How do I write "Only by Giving" in Latin, trying to nurture a 'Spirit of Giving', for example, "Only by Giving can we fulfill the purpose of life."

What would be the best option? Would it be,


I like Datio because of it's meaning of 'A gift', which makes our service seem like a gift we can choose to give to others our to a cause. I also find it sonorous, short and sweet, concise yet powerful.

Would SOLUM DATIO be a viable alternative also? Although more concise, I fear the sense of meaning would be lost, that it would be too generic a statement.

Does anyone else prefer another option? Like,



Per Dationem

Datio, your suggestion looks like an ablative (by with or from) but is Nominative. But it is a good choice

dătĭo , ōnis, f. do, I.the act of giving, allotting, distributing; giving up, surrender (good prose, but rare)

If you add per with the Accusative that would be an improvement

Per II.C. To designate the reason, cause, inducement, etc., through, for, by, on account of, for the sake of:

for 'only,' perhaps use

III.B. Sup.: pŏtissĭmē (pŏtissŭ- ), and more freq. pŏtissĭmum (pŏtissŭ- ), chiefly, principally, especially, in preference to all others, above all, most of all (class.). (search under 'potis' III. B )

(all Dictionary quotations are from Lewis and Short through Perseus )

  • 1
    haud aliter looked promissing at first, but has tricky requirements of verb and construction; does pŏtissĭmē (Edits) fit your meaning?
    – Hugh
    Jan 31 '20 at 20:25
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    If, after all, you prefer sōlus, make it Accusative Feminine Singular to agree; per dătionem sōlam.
    – Hugh
    Jan 31 '20 at 20:49
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    dătĭo , ōnis, f. the "f." tells you that 'giving' is feminine. For the grammar it doesn't matter who gives; the 'giving' is feminine. [War, bellum, is neuter, A Casserole, olla, is feminine; dătĭo is feminine; it just is.]
    – Hugh
    Feb 1 '20 at 10:41
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    Oh, sorry. That's not the question you were asking. Don't use solum as an adverb. It means "Hence, adv.: sōlum , alone, only, merely, barely" which seems completely the wrong meaning, doesn't it?
    – Hugh
    Feb 1 '20 at 10:53
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    ...and solus meaning yourself could be taken to mean "alone, lonely, solitary, forsaken, deserted; without relatives, friends"
    – Hugh
    Feb 1 '20 at 11:00

How about a gerund, "dandum" = "giving"; "dando (ablative) explemus" = "we fulfil by giving". Here "us"/ "ourselves" is understood (the Romans used fewer words than we do; things being understood). But, if you wish personal, accusative pronoun "nos" (used reflexively) may be added.

Personal pronouns of first & second person, when used reflexively, can be strengthened (covering your request for "only") by applying an intensifier, a part of "ipse" = "self".

Giving: "dando (nos ipsos) explemus".

Alternatively, "solum" or "modo" = "just"/ "only", instead of the reflexive element.


A gerund was my first thought in response to this. So 'Solum dando' would be nice and concise for a motto.

  • Welcome to the Community!
    – Adam
    Jan 4 '21 at 21:29
  • Thank you Adam. That's very kind.
    – Afer
    Jan 5 '21 at 12:48

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