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A word or sentence accompanying a coat of arms generally carried on a scroll. The motto of the Knights Hospitaller is Pro Fide, Pro Utilitatem Hominum (For the Faith and to serve Humanity); that of the Knights Templar was Templa quam dilecta (How dear are the Temples).

The motto often bears some reference to the family name, possible a pun on the name, called punning mottoes, e.g., Ne vile velis for the Nevilles and used as a war cry.