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Jeff Bezos company Blue Origin has a motto “Gradatim Ferociter” or Step by Step Ferociously, although they seem to take a very long time to do anything. Elon Musk also runs a rocket company (SpaceX). It operates on very different lines and does not have a motto. I thought I might suggest one for them, but my Latin is sadly lacking.

SpaceX are more of a move quickly and break things organization. They also have a rocket engine called Velociraptor or Raptor for short so "Velociter" might work for the quickly part but I’m not sure about “move”, “break things” or how to arrange the words so that it makes grammatical sense.

Any ideas?

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  • I'm not sure I understand the goal here. What do you mean by your suggesting a Latin motto for them? It sounds to me that you are an outsider to the company and are asking for others to compose a motto which you could then present to the company, possibly as yours. Coming up with a motto can be a fun exercise, but it'd be nice to know better what it's for.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jul 7 at 16:07
  • Yes you are correct I am an outsider to the company, I do not know Elon Musk and have no way of directly contacting him. It's more a fun exercise than anything else, I assume it would not involve a lot of work. I'm quite prepared to credit the author who suggests the motto, and I don't intend to gain anything from this. I will post it here: forum.nasaspaceflight.com it might attract a small amount of interest and I know that SpaceX insiders do frequent the site, so who knows, but more than likely it will disappear after a week or two.
    – Slarty
    Jul 7 at 16:39
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    Mars exspectat? ;-) Jul 7 at 17:42
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    Ad astra per fracta?
    – cnread
    Jul 7 at 21:54
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If you're looking for a Latin translation of the common tech bro line "Move fast and break things", a very straightforward option would be:

Prōcēde vēlōciter et frange rēs.

Prōcēdō seemed like a better option than the obvious moveō, since nominally progressive motion seems to be implied, not just random stirring. I used a singular imperative; for a motto an infinitive (prōcēdere) would probably work as well.

Vēlōciter (the adverb of vēlōx) works.

Frangō is to break into pieces; I chose it over e.g. rumpō or even afflīgō mainly because it's cognate with English break. Imperative again; infinitive would be frangere.

Rēs, finally, is the accusative (because direct object) plural of rēs 'thing'. It has many more uses than English 'thing' does, but it can be used for this as well.

As always, the macrons are optional. The only thing this translation has to commend itself is the fact that it maps cleanly to the English and is hard to misinterpret even if you don't speak a lot of Latin. If you did want to go with infinitives, I'd probably move the word order around to "velociter procedere et res frangere".

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  • It wouldn't be moveo anyway, since it's transitive. Yes, there are a couple intransitive uses, but that might just be a Livian thing ("very rare" and the examples in L&S are all from Livy). Regardless, it wouldn't be the obvious choice. Procede is a good choice, though.
    – cmw
    Jul 7 at 20:43
  • @cmw Well, move te.
    – Cairnarvon
    Jul 7 at 20:47
  • Fair enough, but I still think your actual choice is much better.
    – cmw
    Jul 7 at 20:48
  • Thanks very much. I hesitate to comment in any detail for fear of revealing my ignorance of the subject. But I will post Prōcēde vēlōciter et frange rēs and see if it generates any discussion.
    – Slarty
    Jul 20 at 17:00
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As Cairnavon already noted, for break, one can chose rumpo. In terms of sense I believe it is spot-on, but it also comes with a bonus: Latin has the idiomatic expression rumpe moras! literally means: break up delays! This is used by Virgil for example:

heia age, rumpe moras! (Come on! break up delay!); [Aen. 4:59]

So we might have something like:

Rumpe moras et res.

Instead of et what can use -que: Rumpe moras resque which is basically the same, but might carry a different tempo for a motto.

res however is quite general word, hence I feel it is maybe better avoided. Also maybe it should be somewhat distinguished from moras (as mora itself might be considered to be a res). It seems the Romans "liked" to "breaks chains", as rumpere vincula is a repeated phrase. I believe vincula can be used metaphorically (as mottos often do) for any obstacle or fixation (*). So we end up with:

Rumpe moras et (ulla/omnia) vincula. [break up delays and (any/all) chains]


(*) This metaphorical usage is attested: Cic.Tusc.5.82.12:

quoniam te nulla vincula impediunt ullius certae disciplinae (you are not hampered by being tied to any definite school of thought. Loeb translation)

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    Oh, I kind of prefer just rumpe moras by itself! Or maybe even a good pun with rumpe mores.
    – cmw
    Jul 7 at 22:28

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