Latin Proverbs, Mottoes, Phrases, and Words: Group B

(classical-language maxims, slogans, adages, proverbs, and words of wisdom that can still capture our modern imagination)

Expressions of general truths: Latin to English maxims, proverbs, and mottoes

Word entries are from Latin unless otherwise indicated.

bathos (s) (noun) (no pl)
1. The sudden shift in speech or writing from a lofty level to a lower commonplace one, for contrast or humor, or overdone sentiment that has become melodramatic or maudlin: The actors played the old tear-jerker for bathos and were rewarded with many laughs.
2. Etymology: literally "depth", but figuratively "dull" or "inane", generally to a ludicrous degree.

The term has been misused with pathos, which is something entirely different: the Greek pathos, like the Latin passio, means "suffering", and a pathetic work is one which depicts, or elicits, suffering.

When a captious reviewer denounces a comic's "pathetic" attempts to be funny, what she or he really means is "bathetic".

Tad Tuleja in Foreignisms; A Dictionary of Foreign Expressions Commonly
(and Not so Commonly) Used in English
Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1989.
Beata morte nihil beatius.
No greater fortune than an easy death.

Motto of German King Frederick III of Austria (1314-1330).

Beati mundi corde.
Blessed are the pure in heart.

Motto of Lancing College, U.K.; from the New Testament: Matthew 5:8.

Bene tenax (Latin motto)
Translation: "Rightly tenacious."

A motto of perseverance and steadfastness.

Bene vale. (Latin phrase)
Translation: "Good farewell."
Benedictus es, O Domine: doce me Statuta Tua. (Latin motto)
Translation "Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me Thy statutes."

Motto of Bradfield College, U.K.

Bis pueri senes.
Old men are twice children.

It doesn't apply just to "old men".

bona fide (s) (noun) (sometimes spelled:) bonafide; bona fides (pl);
1. In good faith, with sincerity; genuinely.
2. Acting or done in good faith; sincere, genuine.
3. In plural form, credentials authenticating someone's true identity, background, intentions, and good faith: Henry was a journalist whose bona fides could not be determined.

Genuine or sincere; sincerity. The first expression is used to modify some other word, as in bona fide intentions; the second is generally used as the subject or object of a verb, as in "His bona fides is above reproach", and "We do not question her bona fides." Bona fides is a singular noun.

Bona fide has been used as an adjective phrase in English so often that we all know its pronunciation as, BOH nuh fighd; however, its preferred Latin pronunciation is BAW nuh FIGH duh.

To produce bona fides (BOH nuh FIGH deez), a corrupted Anglicized form, means to show good intentions in dealing with others, show credentials, prove one's identity or ability, etc. and so to indicate that no fraud or deceit is intended or shown.

A bona fide agreement is one that is made in "good faith" which is a Latin phrase taken over bodily from the Latin bona, "good" + fides, "faith".


Motto of Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa, USA.

Bonitatem et disciplinam et scientiam doce me.
Teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge.

Motto of College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, New York, USA.

Bonitatem et disciplinam et scientiam doce me.
Teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge.

Motto of Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa, USA; and College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, New York, USA.

Motto of College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, New York, USA.

Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio; sectantem levia. Nervi deficiunt animique. (Latin proverb)
Translation: "When I try to be brief, I become obscure. Aiming at smoothness, I fail in force and fire."

From Ars Poetica, by Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace) who was instructing writers that it may be difficult to achieve brevity without sacrificing clarity.

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short."

—Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) U.S. naturalist and author
B.S., B.Sc.; Baccalureus Scientiae
Bachelor of Science Degree which university or college students earn after four years of study.

Pointing to a page about a kleptomaniac Units of mottoes and proverbs listed by groups: A to X.