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

(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

All entries are from Latin unless otherwise indicated.

e pluribus unum
One from many; one out of many.

Motto of the United States of America, indicating that a single nation was made by uniting many states or a reference to the many states in the United States as being one nation. It may have been adapted from a line in Virgil's poem, "Moretum" which deals with the making of a salad and reads color est e pluribus unus, probably the first use of the phrase in any form. There was also an essay by Richard Steele in The Spectator, August 20, 1722, which opens with the Latin phrase Exempta juvat spiris e pluribus unus: "Better one thorn plucked than all remain."

The Continental Congress ordered the President of Congress to construct a seal in 1776 and E Pluribus Unum appeared on the first seal, as well as on many early coins. Congress adopted the motto in 1781 and it still appears on U.S. coins as well as on the Great Seal of the United States.

"Just a month after the completion of the Declaration of Independence, at a time when the delegates might have been expected to occupy themselves with more pressing concerns—like how they were going to win the war and escape hanging—Congress quite extraordinarily found time to debate the business of a motto for the new nation. (Their choice, E Pluribus Unum, ‘One from Many,' was taken from, of all places, a recipe for salad in an early poem by Virgil.)"

—Compiled from information located in
Made in America, An Informal History of the English Language in the Uniged States
by Bill Bryson; published by William Morrow and Company, Inc.; New York; 1994; page 45.

The translated poem, "Moretum", attributed to Virgil, lines 101-106

The right hand first mashes the fragrant garlic with a pestle,
Then grinds everything equally in a juicy mixture.
The hand goes in circles: gradually the separate essences
Lose distinction, the color is out of many one [e pluribus unus],
Neither all green, since milky-white bits resist it,
Nor shining milky white, since the herbs are so various.

Virgil used unus because "color" is masculine in Latin; we use the neuter form unum because the United States is considered neuter (neither masculine nor feminine).

Thomas Jefferson is given credit for having suggested E pluribus unum, which was at that time integrated into the first version of the Great Seal in 1776 and has remained there ever since.

Ecce quam bonum.
Behold how good.

Motto of The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, USA.

Ecclesiae et litteris.
For the church and literature.

Motto of King College, Bristol, Tennessee, USA.

Ecclesiae filii, a Greek phrase.
Sons of the church.

Motto of St. Edmund's School, Canterbury, UK.

Editio cum notis variorum.
An edition with the notes of various people.

An edition of a literary text, called a variorum edition, that offers variant readings of the text as well as notes and commentaries by scholars. This refers to a compendium edition of an author's work that includes scholarly interpretations, criticism, source materials, variant readings; several versions of Hamlet exist, for example, and other related and pertinent information.

"The edition of the history book which belonged to the library was an Editio cum notis variorum with many notations in the margins by previous owners."

editio princeps
First edition: "Sean was very happy to own an editio princeps of his uncle's poetry."
Educatio pro omnibus.
Education for all.

Motto of Sampson Technical College, Clinton, North Carolina, USA.

Ego spem pretio non emo. (Latin statement)
Translation: "I don't buy hope for a price."

Written to currently mean: "Show me" or "I won't buy a pig in a poke (bag or sack)."

Ego sum rex Romanus (imperator Romanorum) et super grannaticam. (Latin statement)
Translation: "I am the king of Rome and above grammar."

Words spoken by the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund at the Council of Constance (1414-1418) when a cardinal corrected his Latin.

Ego sum via veritas et vita.
I am the way, the truth, and the life.

Motto seen over the entrance to St. Steven's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.

Eheu fugaces labuntur anni.
Alas, the fleeting years glide by.

From Horace's Odes, suggesting that our "days dwindle down to a precious few".

eiusdem farinae (or) ejusdem farinae
Of the same flour.

Interpreted as "birds of a feather" and is used to characterize people of the same nature; that is, "cut from the same cloth" (usually in a pejorative sense).

emeritus (s) (noun), emeriti (pl)
A person who has served his time in some profession: Mildred's uncle was a professor of the university and now he has retired and she is now attending the same academic institution.

The origin of this word comes from Roman military tradition with the meaning of "a soldier who has served his time honorably". Modern usage usually refers to a university officer who is rewarded for faithful service with the position, for example, professor emeritus.

The title of emeritus may allow the person so honored to continue to use the facilities of the institution and to attend ceremonies as an honored member of the academic community.

Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros.
Learning humanizes character and does not permit it to be cruel.

Motto of the University of South Carolina, South Carolina, USA.

Greek > Latin: a trading place, market.

In Roman times, this word had two meanings. It referred to a seaport whose commercial life primarily consisted of maritime trade or it could denote a large building on the waterfront of a port where importers and exporters (businessmen) had their "offices".

It's current meaning is "a store, usually a large store, that offers a wide selection of goods; or a marketplace or center of trade".

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