Friday, August 8, 2008

Abusus non Tollit Usum

You may have noticed that I have a fondness for Latin. I studied Latin for three years in high school, although to be truthful, I must admit that the word "studied" should be interpreted in the broadest manner possible. In spite of all that time staring at the language of scholars, I am generally lost when it comes to translating or reading a great deal of Latin writing. I can make a reasonable educated guess at most short phrases, but to say I’m usually in the ballpark may be overstating it a bit. After all, a foul ball that lands on the roof over the sky boxes is technically “in the ballpark” but still counts as a strike.

Nevertheless, I can’t escape the feeling that using Latin words and phrases is really cool. I know. It’s pretentious, really. It’s an affectation, a pompous conceit. I guess we all have our vices. At least mine has not been shown to cause cancer in lab rats. Yet.

I especially love to peruse Latin mottos. I’m looking for one to adopt as my own, that I would place on my own family crest if I had one. But none have struck me so forcefully as to impress itself on me as THE MOTTO. There are so many really good ones. Here are some of my favorites so far.

Dictum Factum
Said and Done

Fortitudine vincimus
By endurance we conquer

Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo
Resolutely in action, gently in manner.

Ever upward.

Esto quo audes.
Be what you dare

Nec hostium timete, nec amicum reusate.
Fear no enemy, deny no friend.

Vincit, qui se vincit.
He conquers who conquers himself

In libris libertas.
In books (there is) freedom.

Otium sine litteris mors est.
Leisure without literature is death.

Vive ut vivas.
Live that you may live

Nil desperandum.
Never despair.

Fortis et liber.
Strong and free.

Esse quam videre.
To be rather than to seem.

Fortes acquirit eundo.
It gathers strength as it goes.

Fluctuat nec mergitur.
It is tossed by waves but doesn't sink.

Semper fidelis.
Always faithful.

Nil sine numine.
Nothing without providence.

Sic semper tyrannis.
Thus ever to tyrants.

Montani semper liberi.
Mountaineers are always free.

No comments: