Saturday, September 4, 2010


As it happens, the Latin word for work is LABOR, hence a good connection to Labor Day. Being able to work hard is probably the trait I value most highly in myself and I respect it very much in others. So, in honor of hard work, here are some Latin LABOR proverbs, with English translations:

Decus in labore. There is dignity in work.

Vis mea in labore.
My strength is in my work.

Labor prima virtus.
Work is the chief virtue.

Sine labore nihil.
Without work, nothing.

Absque sudore et labore, nullum opus perfectum est.
Without sweat and work, no job is ever finished.

Quo maior, eo laboriosior.
The greater the task, the greater the work involved.

Iuvat ipse labor.
Work itself is enjoyable.

Labor ipse voluptas.
Work itself is a pleasure.

Ubi maior labor, illic maior voluptas.
Where there is the greater work, there is the greater pleasure.

Iucundi acti labores.
Work feels good after it is done.

Dulcis post laborem quies.
Sweet is the rest that comes after work.

Labor numquam caret suo fructu.
Work never lacks its fruit.

Suavissimus post laborem fructus.
The sweetest fruit comes after the work.

Qui non laborat, non manducat.
He who does not work, does not eat.

In labore libertas.
In work, there is freedom.

In libertate labor.
In freedom, there is work.

Per labores itur ad praemia.
Through work, you reach the prize.

Per laborem progredimur.
With work, we go forward.

Gloria labores sequitur.
Fame follows work.

Solet sequi laus, cum viam fecit labor.
Praise usually follows the path that work has made.

Labor bonae famae pater est.
Work is the father of a good reputation.

Homo ad laborem natus, et avis ad volatum.
People are born to work, and birds are born to fly.

Parvula nam exemplo est magni formica laboris.
The tiny ant is an example of big work.

Labore omnia florent.
With work, all things flourish.

Labor omnia vincit.
Work conquers all. (the motto of the state of Oklahoma I hasten to add!)

Laborantes Deus adiuvat.
God helps those who are working.

Quod natura negat, labor praebet.
What nature denies, work can provide.

Par erit fortuna labori.
The luck will be equal to the work.

Labor assiduus hominibus sapientiam dedit.
Hard work has bestowed wisdom upon humankind.

Otium stultitiam, labor scientiam generat.
Laziness engenders foolishness, work engenders wisdom.

Audax esto in intellecto et in labore.
Be bold in understanding and in work.

Rhyming Proverbs (medieval Latin loves rhyme even if classical Latin spurns it!)

Labores pariunt honores. Work gives birth to public recognition.

Pares in labore, pares in honore.
Equal in work, equal in recognition.

Iuniores ad labores, seniores ad honores.
The young people to their work, the elders to their offices.

Nunc lege, nunc ora, nunc cum fervore labora.
Now read, now pray, now work hard!

Ora et labora, Deus adest sine mora.
Pray and work; God will be here without delay.

Ora et labora, nam mors venit omni hora.
Pray and work, for death is coming closer by the minute.

Esto laborator, et erit Deus auxiliator.
Be a worker, and God will be your helper.

Sine labore non erit panis in ore.
Without work, there will be no bread in your mouth.

Mors est quies viatoris, finis est omnis laboris.
Death is a rest for the wanderer, the end of all work.