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.


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 orbisas far as the world extendsMotto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
quae non prosunt singula multa iuvantwhat alone is not useful helps when accumulatedOvid, Remedia amoris
quaecumque sunt verawhatsoever is truefrequently used as motto; taken from Philippians 4:8 of the Bible
quaecumque vera doce meteach me whatsoever is truemotto of St. Joseph's College, Edmonton at the University of Alberta
quaereto seekOr "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 Deiseek ye first the kingdom of GodAlso quaerite primo regnum dei; frequently used as motto
qualis artifex pereoAs what kind of artist do I perish?Or "What a craftsman dies in me!" Attributed to Nero in Suetonius' De vita Caesarum
Qualitas potentia nostraQuality is our mightmotto of Finnish Air Force
quam bene non quantumhow well, not how muchmotto of Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diuit is how well you live that matters, not how longSeneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium CI (101)
quamdiu (se) bene gesseritas 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 quantotiusthe sooner, the betteror, as quickly as possible
quantum libet (q.l.)as much as pleasesmedical shorthand for "as much as you wish"
quantum sufficit (qs)as much as is enoughmedical shorthand for "as much as needed" or "as much as will suffice"
quaque hora (qh)every hourmedical shorthand; also quaque die (qd), "every day", quaque mane (qm), "every morning", and quaque nocte (qn), "every night"
quare clausum fregitwherefore he broke the closeAn 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 daymedical shorthand
quem deus vult perdere, dementat priusWhom the gods would destroy, they first make insane
quem di diligunt adulescens moriturhe whom the gods love dies youngOther 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 iurisI ask what law?from the Summoner's section of Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, line 648
qui audet adipisciturWho Dares Wins
qui bene cantat bis orathe who sings well praises twicefrom St. Augustine of Hippo's commentary on Psalm 72, 1: Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat ("He who sings praises, not only praises, but praises joyfully")
qui bonowho with goodcommon misspelling of the Latin phrase cui bono ("who benefits?")
qui docet in doctrinahe that teacheth, on teachingMotto of the University of Chester. The more literal translation is "Let those who teach, teach" or "Let the teacher teach".
qui habet aures audiendi audiat he who has ears to hear shall 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 voicecommon inscription on bells
qui tacet consentire videturhe who is silent is taken to agreeThus, 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".
qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequiturhe who brings an action for the king as well as for himselfGenerally 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 perdithe who wants everything loses everythingAttributed to Publilius Syrus
qui transtulit sustinethe who transplanted still sustainsOr "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 velletbecause he should wish even his wife to be free from suspicionAttributed 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 agisWhat are you doing?What's happening? What's going on? What's the news? What's up?
quid est veritasWhat 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 infantes sumusWhat are we, a bunch of babies?Commonly used by Nocera Clan. synonym - "to throw down ones gauntlet."
quid novi ex AfricaWhat of the new out of Africa?less literally, "What's new from Africa?"; derived from an Aristotle quotation
quid nuncWhat 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 quowhat for whatCommonly 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 videturwhatever has been said in Latin seems deepOr "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 moveredon't move settled things
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?" 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 separabit?Who will separate us?motto of Northern Ireland and of the Order of St Patrick
quis ut DeusWho [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 demonstratorwhere the prover errsA pun on "quod erat demonstrandum"
quo fata feruntwhere the fates bear us tomotto of Bermuda
Quod verum tutum what is true is rightmotto of Spier's School
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?").
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?"
quocunque jeceris stabitwhithersoever you throw it, it will standmotto of the Isle of Man
quod abundat non obstatwhat is abundant doesn't hinderIt is no problem to have too much of something.
quod cito fit, cito peritwhat is done quickly, perishes quicklyThings 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 demonstratedThe 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 doneOr "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 licitumwhat is necessary is lawful
quod gratis asseritur, gratis negaturwhat is asserted without reason may be denied without reasonIf no grounds have been given for an assertion, then there are no grounds needed to reject it.
quod licet Iovi, non licet boviwhat is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an oxIf 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 destruitwhat nourishes me destroys meThought 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 praestatwhat nature does not give, Salamanca does not provideRefers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.
quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt BarberiniWhat the barbarians did not do, the Barberini didA well-known satirical lampoon left attached to the ancient "speaking" statue of Pasquino on a corner of the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy.[1]
quod periit, periitWhat is gone is goneWhat 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, scripsiWhat I have written I have written.Pilate to the chief priests (John 19:22)
quod supplantandum, prius bene sciendumWhatever you hope to supplant, you will first know thoroughlyi.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 seeUsed 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 valesHow are you?
quorumof whomthe number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional
quos amor verus tenuit tenebitThose whom true love has held, it will go on holdingSeneca
quot capita tot sensusas many heads, so many opinions"There are as many opinions as there are heads" – Terence
quot homines tot sententiaeevery man had his sentenceOr "there are as many opinions as there are people", "how many people, so many opinions"


  1. Hibbard, Howard (1991). Bernini. New York: Penguin. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-14-013598-5.


  • Adeleye, Gabriel G. (1999). Thomas J. Sienkewicz; James T. McDonough, Jr., eds. World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0865164223. 
  • Hardon, John, Fr., Modern Catholic Dictionary 
  • Stone, Jon R. (1996). Latin for the Illiterati. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415917751. 
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