I would like to translate "Strong by Choice" to Latin as a motto for a charity. We have tried per arbitrium fortis but want to know if this can be improved.


Fortis is a good word for "strong". A harder problem is to find a good word for "choice" (or the verb "choose" if you are willing to reword a little).

Arbitrium means a legal judgement, a decision by an arbiter, an opinion, a decision, and similar things. A better option would be optio, which means free choice and the liberty to choose. (There is also the verb optare.) Another option is voluntas, which is more in the direction of desire, free will, and choice. The most appropriate tone depends on what suits your purpose. I recommend that you compare these words in any online Latin dictionary.

The correct form of fortis depends on what it refers to. If it refers to a single person, it is fortis (singular masculine or feminine). If it refers to a group of people, use fortes (plural masculine or feminine). If instead of people it refers to an institution, use forte (singular neuter).

The most idiomatic way to say "strong by something" is to put the something in ablative. Using per is grammatical, but I find that a plain ablative gives more gravity.

Therefore my suggestion is:

Voluntate/optione fortis/fortes/forte

This leaves you with six choices, depending on the exact circumstances and nuance. The ablatives of the nouns voluntas and optio stay the same, no matter which form of fortis you choose.

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  • Hi Joonas, thank you very much for your assistance. As we are a collective (an online mental health forum/community) I think that the 'fortes' would be the most appropriate form. Would that mean I would have to change the conjugation of the verb? Or is 'Voluntate fortes' grammatically correct? – George Ginger Apr 28 '19 at 8:43
  • @GeorgeGinger I'm glad to be able to help! In that case I agree that fortes is the best choice. The form voluntate is independent of the form of fortes, so voluntate fortes is grammatical. I just added a remark to my answer to underline this. // If you think that your question has been sufficiently answered, please mark one of the answers as accepted by clicking the little check mark on the top left corner of the answer. After getting 15 reputation points you will be able to vote up any questions and answers you like. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 28 '19 at 17:15

"Eligimus fortis esse"; (We Choose to be Strong) fortis also means brave; powerful; resourceful: all of these fortify the effect. Possibly, a bit militaristic, for a charity; but, then, so is "Onward Christian Soldiers".

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  • 1
    fortes ? – Hugh Apr 27 '19 at 16:34
  • @Hugh: Thought about that. The concept " (to be) strong" is one concept, singular. To say "We Choose to be Strong People; then, yes, fortes. – tony Apr 28 '19 at 9:41
  • @tony: It doesn't work like that in Italian (as well as the other Romance languages). Why would it work like that in Latin? – Vincenzo Oliva Apr 28 '19 at 18:08
  • Vincenzo Oliva: In an anguish of indecision selected the wrong option. The human capacity for making a mistake; then, justifying it. One of the boons of this site is that errors are rapidly picked up, by colleagues, which is as it should be. – tony May 1 '19 at 9:02

You could try a fun supine construction: "Fortis Actu Sumus" literally meaning "We are strong with respect to doing."

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