How would you write the following:

“Choose gentleness/kindness” Or even just “choose”, or “make a choice”, said as a directive? Or to say “You have a choice” “One has a choice”?

My thought behind this is to remember that there is always a choice to be made; that we are active agents in this life. I’d prefer something brief and maybe more open-ended. I originally thought to use “optio”. Would that be appropriate?

I’m planning to engrave this on a necklace as a sort of life mantra/ reminder. I might engrave gentleness on the back, if you have a translation suggestion for that as well.


  • 1
    Optio is a noun.
    – Cairnarvon
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 19:56
  • 1
    Elige, or eligite, if the directive is for many people. The verb is eligo . Is that what you are looking for?
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


A literal translation would be:

Delige humanitatem.

(One might also say elige. Döderlein's Handbook of Latin Synonyms opines: “Deligere means to choose, in the sense of not remaining undecided in one’s choice; eligere, to choose, in the sense of not taking the first thing that comes.” Make of that what you will …)

I am also partial to saying:

Adhibe humanitatem.

Adhibere is a rather multi-faceted word, but in this case means “use, exercise.” When talking about people, it can also mean “summon, employ.” In my opinion, it does carry the idea of picking something out, consciously choosing something, but, if the idea of choice is important to you, this one does not make it explicit.

About the noun, I went with humanitas. Döderlein again: “Humanitas is a virtue of universal extent, which, like the mental cultivation, proceeding from intelligence, ennobles the whole man in mind and heart, and gives to his nature mildness and philanthropy, as a principle.” Another possibility would be benignitas.

  • Okay, that’s helpful. Thank you! It seems like “deligere” might work the best overall. If I want to extend the thought, how would I say “we are our choices”?
    – user8637
    Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 5:01
  • 1
    @user8637 Shooting from the hip I'd say something like: Exsistimus ex quae deligimus. If you want to know more, I think it would be best to post that as a new question. Commented Nov 26, 2020 at 12:03

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