Sic semper excelsior vincit omnia

Craig Barker snarks on state mottoes.

Alabama–Audemus jura nostra defendere–(Latin, “We dare defend our rights”)
(Yes, and that turned out so well back in the day.)

. . . Maryland–Fatti maschi, parole femmine–(Italian, literally “Manly deeds, womanly words”)
(Maryland, can I make the point that you have to be pretty confident in yourself to choose this as your motto.)

. . . New Hampshire–Live free or die
(New Hampshire, pissed off since 1623!)

. . . New Mexico–Crescit eundo–(Latin, “It grows as it goes”)
(Wait, shouldn’t this be Oregon’s motto.)

New York–Excelsior–(Latin, “Higher”)
(Wait, shouldn’t THIS be Oregon’s motto?)

. . . Oregon–Alis volat propiis–(Latin, “She flies with her own wings”)
(Wow, even Oregon’s motto sounds like it lit up.)

. . . Tennessee–Agriculture and commerce
(Are these things you have or things you want. Personally, I think they need to go back to “Tennes-seeing is Tenne-believing!)

. . . Vermont–Freedom and unity
(And syrup!)

Virginia–Sic semper tyrannis–(Latin, “Thus always to tyrants”)
(Look, Virginia, I don’t mean to criticize. But when the most famous example of the use of your state motto is the assassination of an American president, perhaps just MAYBE you want to think about changing it. I know it’s historically significant, but…)

Washington–Al-ki–(Chinook Jargon, “By and by”)
(Wait, so Washington’s state motto is just a conversational filler. Should Pennsylvania consider switching to “S’Anyway”. Perhaps New York could go for “Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.” Florida could move to “So I says to Mabel.)

“Friendship” is the Texas motto. Who knew?

About Joanne


  1. lindenen says:

    Oh, please. I suspect we have no intention of changing the state motto to please anyone. Have you ever seen the state seal? It goes with the motto. Frankly, I think we have the most kick ass motto.

    I can’t believe your couple sentences on the Va. motto actually got my dander up. I need to get to sleep.

  2. Joanne,

    Thanks for the props, I am glad to see someone else enjoyed it. As the year winds down, I have a choice, snark on my students or snark on my blog. I choose both.


  3. F. N. Owl says:

    > Maryland–Fatti maschi, parole femmine

    Doesn’t that literally translate as “Where all the men are fat, and all the women are on parole”?