Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Zorita wants Mann, Jones and Rahmstorf banned | Main | ++++Whitewash starting++++ »

Nullius in verba

In view of the Royal Society angle on the last two posts, I was very amused by the comments of reader MikeE, who opined that the society's motto of "Nullius in verba" must mean "nothing in writing". :-)

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Nullius in Verba
    Checking the Royal Society website I find that the old translation, “take no one’s word for it”, which had mysteriously disappeared from the website, has mysteriously returned. ...

Reader Comments (14)


Nov 27, 2009 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPlato Says


Nov 27, 2009 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

Solus profundum variat

Nov 27, 2009 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterNigel

It actually means "take nobody's word for it" - ie, look at the evidence yourself rather than relying on an appeal to authority. It's a pity they haven't followed their own advice in this case.

Nov 27, 2009 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterOllie

Is this a case of hiding the declensions?


Nov 27, 2009 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil A

None of them can read Latin anymore!

Nov 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterdadgervais

For you Mr. Bishop: Ab asino lanam quaeris!

Nov 27, 2009 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

The atrocious Bob May, the previous president of the Royal Society, tried to retranslate "Nullius in verba" from "On nobody's word" to "Respect the facts".
The idea being, of course, that the facts were whatever he told you they were.

Nov 27, 2009 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterFreddy

I think it does, actually - taken literally. Amusingly appropriate.

The original is "Nullius addictus judicare in verba magistri" - Not compelled to swear to any master's words. Horace, via Wikipedia.

Nov 27, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterStevo

Sona si Latine loqueris.

Nov 27, 2009 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterHoi Polloi

I would not so harshly judge the Royal Society. They were, after all, the ones who forced Briffa to release his data where "the magic treemometer" was discovered by enforcing their own strict data archiving requirements over Briffa's objections.

Nov 27, 2009 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commentercrosspatch


Fair point. I've often wondered if the Phil Trans B were operating at arms length from the Society, or if the RS just felt it couldn't allow Briffa to get away with it for the sake of their own reputation.

Nov 28, 2009 at 7:07 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Ignotum per ignotius

Nov 29, 2009 at 5:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterR Dunn

I don't think that society can be explain with two Latin words. We commented something similar in
pharmacy escrow forum and we realized after so much deliberation that it is something even more complex.

Oct 5, 2011 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Grey

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>