Some organizations in fiction as well as Real Life
like to introduce themselves with a motto that sums up their mission, philosophy, and attitude. It is often found written across their crests, logos, or emblems and can double as Arc Words
Supertrope to Pretentious Latin Motto
and Badass Creed
. Not to be confused with a Battle Cry
, which is something shouted in the heat of battle, while a motto is usually written down somewhere (although the two may overlap).
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Anime and Manga
- Mai-HiME has the SEARRS Foundation, with "For the Golden Millennium", which is prominently displayed on the OS of one of their android agents.
- Gurren Lagann has the Gurren Brigade's motto "WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I/WE AM/ARE!?"
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has Nerv's "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world."
- Each noble house in A Song of Ice and Fire has a motto, such as the Starks' "Winter is Coming", the Targaryen "Fire and Blood", the Lannister "Hear me Roar!" (their more indicative unofficial motto is "Lannisters always pay their debts"), Tully "Family, Duty, Honor", Tyrell "Growing Strong", Baratheon "Ours is the Fury", Martell "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", and Arryn "As High as the Honor".
- Likewise, the ducal houses in Reflections of Eterna have their family mottoes: Alvas (House of the Wind) have "Against the Wind", Epines (House of the Lightning) have "Heralds Victory", Pridds (House of the Waves) have "From the Depths", and Oakdells (House of the Rocks) have "Firm and Unshakable".
- In the Isaac Asimov's Robot 'verse, the unofficial motto of U.S. Robots & Mechanical Men, Inc. is "No employee makes the same mistake twice. He is fired the first time."
- Discworld has a handful of examples, most of them being in Canis Latinicus:
- "Quanti Canicvla Illa In Fenestra" (How much is that doggy in the window) for the City of Ankh-Morpork
- "Fabricati Diem Pvnc" for the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. It's officially translated as "To protect and serve".(It's actually "Make my day, punk" in Canis Latinicus).
- "Non Temetis Messor" (Don't fear the Reaper) for Mort, Duke of Sto Helit, Death's apprentice.
- See more examples here.
- Harry Potter:
- In Adam-12 the precinct's patrol cars bear the slogan "to protect and serve" emblazoned on the side (which is a common motto for Real Life police, as well).
- Square One TV: Mathnet's motto is "To cogitate and to solve"
- In Star Trek, the Opening Narration ("...to boldly go where no one has gone before!") is part of the in-universe Starfleet Charter.
- The five factions in Might and Magic: Heroes VI:
- The Haven: "Born in the sacred light of Elrath, sworn to spread it all over Ashan."
- The Sanctuary: "We strive for perfection in Shalassa's worship."
- The Stronghold: "We walk our own path, alone."
- The Necropolis: "Life is change, chaos, filth and suffering. Death is peace, order, everlasting beauty."
- The Inferno: "We will burn the world to ashes and dance upon its ruins!"
- The Assassins in Assassin's Creed have "Nothing is true, Everything is permitted," while their rivals, The Knights Templar, have "May the Father of Understanding guide us."
- In Pokemon Gold And Silver, you can find Team Rocket's motto by reading a book in their underground base. It says: "Steal Pokemon for profit. Exploit Pokemon for profit. All Pokemon exist for the glory of Team Rocket."
- In Dynasty Warriors 7 (and other DW titles, it's just the most blatant here), the Shu Kingdom's motto can be summarized as "Benevolence" (with emphasis, as it is often spoken with much well, benevolence), i.e. value the land's people first over efficiency or profit. seen here.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Vigilant of Stendarr are a Knight Templar organization, sponsored by the church of Stendarr (who is, ironically, the setting's god of mercy) to hunt down and destroy vampires, werewolves, daedra worshipers and anyone else deemed to be violating the teachings of the Eight Divines. Their motto is "Stendarr grant you mercy, for the Vigil has none to spare."
- Command & Conquer: Tiberium: The Brotherhood of Nod has a couple. Tiberian Dawn had the motto "Brotherhood, Unity, Peace." This seems to have been dropped from Tiberian Sun onward in favor of "Peace Through Power."
- Team Fortress 2: The DeGroot family motto is "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king", very appropriate for a clan of Demomen who almost always invariably lose their eyesight before thirty. (Ironically, the RED Demoman gets grief from his mother about not yet "accomplishing" this.)
- Warships tend to have these. For example, the Aircraft Carrier USS Harry Truman has the motto "The buck stops here" (Truman's Real Life Catch Phrase, and with bonus pun points since "buck" can also refer to "buckshot").
- The US of A have "In God We Trust" on their money bills since 1956. More established (though never official) is E pluribus unum, Latin for "Out of many, one".
- Semper Fi are always faithful.
- The United Kingdom has:
- "Dieu et mon droit"note or "This Green and Pleasant Land" for England (and sometimes Britain in general).
- "In my defens[sic] God me defend" or "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"note for Scotland.
- "Cymru am byth"note for Wales.
- "Quis separabit"note for Northern Ireland.
- Since The French Revolution, France has "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" ("Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood").
- There are way too many real-life heraldic mottoes to list them all here.