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

(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.

D. Litt.; Litt. D.; Doctor Litterarum
Doctor of Literature or Letters.
Damnant quod non intelligunt.
They condemn what they do not understand.

Often heard from those who strive to be creative.

Dat Deus incrementum. (Latin motto)
God giveth the increase: The motto Dat Deus incrementum, the motto of Westminster School, is carved over the entry arch of the school.
Dat eleemosynam et ecce omnia munda sunt vobis. (Latin motto)
Translation: "Give alms and lo, all pure things are yours!"

Someone was told that the motto of Wyggesden School, Leicester, U.K., Dat eleemosynam et ecce omnia munda sunt vobis must be memorized by all the students before they are allowed to graduate.

Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas. (Latin Motto)
Our censors are indulgent to the crows, but harass the doves: From Decimus Iunius (Junius) Iuvenalis (Juvenalis) (c. A.D. 60-117); Saturae, I, 63; who attacked the vices of the plutocrats, the wickedness and immorality of women and foreigners (particularly Greeks), and laments the decline of the ancient aristocratic virtues.

The editor of the newspaper titled the lead editorial, Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas because it was a statement of her opinion of the city officials who sought to censor her newspaper.

datum (s) (noun), data (pl)
Information, a fact, a figure, etc. used to make a decision or to come to a result: Data are known or assumed; such as, facts or figures from which a conclusion, or conclusions, can be determined.

Although rarely used properly, if at all, datum should be expressed in the singular sense, for example: "There is one datum on this page that is not correct."

Using the word "fact" instead of datum probably would make one's writing easier to understand and decrease anxiety about the proper use of datum.

Data, as the plural of datum, requires a plural verb in Latin and in English."

People often read; especially, in technical, scientific, and business writings; such usages as, "The data is inconclusive." It should be: "These or Those data are inconclusive."

D.D. (Divinitatis Doctor)
Doctor of Divinity.

A degree granted after a required curriculum of graduate theological studies has been accomplished.

De die in diem. (Latin phrase)
Translation: "From day to day."
De duobus malis, minus est semper eligendum.
Of two evils, the lesser is always to be chosen.

Another version is ."Choose the lesser of two evils." Thomas à Kempis, the fifteenth-century theologian, advises us to make the best of a bad situation as we recognize the realities of choosing between less than ideal alternatives.

de facto (Latin phrase)
Translation: "From the fact"; in reality.

Functioning or existing in fact, regardless of legal, or illegal, status. It differentiates that which exists in fact (de facto) from what exists legally (de jure).

De gustibus non est disputandum. (Latin statement)
Translatoin: "About tastes there is no disputing."

This well-known expression suggests that taste is a personal matter. Usually no amount of persuasion can succeed in changing a person's taste so it is better not to argue about matters of personal preference.

This saying is sometimes given as De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum, or more often merely as de gustibus, "concerning tastes".

de jure (adjective)
Sanctioned or according to law; legally: The congress passed an end to de jure segregation.

The head of the government is trying to create a de jure state with one party in charge.

De minimis non curat praetor. (Latin statement)
Translation: "A praetor does not occupy himself with petty matters."

Also, "Don't bother me with petty matters." A praetor [PREET uhr] in ancient Rome was a magistrate who assisted the consuls by administering justice and commanding armies.

A related expression is the legal precept: De minimis non curat lex or "The law does not concern itself with trifles" or "The law does not care for, or take notice of, very small or trifling matters"; which is used to justify refusal by a court, particularly an appellate court, to hear a suit, on the basis that a court's time must not be taken up with matters of small importance.

Provision is made under certain criminal statutes for dismissing offenses that are de minimis.

The phrase, de minimis, also explains why income tax payments that are a few dollars short of what they should be are sometimes accepted without any complaint.

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.
Of the dead, (say) nothing but good.

Another translation: "Speak kindly of the dead." It is believed that Chilon of Sparta, one of the wise men of sixth-century B.C. Greece, is the author of this saying. Keep in mind that this would be a Latin translation of what Chilon said in Greek.

The advice to everyone is to speak well of the recently dead or, if you can not say anything good, to keep quiet.

De nihilo nihil. (Latin statement)
Translation: "Nothing comes from nothing."

It was Persius, the first-century A.D. Roman poet, who stated in his Satires that effort is required to produce anything of value. He also said that anything once produced can not become non-existent again, when he wrote: In nihilum nil posse reverti or "There is nothing that can be reduced to nothing."

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge.
—Alfred North Whitehead,
mathematician and philosopher

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