List of Latin phrases (V)

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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 the rise of ancient Rome.

This list covers the letter V. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.


Latin Translation Notes
vacate et scire Be still and know. Motto of the University of Sussex.
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!"[Pro 6:6]
vade mecum 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!").[Mark 8:33] The older phrase vade retro ("go back!") can be found in Terence's Formio I, 4, 203.
vae victis 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.
vel non or not 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.
venturis ventis To the coming winds Motto of Brasília, capital of Brazil.
vera causa true cause
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.
verbatim word for word Refers to perfect transcription or quotation.
verbatim et literatim word for word and letter by letter
verbi divini minister servant of the divine Word A priest (cf. Verbum Dei).
verbi gratia
( or VG)
for example literally: "for the sake of a word"
Verbum Dei Word of God See religious text.
Verbum Domini lucerna pedibus nostris The word of the Lord is a light for our feet Motto of the University of Groningen
verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA) The Word of the Lord Endures Forever Motto of the Lutheran Reformation
verb. sap.,
verbum sap.
A word to the wise is sufficient The hearer can fill in the rest; enough said. Short for Verbum sapienti sat[is] est.
veritas truth Motto of many educational institutions, including Harvard University, Cabra Dominican College and Bishop Lynch High School.
veritas aequitas 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.
Veritas cum libertate Truth with liberty Motto of Winthrop University
veritas curat truth cures Motto of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research
Veritas Dei vincit God's Truth prevails. Motto of the Hussites
veritas Domini manet in aeternum Lord'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, Mississippi College
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 The phrase from a letter of religious reformator and martyr Jan Hus. Motto of Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario; Satyameva Jayate; Triangle Fraternity
veritas unitas caritas Truth, Unity, Love Motto of Villanova University
veritas vincit truth conquers (or truth prevails) The phrase from a letter of religious reformator and martyr Jan Hus. Motto on the banner of the Presidents of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic. Also motto of the Scottish clan Keith.
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 and Pocklington School.
veritatem dilexi I loved (or, I have esteemed) the truth. Motto of Bryn Mawr College
veritatem fratribus testari to bear witness to the truth in brotherhood Motto of Xaverian Brothers High School
veritatem cognoscere To know the truth Motto of the Central Intelligence Agency's Clandestine Service
vero nihil verius nothing truer than truth Motto of Mentone Girls' Grammar School
vero possumus 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.[1]
versus (vs) or (v.) towards 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.
veto I forbid 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.
vi coactus under constraint 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.
via by the road "by way of" or "by means of"; e.g. "I'll contact you via e-mail."
via media middle road 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.
vice 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 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. Moreover, it also dictates that the letter V, when consonantal, represents /w/; i.e. in classical times, the V was pronounced like a W; hence wee-keh wehr-sah.[2]
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.
vide "see" or "refer to"
vide infra (v.i.) "see below"
vide supra (v.s.) "see above" Or "see earlier in this writing". Also shortened to just supra.
videlicet (viz.) "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 (de) after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
videre licet "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 est vivere to conquer is to live Captain John Smith's personal motto
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
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. It is the motto of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, and of North Sydney Boys High School.
vinculum juris "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".
vinum regum, rex vinorum The wine of kings, the king of wines A description of Tokaji wine, attributed to Louis XIV.
viperam sub ala nutricare A viper nursed at the bosom A caveat regarding trusting someone against their inherent nature; the moral of Aesop's fable The_Farmer_and_the_Viper
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.
Vires acquirit eundo "She gathers strength as she goes" A quotation from Vergil's Aeneid (iv, 175), which in the original context refers to Pheme. Motto on the Coat of arms of Melbourne
Viribus Unitis "With United Forces" Motto of the house of Habsburg-Lorraine
virile agitur "The manly thing is being done" As used in the motto of Knox Grammar School
viriliter age "Act manfully" or "Act Courageously" As used in the motto of Marist College Ashgrove and others.
viriliter agite "Act in a manly way" As used in the motto of St Muredach's College and by PAREF Southridge school for boys.
viriliter agite estote fortes "Act manfully, be strong" As used in the motto of Culford School
virtus et labor virtue and hard work The motto of Don Bosco Liluah, India. and St. Georges College, Mussoorie, India.
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 junxit mors non separabit that which virtue unites, let not death separate Masonic (Scottish Rite) motto
virtus laudata crescit Greatness increases with praise Berkhamsted School motto
Virtus non stemma Valor, not garland Duke of Westminster's motto at his stately home in Eaton, motto of Grosvenor Rowing Club and Harrow County School for Boys
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 duce Under the guidance of valor Motto of the Acciari family (it)
Virtute duce comite fortuna Under the guidance of valor, accompanied by good fortune Motto of Institut d'études politiques de Lyon, also motto of the Accorretti family (it)
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
virtute et industria by virtue and industry Motto of the city of Bristol.
virtute et veritate by virtue and truth Motto of Pocklington School.
vis legis power of the law
vis major force majeure, superior force
visio dei 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.
vita patris 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.
vitam amplificare hominibus hominesque societati Mankind [who] extends the life of the community Motto of East Los Angeles College.
viva voce living voice An oral, as opposed to a written, examination of a candidate.
vivat crescat floreat may it live, grow, and flourish!
vivat rex May the King live! Usually translated "Long live the King!" Also Vivat Regina ("Long live the Queen!").
vivat rex, curat lex Long live the king, guardian of the law A pun on Vivat Rex, found in Westerham parish church in Kent.
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 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.
vos estis sal terrae you are the salt of the earth. A famous biblical sentence said by Jesus.
votum separatum separate vow 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). It is the motto of Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.
vox nihili voice of nothing Applied to a useless or ambiguous phrase or statement.
vox populi voice of the people Short non-prearranged interview with an ordinary person (e.g. on the street); sometimes shortened to "vox pop".
vox populi, vox Dei the voice of the people is the voice of God


  1. ^ Image at York University, Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics. Archived February 3, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Covington, Michael A. (December 31, 2005). "Latin Pronunciation Demystified" (PDF). Program in Linguistics. University of Georgia.