I am looking for a good translation of the US army motto, which is:

This We'll Defend

There are three variants of translation I have found:


Haec protegimus


Is nos mos vallo


Hoc defendam

Are there any, among the three, that are obviously wrong?
Which seems to fit meaning and context best?

1 Answer 1


Two looks the most wrong, like Google Translate bad.

One appears to have a declension error and conjugation error, and literally means "This (feminine thing). We are defending." (bear in mind that the this here is not grammatically connected to the verb here"

The translation relies on what the "this" that the motto refers to. If it is this being land, country, i.e. America, than haec or rather hanc would be correct.

If the this is a general thing, than hoc would be proper.

I'd render the phrase thusly:

This, we'll defend

Hanc defendemus Literally "We will defend this (country, land)" with hanc representing terra, patria, America etc.

  • 3
    Surely, haec in version 1 is meant to be neuter accusative plural, not feminine nominative singular; therefore, 'Haec protegimus' is perfectly correct, grammatically speaking. And it's not uncommon for Latin to use the plural 'these' where English uses the singular 'this'. It depends what the referent of 'this' is understood to be, I suppose.
    – cnread
    Oct 20, 2020 at 20:16
  • 2
    Defendemus surely? Also, doesn't the English motto intentionally leave it open exactly what they're defending? Sure, if it's patria or libertas, they're feminine. But what if it is deos publicos suosque patrios ac penates? ;) Oct 20, 2020 at 20:35
  • You are correct, defendemus, sorry was a tad distracted there. @cnread Sure, but like I said, we don't know that the "this": is. During the Oath of Enlistment, servicemembers swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, constitutio is feminine, likewise, the Army's general mission is to defend the country, terra and patria are likewise feminine. So while haec "these things" could be valid, I see it as less likely, and someone looked up the Latin word for "this" followed by the Latin for "we defend"
    – Colin
    Oct 20, 2020 at 22:18

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