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Dum spiro spero: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dum spiro spero means "While I breathe, I hope" in Latin and is generally attributed to Cicero.[1]

It is a motto of various places and families.


States and Towns

The notable origin of the motto is St Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Its attribution to Saint Andrew and his bones being taken to this small fishing village on the North Sea, contributed to its direct linkage between the saying, the town, the University of St Andrews and the Saint.

It is also the state motto of South Carolina, adopted in 1776. On March 26, 1776, the Provincial Congress of South Carolina set up an independent government, and the motto formed a part of official great seal, created by W. H. Drayton.

The quote is also found on the Citadel Ring (The Military College of South Carolina) in the state seal for South Carolina.

The quote is also found on the Clemson University Ring in the South Carolina state seal.

Dum Spiro Spero was the state motto for the Kingdom of Sarawak.

Dum Spiro Spero is the motto of the Principality of Hutt River, and appears on their coat of arms.


Dum spiro spero is the family motto of numerous families worldwide, including:

  • the spearman family display the motto above their coat of arms
  • the Casement family (of Norman origin)
  • the Hensley family and variants, i.e. Hensleigh, Henslie, Henslea, Ensleigh, etc. Whose origins are in England, display the motto underneath their Coat of Arms.
  • the Betteridge family (of Anglo Saxon Origin) use Dum Spiro Spero as their family motto.
  • the Doran family (of Irish origin).
  • the Scottish Clan MacLennan, who have used it since at least the sixteenth century, and many claim that this motto was used by the MacLennans from the thirteenth century.[citation needed]
  • the Harigon family, who adopted it because over many years of peril and distress they hoped for a land of many sheep and pastures. They moved to New Zealand and harbor sheep that have been neglected on their farm, named after this famous saying.
  • the Högquist family, and variants, i.e. Högqvist, Högkvist, etc, from Gotland in Sweden
  • The Hunter Family Shield is a Greyhounds head and underneath the crest lies the moto: Dum Spiro Spero
  • the Bushell, Bushnell and Bussell family, possibly since they held a family seat in Somerset, England. Some believe that the usage pre-dates other usages of the motto in the context of a family motto.[citation needed]
  • Sir Homi Mody, K.B.E.
  • the Salmon family, whose origins are in Scotland, display the motto underneath the family shield, which bears six fleurs-de-lis and six salmon (fish).
  • the Stanton family, whose coat of arms bears a demi-lion, red, white, and black coloring, and a shield with numerous spires.
  • the Swainson family, whose coat of arms bears a lions head, six diamonds and a speared boars head also display the motto below their shield.
  • The Williamson family whose coat of arms has a red shield and three fluers-de-lis with crown and hawk and the motto underneath, this family name also has direct links to William the Conqueror.
  • Woodes Rogers, famous pirate hunter & Governor of The Bahamas during the Golden Age of Piracy, displays this motto above his head in a well preserved original family portrait (dated 1729) filled with emblems of his life & career.
  • The Metford Family of Canada, whose coat of arms bears a leapord pierced with an arrow & the motto scrolled below.
  • Johann "von Meyer" Dresden Germany was ennobled and given the title "baron" the "von" in front of Meyer ( a small "v" meaning a title) this included a Crest and Motto of "Dum Spiro Spero" this commemorating his Philanthropy.
  • The Dillon family whose coat of arms displays a lion surrounded by three crescents. It is the Irish-Norman form of De Leon from the town of Lyon in central France.[citation needed]
  • The Jelenkovic family (of Serbian origin) whose coat of arms has a deer horns with red ribbon and the motto scrolled below.[citation needed]


Dum spiro spero is the motto of the Asthma Sinus Allergy Program at Greater Baltimore Medical Center [ASAP@GBMC] located in Maryland. The Gaughan Family: whose coat of arms bears the motto, and three fish.

Usage In TV

The motto is seen on Lucas North back, a character from the BBC show Spooks

Usage in games

It is also used in the soundtrack of the horror game Clive Barker's Undying.


  1. ^ letters to Atticus


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