The Meaning of Veritas: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of veritas? This guide will provide you with all of the info you need on the Latin word veritas, including its definition, etymology, example sentences, and more!

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What does veritas mean?

According to Dictionary and Word Nik, the word veritas is a Latin word that means “truth.” This noun is also where we get the English words very and verity, per Dictionary, and many other words are derived from it as well. While you may not see the word veritas commonly used in conversation, it is still used in many different mottos and is useful to know if you are trying to decipher what another word means, if it has roots in Latin. 

According to Merriam-Webster, there are many different Latin phrases that use the Latin word veritas. First there is the phrase in vino veritas which translates to “in wine, truth.” This implies that when a person is inebriated, they are more likely to be honest. Next, there is magna est veritas et praevalebit, which means that the truth is mighty and will prevail. This, there is the phrase veritas vos liberabit, which translates to “the truth will set you free.” Finally, there is the phrase vincit omnia veritas, which translates to “ truth conquers all things.” Veritas is a very common word in many different Latin phrases. 

There are also many words that stem from the Latin word veritas. All of these relate to truth in some way. For example, the English word verity comes front eh word veritas. Verity is a noun that means truth, as well as a traditionally female name. This list of words that all stem from the Latin word veritas is provided by Word Sense

  • Spanish: verdad
  • Occitan: vertat, veritat
  • Italian: verità, vertà
  • Friulian: veretât
  • Portuguese: verdade
  • Venetian: verità
  • French: vérité
  • Sicilian: virità
  • Romansch: vardad, vardet, vardà
  • Neapolitan: verità, veritade, verdate
  • Catalan: veritat
  • Norman: véthité
  • Old French: verité, verté
  • Albanian: vërtetë
  • English: verity, veritas
  • Aragonese: verdat
  • Asturian: verdá
  • Galician: verdade

What is the origin of the term veritas?

According to Educalingo, the word veritas has roots in Roman mythology. Veritas was the goddess of truth in Roman mythology. She was the daughter of Saturn and the mother of virtue, and the old story goes that she elusively hid in the bottom of a well. She was known as Aletheia in Greek mythology. 

Where is the word veritas commonly seen?

The word veritas is the motto of Harvard University. According to The Harvard Gazette, the seal of Harvard includes a shield, three books, and the word veritas. This word was adopted as Harvard’s motto in the year 1643 but was not widely used until hundreds of years later. In the year 1650, the Harvard Incorporation instead chose a different Latin phrase, in Christi gloriam, which means “for the glory of Christ.” When the president of Harvard in 1936 rediscovered the old motto in college records, it reemerged for the school’s 200th anniversary. From there, the word veritas began to be used on the school seal and the old motto was re-adopted. 

While people do not commonly use the word veritas in conversation, it is likely that they may use a word that has veritas as its origin. In English, a person might use the word verity to describe truthfulness or honesty; a person might say, “I was really impressed with ehr verity. Even though she knew she would get in trouble, sthe still chose to be honest.” The word very is also a word with roots in the word veritas. For example, someone could say, “I am very excited to go on vacation this summer.” This implies that they are truly and wholeheartedly excited for their vacation. Overall, while the root word veritas is nowadays usually only seen in mottos and Latin phrases, we still use words that come from veritas almost daily.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word veritas?

There are many words in English that have the same meaning as the Latin word veritas. It is very useful to know these English words because if someone is unfamiliar with the Latin term veritas, you will still be able to convey the same meaning. Synonyms are very useful for expanding your vocabulary as well as to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the Latin word veritas is provided by Thesaurus

  • picture
  • verisimilitude
  • gospel
  • plain talk
  • factualism
  • correctness
  • precision
  • truthfulness
  • maxim
  • whole story
  • factualness
  • axiom
  • facts
  • rectitude
  • naked truth
  • reality
  • nitty-gritty
  • legitimacy
  • case
  • validity
  • fact
  • actuality
  • truism
  • infallibility
  • unvarnished truth
  • truth
  • gospel truth
  • certainty
  • exactitude
  • veracity
  • rightness
  • verity
  • inside track
  • score
  • factuality
  • principle
  • scoop
  • trueness
  • honest truth
  • perfection
  • genuineness
  • authenticity
  • exactness
  • dope
  • accuracy

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the Latin word veritas. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are useful words to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary and understanding of the English language. This list of antonyms for veritas is also provided by Thesaurus

  • invention
  • mendacity
  • dishonesty
  • calumniation
  • falseness
  • misstatement
  • obloquy
  • backbiting
  • tale
  • fiction
  • deception
  • falsity
  • hyperbole
  • distortion
  • defamation
  • lie
  • calumny
  • fraudulence
  • reviling
  • disinformation
  • slander
  • deceit
  • myth
  • tall story
  • prevarication
  • subterfuge
  • fable
  • fabrication
  • falsification
  • forgery
  • whopper
  • vilification
  • fib
  • detraction
  • white lie
  • misrepresentation
  • perjury
  • libel
  • inaccuracy
  • guile
  • falsehood
  • aspersion
  • revilement
  • evasion
  • untruth

Overall, the word veritas is a Latin noun that means truth. This word has stemmed many words, including the words very and verity in English. This word is still used in many mottos and Latin phrases, and stems from the goddess of honest merchants. 

Sources:

  1. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2015/05/seal-of-approval/
  2. https://educalingo.com/en/dic-en/veritas
  3. https://www.wordnik.com/words/veritas
  4. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/veritas
  5. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/VERITAS
  6. https://www.wordsense.eu/veritas/
  7. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/truth?s=t
  8. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/lie
  9. https://www.dictionary.com/e/translations/veritas-aequitas/?itm_source=parsely-api