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

(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.

ad astra (Latin)
To the stars.

Ad astra is used as a motto by many organisations and as a proper title for different unrelated things, such as bands, games, and publications, like "Ad Astra", a short story by William Faulkner.

Ad astra per aspera. (Latin)
Translation: "To the stars through difficulties" or "To the stars in spite of difficulties."

The motto of the state of Kansas, USA and Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina, USA.

This motto suggests that we achieve great things only by encountering and overcoming adversities. It will be rough going, but we will make it.

Ad augusta per angust. (Latin)
Translation: "To honors through difficulties."

Augusta refers to holy places and angusta to narrow spaces, therefore sometimes we cannot achieve great results without suffering by squeezing through narrow spaces.

ad calendas graecas (Latin)
At the Greek calends, that is never, or when hell freezes over.

This statement refers to the calends, the first day of the month which was a feature of the Roman calendar, but the Greeks had no calends!

The calends was the day that interest on borrowed money was to be paid, so for Roman debtors, they were tristes calendae, "the unhappy calends".

Ad captandam benevolentiam (Latin)
Translation: "To win good will."

For the purpose of winning good will.

ad captandum (Latin)
To please.

The technique of ad captandum is often used to win popular favor in entertainment, in political speeches, and in advertising.

ad captandum vulgus (Latin)
To please the common people.

To please or to win the favor of the masses or the crowd.

The implication is that such actions may not be in the best interest of society, but are intended only to achieve popularity or political goals, such as winning an elective office, publicizing movies, novels, sports, TV programs, or any promotion that wants the masses to be involved for their support.

ad clerum (Latin)
To the clergy.

A statement made by a church leader and intended only for the clergy as opposed to a statement ad populum, "to the people".

ad eundem (Latin)
To the same degree.

Of equivalent value: Ad eundem is mainly used for the acceptance of a student with an academic standing or degree by a university or college, but which was achieved at another equal institution of education.

ad eundem gradum (Latin)
To the same degree.

Sometimes abbreviated as ad eundem, this phrase may be used to place blame or praise among parties to a deed. The fuller version has a special use when applied to academic life.

Considering gradum as an academic rank and, under special circumstances, a person holding a Master of Arts degree from one institution may be awarded the same degree by another institution without examination or even matriculation, and such a degree is termed "M.A. ad eundem gradum".

ad eundem; ad eund. (Latin)
Of equivalent value.

Ad eund is an abbreviation of the term "ad eundem gradum", and means "to the same degree".

ad extra (Latin)
Translation: "To the outer."

In an outward direction: The expression ad extra refers to the Catholic belief that The Father directed his Son and the Spirit to go on a mission into the world, which was not within the Trinity life.

ad extremum (Latin)
Translation: "To the extreme."

In the staff meeting, one of the teachers carried on the discussion ad extremum and and there was no end to it!

Ad finem fidelis. (Latin)
Translation: "Faithful to the end."

The motto Ad finem fidelis was stitched into the family crest which hung above the fireplace in the family room.

Ad finem spero. (Latin)
Translation: "I hope to the last."

When Jane found a very old diary up in the attic, she saw the motto Ad finem spero on the cover and she remembered her grandfather using this expression when she was a toddler visiting him and her grandmother.


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