Latin Proverbs

Latin proverbs:

  • Audi alteram partem – “Hear the other side.”
  • Credo quia absurdum – “I believe it because it is absurd.”
  • Errare humanum est; perseverare diabolicum – “To err is human; to repeat error is of the devil.”
  • Ex nihilo nihil fit – “Nothing comes from nothing.”
  • Festina lente – “Make haste slowly.”
  • Gutta cavat lapidem – “Constant dropping wears the stone.”
  • Mundus vult decipi – “The world wants to be deceived.”
  • Natura non contristur – “Nature isn’t sentimental.”
  • Quem di diligunt, adulescens moritur – “Whom the gods love dies young.”
  • Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor – “I see the better way and approve it, but I follow the worse way.”

The motto of the Addams Family is Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc — “We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.”

Tom Swifties

Bad Tom Swifties:

  • “These propulsion systems were used by NASA on moon rockets,” said Tom apologetically.
  • “I’ve only enough carpet for the hall and landing,” said Tom with a blank stare.
  • “We’re off to Scotland,” said Tom clandestinely.
  • “The prisoner escaped down a rope,” said Tom condescendingly.
  • “I dropped the toothpaste,” said Tom, crestfallen.
  • “Aha! Here’s someone who can’t speak!” exclaimed Tom dumbfoundedly.
  • “There’s nothing wrong with demons,” Tom said implicitly.
  • “I’ve borrowed my sister’s camping gear,” said Tom insistently.
  • “I want a motorized bicycle,” Tom moped.
  • “Crosby is my favourite singer. Who is yours?” asked Tom probingly.
  • “It’s time for the second funeral,” Tom rehearsed.
  • “So only one person arrived at the party before I did?” Tom second-guessed.
  • “I was adopted,” said Tom transparently.
  • “It’s homemade soup,” said Tom uncannily.
  • “Henry the Eighth!” said Tom unthinkingly.

Are there any good ones?

Please RSVP

“ATM machine” is an example of a redundant acronym — the M already stands for machine, so this phrase means “automatic teller machine machine.” Other examples:

  • PIN number = personal identification number number
  • GUI interface = graphical user interface interface
  • ISBN number = International Standard Book Number number
  • SAM missile = surface-to-air missile missile
  • LCD display = liquid crystal display display
  • CRT tube = cathode-ray tube tube
  • HIV virus = human immunodeficiency virus virus
  • SCSI interface = Small Computer System Interface interface
  • AC current = alternating current current
  • RPG games = role-playing games games

This goes for people, too. Jeb Bush’s nickname derives from his initials (J.E.B., for John Ellis Bush). So “J.E.B. Bush” stands for “John Ellis Bush Bush”.


The most difficult word in the world to translate is ilunga, according to a 2004 survey of 1,000 linguists.

The word comes from the Tshiluba language spoken in the southeastern Congo. It means “a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time and to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.”