above and below it.

2. Audentes fortuna iuvat

This term is a favorite amongst ancient writers, it translates as ‘fortune favours the bold.”

3. Ad hominem

An ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy method of argument used to undermine the person that you are arguing with. Essentially, verbally attacking their character so as to undermine the credibility of their argument.

4. Aquila non capit muscas

‘An eagle does not catch flies,’ is the literal translation of this term. Essentially meaning that important people shouldn’t concern themselves with unimportant things.

Best Latin Quotes
Best Latin Quotes

5. Capite ad calcem

We have a slightly different way of using this phrase in the modern world but the translation for this common Latin phrase is, “from head to heel.”

6. Ad nauseam

You know that one friend who annoyingly repeats the same joke over and over? The Romans would call this ‘ad nauseam,’ meaning ‘to sickness.’

7. Ignis aurum proat, miseria fortes viros

No idea how this philosophical phrase found its way back into the modern age but it is powerful nonetheless. “Fire provides proof of gold, misery, proof of strong men.”

18 Inspirational U.S. State Mottos in Latin

1. Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere

The state motto for Alabama translates as, ‘we dare maintain our rights.’

2. Ditat Deus

No one ever accused people from Arizona of not being pious, their state motto means, ‘God enriches.’

3. Regnat Populus

Arkansaw knows where it’s at, their common state motto means, ‘the people rule!’

4. Nil Sine Numine

‘Nothing without providence,’ is the firm state motto for Colarado.

5. Qui Transtulit Sustinet

‘He who transplanted, still sustains.,’ is a biblical nod to the origin of the Connecticut population.

6. Esto Perpetua

When it comes to mystery, the Idaho motto knows where it’s at. ‘It is perpetual,’ is the translation, what ‘it’ is, no one quite knows.

7. Deo gratiam habeamus

There’s definitely a theme to these Southern State mottos, the motto from Kuntucky means, ‘let us be grateful to God.’

8. Ense Petit Placidam Sub Libertate Quietem

These guys from Massachusetts weren’t messing around. This strong motto translates as, ‘By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.’

9. Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice

Something a little more calming from Michigan state which means, ‘if you are looking for a peaceful peninsula, then look around you.’

10. Virtute et Armis

Another throwback motto for Mississippi. ‘By valor and arms,’ is the translation.

Best Latin Quotes
Best Latin Quotes

11. Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto

Shades of liberalism from the Missouri state motto, the translation is,’ the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.’

12. Excelsior

I’m not sure if they were talking about the buildings or what, but the Latin motto for New York literally just means, ‘higher.’

13. Esse Quam Videri

North Carolina knows where it’s at, no pretense here. Their Latin motto means, ‘to be, rather than to seem.’

14. Dum Spiro Spero

South Carolina isn’t too shy of inspiration either. Their motto translates as, ‘while I breathe, I hope.’

15. Montani Semper Liberi

A state most famous for its mountains, this fitting motto translates as ‘mountaineers always free.’

16. Alis Volat Propriis

Another very inspiring motto from Oregan state. The meaning of which is, ‘she flies with her own wings.’ Deep!

17. Labor Omnia Vincit

A fitting motto for a state known for having hard workers. The Latin motto translates as ‘labor conquers all things.’

18. Stella quarta decima fulgea

This motto from Vermont state translates as, ‘may the 14th star shine bright.’

And there you have it – The 75 Best Latin quotes in existence!