Virginia flag

Virginia State Motto

"Sic Semper Tyrannis"

The Virginia state motto is a Latin motto which in English means "Thus Always to Tyrants". A common used mistranslation of the Virginia motto is "Death to Tyrants" - a translation that may explain the motto's rather unfortunate use through history.

The usage of the Virginia motto has quite a bloody history of accompanying assassinations:

  1.  If we trace it the furthest back in history we can, we arrive in Rome at scene of the treacherous Marcus Brutus' stabbing of Julius Caesar 44 BCE. (The certainty of Brutus actually using the phrase is somewhat dubious though, perhaps it was just later historians' attempt of adding spice to the event.)

  2. If go to relative modern time, we find ourselves in America in 1865, when John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln whilst shouting the phrase out loud.

  3. When Timothy McVeigh was arrested in 1995 on the day the bombing of Oklahoma City, he was wearing a t-shirt featuring Lincoln and accompanied by the Virginia state motto

The Virginia state motto was suggested by George Mason, an American statesman who today is considered one of the Founding Fathers of America.

The Virginia motto appears as part of the state seal and was adopted in 1776.

Virginia State Nicknames

Whereas there is only one Virginia state motto, there exist a number of state nicknames for Virginia:

"The Old Dominion"
This Virginia state nickname refers to the fact that Virginia was the oldest of King Charles' American settlements.

King Charles named the Virginians "the best of his distant children", a status of which the inhabitants were proud to possess. 'Dominion' is an expression of ownership of a piece of land or territory.

"Mother of States"
The original Virginian territory was absolutely vast and included present day Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and a part of Minnesota as well. Also Virginia was the first state to be settled.

"Mother of Statesmen"
Virginia gave 'birth' to quite a decent number of statesmen.

"Mother of Presidents"
As many as eight of the early U. S. presidents were from Virginia: George Washington (1788), Thomas Jefferson (1800), James Madison (1808), James Monroe (1816), William Henry Harrison (1840), John Tyler (1841), Zachary Taylor (1848), and Woodrow Wilson (1912).

Virginia nickname: Mother of Presidents - picture of early American presidents

"The Cavalier State"
This Virginia nickname refers to the English Cavaliers that entered Virginia during and immediately after the reign of King Charles I.

Virginia State Slogans

Whereas the Virginia motto intends to describe the national 'soul' of Virginia, Virginia state slogans focus especially on attracting tourists, and as you will see, some slogans are more conventional while others, well... let's say use the word 'Virginia' to the fullest:

"Virginia is for Lovers" with a later addition "Live Passionately" and "Where Love Lives"
This popular Virginia state slogan was introduced by the Virginia State Travel Service (today's Virginia Tourism Corporation:
) in 1969.

The Virginia slogan "Virginia is for Lovers" is still going very strong this very day as it was inscribed into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame in 2009.

"Virginia: Down Where the South Begins"
This was an expression used by radio broadcasters because Virginia was most southern of the Middle Atlantic States.

"Virginia is for Lovers: Hardcore, Anything Goes Three-Way Lovers"

"Vagina is for Lovers"

"Vagina: A Place for Lovers"

"Virginia: Who Says Government Stiffs and Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?"

"Virginia: Please Don't Confuse Us with West Virginia"

We can hereby safely conclude that Virginia is the absolute dirty queen of naughty, sex focused Virginia funny state slogans. If you're really 'into' Virginia you can buy these funny slogans on various t-shirts and underwear.

USA map with Virginia highlighted