top of page
  • Writer's pictureJodi Jill

Dum Spiro Spero: My Favorite Latin Phrase

Dum Spiro Spero. Lately I've been thinking in Latin phrases. Perhaps it is the time of year. Or maybe it's the great mood I've been in. Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking (and even speaking some Latin) feeling pretty hopeful.

Are Latin Phrases Making a Comeback?

As a wordy person I've always been obsessed with Latin. Where do words come from? How do I better understand the meaning of this or that term. For the most part English as well as other languages such as Italian and Spanish come from Latin. Yeah, I'm sure you already know that though.

What a lot of people don't know is how to pronounce Latin phrases. Of course, we see them on a state motto. Or notice them in some random official document. Yet, overall the mainstream population doesn't really know much about Latin. Comparative to how we know sports or video games or other hobbies.

Actually, that's not a bad thing. Latin is so sporadic, you can't be surprised not everyone is quipping off a phrase on Twitter. Or sharing a picture on Instagram with a special Latin phrase.

Which makes those special posts, where someone does take the time to quote a Latin phrase even more special. I mean, you either know what it says or you are desperate to look it up. It's just that simple!

Which brings me to my Favorite Latin Phrase: Dum Spiro Spero. Which translated means "While I Breathe, I hope." In today's world there is nothing more important than holding on to hope. We have plenty of crazy outside the front door. Hope is what brings us all back to the basics. It's the desire of doing better, being part of something bigger and believing.

This is a pretty common Latin phrase and even the State of South Carolina uses it on their motto. I'm assuming if you love Latin you've probably spouted it off a few times too. I've come to find when you say it aloud you seem to recognize that there is an action and reaction all at once. There is a soft, but firm commitment to proceed when you offer the pronunciation of this word too. Or well, there is when I say it.

Hope is Relevant to the Soul

They say if you find something you love you can find hope. I've always found that to be true with words. Especially Latin phrases. They can make you sound smart in a crowd and bring comfort to the soul. Of course a good Latin phrase or two will allow you to swear without getting caught!


Jodi Jill

bottom of page