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

(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.

mente et artificio
Through mind and skill.

A motto of Ryerson Polytechnical Institutue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

meo periculo
At my own risk.
meridies, m.
Noon, middle of the day.
Etymology: Greek > Latin: dividing, partition.

This is the Latin form that comes from ancient Greek merismos and the verb form, merisein, "to divide" from meros, "part" and is defined as a type of synecdoche [a figure of speech] in which a totality is expressed by two contrasting parts; such as, "high and low, rich and poor, good and bad, old and young, thick and thin, near and far".

A synecdoche [si NEK duh kee] (Greek > Latin) is defined as, "a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a part is used for a whole or vice versa"; literally, "a receiving together or jointly". Examples include, "bread for food, the army for a soldier, copper for a penny, forty hired hands instead of forty paid workmen", and "the white cliffs of Dover for England". In addition, the whole may stand for the part; as with, "The fleet hit town" for "The sailors of the fleet hit town".

Another form is merismatic, meaning capable of active division (of cells).

Mihi cura futuri. (Latin motto)
Translation: "My concern is for the future."

Motto of Hunter College, USA.

Mihi vivere Christus est.
For me, Christ is life.

A motto of St. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers, New York, USA.

miliarium (s) (noun) miliaria (pl)
A massive cylindrical mile stone, over six feet in height and weighing two or more tons: "The miliaria were erected every 1,000 paces, or Roman mile, on all Roman roads after 123 B.C."

"The miliarium generally gave the distance from the town where the road originated, the name and titles of the emperor under whose auspices the road was built, sometimes the names of those who built it [Legio III Augusta build this road], and sometimes the date when it was finished."

"In addition, the miliarium generally specified whether the road was repaired (ristituit) or built at the emperor's own expense (pecunia sua) and whether it was a gravel road (via glarea) or a paved road (via stata)."

"Thousands of miliaria have been removed from the roads; many are found to have been used in building houses, churches, and foundations, while a few of the others have been moved to museums."

"In addition to milestones or miliaria, there were the itineraria to guide tourists, military commanders and commercial travelers over the Roman roads. The itineraria were schematic maps with symbols to indicate such geographical features as mountains, rivers, and lakes, as well as way-stops, official night quarters (mansiones), military bases (castra praetoriana), and post-houses, (mutationes) where horses were kept for use. The itineraria also gave the distances between points on the road."

The Roads that Led to Rome; Victor W. Von Hagen;
published by The World Publishing Company;
Cleveland and New York; 1967; page 20.
mille, m.
A thousand.
minutia (mi NOO she uh, mi NOO shuh) (s) (noun), minutiae (mi NOO shi ee, mi NYOO shi ee) (pl)
Trifling, trivia, odds and ends, or unimportant details: Several elective officials were concerned about the minutiae that were included in the congressional bill.
Unimportant or very small details.
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Mirabile Dictu. (Latin proverb)
Translation: "Wonderful to relate."

Used to introduce the announcement of something the speaker, genuinely or ironically, considers to be amazing.

Another version is "Believe it or not." This statement by Vergil is used when anyone wishes to express astonishment while recounting an event of overwhelming significance, accomplishment, or irony.

mirabile visu
Wonderful to behold.

A companion phrase for mirabile dictu and is equivalent to the current English statement, "An incredible sight."

Mirum videtur quod sit factum iam diu?
Does it seem marvelous because it was done long ago?
—Livius Andronicus (c.280-204 B.C.)
misce (verb) (no other verb forms)
1. To mix, a mandate or strong advice that is used in pharmacy: An instruction which tells the druggist to be sure to misce or to blend and to combine the ingredients of a certain medicine together before giving it to a customer.
2. Etymology: from Latin, miscere, "to mix"; an imperative form in grammar for a verb which expresses a command, a request, or strong advice.
Mixture; to mix.

Miscellaneous is made up of many different things or kinds of things that have no necessary connection with each other. Note its similarity to some aspects of et cetera especially since miscellaneous is also made up of a variety of parts or ingredients and is concerned with diverse subjects or aspects; as well as, mixed, varied, and assorted items.

Misericordia non causam, sed fortunam spectat.
Translation: Compassion takes care of sufferings, it does not ask for their cause.

Motto of German Emperor Rupprecht of Palatinate (1400-1410).

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