What is the meaning of “Videre Sed Non Videri”?

I already search on Google on pages like:


But results are confusing me, and my knowledge on Latin language is zero.

Thanks in advance.


2 Answers 2


Salve!, and welcome to the site!

The translation you point is missing a word or two, but it's not too far from correct. A fairly literal translation is:

To see but not [to] be seen

  • Videre and videri are, respectively, the active and passive infinitives of the verb for seein, hence: to see and to be seen.
  • Sed is an adversative conjunction, but.
  • Non is an adverb of negation. In this case, it negates the following verb, just as English not would do

Update: One could also make a case for an alternative translation:

To see but not to seem,

if the context allows it to make sense. Videri can also mean to seem, appear to be, as brilliantly explained by Sebastian Koppehel in this answer


It’s a military saying: "see but not be seen." It is used by recce and sniper teams and any other covert observation platoons.

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