When working on an improved version of our clan's crest, it was decided to add the motto (which had so far been absent from the design).

The motto in English is "no time for caution".

Related questions exist,
"Failure Is Funny" as a family motto
Fake family motto from English to Latin.

As they are both asking for a specific phrase to translate, I cannot use anything from the answers there.

I tried machine translation with various modifications of the original phrase, and my very basic comprehension of Latin grammar tells me, that those attempts in Google Translate don't come out very well:

"no time for caution" → "Serum est cavendi tempus"
sorry Google, come again?

"there is no time to be cautious" → "tempus non est cautum esse"
so far, so good; but can we do any better?

  • Serum (long -e-) means late in the day, late in the evening. So the first suggestion 'the time is late-in-the-day for being wary.'
    – Hugh
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


Literally, "(there is) no time for caution" becomes--DEEST CAVENDI TEMPUS

In a clan motto context, the personified crest, in metonymy for the clan, would itself speak in first person--CAVENDI TEMPORE CAREO

And yes, do use caps.

PS. Google's answer was interesting. "Serum est cavendi tempus in mediis malis" comes from Publius Syrus. It might suggest they simply fed a large body of literature to their translation AI--as the body is orders of magnitude smaller than that of modern living languages, the translations may come through as somewhat "rigid" at times, uncannily reminiscent of a mad linguist.

  • Good catch on the Publius Syrus quote. I like it! That's a first for me for Google translate.
    – Figulus
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 23:40
  • I looked around some more--the attribution to Publilius Syrus may not hold water after all. Definitely in Seneca later (Sen. Thy. 488), so the AI probably fed on that. Whether a quote or an interpolation, it does have that ring of a common saying. ;)
    – Hippo
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 2:32

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