We are trying to decide a motto for our organization and came up with this Latin phrase: “Complicationem subtilitate tracta.” It is supposed to mean “handle complication with sophistication”. Could someone help determine whether the Latin phrase is syntactically valid and semantically consistent?

The “complication” refers to the kind of complexities when building softwares, and the motto is to suggest using advanced techniques and best practices in software engineering to make them handleable.

1 Answer 1


The grammar is fine, although the imperative makes it sound more like advice than a motto.

However, complicatio means (to quote Lewis & Short) “a folding together, enveloping,” which has nothing to do with software complexities. I would rather refer to “complex things,” and for this I would like to suggest the adjective nodosus, which literally means “knotty” (as in a knotty oak), but tropically “intricate, complicated, full of difficulties.”

Thus you get: Nodosa subtilitate tracta.

(By the way, software people know all about knots, of course. Complex software is usually complex because it can on some level be represented as a graph with a particularly great number of nodes.)

  • Wonderful! Many thanks. If using second personal imperative makes it sound more like an advice, what about using first personal plural imperative like (I guess) "Nodosa subtilitate tractamus"? Would it sound more like a motto?
    – haochenx
    Dec 28, 2022 at 22:19

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