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TL;DR Would "always victorious" be semper vicit? That's my naive translation. Context is God Save the Queen.

Details:

Apparently my entire life I've been singing a line in the first verse of God Save the Queen wrong. The line is "Send her victorious" but I somehow thought from a young age it was "Semper victorious" and no one's noticed as it sounds quite similar. (Lucky for me I realized my mistake before Charles ascends to the throne — people would have looked at me funny.)

Out of the blue many, many years later I thought to ask myself whether "victorious" sounded right for Latin, and of course, it doesn't. Various online sources give me vicit.

Would it be semper vicit? (Google Translate says "vicit semper," [with the comma] but is notoriously rubbish at Latin.) Latin has so many morphological changes depending on parts of speech and the subject of the sentence, etc., that I'm not sure if vicit should have a slightly different form. It's an indirect reference to Her Majesty, but as an adjective ("[she is] always victorious"), so I wouldn't think victrix would be relevant (being a noun if I'm not mistaken).

Context:

God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save the Queen
Send her victorious, <=== The line I got wrong
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us
God save the Queen!

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"Semper vicit" means "he/she has always won/conquered" (with a perfective rather than a habitual aspect). "Vicit" is the 3rd person active indicative perfect of vincere, a verb.

"Victorious", the adjective, is victoriosus. In the feminine (nominative singular), that's victoriosa.

Your phrase can be translated as semper victoriosa (with an elided implied est, I suppose, which is also elided in the English). For Charles it'd be semper victoriosus.

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  • Re vicit: oh, of course! The same form as in tempus fugit, one of my father's favourite sayings. Maybe that saying was part of why I didn't think vicit was correct. Thank you! Nov 27 '20 at 13:28
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    @T.J.Crowder In "tempus fugit" the "fugit" is actually in the present tense, though the only difference between present and perfect in that case is whether the u is short or long. There we know it's short because it scans as short in Vergil's Georgica, though, from which the saying in taken.
    – Cairnarvon
    Nov 27 '20 at 13:35
  • That makes more sense. I was slightly struggling with how it could be "has always passed" without the habitual aspect. Answer: Because it isn't. :-) Really appreciate your thorough answer to such a basic question. Nov 27 '20 at 13:37

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