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Adjective Mottos


1. One-Word Mottos: Adjectives


One of the simplest kind of mottos that you can create is a one-word motto consisting of an adjective. The idea behind this kind of motto is that it expresses who you are, so if that is the case, make sure you choose the gender of the adjective that fits you! Also, if you want your motto to stand for your family or your group or your club, you would want to use a plural form.


Invictus ... Invicta ... Invicti ... Invictae! - unconquered, undefeated, invincible

Paratus ... Parata ... Parati ... Paratae! - ready, prepared

Verus ... Vera ... Veri ... Verae! - true, real, genuine

Ardens ... Ardentes! - fiery, brilliant

Audax ... Audaces! - bold, courageous, daring

Fidelis ... Fideles! - faithful, loyal, trustworthy

Memor ... Memores! - remembering, mindful

Patiens ... Patientes! - hardy, enduring

Vigilans ... Vigilantes! - watchful


So, any adjective at all is one that you could choose for your motto. Just think about the adjective that works best for you - and add an exclamation mark if you want for extra emphasis.


2. One-Word Mottos: Comparative and Superlative Adjectives


You can also use the comparative form of an adjective to create your motto. In fact, one of the most famous one-word mottos is a comparative form of the adjective excelsus.  This is the motto of New York State, and it is also the title of a famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Excelsior! - higher


Remember, the comparative form of the adjective in Latin has the meaning of the English comparative, but it also can mean "very, extremely [adjective]." So, for example, you could use the comparative form of audax to make your motto: 

Audacior ... Audaciores! - very bold, extremely courageous, more daring (than the rest)


You can even use the superlative form of an adjective to create your motto: 

Fidelissimus ... Fidelissima ... Fidelissimi ... Fidelissimae! - the most faithful, totally loyal


So, if you are choosing a one-word adjective motto, consider using the comparative or superlative form of the adjective if you want to make an even stronger declaration!


3. Adjective + Adjective


You can easily create a three word motto by using two adjectives, connected with a conjunction.

Remember to adjust the gender and number of both adjectives as appropriate for your purposes.

The most common conjunction for this purpose is et


Audax et promptus - Bold and ready.

Celer et vigilans - Swift and watchfu.

Constans et prudens - Steady and wise.

Fidelis et audax - Faithful and bold.

Fidelis et constans - Faithful and steady.

Fidelis et suavis - Faithful and agreeable.

Fidus et audax - Loyal and bold.

Fortis et astutus - Strong and clever.

Fortis et egregius - Strong and distinguished.

Fortis et fidelis - Strong and faithful.

Fortis et fidus - Strong and loyal.

Fortis et hospitalis - Strong and hospitable.

Fortis et lenis - Strong and gentle.

Fortis et placabilis - Strong and agreeable.

Fortis et velox - Strong and swift.

Intrepidus et benignus - Fearless and kind.

Iustus et fidelis - Righteous and faithful.

Iustus et tenax - Righteous and persisten.

Liber et audax - Free and bold.

Memor et fidelis - Mindful and faithful.

Mitis et fortis - Gentle and strong.

Paratus et fidelis - Ready and faithful.

Perspicax et audax - Observant and bold.

Quiescens et vigilans - Resting and watchful.

Sagax et audax - Sharp  and bold.

Sedulus et audax - Attentive and bold.

Tenax et fidelis - Persistent and faithful.

Valens et volens - Able and willing.

Verax et fidelis - Truthful and faithful.

Vigilans et audax - Watchful and bold.

Volens et valens - Willing and able.


Another conjuncdtion that you might want to use is atque:

Celer atque fidelis - Swift and faithful.

Fortis atque fidelis - Brave and faithful. 

Verax atque probus - Truthful and honest.


You can also just list adjectives, joined by a comma:

Libens, volens, potens - Glad, willing, able.


4. Negated Adjectives


In addition to making affirmative statements with adjectives, you can also negate an adjective. To do this, start with an undesirable adjective, something that expresses a quality you are not. Then, negative it with a negating phrase like non or nec umquam:

Non immemor beneficii - Not unmindful of a favor.

Nec devius umquam - Not ever straying.


You can also contrast two adjectives with the word non

Ductus, non coactus - Led, not driven.

Obsequens, non servilis - Yielding, not servile.

Occultus, non extinctus - Hidden, not destroyed.

Vinctus, non subactus - Bound, not compelled.

Vinctus sed non victus - Bound, but not defeated.


You can also negate two adjectives as neither-nor:

Nec elatus, nec deiectus - Neither lofty nor cast down.

Nec timidus, nec ferus - Neither scared nor savage.

Neque pessimus neque primus - Neither worst nor first.



You can also use a double negative in order to express a positive statement in Latin. Here are two examples:

Nunquam non fidelis - Never not faithful = Always faithful.

Nunquam non paratus - Never not prepared = Always prepared.


5. Adjective, Plus Adverb


If you want to expand on your one-word motto, you can add an adverb. Given that word order is a stylistic choice in Latin, you can either put the adjective first (Semper fidelis, "Always faithful") or you can put the adverb first (Utile primo, "Useful first and foremost") - either way is fine, based on what sounds best to you.


So, first choose your adjective, and then, if you want, add an adverb to it!


Semper fidelis - Always faithful.

Semper hilaris - Always jolly.

Semper liber - Always free, at liberty.

Semper paratus - Always ready, prepared.

Semper sitiens - Always thirsty, yearning.

Semper vigilans - Always watchful.

Semper virens - Always green, lively.

Semper viridis - Always flourishing.

Semper eadem - Always the same. (This was the motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England.)


Semper constans et fidelis - Always steadfast and faithful.


Ubique paratus - Everywhere ready.

Semper et ubique fidelis - Always and everywhere faithful.


Tandem tranquillus - Finally calm.


Hactenus invictus - Thus far undefeated.

Hinc fortior et clarior - Henceforth stronger and brighter.


Attamen tranquillus - Nevertheless calm.

Notes: The adverb attamen (and also tamen) implies that there is something surprising - even though there are storms raging, nevertheless calm, attamen tranquillus.

Praecipitatus attamen tutus - Cast down, but safe nevertheless.


Utile primo - Useful first and foremost.


Bene factum - Rightly done.

Bene tenax - Rightly tenacious.

Notes: The adverb bene distinguishes between what is merely a quality (tenax, tenacious) and that quality exercised in just the right way for just the right reasons, bene tenax.


Heri servus, hodie liber - Yesterday a slave, today a free man.

Tam fidus quam fixus - (I am)  as faithful as (I am) strong.

Sic fidus ut robur - As reliable as an oaktree.


6. Adjective, Plus Prepositional Phrase


In the same way that you can expand on an adjective by adding an adverb or a complementary noun, you can also add a complementary prepositional phrase. Here are some examples:



In arduis fortis - Strong in challenging matters.

Fortis in procella - Strong in the storm.

Tutus in undis - Safe in the waves.

Mediis tranquillus in undis - Calm in the midst of the waves.

Saevis tranquillus in undis - Calm in the raging waves.

Fidus in arcanis - Loyal in secret affairs.

Fidelis in omnibus - Faithful in all things.

In periculis audax - Bold in dangers.

In dubiis constans - Steady in doubtful affairs. 

In tenebris lucidior - Shining more brightly in the shadows.

In utraque fortuna paratus - Ready in either fortune. (That is, in good fortune or bad fortune.)

In utroque fidelis - Faithful either way. (That is, in success or failure, in peace or war, etc.)

Rectus in curvo - Straight in something crooked.

Solus in pluribus  - Alone among many.

Tenax in fide - Steadfast in faith.

In fide et in bello fortis - Strong in faith and in battle.

Fidelis et in bello fortis - Faithful and strong in battle.

Primi et ultimi in bello - First and last in battle.

Primus ultimusque in acie - First and last in the battleline.



In utrumque paratus - Prepared for either. (That is, prepared for success or failure, peace or war, etc.)

In omnia paratus - Prepared for everything.

In omnia promptus - Ready for everything.



Primus inter pares - First among equals.



Qualis ab incepto - Such as (I have been) from the start.



Ad caelos volans - Flying toward the heavens.

Ad finem fidelis - Faithful till the end.

Verus ad finem - True till the end.

Ad mortem fidelis - Faithful until death.

Fidelis usque ad mortem - Faithful all the way until death.



Per ardua stabilis - Steadfast through difficulties.

Per se valens - Powerful on my own.



Post mala prudentior - After disasters, wiser.



Pulchrior ex arduis - Finer as a result of challenges.

Ex seipso renascens - Born again from itself. (This motto alludes to the fable of the phoenix, so you can say ex cinere renascens, for example, "born again from the ashes.")

7. Adjective, Plus Noun


Based on the specific adjective being used, the adjective might be modified by a noun in the genitive, dative or ablative case. To find out what kind of noun might be used to complement a specific adjective, look up the adjective in a big dictionary, such as Lewis & Short online. Here are some examples that you can vary by replacing the noun with some other noun of your choice.




Beneficiorum memor - Mindful of good deeds.

Nec beneficii immemor nec iniuriae - Forgetting neither a good turn nor an injury.

Meae memor originis - Mindful of my origin.

Notes: Notice how the genitive phrase meae originis is wrapping around the adjective.


Patiens pulveris atque solis - Tolerant of dust and of sun.


Tenax propositi - Sticking to the task.

Iustus et propositi tenax - Righteous and sticking to the task.

Veritatis et aequitatis tenax - Holding on to truth and to fairness.




Patriae fidelis - Faithful to the fatherland.

Deo patriaeque fidelis - Faithful to God and to country.

Deo et regi fidelis - Faithful to God and king.

Regi patriaeque fidelis - Faithful to king and country.

Regi regnoque fidelis - Faithful to king and kingdom.

Regi legique fidelis - Faithful to the king and the law.


Confisus viribus - Confident in my strength. 


Aliis prospiciens, non sibi - Looking out for others, not for oneself.


Non nobis tantum nati - Born not for ourselves alone.




The ablative is especially common with perfect participles:

Sorte contentus - Content with my fate.

Sustentatus providentia - Supported by providence.

Virtute tutus - Safe through strength/virtue.

Virtute decoratus - Adorned by virtue.


You can also find the ablative of comparison in mottos:

Invidia maior - Greater than envy.

Melle dulci dulcior - Sweeter than sweet honey.


You can find an ablative of means used with many different kinds of adjectives: 

Diligentia fortior - Stronger because of carefulness.

Unitate fortior - Stronger because of unity.

Dictis factisque simplex - Simple in words and in deeds.

Secundis dubiisque rectus - Honest in both favorable and doubtful affairs.


Some adjectives take an ablative complement:

Omni liber metu - Free from all fear.

Virtute dignus avorum - Worthy of ancestral virtue.

Notes: Notice how the ablative phrases meae originis and virtute avorum are is wrapping around the adjective.


The ablative can also be used to express location or other circumstances:

Terra marique potens - Powerful on land and on sea.

Pace et bello paratus - Ready in both peace and war.


You can also supplement an adjective with an ablative of a verbal gerund:

Recte faciendo audax - By doing what is right, I am bold.

Recte faciendo securus - By doing what is right, I am without worry.

Studendo et contemplando indefessus - Not tired from studying and thinking.


ACCUSATIVE: If the adjective is a present active participle of a transitive verb, or the perfect  participle of a transitive deponent verb, it may take an accusative complement:

Finem prospiciens - Looking towards the finish.

Haud inferiora secutus - Having pursued things that are not lowly.

Non inferiora secutus - Having pursued things that are not lowly.

Data fata secutus - Having pursued the destiny given to me.

Repetens exempla suorum - Repeating the examples of his own (ancestors).

Ob patriam vulnera passi - Having suffered wounds on behalf of my country.


NOUN-ADJECTIVE, with ADVERB: Notice that you can also add an adverb into the mix for any of these adjective-noun mottos:


Regi semper fidelis - Always faithful to the king.

Semper virtuti constans - Always in accord with virtue. 





















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