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 the rise of ancient Rome.

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


vacate et scireBe still and know.Motto of the University of Sussex.
vade ad formicamgo to the antA Biblical phrase 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 mecumgo with meA vade-mecum or vademecum is an item one carries around, especially a handbook.
vade retro SatanaGo back, Satan!An exhortation for Satan to begone, often used in response to temptation. From a popular Medieval Catholic exorcism formula, based on a rebuke by Jesus to Peter in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33: vade retro me Satana ("get behind Me, Satan!").[Mark 8:33] The older phrase vade retro ("go back!") can be found in Terence's Formio I, 4, 203.
vae victisWoe 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 vanitasvanity of vanities; everything [is] vanityMore simply, "vanity, vanity, everything vanity". From the Vulgate, Ecclesiastes 1:2;12:8.
vaticinium ex eventuprophecy from the eventA prophecy made to look as though it was written before the events it describes, while in fact being written afterwards.
vel nonor notSummary 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 coquanturfaster than asparagus can be cookedOr 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 aevoAs a tree with the passage of timeMotto of the University of Toronto
veni, vidi, viciI came, I saw, I conqueredThe message supposedly sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe his battle against King Pharnaces II near Zela in 47 BC.
venturis ventisTo the coming windsMotto of Brasília, capital of Brazil.
vera causatrue cause
verba docent exempla trahuntWords instruct, illustrations leadOn the relevance to use illustrations for example when preaching.
verba ita sunt intelligenda ut res magis valeat quam pereatwords are to be understood such that the subject matter may be more effective than wastedWhen explaining a given subject, it is important to clarify rather than confuse.
verba vana aut risui non loquiNot to speak words in vain or to start laughterRule number 56 of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
verba volant, scripta manentwords fly away, writings remainFrom a famous speech of Caius Titus at the Roman senate.
verbatimword for wordRefers to perfect transcription or quotation.
verbatim et literatimword for word and letter by letter
verbi divini ministerservant of the divine WordA priest (cf. Verbum Dei).
verbi gratia
( or VG)
for exampleliterally: "for the sake of a word"
Verbum DeiWord of GodSee religious text.
Verbum Domini lucerna pedibus nostrisThe word of the Lord is a light for our feetMotto of the University of Groningen
verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA)The Word of the Lord Endures ForeverMotto of the Lutheran Reformation
verb. sap.,
verbum sap.
A word to the wise is sufficientThe hearer can fill in the rest; enough said. Short for Verbum sapienti sat[is] est.
veritastruthMotto of many educational institutions, including Harvard University and Bishop Lynch High School.
veritas aequitasTruth and justice
veritas, bonitas, pulchritudo, sanctitasTruth, Goodness, Beauty, and HolinessCurrent motto of Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
veritas Christo et ecclesiaeTruth for Christ and ChurchThe de jure motto of Harvard University, dating to its foundation; it is often shortened to Veritas to dispose of its original religious meaning.
Veritas cum libertateTruth with libertyMotto of Winthrop University
veritas curattruth curesMotto of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research
Veritas Dei vincitGod's Truth prevails.Motto of the Hussites
veritas diaboli manet in aeternumDevil's truth remain eternally
veritas et fortitudoTruth and CourageOne of the mottoes of Lyceum of the Philippines University
veritas et virtusTruth and virtueMotto of University of Pittsburgh, Methodist University, Mississippi College
veritas, fides, sapientiaTruth, Faith, WisdomCurrent motto of Dowling Catholic High School
veritas in caritateTruth Through CaringMotto of Bishop Wordsworth's School and St Munchin's College
Veritas Iustitia LibertasTruth Justice LibertyMotto of Free University of Berlin
Veritas Liberabit VosTruth Shall Set You FreeMotto of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan
veritas lux meaTruth is my light.A common non-literal translation is "Truth enlightens me." Motto of Seoul National University
veritas numquam peritTruth never expiresSeneca the Younger
veritas odit morasTruth hates delaySeneca the Younger
veritas omnia vincitTruth conquers allThe phrase from a letter of religious reformator and martyr Jan Hus. Motto of Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario; Satyameva Jayate; Triangle Fraternity
veritas unitas caritasTruth, Unity, LoveMotto of Villanova University
veritas vincittruth conquers (or truth prevails)The phrase from a letter of religious reformator and martyr Jan Hus. Motto on the banner of the Presidents of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic. Also motto of the Scottish clan Keith.
Veritas. Virtus. Libertas.Truth. Courage. Freedom.Motto of the University of Szeged in Hungary
veritas vitæ magistraTruth 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 liberabitthe truth will set you freeMotto of Johns Hopkins University
veritate duce progrediAdvancing (with) Truth Leading.Motto of University of Arkansas
[in] veritate et caritatewith truth and loveMotto of Catholic Junior College, Singapore; of St Xavier's School, Hazaribagh, India
veritate et virtutewith truth and courageMotto of Sydney Boys High School. Also "virtute et veritate", motto of Walford Anglican School for Girls and Pocklington School.
veritatem dilexiI loved (or, I have esteemed) the truth.Motto of Bryn Mawr College
veritatem fratribus testarito bear witness to the truth in brotherhoodMotto of Xaverian Brothers High School
veritatem cognoscereTo know the truthMotto of the Central Intelligence Agency's Clandestine Service
vero nihil veriusnothing truer than truthMotto of Mentone Girls' Grammar School
vero possumusYes, we canA 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.)towardsLiterally "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.
vetoI forbidThe right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation. Derived from ancient Roman voting practices.
vexilla regis prodeunt inferniForth go the banners of the king of hellUsed 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 coactusunder constraintused to indicate an agreement signed under duress
vi et animoWith heart and soulOr "Strength with Courage". Motto of Ascham School and the McCulloch clan crest.
vi veri universum vivus viciby the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universeMagickal motto of Aleister Crowley.
viaby the road"by way of" or "by means of"; e.g. "I'll contact you via e-mail."
via mediamiddle roadCan refer to the radical center political stance.
via, veritas, vitaThe Way, the Truth and the LifeFrom the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John 14:6; motto of many institutions including Glasgow University.
vicein 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 (disambiguation).
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. Moreover, it also dictates that the letter V, when consonantal, represents /w/; i.e. in classical times, the V was pronounced like a W; hence wee-keh wehr-sah.[2]
victoria aut morsVictory or death!similar to aut vincere aut mori.
victoria concordia crescitVictory comes from harmonyThe official club motto of Arsenal F.C.
victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catonithe victorious cause pleased the gods, but the conquered cause pleased CatoLucan, 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 taceoI see and keep silentThe motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
video meliora proboque deteriora sequorI see and approve of the better, but I follow the worseFrom the Metamorphoses VII. 20–21 of Ovid. A summary of the experience of akrasia.
video sed non credoI see it, but I don't believe itCaspar Hofmann after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
videre licet"it is permitted to see", "one may see"
vim promovet insitampromotes one's innate powerMotto of University of Bristol taken from Horace Ode 4.4.
vince malum bonoOvercome Evil with GoodPartial quotation of Romans 12:21 also used as a motto for Old Swinford Hospital and Bishop Cotton School, Shimla.
vincere est vivereto conquer is to liveCaptain John Smith's personal motto
vincere scis Hannibal victoria uti nescisyou know [how] to win, Hannibal; you do not know [how] to use victoryAccording 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 veritasTruth conquers all
vincit qui patiturhe conquers who enduresFirst attributed to Roman scholar and satirst Persius; frequently used as motto.
vincit qui se vincithe/she conquers who conquers himself/herselfMotto 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. It is the motto of the Philadelphia High School for Girls, and of North Sydney Boys High School.
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".
vinum regum, rex vinorum The wine of kings, the king of wines A description of Tokaji wine, attributed to Louis XIV.
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.
Vires acquirit eundo "She gathers strength as she goes" A quotation from Vergil's Aeneid (iv, 175), which in the original context refers to Pheme. Motto on the Coat of arms of Melbourne
virile agitur"The manly thing is being done" As used in the motto of Knox Grammar School
viriliter age"Act manfully" or "Act Courageously" As used in the motto of Marist College Ashgrove and others.
viriliter agite"Act in a manly way" As used in the motto of St Muredach's College and by PAREF Southridge school for boys.
viriliter agite estote fortes"Act manfully, be strong"As used in the motto of Culford School
virtus et laborvirtue and hard work The motto of Don Bosco Liluah, India. and St. Georges College, Mussoorie, India.
virtus et scientiavirtue and knowledge Frequently used as a motto, preeminently as that of La Salle University of Philadelphia, PA.
virtus in media statVirtue stands in the middle. Idiomatically: Good practice lies in the middle path. There is disagreement as to whether "media" or "medio" is correct.
virtus junxit mors non separabitthat which virtue unites, let not death separateMasonic (Scottish Rite) motto
virtus laudata crescit Greatness increases with praiseBerkhamsted School motto
Virtus non stemma Valor, not garland Duke of Westminster's motto at his stately home in Eaton, motto of Grosvenor Rowing Club and Harrow County School for Boys
virtus sola nobilitasvirtue alone [is] nobleChristian Brothers College, St Kilda's school motto
virtus tentamine gaudetStrength rejoices in the challenge.The motto of Hillsdale College.
virtus unita fortiorvirtue united [is] strongerState motto of Andorra.
Virtute duce comite fortunaUnder the guidance of valor, accompanied by good fortune Motto of Institut d'études politiques de Lyon, also motto of the Accorretti family
virtute et armisby virtue and armsOr "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
virtute et industriaby virtue and industryMotto of the city of Bristol.
virtute et veritateby virtue and truthMotto of Pocklington School.
vis legispower of the law
vis majorforce majeure, superior force
visio deiVision of a god
vita ante actaa life done beforeThus, a previous life, generally due to reincarnation.
vita, dulcedo, spes[Mary our] life, sweetness, hopeMotto of University of Notre Dame.
vita incerta, mors certissimaLife is uncertain, death is most certainIn simpler English, "The most certain thing in life is death".
vita mutatur, non tolliturLife is changed, not taken away.The phrase is in the preface of the first Catholic rite of the Mass for the Dead.
vita patrisDuring the life of the fatherHence 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 longamthe shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopesA 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 traduntThey hand on the torch of lifeFrom 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.
vitam amplificare hominibus hominesque societatiMankind [who] extends the life of the communityMotto of East Los Angeles College.
viva voceliving voiceAn oral, as opposed to a written, examination of a candidate.
vivat crescat floreatmay it live, grow, and flourish!
vivat rexMay the King live!Usually translated "Long live the King!" Also Vivat Regina ("Long live the Queen!").
vivat rex, curat lexLong live the king, guardian of the lawA pun on Vivat Rex, found in Westerham parish church in Kent.
vive memor letilive remembering deathPersius. Compare with "memento mori"
vive ut vivaslive so that you may liveThe phrase suggests that one should live life to the fullest and without fear of possible consequences.
vivere est cogitareto live is to thinkCicero; compare with "cogito ergo sum"
vivere militare estto live is to fightSeneca (Epist. 96,5). Compare with the allegory of Miles Christianus based on militia est vita hominis in the Vulgate, Book of Job 7:1.
vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderitcalled and not called, God will be presentor "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 injuriato one willing, no harm is doneor "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.
vos estis sal terraeyou are the salt of the earth.A famous biblical sentence said by Jesus.
votum separatumseparate vowAn independent, minority voice.
vox clamantis in desertothe voice of one shouting in the desertor traditionally, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"; from the Vulgate, Isaiah 40:3, and quoted by John the Baptist in the Gospels (Mark 1:3 and John 1:23). It is the motto of Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.
vox nihilivoice of nothingApplied to a useless or ambiguous phrase or statement.
vox populivoice of the peopleShort non-prearranged interview with an ordinary person (e.g. on the street); sometimes shortened to "vox pop".
vox populi, vox Deithe voice of the people is the voice of God


  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.


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