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List of Latin phrases (V)

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List of Latin phrases (V)

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 V. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.


Latin Translation Notes
vade ad formicam go to the ant A Biblical phrase from the 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 Terence's Formio I, 4, 203. The phrase has been mocked by a Portuguese slogan, "Vai de metro, Satanás" ("Go by the subway, Satan").
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 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.
venisti remanebis donec denuo completus sis From whence you came, you shall remain, until you are complete again The phrase that the wizard said to the Devil in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny which trapped him in hell as long as he was missing his tooth.
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 litteratim 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 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 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 curat truth cures Motto of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research
Veritas Dei vincit The God's Truth prevails. Motto of the Hussites
veritas diaboli manet in aeternum Devil'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
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 Motto of Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario; Satyameva Jayate; Triangle Fraternity
veritas unitas caritas Truth, Unity, Love Motto of Villanova University
veritas vincit truth conquers Motto of the Scottish clan Keith. Used to be motto of Protektorate of Bohemia and Moravia and in Czech translation motto of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic
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.
veritatem dilexi I delight in (or, I have chosen) the truth. Motto of Bryn Mawr College
veritatem fratribus testari to bear witness to the truth in brotherhood Motto of Xaverian Brothers High School
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
For other uses, see vice versa
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. (Note that in classical times, the V was pronounced like a W.)[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 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 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 Motto of Augusta State University in Augusta, GA
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.
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".
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.
virile agitur "The manly thing is being done" As used in the motto of Knox Grammar School
viriliter agite "Act in a manly way" As used in the motto of St Muredach's College
viriliter agite estote fortes "Quit ye like men, be strong" As used in the motto of Culford School
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 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 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
vis legis power of the law
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.
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!").
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 est vincere to live is to conquer Captain John Smith's personal Motto.
vivere militare est to live is to fight 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.
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 ]
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".



  • 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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