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 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 to Satan to be gone, often a Roman Catholic response to temptation. From a popular Medieval Roman Catholic exorcism formula, derived from the rebuke of Jesus Christ to St. Peter, as quoted in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33: vade retro me Satana ("get behind Me, Satan").[Mark 8:33] The phrase "vade retro" ("go back") is also in Terence's Formio, I, 4, 203.
valenter volenter strongly and willingly Motto of HMS Valorous (L00)
vae victis woe to the conquered Attributed by Livy to Brennus, the chief of the Gauls, stated with his demand for more gold from the citizens of the sacked city of Rome in 390 BC.
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas vanity of vanities; everything [is] vanity Or more simply: "vanity, vanity, everything vanity". From the Vulgate, Ecclesiastes 1:2;12:8.
vaticinium ex eventu prophecy from the event A purported prediction stated as if it was made before the event it describes, while in fact being made thereafter.
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-literally, "where there is a will, there is a way". It is the 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 in The Twelve Caesars, Book 2 (Augustus), para. 87. It refers 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, Canada.
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 of Pontus near Zela in 47 BC.
venturis ventis to the coming winds Motto of Brasília, the capital of Brazil.
vera causa true cause
verba docent exempla trahunt words instruct, illustrations lead This refers to the relevance of illustrations, for example in preaching.
verba ex ore words from mouth Taking the words out of someone’s mouth, speaking exactly what the other colloquist wanted to say.
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 I. e., when explaining a 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 A Roman Catholic religious precept, being Rule 56 of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
verba volant, scripta manent words fly away, writings remain Quotation from a famous speech of Caius Titus in the ancient Roman Senate.
verbatim word for word The phrase 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 phrase denoting a priest. Cf. "Verbum Dei" infra.
verbi gratia
(v. gr. or v. g.)
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] A phrase denoting that the listener can fill in the omitted remainder, or enough is said. It is the truncation of "verbum sapienti sat[is] est".
verbum volitans flying word A word that floats in the air, on which everyone is thinking and is just about to be imposed.[citation needed]
veritas truth A motto of the Roman Catholic Order of Preachers, and the motto of many educational institutions, including Harvard University (albeit truncated), Cabra Dominican College, and Bishop Lynch High School.
veritas aequitas truth [and] justice
veritas, bonitas, pulchritudo, sanctitas truth, goodness, beauty, [and] sanctity Motto of Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan.
veritas Christo et ecclesiae truth for Christ and church The de iure motto of Harvard University, United States, which dates to its foundation; it is often shortened to veritas to remove 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 the truth of God conquers Motto of the Hussites.
veritas Domini manet in aeternum the truth of the Lord remains for eternity
veritas et fortitudo truth and fortitude One of the mottos of the Lyceum of the Philippines University.
veritas et virtus truth and virtue Motto of the University of Pittsburgh, Methodist University, and Mississippi College.
veritas, fides, sapientia truth, faith, [and] wisdom Motto of Dowling Catholic High School.
veritas in caritate truth in charity Motto of Bishop Wordsworth's School and St Munchin's College.
veritas, iustitia, libertas truth, justice, [and] liberty Motto of the Free University of Berlin.
veritas liberabit vos truth shall liberate you Motto of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan.
veritas lux mea truth [is] my light A common, non-literal translation is "truth enlightens me". The motto of Seoul National University, South Korea.
veritas numquam perit truth never expires Authored by Seneca the Younger.
veritas odit moras truth hates delay Authored by Seneca the Younger.
veritas omnia vincit truth conquers all A quotation from a letter of Jan Hus. The motto of Carncot Independent School for Girls and Boys; Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada; Satyameva Jayate; and the Triangle Fraternity.
veritas, unitas, caritas truth, unity, [and] love Motto of Villanova University, United States.
veritas vincit truth conquers Cf. "veritas omnia vincit" supra. It is the motto on the standard of the Presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, and of the Scottish Clan Keith.
Veritas. Virtus. Libertas. Truth. Virtue. Liberty. Motto of the University of Szeged, Hungary.
veritas vitæ magistra truth is the teacher of life Another plausible translation is "truth is the mistress of life". It is the unofficial motto of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras and is inscribed in its tower.
veritas vos liberabit truth will liberate you [all] Motto of Johns Hopkins University, United States.
veritate duce progredi advancing with truth leading Motto of the University of Arkansas, Arkansas, United States.
[in] veritate et caritate in truth and charity Motto of Catholic Junior College, Singapore; St. Xavier's School, and Hazaribagh, India.
veritate et virtute with truth and virtue The motto of Sydney Boys High School. It is alternatively rendered "virtute et veritate" ("with virtue and truth"), which is the motto of Walford Anglican School for Girls and Pocklington School.
veritatem dilexi I esteemed truth Alternatively, "I loved truth". It is the motto of Bryn Mawr College.
veritatem fratribus testari to bear witness to truth in fraternity Motto of Xaverian Brothers High School.
veritatem cognoscere to know truth Motto of the Clandestine Service of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
vero nihil verius nothing [is] truer than truth Motto of Mentone Girls' Grammar School.
vero possumus yes, we can A variation of the campaign slogan of then-Senator Barack Obama, which was superimposed on a variation of the Great Seal of the United States during the US presidential campaign of 2008.[1]
versus (vs) or (v.) towards Literally, "in the direction [of]". It is erroneously used in English for "against", probably as the truncation of "adversus", especially in reference to two opponents, e. g., the parties to litigation or a sports match.
vestigia nulla retrorsum Never a backward step Motto of Wanganui Collegiate School.
veto I forbid The word denotes the right to unilaterally forbid or void a specific proposal, especially legislation. It is derived from ancient Roman voting procedures.
vexata quaestio vexed question Latin legal phrase denoting a question that is often debated or considered, but is not generally settled, such that contrary answers may be held by different persons.
vexilla regis prodeunt inferni forth go the banners of the king of Hell Authored by Dante Alighieri in Canto XXXIV of the Inferno, the phrase is an allusion to and play upon the Latin Easter hymn Vexilla Regis. The phrase is repeatedly referenced in the works of Walter M. Miller, Jr..
vi coactus under constraint A legal phrase regarding contracts that indicates agreement made under duress.
vi et animo with heart and soul Alternatively, "strength and courage". It is the motto of the Ascham School and on the coat of arms of the McCulloch Clan.
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/way The word denotes "by way of" or "by means of", e. g., "I will contact you via email".
via media middle road/way This phrase describes a compromise between two extremes or the radical center political position.
via, veritas, vita the Way, the Truth, [and] the Life The words of Jesus Christ in John 14:6. It is the motto of many institutions, including Glasgow University, Scotland, United Kingdom.
viam sapientiae monstrabo tibi I will show you the way of wisdom The motto of DePaul University.
vice in place of The word refers to one who acts in the place of another. It is used as a separate word or as a hyphenated prefix, e. g., "Vice President" and "Vice-Chancellor".
vice versa
versa vice
with position turned Thus, "the other way around", "conversely", et cetera. Historically and in British English, "vice" is pronounced as two syllables, but in American English the singular syllable pronunciation is almost universal. Classical Latin pronunciation dictates that the letter "c" is only 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 the modern "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 motto of Arsenal F.C.
victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni the victorious cause pleased the gods, but the conquered cause pleased Cato Authored by Lucan in Pharsalia, 1, 128. The dedicatory inscription on the south face of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, United States.
vide "see" or "refer to" The word is used in scholarly citations.
vide infra (v. i.) see below The word is used in scholarly works.
vide supra (v. s.) see above The word is used in scholarly works to refer to previous text in the same document. It is sometimes truncated to "supra".
videlicet (viz.) "namely", "that is to say", or "as follows" A contraction of "videre licet" ("it is permitted to see"), vide infra.
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 Book 7, 20-1 of Ovid, being a summary of the experience of akrasia.
video sed non credo I see it, but I do not believe it The statement of Caspar Hofmann [de] after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
videre licet "it is permitted to see" or "one may see" The phrase is used in scholarship.
vim promovet insitam promotes one's innate power Motto of the University of Bristol, derived from Horace, Ode 4, 4.
vince malum bono overcome evil with good A partial quotation of Romans 12:21. A motto of Old Swinford Hospital and Bishop Cotton School in Shimla.
vincere est vivere to conquer is to live Motto of Captain John Smith.
vincere scis Hannibal victoria uti nescis you know [how] to win, Hannibal; you do not know [how] to use victory According to Livy, a colonel in the cavalry stated this to Hannibal after victory in the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, meaning that Hannibal should have marched on Rome immediately.
vincit omnia veritas truth conquers all University of Mindanao
vincit qui patitur he conquers who endures First attributed to the Roman scholar and satirst Persius. It is frequently used as a motto.
vincit qui se vincit he (she) conquers who conquers himself (herself) Motto of many educational institutions, including the Philadelphia High School for Girls and North Sydney Boys High School. It is alternatively rendered as "bis vincit qui se vincit" ("he (she) who prevails over himself (herself) is twice victorious"). It is also the motto of the Beast in Disney's film Beauty and the Beast, as seen inscribed in the castle's stained glass window near the beginning of the film.
vinculum juris the chain of the law The phrase denotes that a thing is 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; it is a variation of "vinum bonum laetificat cor hominis".
vinum regum, rex vinorum the wine of kings, the king of wines The phrase describes Hungarian Tokaji wine, and is attributed to King Louis XIV of France.
viperam sub ala nutricare a viper nursed at the bosom A caveat regarding trusting someone against his 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 quisque vir every man a man Motto of the US collegiate fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha.
Vires acquirit eundo she gathers strength as she goes A quotation from Vergil's Aeneid, Book 4, 175, which in the original context refers to Pheme. The 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 The motto of Knox Grammar School.
viriliter age "act manfully" or "act courageously" The motto of Marist College Ashgrove and other institutions.
viriliter agite act in a manly way The motto of St Muredach's College and the PAREF Southridge School for Boys.
viriliter agite estote fortes act manfully, be strong The motto of Culford School.
virtus et labor virtue and [hard] work Motto of Don Bosco Liluah, India and St. Georges College, Mussoorie, India.
virtus et scientia virtue and knowledge A common motto, preeminently that of La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
virtus in media stat virtue stands in the middle A principle derived from the ethical theory of Aristotle. Idiomatically, "good practice lies in the middle path" between two extremes. It is disputed whether "media" or "medio" is correct.
virtus junxit mors non separabit that which virtue unites, let not death separate Motto of the Masonic (Scottish Rite).
virtus laudata crescit greatness increases with praise Motto of the Berkhamsted School.
Virtus non stemma valor, not garland Motto of the Duke of Westminster, inscribed at his residence in Eaton, and the motto of Grosvenor Rowing Club and Harrow County School for Boys.
virtus sola nobilitas virtue alone [is] noble Motto of Christian Brothers College, St Kilda.
virtus tentamine gaudet strength rejoices in the challenge Motto of Hillsdale College, Michigan, United States.
virtus unita fortior virtue united [is] stronger State motto of Andorra.
Virtute duce led by virtue Motto of the Acciari family [it].
Virtute duce comite fortuna led by virtue, accompanied by [good] fortune Motto of the Institut d'études politiques de Lyon and the Accorretti family [it].
virtute et armis by virtue and arms Alternatively, "by manliness and weapons". The State motto of Mississippi, United States. The phrase was possibly derived from the motto of Lord Gray de Wilton, "virtute non armis fido" ("I trust in virtue, not in arms"). Alternatively it is rendered as "virtute et labore" ("by manliness and work"), which is the motto of Pretoria Boys High School.
virtute et industria by virtue and industry Motto of Bristol, United Kingdom.
virtute et veritate by virtue and truth Motto of Pocklington School.
vis legis the power of the law
vis major force majeure, superior force
visio dei vision of a god
vita ante acta a life done before The phrase denotes a previous life, generally believed to be the result of reincarnation.
vita, dulcedo, spes Mary, our] life, sweetness, [and] hope The motto of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, United States, which is derived from the Roman Catholic hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary titled Salve Regina.
vita incerta, mors certissima life is uncertain, death is most certain More simply, "the most certain thing in life is death".
vita mutatur, non tollitur life is changed, not taken away The phrase is a quotation from the preface of the first Roman 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.", which is seen in genealogical 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 This is a wistful refrain that is sometimes used ironically. It is derived from the first line of Horace's Ode 1. It was later used as the title of a short poem of Ernest Dowson.
vitai lampada tradunt they hand on the torch of life A quotation from the poem of Lucretius, De rerum natura, Book 2, 77-9. The ordinary spelling "vitae" in two syllables had to be changed to "vitaï" in three syllables to satisfy the requirements of the poem's dactylic hexameters. It is the 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, California, United States.
viva voce living voice The phrase denotes an oral, as opposed to written, examination of a candidate.
vivat crescat floreat may it live, grow, [and] flourish
vivat rex may the king live The acclamation is ordinary translated as "long live the king!". In the case of a female queen, "vivat regina" ("long live the queen").
vivat rex, curat lex long live the king, guardian of the law A curious translation of the pun on "vivat rex", found in Westerham parish church in Kent, England.
vive memor leti live remembering death Authored by Persius. Cf. "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 the possible consequences.
vivere est cogitare to live is to think Authored by Cicero. Cf. "cogito ergo sum".
vivere militare est to live is to fight Authored by Seneca the Younger in Epistle 96, 5. Cf. the allegory of Miles Christianus based on "militia est vita hominis" from the Vulgate, Book of Job 7:1.
vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit called and not called, God will be present Alternatively, "called and even not called, God approaches". Attributed to the Oracle at Delphi. The motto of Carl Jung, and inscribed in his home and grave.
volenti non fit injuria to one willing, no harm is done Alternatively, "to him who consents, no harm is done". The principle is used in the law of torts and denotes that one can not be held liable for injuries inflicted on another who consented to the act that injured him.
volo non fugia I fly but do not flee The motto of HMS Venetia[3]
vos estis sal terrae you are the salt of the earth A famous biblical sentence proclaimed by Jesus Christ.
votum separatum separate vow The phrase denotes an independent, minority voice.
vox clamantis in deserto the voice of one clamoring in the desert Or traditionally, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness". A quotation of the Vulgate, Isaiah 40:3, and quoted by St. John the Baptist in Mark 1:3 and John 1:23). It is the motto of Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States.
vox nihili voice of nothing The phrase denotes a useless or ambiguous statement.
vox populi voice of the people The phrase denotes a brief interview of a common person that is not previously arranged, e. g., an interview on a street. It is sometimes truncated to "vox pop."
vox populi, vox Dei the voice of the people [is] the voice of God
vulpes pilum mutat, non mores the fox changes his fur, not his habits


  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.
  3. ^ Naval History: HMS VENETIA (D 53) - V & W-class Destroyer

Additional references

  • Adeleye, Gabriel G. (1999). Thomas J. Sienkewicz; James T. McDonough, Jr., eds. World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0865164223.
  • Stone, Jon R. (1996). Latin for the Illiterati. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415917751.