Dum spiro spero

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For the album by Dir en grey, see Dum Spiro Spero (album).

Dum spiro spero means "While I breathe, I hope"[1] in Latin and is a modern paraphrase of ideas that survive in two ancient writers, Theocritus[2] and Cicero.[3]

It is a motto of various places, families, and organizations.

States and towns[edit]

  • Dum Spiro Spero is inscribed above door of Nymans House, West Sussex, England, old home of the Messel family now a National Trust property and gardens.[citation needed]


Dum spiro spero is the family motto of numerous families worldwide, including:

  • The Bekarovski (or Bekiaris) Family, Macedonia (Aegean Macedonia)
  • The Dearden Family
  • The Clan MacLennan
  • The Olphert family (Ballyconnell, Ireland) The motto and the family coat of arms is still visible above the door at Ballyconnell House, Donegal.[4]
  • The Dillon family (Ireland).
  • The Bransom family (England), Now USA
  • The Asscoti or Ascotti family[5]
  • The Baker family (Derbyshire, England)[5]
  • The Banantyne family (Derbyshire, England)[6]
  • The Bussell family (Cambridgeshire, England)
  • The Colquhoun family (Dunyelder, Scotland)[6]
  • The Corbet(t) family (Ireland)
  • The Coriton family (England)[6]
  • The Cotter family (Ireland), Now New Zealand
  • The Dewsbury family (England), Now USA
  • The Dillon family (England)[6]
  • The Elphdick family (Sussex, England) [6]
  • The Everitt family (Kent, England) [6]
  • The De Garis family (Guernsey). The family crest surmounts a window (with the motto in Latin) at St. Saviour's Church in Western Parishes, Guernsey.[7]
  • The Gaunt family (Kent, England)[5][6]
  • The Gaunt family (Staffordshire, England)[6]
  • The Glazebrook family (Lancashire, England)[5]
  • The Golledge Family (Ireland), Now USA
  • The Hunter family (Perth, Scotland)[5]
  • The Mason family (Normandy)
  • The Morgan family (Wales)
  • The Nelson-Smith family (Surrey)
  • The Pearson family (Forfarshire, Scotland)[5]
  • The Pount family (Scotland)[6]
  • The Roberts family (Kent, England)[5]
  • The Rylands family (Cheshire, England)[5]
  • The Sharp family (Tyne and Wear, England)
  • The Sparks family (Faraham Parish Hampshire, England) now USA
  • The Spearman family (Shropshire & Durham, England)[5]
  • The Staunton family (Gloucestershire, England)[5]
  • The Standard family (Bedfordshire, England)
  • The Walsh family (County Clare, Ireland)
  • The Whitworth family (Durham, England)
  • The Whitehead family
  • The Thompson Clan (Irish)
  • The Young family - displayed st Stanhiil Court, Surrey, in the stained glass window showing the Family Arms of William Young (Deputy Chairman and co-founder of Lloyd's of London)

Other noted individuals who used this motto:

  • Sir James Laurence Cotter, Baronet (Co. Cork, Ireland)[5]
  • Dr T.G. Dillon (Roscommon, Ireland)[5]
  • Vicount Dillon of Costello Gallen (Co. Sligo, Ireland)[5]
  • Charles Hunter, Esquire (Anglesey, Wales)[5]
  • Henry Thomas Partridge (Norfolk, England)[5]
  • Sir Owen Roberts (London, England)[5]
  • William James Sandford - Thompson, J.P (Montrose, Scotland)[5]
  • Captain Alfred Ernest Speer, Esquire (Surrey, England)[5]
  • General Sir Edward Stanton (Gloucestershire, England)[5]
  • John Walsh, Esquire (Kilkenny, Ireland)[5]


Czech Army's 601st Special Forces Group, based in Prostějov, adopted "Dum spiro spero" as its motto.[8]


  1. ^ "dum spiro, spero". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Idylls 4, Line 42: ἐλπίδες ἐν ζωοῖσιν, ἀνέλπιστοι δὲ θανόντες.
  3. ^ Letters to Atticus Book 9, Letter 10, Section 3: dum anima est, spes esse dicitur
  4. ^ "Stair an Fál Carrach". An Fál Carrach. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Fairbairn, James (1905). Fairbairn's Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland. London : T. C. & E. C. Jack. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Deuchar, Alexander (1817). British crests : containing the crests and mottos of the families of Great Britain and Ireland; together with those of the principal cities; and a glossary of heraldic terms (volume 2). Edinburgh : Kirkwood & Son. 
  7. ^ Craske, L.G.H. "The Stained Glass Windows of St Saviour’s Parish Church, Guernsey". St Saviour's Church. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  8. ^ 601skss

External links[edit]