List of Latin phrases (Q)

This page lists English translations of notable Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before the rise of ancient Rome.

This list covers the letter Q. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.
Latin Translation Notes
qua definitione by virtue of definition Thus: "by definition"; variant of per definitionem; sometimes used in German-speaking countries. Occasionally misrendered as "qua definitionem".
qua patet orbis as far as the world extends Motto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
quae non posuisti, ne tollas do not take away what you did not put in place Plato, Laws
quae non prosunt singula multa iuvant what alone is not useful helps when accumulated Ovid, Remedia amoris
quaecumque sunt vera whatsoever is true frequently used as motto; taken from Philippians 4:8 of the Bible
quaecumque vera doce me teach me whatsoever is true motto of St. Joseph's College, Edmonton at the University of Alberta
quaere to seek Or "you might ask..." Used to suggest doubt or to ask one to consider whether something is correct. Often introduces rhetorical or tangential questions.
quaerite primum regnum Dei seek ye first the kingdom of God Also quaerite primo regnum dei; frequently used as motto (e.g. Newfoundland and Labrador)
qualis artifex pereo As what kind of artist do I perish? Or "What a craftsman dies in me!" Attributed to Nero in Suetonius' De vita Caesarum
Qualitas potentia nostra Quality is our might motto of Finnish Air Force
quam bene non quantum how well, not how much motto of Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diu it is how well you live that matters, not how long Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium CI (101)
quamdiu (se) bene gesserit as long as he shall have behaved well (legal Latin) I.e., "[while on] good behavior." So for example the Act of Settlement 1701 stipulated that judges' commissions are valid quamdiu se bene gesserint (during good behaviour). (Notice the different singular, "gesserit", and plural, "gesserint", forms.) It was from this phrase that Frank Herbert extracted the name for the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the Dune novels.
quantocius quantotius the sooner, the better or, as quickly as possible
quantum libet (q.l.) as much as pleases medical shorthand for "as much as you wish"
quantum sufficit (qs) as much as is enough medical shorthand for "as much as needed" or "as much as will suffice"
quaque hora (qh) every hour medical shorthand; also quaque die (qd), "every day", quaque mane (qm), "every morning", and quaque nocte (qn), "every night"
quare clausum fregit wherefore he broke the close An action of trespass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.
quater in die (qid) four times a day medical shorthand
quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane
quem di diligunt adulescens moritur he whom the gods love dies young Other translations of diligunt include "prize especially" or "esteem". From Plautus, Bacchides, IV, 7, 18. In this comic play, a sarcastic servant says this to his aging master. The rest of the sentence reads: dum valet sentit sapit ("while he is healthy, perceptive and wise").
questio quid iuris I ask what law? from the Summoner's section of Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, line 648
qui audet adipiscitur Who Dares Wins The motto of the SAS, of the British Army
qui bene cantat bis orat he who sings well praises twice from St. Augustine of Hippo's commentary on Psalm 73, verse 1: Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat ("He who sings praises, not only praises, but praises joyfully")
qui bono who with good common misspelling of the Latin phrase cui bono ("who benefits?")
quibuscum(que) viis (and) by whatever ways possible Used by Honoré de Balzac in several works,[1] including Illusions perdues and Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes.
qui docet in doctrina he that teacheth, on teaching Motto of the University of Chester. A less literal translation is "Let those who teach, teach" or "Let the teacher teach".
qui habet aures audiendi audiat he who has ears to hear, let him hear "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear"; Mark Mark 4:9
qui me tangit, vocem meam audit who touches me, hears my voice common inscription on bells
qui tacet consentire videtur he who is silent is taken to agree Thus, silence gives consent. Sometimes accompanied by the proviso "ubi loqui debuit ac potuit", that is, "when he ought to have spoken and was able to". Pope Boniface VII in Decretale di Bonifacio VIII, Libro V, Tit. 12, reg. 43 AD 1294
qui prior est tempore potior est jure Who is first in point of time is stronger in right As set forth in the "Property Law" casebook written by Jesse Dukeminier, which is generally used to teach first year law students.
qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself Generally known as 'qui tam,' it is the technical legal term for the unique mechanism in the federal False Claims Act that allows persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the Government.
qui totum vult totum perdit he who wants everything loses everything Attributed to Publilius Syrus
qui transtulit sustinet he who transplanted still sustains Or "he who brought us across still supports us", meaning God. State motto of Connecticut. Originally written as sustinet qui transtulit in 1639.
quia suam uxorem etiam suspicione vacare vellet because he should wish his wife to be free even from any suspicion Attributed to Julius Caesar by Plutarch, Caesar 10. Translated loosely as "because even the wife of Caesar may not be suspected". At the feast of Bona Dea, a sacred festival for females only, which was being held at the Domus Publica, the home of the Pontifex Maximus, Caesar, and hosted by his second wife, Pompeia, the notorious politician Clodius arrived in disguise. Caught by the outraged noblewomen, Clodius fled before they could kill him on the spot for sacrilege. In the ensuing trial, allegations arose that Pompeia and Clodius were having an affair, and while Caesar asserted that this was not the case and no substantial evidence arose suggesting otherwise, he nevertheless divorced, with this quotation as explanation.
quid agis What are you doing? What's happening? What's going on? What's the news? What's up?
quid est veritas What is truth? In the Vulgate translation of John 18:38, Pilate's question to Jesus (Greek: Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;). A possible answer is an anagram of the phrase: est vir qui adest, "it is the man who is here."
quid novi ex Africa What of the new out of Africa? less literally, "What's new from Africa?"; derived from an Aristotle quotation
quid nunc What now? Commonly shortened to quidnunc. As a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip. Patrick Campbell worked for The Irish Times under the pseudonym "Quidnunc".
quid pro quo what for what Commonly used in English, it is also translated as "this for that" or "a thing for a thing". Signifies a favor exchanged for a favor. The traditional Latin expression for this meaning was do ut des ("I give, so that you may give").
Quid rides?
Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.
Why do you laugh? Change but the name, and the story is told of yourself. Horace, Satires, I. 1. 69.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur whatever has been said in Latin seems deep Or "anything said in Latin sounds profound". A recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or "educated". Similar to the less common omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.
quieta non movere don't move settled things
quilibet potest renunciare juri pro se inducto anyone may renounce a law introduced for their own benefit Used in classical law to differentiate law imposed by the state for the benefit of a person in general, but by the state on behalf of them, and one imposed specifically that that person ought to have a say in whether the law is implemented.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Commonly associated with Plato who in the Republic poses this question; and from Juvenal's On Women, referring to the practice of having eunuchs guard women and beginning with the word sed ("but"). Usually translated less literally, as "Who watches the watchmen (or modern, 'watchers')?" This translation is a common epigraph, such as of the Tower Commission and Alan Moore's Watchmen comic book series.
quis leget haec? Who will read this?
quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando? Who, what, where, by what means, why, how, when? Compare the Five Ws. From Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica, but ancient authors provide other similar lists.
quis separabit? Who will separate us? motto of Northern Ireland and of the Order of St Patrick
quis ut Deus Who [is] as God? Usually translated "Who is like unto God?" Questions who would have the audacity to compare himself to a Supreme Being. It is a translation of the Hebrew name 'Michael' = Mi cha El Who like God מי/כ/ אל Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל (right to left).
quo errat demonstrator where the prover errs A pun on "quod erat demonstrandum"
quo fata ferunt where the fates bear us to motto of Bermuda
quo non ascendam to what heights can I not rise? motto of Army Burn Hall College
Quod verum tutum what is true is right motto of Spier's School
Quo Vadimus? Where are we going? Title of the series finale of Aaron Sorkin's TV dramedy Sports Night
quo vadis? Where are you going? According to Vulgate translation of John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, quo vadis? ("Lord, where are you going?"). The King James Version has the translation "Lord, whither goest thou?"
Quo warranto by what warrant? Medieval Latin title for a prerogative writ by which a court requires some person or entity to prove the source of some authority it is exercising. Used for various purposes in different jurisdictions.
quocunque jeceris stabit whithersoever you throw it, it will stand motto of the Isle of Man
quod abundat non obstat what is abundant doesn't hinder It is no problem to have too much of something.
quod cito fit, cito perit what is done quickly, perishes quickly Things done in a hurry are more likely to fail and fail quicker than those done with care.
quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.) what was to be demonstrated The abbreviation is often written at the bottom of a mathematical proof. Sometimes translated loosely into English as "The Five Ws", W.W.W.W.W., which stands for "Which Was What We Wanted".
quod erat faciendum (Q.E.F.) which was to be done Or "which was to be constructed". Used in translations of Euclid's Elements when there was nothing to prove, but there was something being constructed, for example a triangle with the same size as a given line.
quod est (q.e.) which is
quod est necessarium est licitum what is necessary is lawful
quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason If no grounds have been given for an assertion, then there are no grounds needed to reject it.
quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi what is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an ox If an important person does something, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can do it (cf. double standard). Iovi (also commonly rendered Jovi) is the dative form of Iuppiter ("Jupiter" or "Jove"), the chief god of the Romans.
quod me nutrit me destruit what nourishes me destroys me Thought to have originated with Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Generally interpreted to mean that that which motivates or drives a person can consume him or her from within. This phrase has become a popular slogan or motto for pro-ana websites, anorexics and bulimics.
quod natura non dat Salmantica non praestat what nature does not give, Salamanca does not provide Refers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.
quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini What the barbarians did not do, the Barberinis did A well-known satirical lampoon left attached to the ancient "speaking" statue of Pasquino on a corner of the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy.[2] Through a sharp pun the writer criticizes Pope Urban VIII, of the Barberini family, who reused stones and decorations from ancient buildings to build new ones, thus wrecking classical constructions that even the barbarians had not touched.
quod periit, periit What is gone is gone What has happened has happened and it cannot be changed, thus we should look forward into the future instead of being pulled by the past.
quod scripsi, scripsi What I have written I have written. Pilate to the chief priests (John 19:22)
quod supplantandum, prius bene sciendum Whatever you hope to supplant, you will first know thoroughly i.e. "You must thoroughly understand that which you hope to supplant". A caution against following a doctrine of Naive Analogy when attempting to formulate a scientific hypothesis.
quod vide (q.v.) which see Used after a term, phrase, or topic that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document, book, etc. For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae vide (qq.v.).
Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite. Whatever He tells you, that you shall do. More colloquially: "Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you to do." Instructions of Mary to the servants at the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:5). Also the motto of East Catholic High School.
quomodo vales How are you?
quorum of whom the number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional
quos amor verus tenuit tenebit Those whom true love has held, it will go on holding Seneca
quot capita tot sensus as many heads, so many perceptions "There are as many opinions as there are heads" – Terence
quot homines tot sententiae as many men, so many opinions Or "there are as many opinions as there are people", "how many people, so many opinions"
quousque tandem? For how much longer? From Cicero's first speech In Catilinam to the Roman Senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? ("For how much longer, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?"). Besides being a well-known line in itself, it was often used as a text sample in printing (cf. lorem ipsum). See also O tempora, o mores! (from the same speech).


  1. ^ "quibuscumque", Word in Context
  2. ^ Hibbard, Howard (1991). Bernini. New York: Penguin. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-14-013598-5.

Additional references