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ESSE (EH-see)

Latin for “to be”; existence; being

Common clues: In ____ (actually); Being, to Brutus; Latin 101 verb; Latin being; To be, in old Rome; First word in North Carolina's motto
Crossword puzzle frequency: 8 times a year
Frequency in English language: 70702 / 86800
Video: Latin 101

Esse quam videri is a Latin phrase meaning "to be, rather than to seem". It has been used as motto by a number of different groups.

Esse quam videri is the state motto of North Carolina, adopted in 1893.

Esse quam videri is found in Cicero's essay "On Friendship" ("De amicitia", chapter 98). "Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti esse quam videri volunt" (Many are not so endowed with virtue as they wish to seem).

Just a few years after Cicero, Sallust used the phrase in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), writing that Cato the Younger "esse quam videri bonus malebat" (He preferred to be good rather than to seem so).

Previous to both Romans, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes at line 592, at which the scout (angelos) says of the seer/priest Amphiaraos: "ou gar dokein aristos, all' enai thelei" (his resolve is not to seem the best but in fact to be the best). Plato quoted this line in Republic (361b).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Esse quam videri".