You are here:

Latin/Variation on 'memento mori'


Hi Maria,

Not having had any Latin in school, I'm wondering whether the phrase 'Memento morti' - WITH 't'- would be grammatically correct and what the exact meaning is.

I'm looking for a variation on 'Memento mori', preferably one that translates as 'Remember the dead (people)', or 'Remember death'. Not so much 'Remember to die/we're mere mortals'.

And no, this is definitely NOT for a tattoo!!

Many thanks.


first of all the phrase  "Memento morti" - WITH 't' – is  grammatically wrong, unless you write “Memento mortis”, literally meaning “Remember death”.

If however you want to translate "Remember the dead (people)", you should say “Memento mortuorum” or “Memento mortuos”.[Read more below].

As for “Memento mori” meaning “Remember that you are mortal”, such a phrase, or its equivalent “Hominem te esse memento!” meaning ”Remember that you are a man!”, is said to have been used as an admonishment addressed by a slave to the Roman general when he was riding in his triumphal chariot through the streets of Rome.
A slave in fact who stood behind the victorious general whispered this to him just to remind him that he was mortal, though he was at the height of his success at that time.

Hope this can be helpful to you.

Best regards,

Please note that:

-MEMENTO (2nd.person singular, imperative of MEMINI, I remember) = Remember
-MORTIS (genitive singular of the noun MORS, 3rd.declension)= death.
The Latin verb MEMINI takes the genitive case here, but it can also take
the accusative MORTEM as in "Memento mortem".

-MEMENTO (2nd.person singular, imperative of MEMINI, I remember) = Remember
-MORTUORUM (genitive plural of MORTUUS, 2nd.declension) or  MORTUOS (accusative plural of MORTUUS, 2nd.declension)= the dead. The Latin verb MEMINI can take either the genitive or the accusative case.

-MEMENTO (2nd.person singular, imperative of MEMINI, I remember) = Remember
-MORI (present infinitive of the deponent verb MORIOR, I die) = literally,  “to  be mortal”, i.e. " that you are mortal"/"that you will die"


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.


Over 25 years teaching experience.

I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 All rights reserved.