I have a very good guess about how to say "perhaps" or "maybe". But I suspect there are several ways of saying it, with varying degrees of certainty. I wanted to get a better idea.

My guess is this.

fortasse (also fortassis , but rarely, and not in Caes.; [...])

I.perhaps, peradventure, probably, possibly:

A few questions.

  • Is fortasse the best word to say "maybe" or "perhaps"?
  • Are fortasse and fortassis interchangeable?
  • What's the difference between forte, forsitan, and fortasse?
  • 3
    Another related word is forsitan or (shortened) forsan
    – brianpck
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:42
  • @brianpck Thanks for the addition. I added forsitan to my question.
    – ktm5124
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:44
  • 3
    I think both fortasse and forsitan are right. If you are also expressing desire, there is utinam
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


forte (from fors, fortis, chance, luck etc.) simply means 'by chance'.

fortasse (sometimes fortassis) is a contraction from forte an sit, 'as it might chance to be', usually translated as 'perhaps', 'as it may be' etc.

Also found are fors sit an (often as one word) and its contraction forsan; and occasionally forsit (from fors sit).

Larger Latin-English dictionaries (almost invariably based on Freund's original Latin-German) all give examples of usage. The best choice for English into Latin is no more than a matter of style.

  • 2
    Is forte an sit > fortasse / fortassis following a standard pattern? It seems pretty non-intuitive to me.
    – brianpck
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 23:50
  • 3
    @ktm5124 forte "by chance" means "maybe" in the following way: "Do you maybe have a second?" = "Do you by chance/perhaps have a second?" Use fortasse like, "Perhaps they will still come."
    – cmw
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 1:38
  • 2
    @ktm5124 But for fortasse and forsitan, I don't believe there is a real difference. Also, fortasse probably is not from forte an sit, but no one really knows what it should be. (Personally, I think there's an element of esse in there, but who knows.) Otherwise, Tom's right, it's largely a matter of style.
    – cmw
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 2:04

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