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Latin Phrases Patriots Should Know: Patriotic Latin Phrases and Their Translations

Written by Sam Jacobs Subject: History

We're not suggesting that you need to learn Latin – although learning news things is always good. However, there is a long tradition of freedom-loving patriots formulating their slogans in Latin ("Audemus jura nostra defendere") or Greek ("Molon Labe"). So while you don't have to be able to read The Aeneid or The Odyssey in the original language, there are some key phrases you should know so that you can recognize an ally by his bumper sticker in the wild.

The penchant for classical language has a variety of sources. First, there is the affinity of patriots with the republics of the ancient world – the Greek democracies, yes, but the Roman Republic in particular. Second, there is the tendency of the Founding Fathers to be products of the classical education tradition. Thus, they had more than a working knowledge of the languages of antiquity. Third, they just sound cool.

Here's a list of some of our favorite phrases in Latin and Greek for patriots to know.

Latin Phrases Used in the U.S. Military

"Sic semper tyrannis"

Thus always to tyrants, U.S. Navy 149th Fighter Squadron

"De oppresso liber"

To liberate the oppressed, U.S. Army Green Berets

"Legibus armisque devoti"

Devoted to law and arms, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency

"Haec protegimus"

This we guard, U.S. Army Military District of Washington

"Hiemes oppugnamus et montes superamus"

We battle cold and conquer mountains, U.S. Army Northern Warfare Training Center

"Nous resterons la"

We shall remain there, U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division

"Semper primus"

Always first, U.S. Army 1st Infantry Regiment

"Noli me tangere"

Don't tread on me, U.S. Army 2nd Infantry Regiment

"Volens et potens"

Willing and able, U.S. Army 7th Infantry Regiment

"Patriae fidelitas"

Loyalty to country, U.S. Army 8th Infantry Regiment

"Firmiter et fideliter"

Steadfastly and faithfully, U.S. Army 377th Field Artillery Regiment

"Nihil obstat"

Nothing stands in our way, U.S. Army 557th Artillery Group

"Ex alis pugnamus"

We fight on wings, U.S. Army 3rd Aviation Regiment

"Vigilantia aeterna"

Eternal vigilance, U.S. Army 4th Aviation Regiment

"Parati respondere"

Ready to respond, U.S. Army 16th Aviation Battalion


Powerful in arms, mighty in battle, U.S. Army 40th Armored Brigade

"Insiste firmiter"

Stand firmly, U.S. Army 77th Armor Regiment

"Semper fidelis"

Always loyal, U.S. Marine Corps

"Construimus, batuimus"

We build, we fight, U.S. Navy

"Libertatem defendimus"

Liberty we defend, U.S. Air Force 2nd Bomb Wing

"Parati defendere"

Ready to defend, U.S. Air Force 6th Air Mobility Wing

"Mors ab alto"

Death from above, U.S. Air Force 7th Bomb Wing

"Toujours au danger"

Ever into danger, U.S. Air Force 17th Bombardment Wing

"In alis vincimus"

On wings we conquer, U.S. Air Force 19th Airlift Wing

"Tutor et ultor"

I protect and avenge, U.S. Air Force 49th Tactical Fighter Wing

"Non sibi sed aliis"

Not for self, but for others, U.S. Air Force 308th Armament Systems Wing

"Semper supra"

Always above, U.S. Space Force

Latin Phrases Used in Patriotic America

"Vince aut morire"

Conquer or die

"In hoc signo vinces"

In this sign thou shalt conquer

"Molon labe"

Come and take them

"Si vis pacem, para bellum"

If you want peace, prepare for war

"Audentes fortuna juvat"

Fortune favors the bold

"Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem"

I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito"

Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it

Philosophical Latin Phrases

"Laos Deo"

Praise be to God

"Scientia potentia est"

Knowledge is power

"Sic parvis magna"

Greatness from small beginnings

"Tempus fugit"

Time flies

"Res ipsa loquitur"

The thing speaks for itself

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?"

Who will guard the guards?

"Primum vivere, deinde philosophari"

First, live; then philosophize

"Nicholas nassem talib"

Skin in the game

Latin Phrases Used by American States

"Stella quarta decima"

The fourteenth star, once used by Vermont, the 14th state

"Audemus jura nostra defendere"

We dare defend our rights, Alabama state motto

Latin Phrases Patriots Should Know: Patriotic Latin Phrases and Their Translations originally appeared in The Resistance Library at