Dum Spiro Spero

Discussion in 'Lingua Latina (Latin)' started by GeorgiaL, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. GeorgiaL New Member

    Scotland, English
    Does anyone know what the English translation is for the Latin phrase above?
  2. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French
    Bonjour GeorgiaL,
    Welcome to the forum!

    As you have posted your question to the Multilingual Glossaries forum, which has nothing to do with Latin, I am moving it to the Other Languages forum, where you have better chances to get some replies. :)
  3. GeorgiaL New Member

    Scotland, English
    Thanks for that! Put it down to Newbie ignorance!
  4. Agnès E.

    Agnès E. Senior Member

    France, French

    I have found the following translation here (Walker family) and here:

    While I breathe I hope.
  5. GeorgiaL New Member

    Scotland, English
    That was quick! Thank you very much indeed for your help.
  6. jazzsigi New Member

    hi! that translation was not exact, it means: as long as i breath i'm hoping
    groove, jazzsigi
  7. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I second that, because "while I breathe I hope" doesn't make much sense, although "dum" can mean both "while" and "as long as". Just depends on context.;)
  8. tab226 Member

    US English
    I've always found "As I breath I hope" to be more poetic.
  9. An0ther0ne New Member

    Canada, English
    I'm no expert in latin, so I can't argue translations, but I don't see how 'while' can be seen as not making sense. 'While' basically means 'as long as'. "while: n. 1) during or throughout the time that; as. 2) a) at the same time that..."

    in my OPINION, replacing 'while' with 'as long as', is just reducing the quotation to simpler terms.

    Everywhere I have ever seen 'dum spiro spero' it has been translated as 'while I breathe I hope'.
  10. dinis Senior Member

    usa english
    I like the Haitian Creole paraphrase of this: OU GENYEN LAVI GENYEN LESPWA by which they means IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS; or literally WHERE THERE IS LIFE THERE IS HOPE. I have always found it concise and encouraging.
  11. Drusillo

    Drusillo Senior Member

    Stuttgart- Germany
    IMO the difference is slightly: while means that you are doing something in concomitance to something else, "I eat my sandwich while I was watching Television, ", I can eat some sandwiches also after I have stoped to watch television.
    "I live as long as I breath", means I can't live after stoping breating....
    Excuse me for my bad english, I hope I manage to express my thought.
  12. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    English, USA
    Dum spiro spero.

    The perfect, most simple translation, is (as stated above):

    "While I breath, I hope."

    It cannot be anything else and remain literal (literal is not always good, but here it is clear).

    For all clarity, however, here is a longer translation:

    "While I yet have breath in my lungs, I will continue to have hope."
  13. justme7 New Member

    Hungary, Hungarian,
    As far as I am concerned, the most accurate and meaningful translation of DUM SPIRO, SPERO is: As long as I live (breath), I hope. I think that with simple saying "While I breath, I hope", the actual meaning of the proverb is lost in translation. Does anyone know who actually said "DUM SPIRO, SPERO?" I am trying to find out because I want to quote it in a piece of written work, but I had no luck so far... I know it is not anonymous, if I remember rightly, it was a roman philosopher, but cannot remember who. :confused: Anyone could help me please?

  14. diegodbs

    diegodbs Senior Member

    It was written by Cicero.
  15. justme7 New Member

    Hungary, Hungarian,
    I've got it! Better late, than never I suppose, but my Dad just researched it for me (obviously the old fashioned book of quotes is still the best...) and put me out of my misery. The quote "DUM SPIRO, SPERO" is from OVIDIUS.
    This made my day (aren't I easy to please?)
    Have a nice day everyone, and thank you!:)
  16. Anne345 Senior Member

    proverbs have no authors !
  17. justme7 New Member

    Hungary, Hungarian,
    That's right. Sorry, my mistake. Dum Spiro, Spero is a QUOTE. Obviously. But that was not the question anyway.
  18. xav

    xav Senior Member

    in French : Tant qu'il y a de la vie, il y a de l'espoir.
    Mais cela ne vaut pas la formule d'Ovide (ou de Cicéron :eek:) !

    Mais si, Anne, assez souvent ! Just have a look at #11 & 12 in
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=57860, for example...
  19. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    It's not a literal translation, but it certainly is the best one.
  20. littlejack New Member

    English, England
    Hi everyone,

    I liked this translation most, but I think it is just a matter of personal preference.
    However, there seems to be some confusion about who said it, I thought it was Publius Ovidius Naso, but I'm not so sure anymore, it was a long time ago when I learnt these things...:D It bugs me now, so anyone knows for sure? Any Web references? I checked a few sites, but it either came back that it is a prowerb, or inconclusive. Any ideas on the origin?
  21. Singe dansant

    Singe dansant New Member

    English - UK

    Although not a particularly accurate translation, "There is hope whilst I yet breathe" seems to sum up the concept. :)

  22. ampurdan

    ampurdan Senior Member

    jiā tàiluó ní yà
    Català & español (Spain)
    Whoever forged this saying, played with words and sounds. He used the paranomasia: "Dum spiro spero". It worked in Latin, but it may not work in a translation, so, maybe the literal translation is not the best one.

    The author of it used also a methonymy, he took one characteristic of living creatures (breathing) to name the whole thing (life).

    So, actually, the simplest translation of it is "While there is life, there is hope", as Dinis has said.
  23. Drusillo

    Drusillo Senior Member

    Stuttgart- Germany
    This sentence if found in the works of Cicero and in the works of Ovidius, but the first one is the more ancient, so Cicero used it for the first time (letters to Atticum).

  24. ajmac New Member

    The translation is "While I breathe, I hope." And all latin should be lower case..."dum spiro, spero." Hope :) this helps you.
  25. SandraYujujui New Member

    Hola! Hello!

    Ultimamente, he estado buscando información sobre algunos proverbios latinos, porque la verdad, me parecen bastante interesantes. Y hace poco encontré 'Dum Spiro, Spero', 'Mientras respire, tendré esperanza' y como soy
    muy cuiriosa, he estado buscando informacion sobre esta frase, sobre el escritor (Ciceron), sobre el libro o contexto en el que aparece, y el por qué de esta frase, pero no sé por qué, pero no he encontrado nada, o casi nada,
    realmente interesante sobre la 'historia' de esta frase.. Y me tiene un poco intrigada xD. Y este es el mejor foro sobre idiomas que he encontrado, así que alguien podría darme información sobre esta frase? Gracias

    Now.. for the english people ;)

    First, sorry for my english, it isn't very good, but I can explain.. I hope.. :)

    Lately I have been searching information about some latin proverbs.. And I found 'Dum Spiro, Spero', 'While I breathe, I hope'
    I am very curious, and I think I really like this proverb and obviously I've been searching information about this phrase, about the writer, the context, and why this phrase was written.
    Unfortunately I couldn't find nothing interesting about the 'history' of that phrase, and I am very intrigued.. So.. This is the best forum about lenguages I could find.. Does anyone can tell me some things about this proverb?

    Thanksssssssssssssss! :D

    << Moderator's note: This thread has been merged with an earlier thread. >>
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2012
  26. facemonsterz New Member

    It's the motto of the state of South Carolina, as well as making a few other appearances in media. It is generally taken to mean "While I hope, I breathe" and its first recorded user is Cicero, though its origin is a matter of some debate. Hope this helped.
  27. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member


    Cic. ad Att. 9.10.3 has "dum anima est, spes esse dicitur" - literally, "it is said that, while there is breath, there is hope". There is also something similar in a fragment of the Elder Cato, and Seneca, Ep. 70.6 quotes an orator as saying "omnia homini, dum vivit, speranda sunt".

    With all respect to facemonsterz (#2), "dum spiro, spero" means "While I breathe, I hope", so it's tantamount to the English idiom, "While there's life, there's hope".
  28. facemonsterz New Member

    sorry, I just got the two mixed up in my head. Ill make sure to proofread in the future :p
  29. SandraYujujui New Member

    Thanks everybody! :)

    My last question, I think.. xD

    What does ''omnia homini, dum vivit, speranda sunt'' means in English?
  30. Scholiast

    Scholiast Senior Member

    salue iterum!

    "While [or "so long as"] he lives, there is every hope for a human being".
  31. splouge007 New Member

    While I breathe I hope
  32. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Sorry to pour cold water on all the "information" on the internet, but what Cicero actually said (ad Atticum 9,10,3) is: ut aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur, sic ego, quoad Pompeius in Italia fuit, sperare non destiti. “As in the case of a sick man one says, ‘While there is breath there is hope,’ so, as long as Pompey was in Italy, I did not cease to hope.”

    In direct speech this would be “dum anima est, spes est” not “dum spiro spero”. And Cicero is clearly citing it as a pre-existing adage, not as something new.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  33. splouge007 New Member

    Then could u explain why the Scottish clan maclennan use it as their motto
  34. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    It has been around for a long time, but it is not in Cicero, and apparently not in Ovid either.
  35. stevelogan Member

    dum = until

    Until I breath (I live), there is hope. (don't give up).
  36. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Dum can mean "until", but not here. Your translation makes no sense. The other translations proposed above are far better.

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