Latin proverbs

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

Latin and Roman proverbs and sayings (in alphabetical order):

Would someone provide English translations? Do we need some pattern for proverb pages? It would be nice to get authors, too, for those that have them.

See also:

  • ---
  • ---


Absentem laedit, qui cum ebrio litigat.
(He who quarrels with a drunk hurts an absentee.)
Ad multos annos!
(On many years!; Many happy returns!)
Aegroto dum anima est, spes est.
(As long as a sick person is conscious, there is still hope.)
Amor patriae nostra lex.
(Love of the fatherland is our law.)
Alea iacta est.
(The die is cast!)
A pedibus usque ad caput.
(From feet to head.)
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.
(Accursed hunger for gold.)


Beatus, qui prodest, quibus potest.
(He is lucky who helps everyone he can.)
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.)


Cibi condimentum est fames.
(Hunger is a spice for any meal.)
Concordia civium murus urbium.
(Harmony of citizens is the wall of cities.)
Conditio sine qua non.
(Condition without which not; indispensable condition)
Consuetudinis vis magna est.
(The power of habit is great.)
Consuetudo altera natura est.
(Habit is second nature.)
Contraria contrariis curantur.
Contra vim mortis non est medicamen in hortis.
(There's no herb against the power of death.)
Cura, ut valeas!


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.)
Divide et impera.
(Divide and conquer.)
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 a law.)
Dura necessitas.


E fructu arbor cognoscitur.
(The tree can be recognized by its fruits.)
Errare humanum est.
(To err is human.)


Festina lente !
(Hasten slowly!)
Flagrante delicto.
(Caught redhanded.)


Gloria victis.
(Glory to the defeated.)
Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed saepe cadendo.
(A drop drills the rock not with force but with perseverance.)


Homo homini lupus est.
(Man is man's wolf.)
Habent sua fata libelli.
(Books have their fate.)
Hannibal ante portas.
(Hannibal before the gates.)
Hic Rhodus, hic salta.
(It's Rhodos, jump here.)
Hodie mihi, eras tibi.
(What's to me, to you.)
Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.
(I'm human and nothing that is human is to me strange.)
Horribile dictu.
(Horrible to say.)


Ignorantia iuris nocet.
(Being ignorant of law harms.)
Ignoti nulla cupido.
(Unknown will not tempt.)
Incredibile dictu.
(Incredible to say.)
Inter arma silent leges (Musae).
(During wars laws (arts) are silent.)
In vino veritas.
(There is truth in wine.)
Is fecit, cui prodest.
(Done by the one who profits from it.)
Iunctis viribus.
(Concerted effort.)
Iurare in verba magistri.
(Swear by teacher's words.)


Laborare est orare.
(To work is to pray.)


Manus manum lavat.
(One hand washes the other.)
Medicus curat, natura sanat.
Memento mori.
(Remember your mortality.)
Mens sana in corpore sano.
(A healthy spirit in a healthy body.1)
Mutatis mutandis.
(With the necessary modifications.)


Nec Hercules contra plures.
Neque ignorare niedicum oportet quae sit aegri natura.
Nihil lacrima citius arescit.
(Nothing dries more quickly than a tear.)
Nomen est omen.
(A name is an omen)
Nondum amabam, et amare amabam.
(I did not love, but I yearned to love)
Non omnia possumus omnes.
Non scholae, sed vitae discimus.
(We don't learn for school but for life.)
Non, ut edam, vivo sed ut vivam, edo.
(I don't eat to eat but 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.
Nosce te ipsum!
Nulla dies sine linea.
Nulla est medicina sine lingua Latina.
Nulla regula sine exceptione.
(No rule without exception.)
Nulla res tam necessaria est quam medicina.


Oculi plus vident quam oculus.
(Some 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.)
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)


Pax melior est quam iustissimum bellum.
(Peace is better than the most just war.)
Per aspera ad astra.
(Through hardships to the stars.)
Per scientiam ad salutem aegroti.
Plenus venter non studet libenter.
(A full belly doesn't like studying.)
Plures crapula quam gladius perdidit.
Post cenam non stare sed mille passus meare.
Post hoc non est propter hoc.
(After is not because.)
Praesente medico nihil nocet.
(In the presence of a doctor nothing can harm.)
Praevenire melius est quam praeveniri.
Primum non nocere.
(The first [principle for a doctor] is not to harm.)


Quidquid agis, prudenter agas, et respice finem!
Quidquid discis, tibi discis.
Qui prodest.
(Who profits? Who gains?)
Qui rogat, non errat.
(Who asks isn't wrong.)
Qui scribit, bis legit.
(What he writes, he reads twice).
Qui tacet, consentire videtur.
(Who is silent seems to agree.)
Quod licet Iovis, non licet bovis.
(All that is allowed to Juppiter is not necessarily allowed to an ox.)
Quod medicina aliis, aliis est acre venenum.
Quot capita, tot sententiae.


Repetitio est mater studiorum.
(Repetition is the mother of study.)


Saepe morborum gravium exitus incerti sunt.
Salus aegroti suprema lex.
(The well-being of the patient is the most important law.)
Sic transit gloria mundi.
Simila similibus curantur.
Sine labore non erit panis in ore.
(Without work there won't be any bread in your mouth.)
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.)


Tarde venientibus ossa.
Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis.
Tres faciunt collegium.
(Three makes a company.)


Ubi concordia, ibi victoria.
(Where there is harmony, there is victory.)
Ubi tu Gaius, ibi ego Gaia.
(Where you are, Gaius, there I, Gaia, will be.2)
Unum castigabis, centum emendabis.
Usus magister est optimus.
Ut ameris, amabilis esto.
(Be amiable, then you'll be loved.)
Ut sis nocte levis, sit cena brevis !
Vade mecum!
(Come with me!)
Verba docent, exempla trahunt.


1 This quote 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."

2 This is said to have been a nuptial formula, but it is only known from Greek sources.