Fluctuat nec mergitur

Fluctuat nec mergitur
City of Paris coat of arms
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French Motto

Meaningbroken but not beaten
Literallywave-tossed but not sunken
Pronunciation [fluk twaht nehk mehr gee tur]
IPA  [flyk tɥat nɛk mɛʀ gi tyʀ]

Usage notes: The Latin phrase Fluctuat nec mergitur has been a motto of the city of Paris since at least 1580, and the official motto since 1853.* In French, it may be translated as Elle est agitée par les vagues / battue par les flots, mais ne sombre pas: Paris may be tossed by the waves, but she will never sink; she is indestructible.

Fluctuat nec mergitur feels particularly poignant after national tragedy. It’s used as a rallying cry for rebuilding and recovering and typically trends on Twitter.

 Related lessons

* Source: Les devises des villes de France, by Henri Tausin

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