This page lists English translations of notable Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before that of ancient Rome.
This list covers the letter V. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.
List of Latin phrases:
vade ad formicam
go to the ant
A Biblical phrase from the Vulgate, Proverbs 6:6. The full quotation translates as "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!"
go with me
A vade-mecum or vademecum is an item one carries around, especially a handbook.
vade retro Satana
Go back, Satan!
An exhortation for Satan to begone, often used in response to temptation. From a popular Medieval Catholic exorcism formula, based on a rebuke by Jesus to Peter in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33: vade retro me Satana ("get behind Me, Satan!"). The older phrase vade retro ("go back!") can be found in Terence's Formio I, 4, 203.
Woe to the conquered!
Attributed by Livy to Brennus, the chief of the Gauls, while he demanded more gold from the citizens of the recently sacked Rome in 390 BC.
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas
vanity of vanities; everything is vanity
More simply, "vanity, vanity, everything vanity". From the Vulgate, Ecclesiastes 1:2;12:8.
vaticinium ex eventu
prophecy from the event
A prophecy made to look as though it was written before the events it describes, while in fact being written afterwards.
Summary of alternatives, e.g. "this action turns upon whether the claimant was the deceased's grandson vel non."
velle est posse
"To be willing is to be able." (non-literal: "Where there's a will, there's a way.")
Motto of Hillfield, one of the founding schools of Hillfield Strathallan College.
velocius quam asparagi coquantur
faster than asparagus can be cooked
Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". Ascribed to Augustus by Suetonius (The Twelve Caesars, Book 2 (Augustus), para. 87). Can refer to anything done very quickly. A very common variant is celerius quam asparagi cocuntur ("faster than asparagus is cooked").
velut arbor aevo
As a tree with the passage of time
Motto of the University of Toronto
veni, vidi, vici
I came, I saw, I conquered
The message supposedly sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe his battle against King Pharnaces II near Zela in 47 BC.
venisti remanebis donec denuo completus sis
From whence you came, you shall remain, until you are complete again
The phrase that the wizard said to the Devil in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny which trapped him in hell as long as he was missing his tooth.
To the coming winds
Motto of Brasília, capital of Brazil.
verba docent exempla trahunt
Words instruct, illustrations lead
On the relevance to use illustrations for example when preaching.
verba ita sunt intelligenda ut res magis valeat quam pereat
words are to be understood such that the subject matter may be more effective than wasted
When explaining a given subject, it is important to clarify rather than confuse.
verba vana aut risui non loqui
Not to speak words in vain or to start laughter
Rule number 56 of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
verba volant, scripta manent
words fly away, writings remain
From a famous speech of Caius Titus at the Roman senate.
word for word
Refers to perfect transcription or quotation.
verbatim et litteratim
word for word and letter by letter
verbi divini minister
servant of the divine Word
A priest (cf. Verbum Dei).
verbi gratia, (v.gr. or VG)
literally: "for the sake of a word"
Word of God
See religious text.
verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA)
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Motto of the Lutheran Reformation
A word to the wise is sufficient
The hearer can fill in the rest; enough said. Short for Verbum sapienti satis est.
Motto of many educational institutions, including Bishop Lynch High School.
Truth and justice
veritas, bonitas, pulchritudo, sanctitas
Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Holiness
Current motto of Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
veritas Christo et ecclesiae
Truth for Christ and Church
The de jure motto of Harvard University, dating to its foundation; it is often shortened to Veritas to dispose of its original religious meaning.
Motto of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research
Veritas Dei vincit
The God's Truth prevails.
Motto of the Hussites
veritas diaboli manet in aeternum
Devil's truth remain eternally
veritas et fortitudo
Truth and Courage
One of the mottoes of Lyceum of the Philippines University
veritas et virtus
Truth and virtue
Motto of University of Pittsburgh, Methodist University
veritas, fides, sapientia
Truth, Faith, Wisdom
Current motto of Dowling Catholic High School
veritas in caritate
Truth Through Caring
Motto of Bishop Wordsworth's School and St Munchin's College
Veritas Iustitia Libertas
Truth Justice Liberty
Motto of Free University of Berlin
Veritas Liberabit Vos
Truth Shall Set You Free
Motto of Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan
veritas lux mea
Truth is my light.
A common non-literal translation is "Truth enlightens me." Motto of Seoul National University
veritas numquam perit
Truth never expires
Seneca the Younger
veritas odit moras
Truth hates delay
Seneca the Younger
veritas omnia vincit
Truth conquers all
Motto of Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario; Satyameva Jayate; Triangle Fraternity
veritas unitas caritas
Truth, Unity, Love
Motto of Villanova University
Motto of the Scottish clan Keith. Used to be motto of Protektorate of Bohemia and Moravia and in Czech translation motto of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic
Veritas. Virtus. Libertas.
Truth. Courage. Freedom.
Motto of the University of Szeged in Hungary
veritas vitæ magistra
Truth is Life's Teacher.
Another plaussible translation is 'Truth is Life's Mistress'. Unofficial Motto of University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, appearing in its Tower.
veritas vos liberabit
the truth will set you free
Motto of Johns Hopkins University
veritate duce progredi
Advancing (with) Truth Leading.
Motto of University of Arkansas
in veritate et caritate
with truth and love
Motto of Catholic Junior College, Singapore; of St Xavier's School, Hazaribagh, India
veritate et virtute
with truth and courage
Motto of Sydney Boys High School. Also "virtute et veritate", motto of Walford Anglican School for Girls.
I delight in (or, I have chosen) the truth.
Motto of Bryn Mawr College
veritatem fratribus testari
to bear witness to the truth in brotherhood
Motto of Xaverian Brothers High School
vero nihil verius
nothing truer than truth
Motto of Mentone Girls' Grammar School
Yes, we can
A variation of the campaign slogan used by then-Senator Barack Obama on a Great Seal variation during the 2008 US presidential campaign.
versus (vs) or (v.)
Literally "in the direction". Mistakenly used in English as "against" (probably from "adversus"), particularly to denote two opposing parties, such as in a legal dispute or a sports match.
The right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation. Derived from ancient Roman voting practices.
vexilla regis prodeunt inferni
Forth go the banners of the king of hell
Used by Dante in Canto XXXIV of the Inferno, the phrase is an allusion to and play upon the Latin Easter hymn Vexilla Regis, and is itself repeatedly referenced in the works of Walter M. Miller, Jr.
used to indicate an agreement signed under duress
vi et animo
With heart and soul
Or "Strength with Courage". Motto of Ascham School and the McCulloch clan crest.
vi veri universum vivus vici
by the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe
Magickal motto of Aleister Crowley.
by the road
"by way of" or "by means of"; e.g. "I'll contact you via e-mail."
Can refer to the radical center political stance.
via, veritas, vita
The Way, the Truth and the Life
From the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John 14:6; motto of many institutions including Glasgow University.
in place of
"one who acts in place of another"; can be used as a separate word, or as a hyphenated prefix: "Vice President" and "Vice-Chancellor".
vice versa, versa vice
with position turned, For other uses, see vice versa
Thus, "the other way around", "conversely", etc. Historically and in British English, vice is pronounced as two syllables, but in American English the one-syllable pronunciation is extremely common. Classical Latin pronunciation dictates that the letter C can only make a hard sound, like K, thus vee-keh vehr-sah. (Note that in classical times, the V was pronounced like a W.)
victoria aut mors
Victory or death!
similar to aut vincere aut mori.
victoria concordia crescit
Victory comes from harmony
The official club motto of Arsenal F.C.
victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni
the victorious cause pleased the gods, but the conquered cause pleased Cato
Lucan, Pharsalia 1, 128. Dedication on the south side of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
"see" or "refer to"
vide infra (v.i.)
vide supra (v.s.)
Or "see earlier in this writing". Also shortened to just supra.
"namely", "that is to say", "as follows"
Contraction of videre licet: "permitted to see".
video et taceo
I see and keep silent
The motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
video meliora proboque deteriora sequor
I see and approve of the better, but I follow the worse
From the Metamorphoses VII. 20-21 of Ovid. A summary of the experience of akrasia.
video sed non credo
I see it, but I don't believe it
Caspar Hofmann after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
"it is permitted to see", "one may see"
vim promovet insitam
promotes one's innate power
Motto of University of Bristol taken from Horace Ode 4.4.
vince malum bono
Overcome Evil with Good
Partial quotation of Romans 12:21 also used as a motto for Old Swinford Hospital and Bishop Cotton School, Shimla.
vincere scis Hannibal victoria uti nescis
you know how to win, Hannibal; you do not know how to use victory
According to Livy, a cavalry colonel told Hannibal this after the victory at Cannae in 216 BC, meaning that Hannibal should have marched on Rome directly.
vincit omnia veritas
Truth conquers all
Motto of Augusta State University in Augusta, GA
vincit qui patitur
he conquers who endures
First attributed to Roman scholar and satirst Persius; frequently used as motto.
vincit qui se vincit
he/she conquers who conquers himself/herself
Motto of many educational institutions. Also "bis vincit qui se vincit" ("he/she who prevails over himself/herself is twice victorious"). Also the motto of The Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast as seen on the castle's stained glass window near the beginning of the film.
"the chain of the law", i.e. legally binding
"A civil obligation is one which has a binding operation in law, vinculum juris." Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856, "Obligation."
vinum et musica laetificant cor
Wine and music gladden the heart
Asterix and Caesar's Gift; a variation on "vinum bonum laetificat cor hominis".
vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
"A wise man does not urinate up against the wind"
vir visque vir
"Every man a man"
Motto of the U.S. collegiate fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha.
"The manly thing is being done"
As used in the motto of Knox Grammar School
"Act in a manly way"
As used in the motto of St Muredach's College
viriliter agite estote fortes
"Quit ye like men, be strong"
As used in the motto of Culford School
virtus et scientia
virtue and knowledge
Frequently used as a motto, preeminently as that of La Salle University of Philadelphia, PA.
virtus in media stat
Virtue stands in the middle.
Idiomatically: Good practice lies in the middle path. There is disagreement as to whether "media" or "medio" is correct.
virtus sola nobilitas
virtue alone is noble
Christian Brothers College, St Kilda's school motto
virtus tentamine gaudet
Strength rejoices in the challenge.
The motto of Hillsdale College.
virtus unita fortior
virtue united is stronger
State motto of Andorra.
virtute et armis
by virtue and arms
Or "by manhood and weapons". State motto of Mississippi. Possibly derived from the motto of Lord Gray De Wilton, virtute non armis fido ("I trust in virtue, not in arms"). Also virtute et labore, as by manhood and by work motto of Pretoria Boys High School
power of the law
Vision of a god
vita ante acta
a life done before
Thus, a previous life, generally due to reincarnation.
vita, dulcedo, spes
Mary our life, sweetness, hope
Motto of University of Notre Dame.
vita incerta, mors certissima
Life is uncertain, death is most certain
In simpler English, "The most certain thing in life is death".
vita mutatur, non tollitur
Life is changed, not taken away.
The phrase is in the preface of the first Catholic rite of the Mass for the Dead.
During the life of the father
Hence the term "decessit vita patris" (d.v.p) or "died v.p." seen in genealogy works such as Burke's Peerage.
vita summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam
the shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes
A wistful refrain, sometimes used ironically. From the first line of Horace's Ode I; later used as the title of a short poem by Ernest Dowson.
vitai lampada tradunt
They hand on the torch of life
From Lucretius' poem De rerum natura II.77-79; the normal spelling "vitae" (two syllables) had to be changed to "vitaï" (three syllables) to fit the requirements of the poem's dactylic hexameters. Motto of the Sydney Church of England Grammar School and others.
An oral, as opposed to a written, examination of a candidate.
vivat crescat floreat
may it live, grow, and flourish!
May the King live!
Usually translated "Long live the King!" Also Vivat Regina ("Long live the Queen!").
vive memor leti
live remembering death
Persius. Compare with "memento mori"
vive ut vivas
live so that you may live
The phrase suggests that one should live life to the fullest and without fear of possible consequences.
vivere est cogitare
to live is to think
Cicero. Compare with "cogito ergo sum".
vivere est vincere
to live is to conquer
Captain John Smith's personal Motto.
vivere militare est
to live is to fight
Seneca (Epist. 96,5). Compare with the allegory of Miles Christianus based on militia est vita hominis in the Vulgate, Book of Job 7:1.
vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit
called and not called, God will be present
or "called and even not called, God approaches"; attributed to the Oracle at Delphi. Used by Carl Jung as a personal motto adorning his home and grave.
volenti non fit injuria
to one willing, no harm is done
or "to him who consents, no harm is done"; used in tort law to delineate the principle that one cannot be held liable for injuries inflicted on an individual who has given his consent to the action that gave rise to the injury.
An independent, minority voice.
vox clamantis in deserto
the voice of one shouting in the desert
or traditionally, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"; from the Vulgate, Isaiah 40:3, and quoted by John the Baptist in the Gospels (Mark 1:3 and John 1:23). Usually the "voice" is assumed to be shouting in vain, unheeded by the surrounding wilderness. However, in this phrase's use as the motto of Dartmouth College, it is taken to denote an isolated beacon of education and culture in the "wilderness" of New Hampshire.
voice of nothing
Applied to a useless or ambiguous phrase or statement.
voice of the people
Short non-prearranged interview with an ordinary person (e.g. on the street); sometimes shortened to "vox pop".
^ Image at York University, Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics.,
^ "Latin Pronunciation Demystified" by Michael A. Covington. Program in Linguistics, University of Georgia. December 31, 2005]