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

(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.

quid pro quo
Literally, something for something; this for that.

Something given in return for something else; a favor in return, a substitution or fair exchange. It is a legal, as well as idiomatic, term indicating the necessity of mutual back-scratching; especially, in business and politics.

Quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere. (Latin statement)
Translation: "Avoid asking what tomorrow will bring." or "Stop asking what tomorrow will bring."

Horace advised us to live in the here and now because nobody can live tomorrow until it becomes today.

—Attributed to Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65-8 B.C.)
or Horace, in his Odes, I; 9, 13.
Quidquid agas prudenter agas.
Whatever you do, do with caution.

The full proverb is Quidquid agas prudenter agas et respice finem and is translated as "Whatever you do, do with caution, and look to the end."

A shorter version using, Respice finem, is translated as, "Look before you leap."

Quieta non movere.
Not to disturb quiet things.

Better translated as "Don't disturb things that are at peace"; and by extension: "Let sleeping dogs lie."

There are those now who say, "If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it." Then there are the slang-mongers who say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

quintessence (s) (noun), quintessences (pl)
1. The most important part of something: A musician told his audience that the quintessence of music is the melody.
2. A perfect example of something: Henry was the quintessence of calmness when his wife Mildred told him that their car had a dent in the fender because someone else had backed into it while it was parked at the supermarket.
3. Etymology: from Latin quinta essentia, "fifth essence."
The most perfect example.
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who will guard the guards themselves?

Juvenal wrote this proverb in his Satires and it is applicable to modern times; such as, a reference to situations in which there is little confidence in the people appointed to positions of trust; for example, those who are duty-bound to watch over public funds.

Juvenal may also have been referring to the problem of hiring guards to prevent infidelity among women whose husbands were out of town. Another interpretation could be the advice to avoid assigning a fox to guard the henhouse.

Quis separabit?
Who shall separate us?

Motto on the seal of the State of South Carolina, USA.

Quo animo?
With what intention?

Even when we report all the words someone has used in telling us something, we may not be conveying a true reflection of what was intended.

Facial expressions, emphasis, and so forth may be as significant as the words being used in revealing one's full intent.

Quo sursum velo videre.
I want to see what is beyond.

Early motto of the State of Minnesota, USA; changed in 1858.

Quo vadis?
Whither goest thou? or Where are you going?

These words were said to have been spoken by Christ when He met the discouraged Apostle Peter as he was leaving Rome.

Quod avertat Deus!
Which may God avert

Also translated as, "God forbid!"

Quod cibus est aliis, aliis est venenum.
What is good to some is poison to others.

Also, "What you and I find attractive, others may well find abhorrent" or "One man's meat is another man's poison."

Quod cito acquiritur cito perit. (Latin Proverb)
Translation: "That which is quickly acquired, quickly vanishes."

Another version is "Easy come, easy go."

Quod dixi dixi.
What I have said, I have said

Could this be a different version of Quod scripsi scripsi?

Quod erat demonstrandum, Q.E.D., QED
Which was the thing to be demonstrated; Which was to be demonstrated.

A formula appended at the end of a proof in geometry, or other mathematical solution, with the meaning, "We have proven the proposition we set out to prove."

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