A friend gave me "vires per conatus" but I wanted to make sure before printing. I'm working with a young swim team and we stress effort and hard work, which will provide strength, yes, physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Thanks in advance for the help!!


3 Answers 3


I think Google's suggestion is not far off the mark, for once.

I would suggest changing conatus, which means "attempts", to laborem. Labor is obviously the Latin word that gives us "labor", which is semantically close to what you want, and often has the sense of "exertion" or "effort".

Vires is not wrong but this form (a plural) generally refers specifically to physical force. If you want a more general sense covering both physical and mental strength the singular vis might be a better choice.


Vis per laborem

seems to me to fit the bill.


I would suggest a less direct translation:

Fortitudo operando
"Strength by working hard"

The noun fortitudo means "strength", of either bodily or mental type. The verb operari means things like "to work, labor, toil, take pains, devote oneself". In my suggestion the noun is achieved through the act of the verb, and I think this hits very close to what you are aiming at. I think the best Latin choice for this English use of "through" is the ablative gerund, which is what operando is.

The suggestion is not a complete sentence. If you wish to complete it, you can add appetitur ("is reached for") or another passive verb. If the implicit verb is active (e.g. "we reach for strength by working hard"), then the noun should be in the accusative case: fortitudinem. I prefer to focus on the strength and go with a passive.

  • Thank you Joonas! As a motto or slogan for a team, it sounds like fortitudo operando would be the best fit? With the students we talk a lot about effort brings results, resilience, and strength (not just physical, but mental, emotional, even spiritual). We want to call it out in Latin to make it more "hip". It would be a tag line that we use to recognize that strength, or even success, comes through effort or work. Thank you for your consideration and suggestion!
    – jon
    Nov 2, 2022 at 22:22
  • @jon I'm glad to be able to help! There are certainly many ways to phrase this in Latin, with different nuances and emphases. If you follow the links in my answer, you can see the various translations in a reputable dictionary. I tried to compose a suggestion that is concise, grammatical, does not specify gender, and sounds appealing. One choice is whether you want the implicit verb to be passive ("strength is reached...") or active ("we reach strength..."), and I chose the passive to give focus on the strength.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Nov 2, 2022 at 22:38
  • I also like laborando, if you want to emphasize the bustle and toil.
    – cmw
    Nov 2, 2022 at 23:02

You already have several suggestions; to these I can add the possibility to express the underlying idea very slightly differently and say:

Contentio pariet vires.

Which means: “Exertion will bear strength.” The vires are primarily physical force, although the word vis in itself is pretty general and can also be used to refer to mental or sensory powers. Contentio means a vigorous extertion of one's powers; it can also refer to competition, or indeed a fight or dispute. If you want to avoid any risk of such an association, you could also say labor or industria.

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