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.



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

  • 1-family ylönen
  • Akrofi-Mantey family (Ghana)
  • Dearden family
  • Clan MacLennan
  • Dillon family (Ireland).
  • Branson family (England), Now USA
  • Asscoti or Ascotti family[9]
  • Baker family (Derbyshire, England)[9]
  • Banantyne family (Derbyshire, England)[10]
  • Burt family (Scotland, Ireland)
  • Bussell family (Cambridgeshire, England
  • Chitty family (Sussex)
  • Cheriogotis family (Alabama, USA)
  • Colquhoun family (Dunyelder, Scotland)[10]
  • Corbet(t) family (Ireland)
  • Coriton family (England)[10]
  • Cotter family (Ireland, now New Zealand)
  • Dewsbury family (England, now USA)
  • Dillon family (England)[10]
  • Elphdick family (Sussex, England)[10]
  • Everitt family (Kent, England)[10]
  • Floryanski family (Kraków, Poland)
  • Gahan family (Ireland)
  • De Garis family (Guernsey). The family crest surmounts a window (with the motto in Latin) at St Saviour's Church in Western Parishes, Guernsey.[11]
  • Gaunt family (Kent and Staffordshire, England)[9][10]
  • Glazebrook family (Lancashire, England)[9]
  • Golledge family (Ireland), Now USA
  • Herring family (England)
  • Hoare family (England)
  • Hodgkinson family (England)
  • Hunter family (Perth, Scotland)[9]
  • Ingram family (England)
  • Ingram family (Australia)
  • Knott family (England)
  • Lange family (Glamorganshire, Britain; Germany)
  • Lomas family (England)
  • Manzer family (Germany)
  • Mason family (Normandy)
  • McGahern family (Donegal, Ireland)
  • Morgan family (Wales)
  • Morrish family (England)
  • Nelson-Smith family (Surrey)
  • Olphert family (Ballyconnell, Donegal, Ireland) The motto and the family coat of arms is still visible above the door at Ballyconnell House, Donegal.[12]
  • Oulton family (Cheshire)
  • Pearson family (Forfarshire, Scotland)[9]
  • Pount family (Scotland)[10]
  • Punshon family (England)
  • Quenzer family (Germany)
  • Roberts family (Kent, England)[9]
  • Rylands family (Cheshire, England)[9]
  • Sarawak (1847 until 1942) under Brooke Family
  • Sharp family (Tyne and Wear, England)
  • Snowden family (Yorkshire, England)
  • Sparks family (Faraham Parish Hampshire, England, now USA)
  • Speare family (Australia)
  • Spearman family (Shropshire & Durham, England)[9]
  • Staunton family (Gloucestershire, England)[9]
  • Standard family (Bedfordshire, England)
  • Storer family
  • Symonds family (Bedfordshire, England)
  • Trevor family (Wales)
  • Vellathingal family (Trissur, India)
  • Walsh family (County Clare, Ireland)
  • Wenzel family (Germany)
  • Williamson Clan (Irish)
  • Whitworth family (Durham, England)
  • Whitehead family
  • Wimberley family (Cornwall, England)
  • Thompson Clan (Irish)
  • 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)[9]
  • Dr T.G. Dillon (Roscommon, Ireland)[9]
  • Vicount Dillon of Costello Gallen (Co. Sligo, Ireland)[9]
  • Charles Hunter, Esquire (Anglesey, Wales)[9]
  • Henry Thomas Partridge (Norfolk, England)[9]
  • Sir Owen Roberts (London, England)[9]
  • William James Sandford-Thompson, JP (Montrose, Scotland)[9]
  • Captain Alfred Ernest Speer, Esquire (Surrey, England)[9]
  • General Sir Edward Stanton (Gloucestershire, England)[9]
  • John Walsh, Esquire (Kilkenny, Ireland)[9]
  • Christopher Leich (Arlington)
  • Prince Boakye, a former student of Opoku Ware School in Ghana.


  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. ^ Nigel Barley (20 June 2013). White Rajah: A Biography of Sir James Brooke. Little, Brown Book Group. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-0-349-13985-2. 
  6. ^ Lukas Straumann (21 October 2014). Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia. Schwabe AG. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-3-905252-69-9. 
  7. ^ 601skss
  8. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Survival-tips-for-life-on-the-Barbary-Coast-6690198.php#photo-7381306
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h 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. 
  11. ^ Craske, L.G.H. "The Stained Glass Windows of St Saviour’s Parish Church, Guernsey". St Saviour's Church. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "Stair an Fál Carrach". An Fál Carrach. Retrieved September 21, 2014.

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