I’m revising a paranormal romance novel and so I was researching a bunch of Latin phrases, as one does. I realized many of them would be fantastic for tattoos, so I thought I would share them with you! But please, double-check the spelling before you get inked. I’m only human and do make a typo now and again. See the big long list after the jump!
ad astra per aspera – “through difficulties, to the stars”
This is the motto of the state of Kansas, and of bunches of colleges and military organizations. So it’s very common. But still nice!
alis volat prorilis – “she flies with her own wings” This is also popular for tattoos, and why not? It’s awesome.
amor vincit omnia – “love conquers all” I bet you knew that one. Again, lots of people get this. I’ll get to more unusual choices soon.
aut viam inveniam aut faciam – “I will either find a way or make one” Attributed to Hannibal. The ancient military commander, not the cannibal.
carpe diem – “seize the day” A classic.
dulce periculum – “danger is sweet”
To let everyone know you are a badass.
dum spiro spero – “while I breathe, I hope”
Richard Armitage’s character Lucas North, shown in the photo above, had this one on the back of his neck in the TV show Spooks (called MI-5 in the U.S.) North got the tattoo during the eight years he was in prison in Russia. Great show, by the way.
esto quod es – “be what you are”
excelsior – “ever higher”
The motto of Bradley Cooper’s character in Silver Linings Playbook. Someone told me it is also associated with Stan Lee.
familia supra omnia – “family over everything”
fiat lux – “let there be light”
From the book of Genesis in the Bible.
finis vitae send non amoris – “the end of life, but not of love”
This would be appropriate for a memorial tattoo.
fortes fortuna adiuvat – “fortune favors the bold”
I actually think this one sounds better in English, but that’s just me.
fortis et liber – “strong and free”
ignis aurum probat – “fire tests gold”
This might be nice if you’ve been through some bad times lately.
in omnia paratus – “ready for anything”
Another choice for a badass. This is also the motto of the U.S. Army’s 18th Infantry Regiment, but you can use it too.
invictus maneo – “I remain unvanquished”
memento vivere – “remember to live”
Similar to “carpe diem.”
minima maxima sunt – “The smallest things are the most important.”
This might be a good tattoo after you have a baby. For you, not the baby.
non ducor, duco – “I am not led; I lead”
You tell ’em, honey.
non timebo mala – “I will fear no evil”
I love the sound of this Latin phrase. I know from the TV show Supernatural, because it’s inscribed on the barrel of a Colt that can kill demons. Of course, it’s from Psalm 23 in the Bible
omnia causa flunt – “Everything happens for a reason.”
I do not believe this, personally, but I know lots of people do.
pax aeterna – “eternal peace”
Might be a graceful alternative to “R.I.P.” for a memorial tattoo.
per volar sunata – “born to soar”
Damn right you were!
pulchrum est paucorum hominum – “Beauty is for the few”
A tattoo for the smugly attractive.
semper ad mellora – “always toward better things”
tempus fugit – “time flies”
That’s all for now. Let me know if you have others to add!