What are the best Latin words to describe greatness, godlike powers and something holy?

I'll use those words as character name for some MMORPG.

Here are some examples, along with their translations by Google:

  • Godlike Powers = Divina Potentia
  • Bull's Eye = Boves Oculos
  • lightspeed = lightspeed ??
  • Holy Judgement = Sanctus iudicium
  • Armageddon = Hermageddon

However, when I translated the words back to English using Google Translate, almost all the words do not match with what I want. Just similar.

As I said in my comment, I have zero experience with Latin words, so even if I use a dictionary, I am not 100% sure that it's the word I am looking for. So, I am asking for help from the experts.

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    Latin has many words for all of those things. have you used a dictionary? As it stands, this question is just much too broad. – brianpck Nov 17 '16 at 21:58
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    I'd recommend that you start doing some research on your own - e.g. translating "greatest" or "best" in a dictionary, and then if you're not satisfied with that you can come here and ask what works best. However questions that can be answered with a simple Google search. – Clayton Ramsey Nov 17 '16 at 22:01
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    I had use google translate. for example "godlike powers" translated to "divina potentia" but when I translate it back to English, it become "divine power". It's similar but not what I'm looking for – Shota Nov 17 '16 at 22:05
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    Welcome to the site! This question has some potential, but also problems as others have noted. Doing some of your own research and including the result in your question would greatly improve it. Redoing what you did with Google translate with an online Latin dictionary is a good start. Being more specific about what you want to express will also help. The question will be put on hold for now, but it can (and will) be reopened if you improve it. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 17 '16 at 22:11
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    Hi Shota! Please look up the specific words you want to translate in a dictionary and share your findings in your question, along with any concerns you have with each of the translations. Google Translate is notoriously terrible at translating Latin, so it's important to begin with a real dictionary like one of those found at the link above. – Nathaniel is protesting Nov 17 '16 at 22:11

I'm going to try to explain my process in answering, to give you some resources for coming up with more names in the future.

(Also, note that I like to mark my long vowels, "ā ē ī ō ū". Many people don't do this; it won't be any less correct if you remove them when writing your names. They represent a pronunciation difference which disappeared in later Latin.)


One of my favorite resources for English-to-Latin is Ludwig von Döderlein's Hand-book of Latin Synonymes [sic]. It lists the subtle meaning differences between synonyms, as well as acting as a limited thesaurus.

Under citus (fast):

1. Citus and celer denote swiftness, merely as quick motion, in opp. to tardus, Cic. Or. iii. 57. Sall. Cat. 15. Cic. Fin. v. 11. N. D. ii. 20. Rosc. Com. 11. Top. 44; velox and pernix, nimbleness, as bodily strength and activity, in opp. to lentus; properus and festinus, haste, as the will to reach a certain point in the shortest time, in opp. to segnis Gell. x. 11. 2. Citus denotes a swift and lively motion, approaching to vegetus; celer, an eager and impetuous motion, approaching to rapidus. 3. Pernicitas is, in general, dexterity and activity in all bodily movements, in hopping, climbing, and vaulting; but velocitas, especially in running, flying, and swimming, and so forth. Plaut. Mil. iii. 1, 36. Clare oculis video, pernix sum manibus, pedibus mobilis. Virg. Æn. iv. 180. Curt. vii. 7, 53. Equorum velocitati par est hominum pernicitas. 4. Properus, properare, denote the haste which, from energy, sets out rapidly to reach a certain point, in opp. to cessare; whereas festinus, festinare, denote the haste which springs from impatience, and borders upon precipitation. (ii. 144.)

From personal experience, I've also heard vēlōx described as "moving quickly right now" and celer as "able to move quickly", so Usain Bolt sitting on the couch would be celer but not vēlōx. But Döderlein doesn't mention this, and actually implies the opposite; I'll ask a new question about that.

Then under lūmen (light):

Lumen (λευσσόμενον) is a luminous body, like φέγγος; lux (λευκή) a streaming mass of light, like φάος. Cic. Fin. iii. 14, 45. Ut obscuratur et offunditur luce solis lumen lucernæ. Curt. viii. 2, 21. Sed aditus specus accipit lucem; interiora nisi allato lumine obscura sunt. Cic. Acad. iv. 8, 28. Si ista vera sunt, ratio omnis tollitur quasi quædam _lux lumen_que vitæ; that is, reason alone is in itself bright and light, and at the same time spreads brightness and light over life. Also, in a figurative sense, lumen denotes distinction, lux only clearness. Cicero (Man. 5.) calls Corinth, Græciæ totius lumen, but Rome (Catil. iv. 6.) Lucem orbis terrarum; Corinth is compared to a glimmering point of light; Rome is distinguished as that city in comparison with which all other cities lie in darkness. (ii. 66.)

So I'd say celer (moving very quickly) and lūx (light itself, as opposed to a source of light) are the words you'd want.

Combining them unfortunately requires significant knowledge of Latin grammar; there's no easy way to do this step without being familiar with the language. In this case, I would say Celeritās Lūcis, literally "the swiftness of the light".

Joonas also suggested that vēlōx might fit the meaning of "lightspeed" better: light really can't move slower than its maximum speed, and the 'running' meaning sounds more like what a "lightspeed" character would have. In this case, it would be Vēlōcitās Lūcis, "the velocity of the light". This is also more obviously related to speed, for non-Latin-speakers.

Bull's Eye

This is an idiom in English. Oculus bovis would be a literal translation, but there doesn't seem to be much precedent for using oculus like this. When looking for how a specific word was used, I usually put it into the Perseus Word Study Tool, which then brings up the entry from Lewis and Short's Latin dictionary. (I could also search in L&S directly, but the Word Study Tool has a nicer interface.)

In this case, L&S lists plenty of idioms involving eyes, but none seem quite right. Most focus on seeing or perceiving, rather than precision or accuracy.

The closest idiom I can think of is acū tetigistī, literally "you touched it with a needle" (used to mean "you're exactly right"). Changing the grammatical form, Acū Tangō is "I touch it with a needle", or idiomatically "I hit it precisely".

Holy Judgement

For this one I'm looking at Christian sources, since for me "holy" is more strongly associated with Christian religion (I'd use "sacred" instead if referring to classical Roman religion).

The Diēs Īrae in particular describes the Day of Judgement repeatedly, always using the words jūdex, jūdicō, jūdicāns...

So I would go with Jūdex Sacer (the holy judge) or Jūdicāns Sacer (the holy judging person). Or more literally, Jūdicium Sacrum (the holy judgement).

Godlike Powers

"Godlike" is difficult. I'm translating it here as "the powers seem to come from a deity (through this mortal person)"; an alternate meaning would be "the person using these powers actually seems to be a deity". Let me know if this was your intent.

From Döderlein again:

Potentia, potentatus, and potestas (πότνιος) denote an exterior power, which acts by means of men, and upon men; whereas vis and robur denote an interior power and strength, independent of the co-operation and good-will of others. Potentia denotes a merely factitious power, which can be exerted at will, like δύναμις; potentatus, the exterior rank of the ruler, which is acknowledged by those who are subject to him, like δυναστεία; potestas, a just and lawful power, with which a person is entrusted, like ἐξουσία. Tac. Ann. xiii. 19. Nihil tam fluxum est quam fama potentiæ non sua vi nixæ. Vis (ἴς) is the strength which shows itself in moving and attacking, as an ability to constrain others, like κράτος; robur (from ἐῤῥῶσθαι) the strength which shows itself in remaining quiet, as an ability to resist attack, and remain firm, like ῥώμη. (v. 83.)

So vīs seems like what you want. This is "power" in the sense of strength or force. "Divine" is easier, since the English word was borrowed from Latin: dīvīnus. Combined would give Vīs Dīvīna.


Google Translate was fairly accurate on this one. English Armageddon comes from Greek Harmagedōn from Hebrew Har Məgiddô "Mount Megiddo". So if you wanted to refer to the actual mountain, Harmagedōn would be a decent translation.

I assume you want a synonym for "apocalypse" rather than the name of a mountain in Israel. Looking up "apocalypse" isn't likely to help either, though: it comes from Greek apocalypsis, "uncovering", so the direct Latin translation would be revēlātiō. The modern meaning of "end of the world" is because the end of the world was predicted in the Book of Revelation, but it didn't have that meaning in Classical times.

Unfortunately I don't know a good Classical term for "the end of the world". To my knowledge there was no Ragnarök equivalent in Roman mythology, so the closest you could get would be a literal but artificial Exitium Mundī "the final destruction of the world". Alternatively, you could add in a religious allusion and go with Diēs Īrae "the day of wrath" (from Zepheniah 1:15), which is a well-known term in Christianity but also has a good literal meaning. Or, if you aren't concerned about the ancient meaning, take the loanword Apocalypsis. (Or for additional foreign-ness, use the Greek spelling: Ἀποκάλυψις.)

  • @Shota, note that in addition to accepting, you can also vote. Voting on questions and answers you find useful serves the site well. In case you haven't already, I suggest taking a look at the tour. I agree: this answer is excellent. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 18 '16 at 20:35
  • Comment on velox/celer. I don't know if the actual/potential distinction is true, but based on that I would choose velox. Light is unable to be still or move slower than what is known as lightspeed. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 18 '16 at 20:37
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Very true. I'll add a note giving the forms for vēlōcitās also. – Draconis Nov 18 '16 at 20:39

Let me comment on some of the five phrases that you tried to translate with Google. Google translate sometimes hits the nail on the head, but sometimes it misses altogether and sometimes it even hits the aquarium. Don't trust it, especially if the translation is something important.

For translation problems like this one, I suggest using an online Latin dictionary. We have a list of them in a dedicated question. To translate "divine", for example, translate it first from English to Latin. For each Latin word you get, see the English translations to get a feeling of its tone. To combine words grammatically, you need to decline or conjugate them correctly. Some online dictionaries contain useful information. Google translate is no good; it does translate, but there is no trusting what comes out. If you have found the words you like (and maybe explain why you like these words), asking for grammatical details and choices between few possible translations at this site works well.


Literally, this means "speed of light", and it is best to translate it this way. Velocitas is a good (yet not the only) word for "speed". For "light" you could use lumen or lux. A different kind of option is Phaebus, which means Apollo as the god of light, or personified light if you will. I suggest velocitas luminis, but this is just a translation of the scientific term. It might not fit your goal.

Bull's eye

Direct translation is easy: oculus bovis. However, it is not clear whether this Latin phrase has the same meaning as the English one. I guess it simply means the eye of a particular mammal, nothing more. If you want to know if there is a similar idiom in Latin, that would make a nice separate question.

Divine powers

For "powers" I suggest the Latin word vis. I urge you to check what it means. This is one of the many dictionary entries on it. Two suitable adjectives come to mind: divus and divinus. If you want to find the nuance differences between them, I again recommend a new, separate question. My suggestion for "divine powers" is vis diva.

  • Other possible terms for power: potestas (as in faculty or capability, virtus. – Rafael Nov 18 '16 at 16:32

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