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.

Domine, dirige nos.
Lord, direct us.

Motto of the city of London, England.

Dominus illuminatio mea. (Latin motto)
Translation: "The Lord is my light."

Motto of Oxford University, Oxford, UK. This motto is also translated as, "The Lord, my illumination."

Dominus mihi adiutor.
The Lord is a helper unto me.

Motto of the Kindom of Denmark.

Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos. (Latin mottoe)
Translation: "As long as you are fortunate, you will have many friends."

Another translation: "When you are successful, everyone wants to be your friend." This is from Ovid's Tristia where the statement concludes with tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris; "if clouds appear, you will be alone".

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus.
Pseudo Latin: Never tickle a sleeping dragon.
Coat of arm at Hogwart.

Motto and coat of arms at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and magic in the Harry Potter stories.

Duc, sequere, aut de via decede.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
It is sweet and proper (fitting or honorable) to die for one's country.

A carving in stone over the entrance to the Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia; based on a writing by Horace in his Odes, III, ii, 13.

Dulce et Decorum Est

—by Wilfred Owen, 1893-1918

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gurgling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitten as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

Dulce (sweet)? Decorum (honorable)? Wilfred Owen himself died fighting for England in World War I, just one week before the armistice was signed and the war ended.

Dum felis dormit, mus gaudet et exsilit antro.
When the cats fall asleep, the mouse rejoices and leaps from his hole.

Latin idiom: The Roman mouse rejoicing is father to the French mice dancing and the English mice playing.

Dum spiro spero.
Translation: While I have breath, I hope.

One of two mottoes of the State of South Carolina, USA. The other motto is Animis opibusque parati, "Prepared in minds and resources."

Dum vivo, spero.
While I live, I hope.
Durum et durum non faciunt murum. (Latin proverb)
Translation: "Hard and hard will not make a wall."

A medieval jingle: Some soft substance must unite the hard things to hold them together.

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.