Latin Phrases Patriots Should Know: Patriotic Latin Phrases and Their Translations

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Latin Phrases Patriots Should Know: Patriotic Latin Phrases and Their TranslationsWe’re not suggesting that you need to learn Latin – although learning new things is always good. However, there is a long tradition of freedom-loving patriots formulating their slogans in Latin ("Audemus jura nostra defendere") or Greek (“Molon Labe”). So while you don’t have to be able to read The Aeneid or The Odyssey in the original language, there are some key phrases you should know so that you can recognize an ally by his bumper sticker in the wild.

The penchant for classical language has a variety of sources. First, there is the affinity of patriots with the republics of the ancient world – the Greek democracies, yes, but the Roman Republic in particular. Second, there is the tendency of the Founding Fathers to be products of the classical education tradition. Thus, they had more than a working knowledge of the languages of antiquity. Third, they just sound cool.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite phrases in Latin and Greek for patriots to know.

Brian Miller
Curated by
Brian Miller

Latin Phrases Used in the U.S. Military

“Sic semper tyrannis” - Thus always to tyrants

“Sic semper tyrannis”

“De oppresso liber” - To liberate the oppressed

“De oppresso liber”

“Legibus armisque devoti” - Devoted to law and arms

“Legibus armisque devoti”

“Hiemes oppugnamus et montes superamus” - We battle cold and conquer mountains

“Hiemes oppugnamus et montes superamus”

“Nous resterons la” - We shall remain there

“Nous resterons la”

“Semper primus” - Always first

“Semper primus”

“Noli me tangere” - Don't tread on me

“Noli me tangere”

“Volens et potens” - Willing and able

“Volens et potens”

“Patriae fidelitas” - Loyalty to country

“Patriae fidelitas”

“Firmiter et fideliter” - Steadfastly and faithfully

“Firmiter et fideliter”

“Nihil obstat” - Nothing stands in our way

“Nihil obstat”

“Ex alis pugnamus” - We fight on wings

“Ex alis pugnamus”

“Vigilantia aeterna” - Eternal vigilance

“Vigilantia aeterna”

“Parati respondere” - Ready to respond

“Parati respondere”

“Armipotent” - Powerful in arms, mighty in battle

“Armipotent”

“Insiste firmiter” - Stand firmly

“Insiste firmiter”

“Semper fidelis” - Always loyal

“Semper fidelis”

“Construimus, batuimus” - We build, we fight

“Construimus, batuimus”

“Libertatem defendimus” - Liberty we defend

“Libertatem defendimus”

“Parati defendere” - Ready to defend

“Parati defendere”

“Mors ab alto” - Death from above

“Mors ab alto”

“Toujours au danger” - Ever into danger

“Toujours au danger”

“In alis vincimus” - On wings we conquer

“In alis vincimus”

“Tutor et ultor” - I protect and avenge

“Tutor et ultor”

“Non sibi sed aliis” - Not for self, but for others

“Non sibi sed aliis”

“Semper supra” - Always above

“Semper supra”

Latin Phrases Used in Patriotic America

“Vince aut morire” - Conquer or die

“Vince aut morire”

“In hoc signo vinces” - In this sign thou shalt conquer

“In hoc signo vinces”

“Molon Labe” - Come and take them

“Molon labe”

“Si vis pacem, para bellum” - If you want peace, prepare for war

“Si vis pacem, para bellum”

“Audentes fortuna juvat” - Fortune favors the bold

“Audentes fortuna juvat”

“Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem” - I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery

“Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem”

“Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito” - Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it

“Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito”

Philosophical Latin Phrases

“Laos Deo” - Praise be to God

“Laos Deo”

“Scientia potentia est” - Knowledge is power

“Scientia potentia est”

“Greatness from small beginnings” - Knowledge is power

“Sic parvis magna”

“Tempus fugit” - Time flies

“Tempus fugit”

“Res ipsa loquitur” - The thing speaks for itself

“Res ipsa loquitur”

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?” - Who will guard the guards

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?”

“Primum vivere, deinde philosophari” - First, live; then philosophize

“Primum vivere, deinde philosophari”

Latin Phrases Used by American States

“Stella quarta decima” - The fourteenth star

“Stella quarta decima”

“Audemus jura nostra defendere” - We dare defend our rights

“Audemus jura nostra defendere”