Pretentious Latin Motto

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One of the best ways to show one's status or credibility really pretentiously is with a Latin motto. In the old days, it conferred some level of prestigae. These days, only Smart People Know Latin, so whoever still uses one is basically trying to show how much smarter, richer, and generally more awesome they are than use.

Dog Latin can be used in place of actual Latin for comedic purposes. If the translation isn't given, this becomes a Bilingual Bonus. See also Altum Videtur.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • Xavier Institute has Mutatis Mutandis (roughly, "having changed the things that were to be changed", but obviously playing off the word "mutant").
    • Their Marvel 1602 counterpart, Master Carlos Javier's Institute, takes the motto Omnia mutantur, et nos mutamos con illis ("All things change, and we change with them").
  • Watchmen:
    • Per Dolorem Ad Astra, to the stars, through suffering.
    • The title of the story comes from another common Latin phrase: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ("Who watches the watchmen?").
  • Carmine Falcone's grave in Batman: Dark Victory bears the epitaph Veni Vidi Vici, or "I came, I saw, I conquered." Chief O'Hara pronounces it "Vinny Veedee Vicky."
  • V for Vendetta, in both book and movie, gives us Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici ("By the power of truth I, while living, have conquered the universe"). From Faust, as told immediately afterwards, and quite an appropriate motto for V. It was also one of Aleister Crowley's magical mottoes.
  • In The DCU, the Antimatter Universe counterpart of the Justice League of America, the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, has as its motto Cui Bono? ("Who Profits?") In the New 52, it's Aeternus Malum ("Forever Evil").

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown Of Stars: The motto of Avalon Imperial Army is Numquam Soli. Semper, Sumus Legio ("Never alone. Always, we are legion"). The motto of Clan Guards is Morior Invictus ("I die unconquered").
  • L's motto in Kira Sweetheart is Carpe saccharum.
  • In chapter four of the Harry Potter Marauder-era fanfiction Remus Lupin: BAMF, Sirius tells Remus that the Marauders' motto is Ita erat quando hic adveni ("It was that way when I got here")
  • In Disney High School, the school's motto (as seen on the title page) is Somnia Fiat Vera ("Dreams come true").
  • To Absent Friends borrows a leaf out of Discworld; the USS Bajor's motto is apparently Morituri Nolumus Mori (roughly "We who are about to die don't want to").
  • In Fixing Past Mistakes, the motto of a school Snape enrolls Harry in is Non eos tantum, qui ausus est nimis valde, consequi possit ("Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly").
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, the project to resurrect Commander Samantha Shepard yet again is called Durius, Melius, Velocius, Fortior ("Harder, better, faster, stronger").
  • In Amber and Emerald, Ron quips that the Potter House motto is Non nos facimus normalis ("We don't do normal").
  • In Harry Potter and the Cursed Summer, a portrait states that the Potter family motto is Beatus exsisto audacia ("Blessed be the daring").
  • In Harry Potter and the Return of Heritage, Sirius states that the Potter family motto is Mors Omnes Amici Cognoscat Oportet ("Death is a friend we all must acquaint")
  • In Blood Bound, after Hermione is nominated and recognized as a Lady, the magic involved gives her a family crest and the motto Magia invicti mens exstitisset, in defensionem amici semper ("Magic without equal, mind without peer, used always in the defense of friends and family").
  • In Faery Heroes, the Lovegood family motto is Nihil est inpossibile si creditis praedurum (roughly "Nothing is impossible if you believe hard enough").
  • The Versebreakers have "Aurantia metrum non habet" ("Nothing rhymes with oranges").

    Films — Animation 
  • Cats Don't Dance: The motto of Mammoth Studios is Optimum Est Maximum ("Biggest is best"). It's a spoof of the motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Ars Gratia Artis ("Art for Art's sake").

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family: The Addams family's motto is Sic gorgiamus allos subiectatos nunc (We gladly feast on those who would subdue us"). It's also Dog Latin; a better translation would be "Qui nos pprimere velint, illos libenter devoramus".
  • James Bond's family motto, from On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Orbis non sufficit. This implies that Bond is descended from famous 17th-century London architect Sir Thomas Bond. The motto's English translation became the title of a later movie: The World Is Not Enough.
  • Above the Oracle's doorway in The Matrix: Temet Nosce (roughly "Know thyself"). It's better known in Greek (Gnothi Seauton).
  • Remember Caesar's line Veni, vidi, vici ("I came, I saw, I conquered")? In an outtake in Married to the Mob, a character is cheating on his wife in an overdecorated "fantasy suite" hotel room that had the following Latin motto engraved on the headboard: Veni Veni Veni.
  • Dead Poets Society got a lot of mileage out of the classic Latin motto Carpe Diem ("Seize the day").
  • In Rushmore, Max Fischer remembers his late mother's Latin motto, Sic transit gloria, which he translates, "Glory fades." The traditional quote is Sic transit gloria mundi ("Thus passes the glory of the world"), meaning worldly things are fleeting.
  • A twisted version appears in Event Horizon. Buried in the white noise of the "distress signal" are apparently two words of Latin. The phrase sounds like liberate me (Exactly What It Says on the Tin) but is actually Liberate tutemet ex inferis ("Save yourselves from Hell"). It's later revealed that the captain of the ship was fond of signing off his log entries with a Latin motto.
  • Directly lampshaded in The Awakening:
    Mr. Mallory: A Latin motto gives new schools some credibility. You can raise the rates by a pound!
  • In the St. Trinian's films, the eponymous school has had a couple of different mottoes attributed to it: In flagrante delicto ("Caught in the act") and Semper debeatis percutis ictu primo ("Get your blow in first").
  • In Crimson Peak, the Sharpe family motto is a paraphrasing of Psalm 121: Ad montes oculus levavi ("To the hills we raise our eyes").
  • If you do a Freeze-Frame Bonus on the Xavier coat of arms, located on the tail of Charles' personal plane in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the family motto reads, Fratrem tuum adjuva ("Help your brother"). Not only does this fit Professor X's compassionate personality to a tee, but it also suggests that his Old Money ancestors on his father's side were philanthropists. Assisting those who are less fortunate must have been regarded as a sacred duty, as those Latin words supposedly designate what the Xavier family values the most.
  • In The Punisher (2004), Frank writes in his final musings that when he first reported to military basic training, his instructor made all the recruits constantly repeat the phrase Si vis pacem, para bellum (roughly "If you desire peace, prepare for war").

    Literature 
  • The Discworld novels often mock this trope with "Latatian" mottoes:
    • The city of Ankh-Morpork: Quanti canicula ille in fenestra ("How much is that doggy in the window").
    • The Watch: Fabricati diem, pvnc. According to Colon in Guards! Guards!, it translates as "To protect and to serve." It's actually Canis Latinicus for "Make my day, punk." It's apparently abbreviated from the original version, Fabricati Diem, Puncti Agunt Celeriter ("Make the day, the moments pass quickly").
    • According to the Discworld Companion, the Watch changed its motto to Viae sunt semper tutus pro hominibus probis ("The streets are always safe for honest folk"). It's not clear what Vimes thinks about this, given that The City Watch Diary stated he previously vetoed the motto "The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear" on the grounds that "the innocent had a great deal to fear, partly from the guilty, and partly from the sort of people who think the innocent have nothing to fear".
    • Unseen University: Nunc id vides, nunc ne vides ("Now you see it, now you don't"). There's also the unofficial motto Eta Beta Pi (meaningless, but sounds like "Eat a better pie") — fitting considering the university's legendary feasts.
    • Feet of Clay mentions several family mottos, the biggest groaner being the baker's, Quod Subigo Farinam ("Because I knead the dough"). A deprecated coat of arms is also shown reading Excretus Ex Est Altitudine and Depositatum De Latrina (respectively, "shat on from a great height" and "dropped down the toilet"). Apparently, the motto-giver was disgusted with the idea of upstart commoners purchasing arms and did this sort of thing on purpose.
    • The motto of the Dunmanifestin mission in The Last Hero is Morituri Nolumus Mori ("We who are about to die don't want to"). Needless to say, it was suggested by Rincewind. Vetinari lets it stand because it's actually a pretty good motto for a mission to Save The World.
    • The Ankh-Morpork Fools' Guild: Dico, dico, dico ("I say, I say, I say...").
    • The Assassins' guild: Nil Mortifi Sine Lucre ("No killing without payment"). The guild of Seamstresses has a very similar motto: Nil Volupti Sine Lucre ("No pleasure without payment").
    • The Sto-Helits go with the unsubtle Non Timetis Messor ("Don't Fear the Reaper"), which is also a Shout-Out to Blue Öyster Cult.
    • In Small Gods, the Quisition's unwritten motto is Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum ("When you have their balls in your grip" — i.e. their full attention — "their hearts and minds will follow").
    • The Alchemists: Omnis Qui Coruscat Est Or ("All That Glitters Is Gold")
    • The Conjurers: Nunc Ille Est Magicus ("Now that's magic!", a Paul Daniels reference)
    • The Gamblers: Excretus Ex Fortuna ("Shit out of luck").
    • Lampshaded by Vimes in Jingo, when he suspects that General Tacticus's Veni Vidi Vici is too pat for anyone to make up on the spot, so it must have been chosen in advance from a variety of alliterative phrases. Possible Dog Latin alternatives Vimes thinks of, that Tacticus might've rejected, include Veni Vermini Vomiti ("I came, I got ratted [drunk], I threw up") or Veni Veneri Vamoosi ("I came, I caught an embarrassing sexual disease, I left"). For Lord Vetinari: Veni, Vici, VETINARI.
    • Jingo also gives us a rather Ozymandian (i.e. engraved on a ruined statue) piece of Canis Latinicus from Tacticus that is equal parts boast, threat, and Stock Phrase: Ab hoc videre domum tuum ("I can see your house from here").
    • In Thud! someone asks Vimes "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" (translated as "Who watches the watchmen?", as above). Vimes' answer? "Me."
    • The Vetinari family motto: Si non confectus, non reficiat ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it").
    • The novel exploring vampires is titled after the family motto of the Magpyrs: Carpe Jugulum ("Go for the throat").
  • Artemis Fowl's family motto is Aurum Est Potestas ("Gold is power"). It orders on Dog Latin, since while the sentence would be perfectly intelligible and theoretically even correct to a Latin-speaker, the preferred word order would have been Aurum potestas est (which appears in the German translation). One explanation may be that the word order is for emphasis ("It is gold that is power").
  • Harry Potter: The school motto for Hogwarts is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus ("A sleeping dragon never should be tickled"). J. K. Rowling has said she wanted Hogwarts to have a "practical motto" instead of something like "reach for the stars".
  • The Onion - Our Dumb Century uses Tu Stultus Es ("You are stupid") in the masthead of its "older" editions. Upon reaching the modern era, the paper acknowledges the "dumbing-down" of America by switching to the English equivalent.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The motto of Prufrock Preparatory school is Memento Mori ("Remember, you will die"). It has a long history.
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", the narrator's family motto is Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one attacks me with impunity"). It's borrowed from the royal Scottish motto.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's juvenile Space Cadet, the Space Patrol's motto is Quis custodiet ipsos custodes (translated in the novel as "Who will guard the guardians?").
  • The North Western Railway's motto is Nil Unquam Simile ("There's nothing quite like it"). Appropriate for a railway company still using primarily steam traction into the 21st century and still doing quite well.
  • The Parasol Protectorate book Soulless claims that the motto of the main secret society as "to protect the commonwealth". Since the original text is Protego res publica, it's more like "I defend the commonwealth".
  • In Monster Hunter International, the titular organization's motto is Sic transit gloria mundi ("The glory of man is fleeting"). When the narrator of most of the series first learns this, there is an explanation as to why this is meaningful.
  • James Branch Cabell's character Dom Manuel has the personal motto of Mundus Vult Decipi ("The World Wishes To Be Deceived"). This is from a longer motto attributed to the Roman satirist Petronius, who lived in the first century AD: Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur ("The world wishes to be deceived, so let it be deceived").
  • The Library's motto is Tota Est Scientia ("Knowledge is all") fairly appropriate for such an ancient institution. The Burner movement also has one of its own to mock the library's: Vita Hominis Plus Libro Valet. ("A life is worth more than a book.")
  • The motto in the full achievement of the arms of the Dukes of Taunton in the Village Tales novels is "Deus vult," "God wills it." Which was pretentious and probably blasphemous even at the time of the first duke: its association is with the Crusades, but the first duke was a bastard son of James II – back when that monarch was still pretending to be Anglican, not Roman Catholic. Presumably God willed the bastardy?

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Middle Man:
    • Pip goes for pretentious Latin to title his gallery show:
    Pip: I'm calling it Deus ex Pip. It's Latin for "The Machines of Pip."
    Lacey: That's not what it means.
    • Pugnantes Malos, no hos Pugnetis ("We fight evil so you don't have to").
  • Star Trek:
    • Starfleet Command's motto is Ad Astra Per Aspea ("Through adversity to the stars"), a common motto in Real Life, including among several national air forces.
    • Starfleet Academy's motto is Ex astris, scientia ("From the stars, knowledge"). It's a reference to the Apollo 13 motto Ex luna, scientia ("From the moon, knowledge").
    • Star Trek: Enterprise gives us a motto on the NX-02 Columbia mission patch: ''Audentes Fortuna Juvat" ("Fortune favors the bold").
    • Earth Starfleet's motto is Semper Exploro ("Always exploring").
  • The Red Green Show: Possum Lodge's motto is the hilariously appropriate Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati ("When all else fails, play dead"). A disgruntled Possum Lodge member once started his own rival lodge, Salamander Lodge, with the motto Quando Omni Flunkus Terra Retreatum ("When all else fails, hide under a rock").
  • Veridian Dynamics in Better Off Ted has one of these:
    Veronica: "Money before people." That's the company motto, engraved on the lobby floor. It just looks more heroic in Latin.
  • Rory McGrath and Bill Oddie planned to do a show together based around a Birdwatcher (Bill) and his eager assistant (Rory). Rory planned to call the show "Panori Biamici", derived by pluralizing "Panurus biarmicus", the bearded tit. When he mentioned this on QI, Sean Locke mocked him mercilessly.
    Sean: There's probably about six blokes in Oxford who'd have gone "heh heh".
  • In 2002, the then-editor of The Daily Telegraph, Campbell Reid, sent Media Watch host David Marr a dead fish. A replica of it is now awarded as the Campbell Reid Perpetual Trophy for the Brazen Recycling of Other People's Work. Known as "The Barra" and bearing the motto Carpe Verbatim ("Seize word-for-word"), it is awarded annually for bad journalism and particularly plagiarism (a practice for which Reid had been frequently criticised).
  • Played with on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    Willow: Carpe diem!
    Buffy: Fish of the day?
  • The Colbert Report:
    • On the set, the inscription above the fireplace reads Videri Quam Esse ("To seem to be rather than to be"). It's a play on Esse quam videri, which is the real-life motto of quite a few different US and UK schools and the state of North Carolina (which borders his home state of South Carolina), and fits the man who identified (and whose character embodies) "truthiness" and "wikiality": the concept, becoming part of political discourse, that if something seems true, that's better than its actually being true.
    • During the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, Stephen handed out medals with the motto Cave ne sit cadmium ("Warning: may contain cadmium"). Jon Stewart's version read Sit vis nobiscum ("[[Star Wars May the Force be with us").
  • Queer as Folk has a nice and very subtle one. In a behind-the-scenes feature about the costumes in the US series, it's pointed out that St. James Academy, the one that Justin goes to, has a Latin motto on its logo: Veni, veni, veni. Now if that doesn't fit the show!
  • A High Guard branch (specifically, the Argosy Special Operations Service) in Andromeda had Una Salus Victus as its motto. This is strange considering the Commonwealth was not founded by humans and would thus have no reason to have a motto in a dead human language. A motto in Vedran would make a lot more sense. It's actually short for Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem ("The only safety for the conquered is to hope for no safety").
  • In season 2 of Community, the study group's flag and motto get chosen in a contest for Greendale Flag. The picture is of a pinkish circle with the words E. Pluribus Anus. No, the Dean doesn't get it.
  • CSI: In one episode, a group calling themselves "the praetorians" has the motto caveat praetoriani which supposedly means "beware the praetorians". After one of them is arrested for murder, Grissom points out that the grammar is wrong (it actually means "praetorians beware").
  • In The Vicar of Dibley, the Horton family motto is Veni, vidi, brutus spearium gloriosus, which is Dog Latin for (in David Horton's words) "I came, I saw, I tore the thick bastard limb from limb."

    Music 
  • P.D.Q. Bach's joke-loving patron, Prince Fred of the House of Hangover, had the family motto id intellege? ("Get it?").

    Pinballs 
  • The playfield for Game of Thrones includes the motto Valar Morghulis ("All men must die").

    Print Media 
  • In The Annals of Improbable Research, the parody advertisements for HMO-NO (formerly HMO Black) featured an emblem with the motto Medica Gratia Pecuniae ("Medicine for money's sake").
  • On a plaque above the Playboy Mansion's front door is inscribed the motto Si non oscillas, noli tintinnare ("If you can't swing, don't ring").

    Radio 
  • In A Prairie Home Companion, the motto of Garrison Keillor's fictional hometown of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota is Sumus Quod Sumus ("We are what we are", or alternatively, "We are because we are").

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Masquerade had the regal, aristocratic Ventrue: Regere sanguine, regere in veritatem est ("To rule through blood is to truly rule"). Their Evil-er Counterpart, the Lasombra, naturally have their own, briefer version: Morte Ascendo ("I rise through death").
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Min-Maxing community took a vote on an unofficial motto, and adopted Dulce et decorum est pro alea mori ("It is sweet and fitting that we die for the dice"). Yes, we do like puns. This also led to the short version: "Carpe DM".
  • Players of Diplomacy frequently joke that the game's motto ought to be Carpe Terram ("Seize the World"), or at the very least Carpe Europam (should be obvious).
  • The Inquisition in Warhammer 40,000 gets a motto that's more ominous than pretentious, and which fits both the setting and their work perfectly: Innocentia Nihil Probat ("Innocence proves nothing").
  • In The Dark Eye, the motto of house Karinor is Sequere Cupiditatem ("Follow your passion").
  • Twilight Imperium has Pax Magnifica, Bellum Gloriosum ("Peace is magnificent, war is glorious").

    Theater 
  • In Once Upon a Mattress, after Harry reads Winnifred's titles, he notes the inscription on her family crest: Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito. This motto is usually translated "Yield not to misfortune, but advance all the more boldly before them," but Harry tries to translate it more loosely:
    Queen: What does that mean?
    Harry: Uh... roughly, it means, "If at first you don't succeed—"
    Queen: Never mind.
  • In musical adaption of Matilda, under Miss Trunchbull's reign, the school's motto is Bambinatum est Maggitum ("Children are maggots").

    Video Games 
  • In RuneScape, Wise Old Man says Vini, volui, mihi est ("I came, I wanted, it's mine").
  • Battlefield: Bad Company has the mercenary company's motto: Acta non Verba ("deeds, not words").
  • Bungie is fond of those, with tongue firmly in cheek.
    • Their official motto is Non facete nobis calcitrare vestrum perinaeum ("Don't make us kick your asses").
    • Between puns on the number four and the enemy names (the Pfhor), and Beavis And Butthead references, level names for the Marathon trilogy include Ingue Ferroque (an admitted misspelling of Igni Ferroque, "by fire and steel"), Fatum Iustum Stultorum ("The just fate of fools"), and Ne Cede Malis ("Don't give in to misfortune").
  • The UNSC Spirit of Fire has one in Halo Wars: Exitus Acta Probat ("The end justifies the means").
  • Hostile Waters - Antaeus Rising: If the name of the Cool Ship wasn't pretentious enough, the motto is Pugio in Averso Belli ("A dagger used against war").
  • Bully has Bullworth Academy, whose motto is Canis Canem Edit ("Dog eats dog"). Canis Canem Edit is the game's Market-Based Title in Britain.
  • LucasArts' adventure game Escape from Monkey Island features the phrase Contra Leges Marinas Latrocinium Maris Est above the cell in the Lucre Island jail. Examining it prompts Guybrush Threepwood to offer several suggestions of what it means, including "Buyer beware," "Seize the day," and "No admittance." It roughly means "Piracy is against the law of the sea."
  • The Midnight Club in City of Heroes uses the phrase Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you wish for peace, prepare for war") as a password.
  • Memento Mori is the tagline of Persona 3. The game runs this motto through the whole gamut of meanings: despite being able to summon forth nearly godlike powers, "remember that you are mortal," and you can't escape your ultimate fate. Even though you're living in the flower of your youth, "remember that you are mortal," and thus, life is fleeting. But most importantly, "remember that you are mortal," so make the best of it and live to the fullest while you can. "Remember you are mortal," because when the Main Character obtains the power of The Universe and becomes a Physical God, he dies anyway.
  • Sword of the Stars plays with this trope a bit. While the official motto of the human faction in the game is Per Ardua Ad Astra, a straight example that means "Through hardship, the stars" (humanity's first steps into FTL coincided with the Earth nearly getting destroyed by a Hiver fleet), the game's tagline and the unofficial motto of humanity is the somewhat more playful Repensum Est Canicula ("Payback is a bitch"). Latin has become humanity's second official language in the setting, partly because it's an extremely easy language to learn and utilize, but mostly because it just sounds epic.
  • StarCraft: The Protoss Scouts of the Venatir tribe follow the maxim Praemonitus praemunitus ("Forewarned is forearmed").
  • Lost: The Game was released as Lost: Via Domus in the United States, but the title was changed for the European release after several critics pointed out that the Pretentious Latin Motto was badly mangled: what they intended to mean "The Way Home" was actually "Road House".
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Demoman, a one-eyed black man with a Scottish accent, is part of a clan of black Scottish cyclopes. The clan's motto is In regione caecorum rex est luscus (roughly "In the realm of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"). Ironically, most of the family loses both of their eyes before 30 years of age.
  • In Half-Life, Black Mesa's Advanced Biological Research Lab has the motto Superbus Via Inscientiæ, which is intended to mean "arrogance through ignorance," and was put in by Karen Laur because she was annoyed by the hubris of her co-workers.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum features many. A large Latin phrase above the puppet Scarface's tommygun reads Mors Certa, Hora Incerta ("Death is Certain, its Hour is Not"). The inscription over the Green Mile area reads Liberate Me Ex Infernis ("Save me from Hell").
  • Mirror's Edge gives the City government Finis Coronat Opus ("The end crowns the work"). It feels safer already.
  • In the ancient TRS-80 game Galactic Revolution, the flag for DuBuque's forces read Semper Ubi Sub Ubi. This is a classic Latin-to-English pun: The phrase translates to "alwaye where under where", which is nonsense in Latin, but sounds like the English sentence "Always wear underwear." It's good advice; you might get run over by a truck.
  • In Deus Ex, the UNATCO handbook is prefaced with a quote by Publilius Syrus: Nihil aliud scit necessitas quam vincere ("necessity knows no other law but how to conquer"), an early hint to just how sinister UNATCO's ideology is. The Majestic 12 Cyberinformation Warfare Division has the motto Ipsa scientia potestas est ("Knowledge itself is power").
  • The eponymous project's motto in XCOM: Enemy Unknown is Vigilo, Confido (best translated as "I am watchful. I am relied upon.") The Enemy Within Expansion Pack adds Mutare Ad Custodiam ("Change to guard") and Bellator In Machina ("Warrior in the machine") for the new Genetics and Cybernetics branches of XCOM, respectively.
  • Pretentious Latin phrases are everywhere in Virtue's Last Reward, and Phi is the only character fluent in it, which means Sigma can only understand what they mean if he's teamed up with her when he comes across one. In particular, Memento Mori is a recurring phrase.
  • In James Pond: Underwater Agent, the motto on the MGM-like title screen is Vita Canis Est, which is dog-Latin for "life's a bitch."
  • Kingdom of Loathing's Loathing Legion's unofficial motto is also the one thing you should never call them: Tardis Pro Cena, a reference to a really old joke.

    Web Animation 
  • According to one of the official Red vs. Blue T-shirts, Project Freelancer's is Roboris Per Scientia ("Strength through science").

    Web Comics 
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Nosce te Ipsum ("Know Thyself") was a Pretentious Latin Motto that was also used as a trigger phrase for the Ax-Crazy Dark Action Girl Oasis.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court doesn't seem to have a motto itself, but:
    • The hallway outside the classroom where Mort hangs out has a large plaque that reads Dulce et decorum est, a reference to a line from the poet Horace: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" ("How sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country").
    • The treatise page following Chapter 7 has a banner across the top: Ora lege relege labora et invenies ("Pray, read, read again, work, and you shall find").
  • Lampshaded in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!. The motto of the science department of Generictown University is Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum viditur ("Anything said in Latin sounds profound").
  • The motto of St. Dyphn(i)a Academy is Abte Schola, Fatuus ("Go To School, Dummy!").
  • In S.S.D.D, the motto of the Collective of Anarchist States' elite forces is Omnis Vir Enim Sui ("Every man for himself.")
  • The motto of Smithson College in Smithson is Facite Aenigmata, Non Expositiones ("Create enigmas, not explanations").
  • In the xkcd strip/game "Hoverboard" a woman in a cemetery is explaining "They're engraved with our family motto, Cur ego comittitur dictar Latinae, which means, 'Why did I just start speaking Latin?'"

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Pasila, the drawing room of an evil aristocrats' club bears the Vulgate Latin for "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: but the heart of the wicked is nothing worth."
  • Phineas and Ferb seem to have adopted Carpe Diem as the show's unofficial motto. It keeps slipping into musical numbers and dialogue, and it even gets an entire song about it in "Rollercoaster: The Musical". "Seize the Day" certainly fits the show's theme.
  • Frequently parodied in The Simpsons:
    • Mayor-for-life Quimby's motto is Corruptus in Extremis ("Corruption in high places"). At least he's honest about it, although he can afford to be.
    • Shelbyville Elementary's motto is Veritas et Scientia ("Truth and Knowledge").
    • Springfield U's motto is "Ask about our Latin motto competition!"
  • The South Park Planetarium's motto is Me transmitte sursum, Caledoni ("Beam Me Up, Scotty!").
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Roosevelt High's motto is Aut Disce Aut Discede ("Learn or Leave").
  • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo episode "That's Monstertainment" had Scooby and the gang sucked into an old black-and-white monster movie, which opens with a mock-up of the M-G-M logo. Scooby's face is in the middle circle with the words "Limitus Animatus" around it.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The episode "Newbie Dash" reveals the Wonderbolts' motto to be Altius Volantis, which is translated to "Soaring Higher!"

    Real Life 
  • Almost all old European noble families have a Latin motto. For the most part, they weren't pretentious when they were chosen; your average noble would have learned how to speak Latin in school. The motto is very often part of the family heraldry itself, which puts it on prominent display.
  • Many, many universities have a Latin motto of some sort. In fact, nearly the entire Ivy League has one (Cornell being the big exception, theirs being in plain English). Old public universities will also have them. A fairly comprehensive list here, but some of the more famous ones:
    • Harvard: Veritas ("Truth"). Crosstown rival MIT enjoys changing the crest to read "HackUs" (Hack being MIT slang for prank).
    • Princeton: Dei sub numine viget (roughly "Under God she prospers", but campus folklore insists it's really "God went to Princeton").
    • Yale's is doubly pretentious. The original is in Hebrew (Urim v'tummim, from 1 Samuel) and notoriously difficult to translate. It's often rendered in Latin, though, as Lux et Veritas ("Light and Truth").
    • The University of California system had Fiat lux ("Let there be light"), but in an effort to counter its apparent obscurity and pretentiousness, most modern versions of the university seal feature the English version instead.
  • Some creators have their own Latin mottoes:
  • National mottoes:
    • Canada: A mari usque ad mare ("From sea to sea", usually rendered "From sea to shining sea"). It's borrowed from The Bible (Psalms 72:8, "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the Earth.") Fitting for a country originally called the "Dominion of Canada". Nine out of ten Canadian provinces also have Latin mottoes (the tenth is Quebec, whose own is in French).
    • Germany: All the Little Germanies individually had Latin mottoes, The kingdom of Saxony had Providentiae memoir ("Mindful of Providence"). The duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had the common Per aspera ad astra ("Through adversity to the stars"). The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has Libertatem quam pepere maiores digne studeat servare posteritas ("May posterity worthily strive to preserve the liberty the forefathers won"). Bavaria has the unofficial (but still pretentious) Extra Bavariam nulla vita, et si vita, non est ita ("There is no life outside Bavaria, and if there is, it isn't [life]"). Other German states, though, preferred to use German.
    • Scotland: Its ancient royal motto is Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one insults me with impunity"). It's fitting partly because none of its neighbors — nor the United Kingdom itself — have a Latin motto, and the Romans never even made it into Scotland. Hadrian's Wall, which roughly traces the English-Scottish border, is the extent to which they went (and presumably saw the Scots and said Screw This, I'm Outta Here!).
    • Spain: The royal motto is Plus ultra ("Further beyond"). It was originally the motto of Charles I (Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire), although in its original form it was the Old French Plus Oultre.
    • The United States: For almost 200 years, E pluribus unum ("Out of many, one") was the de facto motto. It was considered a great description of the nation as The Federation and a Melting Pot. Then in 1956, Congress officially declared "In God We Trust" to be the motto almost entirely because of the Red Scare, but E pluribus unum is still a de facto second motto, appearing on the Great Seal and most U.S. currency. 22 individual states also have their own latin mottoes.
      • A particularly famous one is that of the state of Virginia, Sic semper tyrannis ("Thus always to tyrants"). It's an old phrase attributed to Brutus, who supposedly said it after assassinating Caesar. It appears on the state seal, which depicts Virtue with her foot on Tyranny's throat (leading some Virginian wags to claim it really means "Get your foot off my neck"). Most infamously, John Wilkes Booth supposedly said this after assassinating Abraham Lincoln; the state immediately condemned their motto's misappropriation.
  • Vatican City does not have its own motto, but St. Peter's Basilica is rife with them, the most famous being inside the dome: Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et tibi dabo claves regnum caelorum ("You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven"). Each individual pope also has his own motto and papal coat of arms.
  • The phrase Sic transit gloria mundi ("Thus passes the glory of the world") is traditionally recited when a new pope is crowned. It's commonly lampooned in other scenarios, such as Sic transit Gloria Swanson and The New York Post's Punny Headline "Sick Transit's Glorious Monday" (for when the state bailed out the city's financially troubled transit system). Perhaps most disconcertingly, famous fraudster Charles Ponzi is said to have said this to reporters after his conviction.
  • Many military divisions and units have their own Latin mottoes. In particular,
    • the U.S. Marine Corps has Semper fidelis ("Always faithful"), a phrase so closely associated with the Marines that the trope about them is called Semper Fi.
    • The British Royal Navy has Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you wish for peace, prepare for war"). It was originally the motto of the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell.
  • Parodic versions:
    • A common Dog Latin personal moto: Illegitimis nil carborundum ("Don't let the bastards grind you down"). It appears in The Handmaid's Tale but dates back to around World War II. "Carborundum" is actually a trademark for silicon carbide, and the first word is also suspect. One attempt to render it in proper Latin was Noli nothis permittere te terere.
    • A bumper sticker: Sic hoc adfixum potes legerer liberaler educates et propinqum ades nunc ("If you can read this bumper sticker, you are well-educated and too close").
  • The motto of the Olympic Games is Citius, Altus, Fortius ("Faster, Higher, Stronger"). It was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894 on the creation of the International Olympic Committee.
  • Rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were expected to have a motto for their reigns. The best-known ones is that of Frederick III of Habsburg — Austriae est imperare orbi universo ("It is Austria's due to rule the entire globe"), usually abbreviated "A.E.I.O.U." It also works in German: Alles Erdreich ist Österreich untertan ("All Earth is subject to Austria").

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PretentiousLatinMotto