North Carolina State Motto

North Carolina Motto

Esse Quam Videri


Until 1893 North Carolina had no motto making it one of the few states without one. But in 1893 the North Carolina General Assembly adopted the Latin words “Esse Quam Videri” as the state motto and directed the phrase to be placed with the state’s Coat of Arms. The Latin phrase translates into “To be, rather than to seem.” Its source is a sentence in Cicero’s “On Friendship” which translates to, “Fewer possess virtue, than those who wish us to believe that they possess it.”