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

(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.

vis
Force; power; energy; violence; faculty.

The singular form is vis; the plural form is vires.

vis a tergo
Force from behind.
vis armata
Armed force.
vis comica
Comic force.

Caesar used the expression in some lines of poetry about Terence in which he praised his poetic gifts but lamented his lack of comic power. From Suetonius, Lives of the Poets, Terence.

Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
Force without good sense falls by its own weight.
vis divina
Divine force.

In civil law, a divine or superhuman force; the act of God which refers to any accident produced by any physical cause which is irresistible; such as, lightning, tempests, perils of the seas, tornados, earthquakes, etc.

vis inertiae (s) (noun)
1. The tendency of a body to resist acceleration: "In physics, vis inertiae is the resistance of a force of inertia; by extension, this may be applied to resistance in matters of social progress or change. It explains why a plan set in motion is difficult to stop, and vice versa.
2. The resistance of matter: "Vis inertiae exists when a body at rest is set in motion, or a body in motion is brought to rest, or when it has its motion changed, either in direction or in velocity."
vis major
A greater or superior (major) force; an irresistible force.

A loss that results immediately from a natural cause without the intervention of man, and could not have been prevented by the exercise of prudence, diligence, and care. In civil law, this term is sometimes used as synonymous with vis divina or the "act of God".

Vis medicatrix naturae.
The restorative, healing power of nature.
vis nova (s) (noun); vis novae, vis novas (pl)
New power, new energy.
Vis unita fortior.
Strength united is stronger.

Motto on the 1776 seal of the State of New Hampshire, USA.

vis vitae; vis vitalis
Life force.
Vita brevis, longa ars.
Life is short, art is long.

It is also often quoted as Ars longa, vita brevis.

Vita hominis sine literis mors est.
The life of man without letters [learning] is death.

Motto of Derby School, U.K.

Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est.
Life is not [just] to live, but life is to be strong, vigorous.

Life is more than merely staying alive.


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