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List of Latin phrases (Q)

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List of Latin phrases (Q)

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 that of ancient Rome.

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


Latin Translation Notes
qua definitione by virtue of definition Thus: "by definition"; variant of per definitionem; sometimes used in German-speaking countries. Occasionally misrendered as "qua definitionem".
qua patet orbis as far as the world extends Motto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
quae non prosunt singula multa iuvant what alone is not useful helps when accumulated Ovid, Remedia amoris
quaecumque sunt vera whatsoever is true Mottos of Northwestern University and St. Francis Xavier University. Also motto of the University of Alberta as "quaecumque vera". Taken from Philippians 4:8 of the Bible
quaecumque vera doce me teach me whatsoever is true Motto of St. Joseph's College, Edmonton at the University of Alberta.
quaere to seek Or "you might ask..." Used to suggest doubt or to ask one to consider whether something is correct. Often introduces rhetorical or tangential questions.
quaerite primum regnum Dei seek ye first the kingdom of God Also quaerite primo regnum dei. Motto of Newfoundland and Labrador. Motto of Shelford Girls' Grammar, St Columb's College, and Philharmonic Academy of Bologna.
qualis artifex pereo As what kind of artist do I perish? Or "What a craftsman dies in me!" Attributed to Nero in Suetonius' De vita Caesarum.
Qualitas potentia nostra Quality is our might The motto of Finnish Air Force.
quam bene non quantum how well, not how much Motto of Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diu it is how well you live that matters, not how long Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium CI (101)
quamdiu (se) bene gesserit as long as he shall have behaved well (legal Latin) I.e., "[while on] good behavior." So for example the Act of Settlement 1701 stipulated that judges' commissions are valid quamdiu se bene gesserint (during good behaviour). (Notice the different singular, "gesserit", and plural, "gesserint", forms.) It was from this phrase that Frank Herbert extracted the name for the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the Dune novels.
quantocius quantotius the sooner, the better or, as quickly as possible
quantum libet (q.l.) as much as pleases Medical shorthand for "as much as you wish".
quantum sufficit (qs) as much as is enough Medical shorthand for "as much as needed" or "as much as will suffice".
quaque hora (qh) every hour Medical shorthand. Also quaque die (qd), "every day", quaque mane (qm), "every morning", and quaque nocte (qn), "every night".
quare clausum fregit wherefore he broke the close An action of trespass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.
quater in die (qid) four times a day medical shorthand
quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane
quem di diligunt adulescens moritur he whom the gods love dies young Other translations of diligunt include "prize especially" or "esteem". From Plautus, Bacchides, IV, 7, 18. In this comic play, a sarcastic servant says this to his aging master. The rest of the sentence reads: dum valet sentit sapit ("while he is healthy, perceptive and wise").
questio quid iuris I ask what law? From the Summoner's section of Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, line 648.
qui bene cantat bis orat he who sings well praises twice From St. Augustine of Hippo's commentary on Psalm 74, 1: Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat ("He who sings praises, not only praises, but praises joyfully").
qui bono who with good Common nonsensical Dog Latin misrendering of the Latin phrase cui bono ("who benefits?").
qui doecet in doctrina he that teacheth, on teaching Motto of the University of Chester. The more literal translation is "Let those who teach, teach" or "Let the teacher teach".
qui habet aures audiendi audiat he who has ears to hear shall hear "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear"; Mark Mark 4:9
qui tacet consentire videtur he who is silent is taken to agree Thus, silence gives consent. Sometimes accompanied by the proviso "ubi loqui debuit ac potuit", that is, "when he ought to have spoken and was able to".
qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself Generally known as 'qui tam,' it is the technical legal term for the unique mechanism in the federal False Claims Act that allows persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the Government.
qui totum vult totum perdit he who wants everything loses everything Attributed to Seneca
qui transtulit sustinet he who transplanted still sustains Or "he who brought us across still supports us", meaning God. State motto of Connecticut. Originally written as sustinet qui transtulit in 1639.
quia suam uxorem etiam suspiciore vacare vellet because he should wish even his wife to be free from suspicion Attributed to Julius Caesar by Plutarch, Caesar 10. Translated loosely as "because even the wife of Caesar may not be suspected". At the feast of Bona Dea, a sacred festival for females only, which was being held at the Domus Publica, the home of the Pontifex Maximus, Caesar, and hosted by his second wife, Pompeia, the notorious politician Clodius arrived in disguise. Caught by the outraged noblewomen, Clodius fled before they could kill him on the spot for sacrilege. In the ensuing trial, allegations arose that Pompeia and Clodius were having an affair, and while Caesar asserted that this was not the case and no substantial evidence arose suggesting otherwise, he nevertheless divorced, with this quotation as explanation.
quid agis What's going on? What's happening? What's going on? What's the news? What's up?
quid est veritas What is truth? In the Vulgate translation of John 18:38, Pilate's question to Jesus (Greek: Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;). A possible answer is an anagram of the phrase: est vir qui adest, "it is the man who is here."
quid infantes sumus What are we, a bunch of babies? Commonly used by Nocera Clan. synonym - "to throw down ones gauntlet."
quid novi ex Africa What of the new out of Africa? Less literally, "What's new from Africa?" Derived from an Aristotle quotation.
quid nunc What now? Commonly shortened to quidnunc. As a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip. Patrick Campbell worked for The Irish Times under the pseudonym "Quidnunc".
quid pro quo what for what Commonly used in English, it is also translated as "this for that" or "a thing for a thing". Signifies a favor exchanged for a favor. The traditional Latin expression for this meaning was do ut des ("I give, so that you may give").
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur whatever has been said in Latin seems deep Or "anything said in Latin sounds profound". A recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or "educated". Similar to the less common omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.
quieta non movere don't move settled things
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Commonly associated with Plato who in the Republic poses this question; and from Juvenal's On Women, referring to the practice of having eunuchs guard women and beginning with the word sed ("but"). Usually translated less literally, as "Who watches the watchmen?" This translation is a common epigraph, such as of the Tower Commission and Alan Moore's Watchmen comic book series.
quis leget haec? Who will read this?
quis separabit? who will separate us? Motto of the Order of St. Patrick. Motto of Northern Ireland.
quis ut Deus Who [is] as God? Usually translated "Who is like unto God?" Questions who would have the audacity to compare himself to a Supreme Being.
quo errat demonstrator where the prover errs A pun on ''quod erat demonstrandum''.
quo fata ferunt where the fates bear us to Motto of Bermuda.
quousque tandem? For how much longer? From Cicero's first speech In Catilinam to the Roman Senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? ("For how much longer, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?").
Quo Vadimus? Where are we going? Title of the series finale of Aaron Sorkin's TV dramedy Sports Night.
quo vadis? Where are you going? According to Vulgate translation of John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, quo vadis ("Lord, where are you going?"). The King James Version has the translation "Lord, whither goest thou?"
quod abundat non obstat what is abundant doesn't hinder It is no problem to have too much of something.
quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.) what was to be demonstrated The abbreviation is often written at the bottom of a mathematical proof. Sometimes translated loosely into English as "The Five Ws", W.W.W.W.W., which stands for "Which Was What We Wanted".
quod erat faciendum (Q.E.F) which was to be done Or "which was to be constructed". Used in translations of Euclid's Elements when there was nothing to prove, but there was something being constructed, for example a triangle with the same size as a given line.
quod est (q.e.) which is
quod est necessarium est licitum what is necessary is lawful
quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason If no grounds have been given for an assertion, then there are no grounds needed to reject it.
quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi what is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an ox If an important person does something, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can do it (cf. double standard). Iovi (also commonly rendered Jovi) is the dative form of Iuppiter ("Jupiter" or "Jove"), the chief god of the Romans.
quod me nutrit me destruit what nourishes me destroys me Thought to have originated with Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Generally interpreted to mean that that which motivates or drives a person can consume him or her from within. This phrase has become a popular slogan or motto for pro-ana websites, anorexics and bulimics.
quod natura non dat Salmantica non praestat what nature does not give, Salamanca does not provide Refers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.
Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini What the barbarians did not do, the Barberini did A well-known satirical lampoon left attached to the ancient ‘speaking’ statue of Pasquino on a corner of the Piazza Navona..[1]

Quod scripsi, scripsi. What I have written I have written. Pilate to the chief priests (John 19:22).
quod supplantandum, prius bene sciendum Whatever you hope to supplant, you will first know thoroughly i.e. "You must thoroughly understand that which you hope to supplant". A caution against following a doctrine of Naive Analogy when attempting to formulate a scientific hypothesis.
quod vide (q.v.) which see Used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book. For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae vide (qq.v.).
Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite. Whatever He tells you, that you shall do. More colloquially: "Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you to do." Instructions of Mary to the servants at the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:5).
quomodo vales How are you?
quorum of whom The number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional.
quos amor verus tenuit tenebit Those whom true love has held, it will go on holding Seneca.
quot capita tot sensus as many heads, so many opinions "There are as many opinions as there are heads." – Terence
quot homines tot sententiae every man had his sentence Or "there are as many opinions as there are people".how many people, so many opinions



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

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