This motto was found on a plaque in a school boarding house, and I am looking for a reasonable translation for it.

For context, the boarding house is called ‘Johnson’s’ (hence ‘Johnsonia’), therefore, it is only really the word ‘Persipe’ that I am struggling with.

From some preliminary research, I have found that ‘Persipe’ can be translated as ‘very often’ or ‘very frequently’, however this does not seem to make much contextual sense. My best guess is that this motto means something like ‘forever Johnson’s’, however, I have not found any evidence to support this.

I would very much appreciate any and all help with this translation, especially translations that make sense grammatically as well as contextually.

Many Thanks,


  • 1
    Actually that would be persaepe (occasionally spelt persepe but not persipe), and it does indeed mean "very often" and definitely not "forever." Commented Nov 21, 2021 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


There is no such Latin word persipe. Instead, I think you might have mistranscribed percipe, the name of an old magazine for the house as well. The -c- in percipe is often pronounced like an /s/ in England, among other places.

Percipe is an imperative verb meaning, "Percieve!" or "Behold!" or even "Seize!" The basic action is that of taking hold of something thoroughly (per "through" + capio "to take hold of; the latter element is the origin of words like "capture").

My guess is that Johnsonia is supposed to be neuter plural, roughly translated as "Johnsonian things" or "things/matters/qualities related to Johnson."

The phrase is ambiguous, and could refer to a number of things related to Johnson, whether owned by him, imbued by him, or just somewhat related to, tangential to, or merely referring to him. At its very basic level, though, it means Perceive Johnson's things, and what those "things" are is dependent on whatever the person who wrote the motto had in mind.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.