Menu
classics / Languages / TOP 10

10+ Best & Beautiful Latin Words and Phrases (+ Latin Quotes)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please check out my privacy policy and disclosure for more information.

Last Updated on 3rd July 2020 by Sophie Nadeau

Latin is a beautiful Romance language from which many of our languages in Europe stem from today. Latin quotes can be found all over the place from mottos to car stickers and so if you’re looking for some Latin words and sayings to use yourself, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’m often asked why I study Latin. Latin, a dead language.  My reply is always a nonchalant, ‘Oh, well it’s fun’ but perhaps it should be ‘Oh, well it’s useful’. After all, is the cornerstone for many modern European languages.

Disregarding this, it is also the root for most medical and law words in the English language. Nevertheless, the most important aspect of learning Latin is ‘those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it’. The Romans were great innovators; they gave us sewers, concrete and high rise apartment blocks.

However, they also had slaves, misogyny was rife and not everyone was allowed to vote. We can learn a lot about how to and how to not run a society from the Romans. And what better way to understand a group of people than by understanding their language? So here are my top Latin words and phrases:

#1 Carpe Diem

Seize the day.

Okay, let’s start with an easy one.

How is it even possible to rephrase Carpe Diem in English?

Don’t wait around.

Go out and chase your dreams.

Etc. etc. etc.

#2 Carpe Noctem

Seize the night

Literally the opposite of Carpe Diem, this one is perfect for all those all nighters you have to pull when you’re too lazy to have done that 5000 word dissertation earlier in the term.

As the daughter of two night owls, I often struggle to fall asleep before 4am and so I prefer this one to Carpe Diem.

#3 Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit.

From nothing comes nothing.

Work hard, play harder.

Without hard work and stamina, you won’t be able to achieve much. Nothing in life will just be ‘given’ to you.

#4 Salve

Hello + Goodbye

This is the root for the french word salut and is used as a greeting for both hello and goodbye.

In case you ever get magically transported back in time, it may be useful to know how to greet a Roman!

#5 Audere est Facere

To do is to dare

Famously used as the motto for Tottenham Hotspur F.C., the origins for the use of Latin mottos has a history dating all the way back to the middle ages. Universities (and therefore their mottos) were founded around Catholic Monasteries whose main language was Latin (and so it made sense for them use Latin mottos).

Over the years, prestigious institutions have carried on the tradition of using a Latin motto to distinguish themselves.

Graffiti from Pompeii, Italy: 2000 year old Graffitti found in Southern Italy, near Naples

#6 Semper Fidelis

Always faithful

Known around the world as the motto for the US marine corps, it was also used as the motto for the city of Exeter, UK (where I’m from) in the 17th Century.

#7 Amor Omnia Vincit

Love conquers all

Do I even need to explain this one?!

#8 Utinam Ne Illum Numquam Conspexissem

If only I had never seen him.

Confession time: this is literally my Tinder ‘bio’ because I’m really tragic like that (and I wonder why I’ve never been on a ‘Tinder’ date)!

#9 Alis Propriis Volat 

She flies with her own wings

The actual phrase is gender neutral but is often translated as ‘she’ because the motto was originally used to describe nations (and countries are usually described as feminine).

Watch out for the double ‘i’ in Propriis; it is commonly misspelt in tattoos and logos…

#10 Bona Fide

With good faith.

#Bonus Over to you!

Got any good phrases to add?

Comment below!

beautiful latin words and phrases

Study Help:

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

104 Comments

  • nizartravels
    30th September 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Quid pro quo – something for something
    ex verbatim – by words of mouth

    Reply
  • David Sais
    3rd September 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Caput tuum in ano est. My high school latin teacher had no response for us when we can up with that one.

    Reply
  • Joe Berry
    30th May 2020 at 8:16 am

    Sursum corda. Lift up your hearts. From the Latin mass.

    Reply
  • lanievergrine
    12th May 2020 at 12:32 pm

    you forgot sic parvis magna

    Reply
  • John Sigman
    19th February 2020 at 7:36 am

    Viva Amor ?
    Long Live Love
    Correct if wrong Pls

    Reply
  • Peter J Cober
    11th January 2020 at 1:24 am

    Laus Deo : Praise be to God
    Latin inscriptions at the top of the Washington monument.

    Reply
  • Barbara
    26th December 2019 at 8:34 pm

    A play on words from old 4th year Latin teacher still brings a smile to my face…”Semper ubi sub ubi”. No one should leave home unless he/she is doing this. Ask your mother.

    Reply
  • Petr
    21st November 2019 at 7:24 am

    Noli illegitimi carborundum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    Reply
  • Judith L Pullins
    15th October 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Audaces fortuna iuvat
    Fortune favors the bold.

    Reply
  • Thaddeus
    8th September 2019 at 12:05 am

    Ad Jesum per Mariam- to Jesus through Mary.

    Reply
  • Thaddeus
    8th September 2019 at 12:01 am

    “Ad majored Dei Gloriam”- All for the glory of God

    Reply
  • Guy
    16th August 2019 at 10:13 am

    Si vis pacem, parabellum

    Reply
  • JK
    24th June 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Hi! Can someone translate ”Nothing real can’t be threatened” and ” I’m the lion” and If someone has some empowering words in latin that could make a great tattoo let me know! Something like Excelsior for example.

    Reply
  • GTG
    13th June 2019 at 11:39 pm

    miseria fortes viros-misery makes strong people
    il vincit qui patitur-He conquers who endures
    Vincere Diem- “Win the day”

    Reply
  • Gabriela
    30th May 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Hey, I wanted to get “learn to love” tattooed in Latin, since I have so many issues with love.
    Could anyone help me translate it?

    Reply
    • Gabriela
      11th June 2019 at 12:53 am

      Thank you so much for your help ❤️❤️❤️

      Reply
      • Sophie Nadeau
        11th June 2019 at 11:06 am

        Many phrases have various meanings and so I would consult with a Latin professor before committing to a tattoo!

        Reply
        • Gabriela
          11th June 2019 at 11:13 am

          Yes, I’ve seen those meanings on the internet, I’m considering tattooing it in English to avoid mistakes

          Reply
      • Ollie
        13th June 2019 at 11:05 am

        Ego sum stultus means “I am stupid”, so I wouldn’t go for that one O.o

        Reply
  • Nitti
    9th May 2019 at 2:35 am

    Ego Omnia!

    Reply
  • Michael Butler
    3rd May 2019 at 8:29 am

    Would someone be able to translate “Paucorum est intellegere non celet fortunae et in paucorum bonorum.” For me? It is my twitter bio from a while ago but I can’t remember what it means and Google translate is no help when it comes to Latin. Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Chris Naused Jr.
      5th May 2019 at 6:31 pm

      “The few that I can not hide from his fortune and a few good men.” Might have a grammar issue.

      Reply
  • Peter Geissler
    1st May 2019 at 11:33 pm

    No mention of veni, vidi, vici?

    Reply
  • Elizabeth
    27th April 2019 at 3:10 pm

    “Docendo discimus” (I teach so we learn). I think it’s the motto for every teacher…we learn so much from our students! I memorized this when I started learning Latin to add to my class, and it has spoken to me ever since. Of course, in teaching, there’s also the moments everyone has in the classroom, and then “Dirige me, Domine!”-said while trying not to roll the eyes- (Lead me, Lord!) comes into play! Also good as a substitute for counting to 10…

    Reply
  • Kitty McFarland
    14th April 2019 at 8:47 am

    momento mori – remember (that) you will die

    Reply
  • Shera
    12th April 2019 at 5:04 am

    hi i need help from anyone. i want to put a name for my shopping store. please give me some suggestions name from Latin with English meaning

    Reply
  • Brandon
    6th April 2019 at 8:44 am

    So you are telling me nobody is even going to mention Sic Parvis Manga?

    Reply
    • Baran Kazan
      18th April 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Greatness from small beginnings, I thought I was the only one here!

      Reply
      • Allison
        14th January 2020 at 3:57 am

        I remembered this from school and then my friend was playing The nathan Drake series and that came up again… i wanted the ring with that on it,,,,

        Reply
  • Travis
    28th March 2019 at 2:21 am

    hi, anyone can help translate these 2 phrases in Latin?
    “World of Life”
    “Small World”

    thank you~!

    Reply
  • Nico
    27th March 2019 at 5:46 pm

    In libras libertas

    In books, freedom

    Reply
  • Earnest Ernest
    21st March 2019 at 8:33 am

    Sapere Aude – Dare To Know

    Reply
  • Ken worley
    18th March 2019 at 9:45 pm

    En omnibus, vertus est clavem!
    In everything, courage is key!

    Reply
  • Achilles
    14th March 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Vox Populi, Vox Dei – The voice of the people is the voice of God.

    Reply
  • Ekaterina
    8th March 2019 at 12:21 pm

    What an awesome article! Hopefully someone could help me. I am looking for a correct way of saying in Latin of a few things. “Love is all” or “love is everything” and the other two “higher than the stars” “only the stars are higher”
    Would really appreciate the help)

    Reply
  • Lis
    20th February 2019 at 12:08 pm

    The first phrase I learnt at the age of 6 was: ”Ubi bene ibi patria.” No need to translate it, speaks by itself clearly.
    That’s a perfect phrase for the world now. At the age of six I didn’t know I will move to another country and will become a patriot of that country.

    Reply
    • Earnest Ernest
      21st March 2019 at 8:36 am

      I prefer “Ubi Panis Ibi Patria”

      Reply
  • Natasha
    16th February 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Finis coronat opus- the end crowns the work

    Reply
  • Ery
    14th February 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. Everything changes and we change with it

    Reply
  • Mary
    14th February 2019 at 4:29 am

    I always thought the saying was Alis Volat Propriis am I wrong? Just wondering as I wanted to her this inscribed into a necklace bar

    Reply
  • karyn
    5th February 2019 at 1:09 pm

    hihi! i just stumbled upon this post hahaha. im looking for a latin way of saying something family related. such as “i live for my family” or “family first” or “family before all”. do you think you could help me out?

    Reply
  • Juniper Scythe
    18th January 2019 at 4:32 am

    I have so many sayings I love, here are just a few.

    “aut neca aut necare” ~Either kill or be killed

    “Veritas Vos Liberabit” ~The truth will set you free.

    “dictum factum” ~What is said is done.

    “fortes fortuna adiuvat” ~Fortune favors the bold.

    “humilitas occidit superbiam” ~Humiity conquers pride.

    “ex nihilo nihil fit” ~ Out of nothing, comes nothing.

    Reply
  • Juniper Scythe
    18th January 2019 at 4:15 am

    I love this article! Latin is such a beautiful language, and I hate that it’s called a “dead langauge” because it’s not only the cornerstone, or should I say ” Primarii Lapidis” which means “Foundation-stone”. Latin is history itself including how it was formed, who spoke it, and the prominance it has in the Catholic and Pagan faiths. Im sure most people have seen a movie or TV show where you hear a Priest say, “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti”. Millions of people still speak, teach, and learn Latin. Njerep is a language spoken in Nigeria by only FOUR people! Latin isn’t even the top 10 of least spoken language.

    Reply
  • Frances Dawa
    4th January 2019 at 4:19 pm

    It’s out of the context but those latin phrases sound like good book titles….okay I’m out

    Reply
    • Evelyn Meyer
      6th January 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Literally came here for some good book titles

      Reply
  • Lila
    17th December 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Omnium Rerum Principia Parva Sunt
    The beginning of all things is small.

    Reply
  • Dela
    7th December 2018 at 8:27 am

    Tempus Fugit- Time Flies
    And my favorite
    Assinorum
    Literally translates to “Bridge of Donkeys”. Polite way of calling someone a Jackass.

    Reply
  • Rob
    4th December 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Amor meus, pondus meum

    My love [is] my gravity – St. Augustine

    St. Augustine also says that ‘all the other emotions of the soul are caused by love.’ Anything we do is out of love of something. What do you love, that is the question?

    Reply
    • Huw Mac
      16th May 2020 at 12:53 am

      Thanks Rob. Those are some truly beautiful words and thoughts. There is weight to the smallest decision. I will be thinking about Augustine’s words all day

      Reply
  • Neil
    28th November 2018 at 4:24 pm

    My favourite is Amor fati love of one’s fate.

    Reply
  • Rockems Hazer
    11th November 2018 at 6:00 am

    Esperanto is more useful.

    Reply
  • Bruno
    10th November 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Qui tacet consentit.

    He who is silent consents.

    Reply
  • Brenda
    16th October 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Loved this article!! Thanks for writing it!! 🙂
    Just wanted to add the last line that pulls the
    first two together:
    Carpe Diem Carpe Noctem, Carpe Vitam

    Seize the day, seize the night, seize this life!

    Reply
    • Christi
      20th January 2020 at 8:21 pm

      What’s do right and fear nothing in Latin?

      Reply
  • Tia
    16th October 2018 at 4:20 am

    These are all so beautiful! Could someone tell me if there is a phrase similar to “To the Moon and back”
    This phrase means a lot to me and I want to get it as a tattoo. Latin is such a beautiful language and I want to make sure I get it right..

    Reply
    • Tina Gilbert
      22nd July 2020 at 12:48 am

      Et ad lunam, retro

      Reply
  • kahia
    1st October 2018 at 5:31 pm

    ad eundum quo nemo ante iit- (latin translation of Star Trek’s motto) to boldly go where no man has gone before

    Reply
  • Carmen
    1st October 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I want to get “strength in friendship” as a tattoo… but wanted to make sure it was correct. Virtute amicitia?

    Reply
  • Michelle
    1st September 2018 at 12:40 am

    Hell All, I’m looking for a wee bit of help. I have an antique bell with the names of four animals carved into it with accompanying images.
    I’ve easily deduced: LEO and AQVILA but am stuck on:
    ACNVS – the image is definitely a 4-legged animal
    ELICANVS- the image with it looks like a stork or perhaps pelican
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Shelley
      1st March 2019 at 7:30 am

      Hi Michelle, if you are still looking for an answer to your question… the four animals would be religious symbols. The lion and and the eagle are commonly used to symbolise St Mark (lion) and St John (eagle). The next is probably ‘Agnus’ or lamb. The pelican also has Christian symbolism dating from the medieval period, based on the myth of the pelican sacrificing itself to feed its young.

      Reply
      • Michelle
        1st March 2019 at 3:25 pm

        Thank-you so much, Shelley! That is very helpful.

        Reply
    • Joe Berry
      30th May 2020 at 8:11 am

      Agnes Dei…lamb of God

      Reply
  • Phoenix Ngcobo
    2nd July 2018 at 2:34 am

    Cogito Ergo Sum – I Think Therefore I Am

    Reply
    • will
      17th July 2018 at 12:12 am

      Bibo ergo sum

      Reply
      • Times New Roamin'
        24th September 2018 at 4:04 am

        Bibo ergo ebrius sum

        Reply
  • Sam Samuels
    22nd June 2018 at 4:07 pm

    In veritas dolor – truth through pain

    Reply
  • Shannon Roble
    19th June 2018 at 2:45 am

    Nosce Te Ipsum ~ Know Thyself

    Reply
  • Moose
    7th June 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Ad astra per aspera – “through hardship to the stars”

    Reply
  • Joana
    21st May 2018 at 2:02 am

    Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.- and perhaps one day it will help to remember these things

    Reply
    • Alex
      4th March 2019 at 2:24 am

      Vergil, nice. I like adding “even” in front of “these things” bc it adds more drama to the scene. I felt Aeneas in that scene honestly, lying through his teeth and pushing through the pain for the sake of his men.

      Reply
  • Leisa Ensley
    17th May 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I would like to get a tattoo in latin that means “Truth in Love” and I’m finding different translations on the web. Can you tell me how you would interpret it please?

    Reply
  • Heather
    12th May 2018 at 5:51 am

    How do I translate “The air that I breathe”???

    Reply
  • Elizabeth
    24th April 2018 at 11:35 am

    What is the correct translation for “the light within me” in latin?

    Reply
  • Lee Caballero
    7th April 2018 at 8:03 pm

    ALETHEIA…Not only to know the truth but to tell yourself the truth!

    Reply
  • Kenroy A. Smith
    26th March 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Nil Sine Magno Labore: Nothing is achieved without hard work!

    Reply
    • Lol
      2nd May 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Appopinquare non animum recouparare: To approach and lose your mind

      Reply
  • Mitchy
    23rd March 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur. – “Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time.”

    Reply
  • Shraddha
    7th March 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Memento Viveri
    Remember to live.. don’t be carried away with challenges life throws at you, take time to smile and enjoy beautiful life

    Reply
  • Jo Mercer
    13th February 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Latin and Greek weren’t offered when I was in High School in the early 1970’s–something about it being “irrelevant” (sigh). I went on to a career in biology in which both those languages would have been wonderful to know and understand.

    Sooo….could you help me out with this request?

    I would like my weightlifting shirt to read: “She lifts with her own strength.”

    Reply
  • Dylan Phillips
    1st February 2018 at 9:10 am

    Hey! Can you perhaps translate: “life is precious”.. I struggle to find an accurate meaning without religion added to the phrase

    Reply
  • Sophie Rose
    18th December 2017 at 2:48 am

    actually, Salve is hello to one person, Salvete is hello to two or more people. However, Vale means goodbye to one person and Valete means goodbye to two or more people.

    Reply
  • Ember
    15th July 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Nil manet semper

    (There are no sweeter words than this)

    Reply
  • F.
    11th July 2017 at 5:06 pm

    In Omnia Paratus (Ready for anything) I love this phrase from Gilmore Girls <3

    Reply
    • Shraddha
      14th March 2018 at 10:34 am

      Wow… That’s good one.

      Reply
  • Dilyana Bukurova
    10th May 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Hello, that’s a beautiful article!
    Can I ask for some help, an advice. I would like to have a tattoo with my family’s first letter names in latin words that form a nice sentence with great meaning if possible.. The letters are G, S, D, V . Can you think of beautiful latin words with those letters? Thank you in advance!! ♡

    Reply
    • Phoenix Ngcobo
      2nd July 2018 at 3:09 am

      I’m not sure you can create a word with that since there are no vowels to form “actual” words with

      Maybe try with the first and second letters of their names

      Reply
      • Mjau
        6th March 2019 at 6:34 pm

        I think she meant a latin sentace in witch the first letters of the words are g s d v

        Reply
  • Angelinna
    3rd May 2017 at 12:18 am

    “Amor ex oculis oriens
    in pectus cadit.”

    Love is borne by the eye and sinks into the heart.

    Reply
    • Shraddha
      14th March 2018 at 10:41 am

      Wow Angelinna that’s beautiful… Thanks for sharing

      Reply
    • Shraddha
      14th March 2018 at 10:43 am

      Wow… Angelinna that’s beautiful, tgabks for sharing. 🙂

      Reply
    • Jessica Wara
      24th February 2019 at 8:36 am

      WOW. THAT IS BEAUTIFUL

      Reply
  • Oran McDuffs
    21st January 2017 at 9:16 pm

    amicitia tutela a ligno,

    friendship is a protective tree

    Reply
  • Alex
    1st October 2016 at 12:21 am

    Love this! I studied Latin for 10 years and always got weird looks when I said I enjoyed it. So glad to see that someone else appreciates it! 🙂

    Reply
  • Trina
    28th August 2016 at 5:49 am

    I love it! Thanks!

    Reply
  • Sharon Bivens
    3rd June 2016 at 12:07 am

    Spero means I hope.
    Dum spiro spero-while I breathe I hope

    Reply
    • Cecilia Liv
      1st August 2016 at 6:10 pm

      This is very beautiful. Thank you very much

      Reply
    • Cher
      24th December 2017 at 4:46 am

      This is beautiful

      Reply
    • Sunita_amina@hotmail.com
      27th April 2018 at 3:18 pm

      One of the first Latin phrases I was told (over 30 years ago) and the one I remember best. Maybe because it is so beautiful.

      Reply
  • Pierre-André d'Ornano
    10th January 2016 at 10:50 am

    Dura lex sed lex

    Reply
  • Pierre-André d'Ornano
    10th January 2016 at 10:50 am

    Sic transit gloria mundi

    Reply
  • Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    7th January 2016 at 7:49 pm

    per aspera ad astra!:) I learned Latin for two years in high school:)

    Reply
  • Tara
    12th November 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Wow, I love this list! I knew some of the Latin phrases, but not their English translations. Most I just didn’t know. I love Audere est Facere.

    Reply
    • mbr hilltop
      15th December 2017 at 4:32 am

      who

      Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.