Dum spiro spero

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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 the family motto of numerous families worldwide, including:

  • 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.[6]
  • The Dillon family (Ireland).
  • The Bransom family (England), Now USA
  • The Asscoti or Ascotti family[7]
  • The Baker family (Derbyshire, England)[7]
  • The Banantyne family (Derbyshire, England)[8]
  • The Bussell family (Cambridgeshire, England
  • The Chitty family (Sussex)
  • The Colquhoun family (Dunyelder, Scotland)[8]
  • The Corbet(t) family (Ireland)
  • The Coriton family (England)[8]
  • The Cotter family (Ireland), Now New Zealand
  • The Dewsbury family (England), Now USA
  • The Dillon family (England)[8]
  • The Elphdick family (Sussex, England)[8]
  • The Everitt family (Kent, England)[8]
  • The Floryanski family (Kraków, Poland)
  • The Gahan family (Ireland)
  • 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.[9]
  • The Gaunt family (Kent, England)[7][8]
  • The Gaunt family (Staffordshire, England)[8]
  • The Glazebrook family (Lancashire, England)[7]
  • The Golledge Family (Ireland), Now USA
  • The Herring Family (England)
  • The Hoare Family (England)
  • The Hodgkinson Family (England)
  • The Hunter family (Perth, Scotland)[7]
  • The Ingram family (England)
  • The Lange Family (Britain 972/Glamorganshire 1070/Germany mid Century)
  • The Lomas family(England)
  • The Mason family (Normandy)
  • The McGahern family ( Co.Donegal, Eire)
  • The Morgan family (Wales)
  • The Morrish family (England)
  • The Nelson-Smith family (Surrey)
  • The Oulton family (Cheshire)
  • The Pearson family (Forfarshire, Scotland)[7]
  • The Pount family (Scotland)[8]
  • The Quenzer Family (Germany)
  • The Roberts family (Kent, England)[7]
  • The Rylands family (Cheshire, England)[7]
  • The Sharp family (Tyne and Wear, England)
  • The Snowden family (Yorkshire, England)
  • The Sparks family (Faraham Parish Hampshire, England) now USA
  • The Spearman family (Shropshire & Durham, England)[7]
  • The Staunton family (Gloucestershire, England)[7]
  • The Standard family (Bedfordshire, England)
  • The Storer Family
  • The Symonds family (Bedfordshire, England)
  • The Trevor family (Wales)
  • The Vellathingal family (Trissur, India)
  • The Walsh family (County Clare, Ireland)
  • The Williamson Clan (Irish)
  • The Whitworth family (Durham, England)
  • The Whitehead family
  • The Wimberley family (Cornwall, England)
  • 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)[7]
  • Dr T.G. Dillon (Roscommon, Ireland)[7]
  • Vicount Dillon of Costello Gallen (Co. Sligo, Ireland)[7]
  • Charles Hunter, Esquire (Anglesey, Wales)[7]
  • Henry Thomas Partridge (Norfolk, England)[7]
  • Sir Owen Roberts (London, England)[7]
  • William James Sandford - Thompson, J.P (Montrose, Scotland)[7]
  • Captain Alfred Ernest Speer, Esquire (Surrey, England)[7]
  • General Sir Edward Stanton (Gloucestershire, England)[7]
  • John Walsh, Esquire (Kilkenny, Ireland)[7]
  • The Wenzel Family (Germany)
  • Christopher Leich (Arlington)


Czech Army's 601st Special Forces Group, based in Prostějov, adopted "Dum spiro spero" as its motto.[10]

Video games[edit]

"Dum spiro spero" is the theme song for Clive Barker's Undying.


  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. ^ SCIWAY "South Carolina State Seal and South Carolina State Mottos". South Carolina Information Highway. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  5. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Survival-tips-for-life-on-the-Barbary-Coast-6690198.php#photo-7381306
  6. ^ "Stair an Fál Carrach". An Fál Carrach. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Craske, L.G.H. "The Stained Glass Windows of St Saviour’s Parish Church, Guernsey". St Saviour's Church. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  10. ^ 601skss

External links[edit]