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Commonly used Latin Phrases

A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V -


a cappella - in the chapel style, without instruments

a mensa et thoro - from board and bed (legal separation)

a posteriori - from what comes later

a priori - from what comes before

a verbis ad verbera - from words to blows

ad absurdum - taken to absurd lengths, to an absurd extreme

ad hoc - to this particular purpose

ad hominem - according to the person

ad infinitum - going on forever

ad interim - for the meantime

ad libitum (ad lib) - as one pleases

ad locum - at the place

ad nauseam - to the point of making one sick

addendum - an item to be added

advocatus diaboli - devil's advocate  (Someone takes a position solely for the sake of a discussion or argument.)

agenda - things to be done

Alea iacta est. - "The die is cast." (Julius Caesar)

alias - otherwise

alibi - elsewhere

alma mater - nurturing or nourishing mother (refers to the university one has attended)

alter ego - another "I" or another self

alumnus - from the word "alere" meaning to nurture, a graduate of a school or university Feminine form is alumna, plural - alumni.

amicus curiae - friend of the court

amor patriae - love of country

Amor vincit omnia. - Love conquers all.

anno (an.) - year

Anno Domini (A.D.) - In the year of the Lord

anno mundi - in the year of the world

annus horribilis - a horrible year (Queen Elizabeth II described 1992.)

annus mirabilis - year of wonders

ante - before

ante cibum (a.c.) - before meals

ante meridiem (a.m.) - before noon in the period from midnight to noon.

ante mortem - before death

ante prandium (a.p.) - before a meal, especially lunch

antebellum - before the war

aqua vitae - water of life (spirits, wine/brandy)

argumentum ad populum - A fallacious argument; because many people believe something it is not necessarily true

ars gratia artis - art for art's sake

Artium Baccalaureus - Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Artium Magister - Master of Arts (MA)

Audaces fortuna iuvat. - Fortune favours the bold.

Audio, video, disco. - I hear, I see, I learn. (Smile!)

aurora borealis - northern lights

Aut vincere aut mori. - Either conquer or die.

ave atque vale - hello and goodbye


bis in die (bid) �twice a day

bona fide -in good faith




Carpe diem. - Seize the day. (literally "pluck� the day)

casus belli - an act used to justify war

causa mortis - cause of death

Caveat. - Let him/her beware.

Caveat emptor. - Let the buyer beware.

Caveat lector. - Let the reader beware. (Text might not be accurate.)

circa (ca.) - around or approximately, usually used with dates.

circulus vitiosus - vicious circle

citius altius fortius � �Faster, higher, stronger� (Olympic motto)

Cogito ergo sum. - "I think therefore I am." (Ren� Descartes)

commune bonum - the common good

compos mentis - of sound mind

consensu omnium - by the agreement of all

Consummatum est. - It is completed

Cui prodest scelus, is fecit. - The one who derives advantage from the crime is the one most likely to have committed it. - Seneca .

culpa - a sin

cum - with

cum grano salis - with a grain of salt

cum laude - with praise

curriculum vitae - the course of one's life (resum�)


de facto - in fact

de iure - according to law

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. � Say only good about the dead.

Deo gratias. - Thanks be to God.

deus ex machina - god from the machine (contrived solution usually to a literary plot)

De gustibus non est disputandum. - There is no arguing tastes.

Deus vobiscum. - God be with you.

Divide et impera - Divide and conquer.

Dominus vobiscum. - The Lord be with you.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. �It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country." (Horace)

Dum spiro, spero. - While I breathe, I hope.



E pluribus unum - "From many, one." - a national motto (USA)

Ecce homo. - Behold the man.

editio princeps - first printed edition

eiusdem generis - of the same kind

emeritus - from merit (often used to refer to a retired professor)

eo ipso - by that very act

ergo � therefore (used to show a logical conclusion)

Errare humanum est. - To err is human.

erratum - error

Esse quam videri - to be rather than to seem

et alii (et al.) - and others (used to abbreviate a list of names)

et cetera (etc.) - and the rest, nowadays also "and others", "and so on", "and more")

et sequens - and the following

Et tu, Brute - "And you, Brutus?" (quotation from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar)

ex - out of

ex animo - from the heart (sincerely)

ex cathedra - with authority

ex Deo - from God

ex dolo - intentionally

ex gratia - from kindness or from grace (referring to someone performing an act out of kindness as opposed to being forced to do it)

ex libris -from the books (library) of

ex more - according to custom

ex officio - from the office (when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another, for example, the U.S. vice president is ex officio president of the Senate)

ex post facto - from what is done afterward, of a law with retroactive effect.

ex tempore - right away, immediately

excelsior - higher, ever upward (NYS motto)

Exceptio probat regulam. - The exception proves the rule.

extempore - without premeditation

exempli gratia (e.g.) - for the sake of example, usually translated "for example."

Exeunt. - They leave.

Exit. He/she leaves.

extempore - without premeditation



facile princeps - acknowledged leader

Facsimile. - Make a similar one. (origin of the word fax)

facta, non verba - deeds, not words

Factum est. - It is done.

Fiat - Let it be done.

Fiat lux. - Let there be light.

finis - the end

flagrante delicto - in the act of committing a crime

Flamma fumo est proxima. - There is no smoke without fire.

Fugit hora. - The hour flies.



gloria - glory

gloria in excelsis Deo - glory to God in the highest



Habeas corpus. - You must have the body.  (You must justify an imprisonment.)

hic et nunc - here and now

hic iacet - here lies

Homo sum. - I am a man.

honoris causa - for the sake of honor

Horas non numero nisi serenas. - I only count the sunny hours. (common inscription on sundials)

hora somni (h.s.) - at bedtime, literally at the hour of sleep



ibidem (ibid.) - in the same place, usually in bibliographic citations.

id est (i.e.) - that is to say, sometimes "in this case," depending on the context

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat. - Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

imago Dei - image of God

imperium - absolute power

Imprimatur. - Let it be printed.

imprimis - in first place

inter arma silent leges - There is no law on the battlefield".

in absentia - in the absence of

in articulo mortis - at the moment of death

In camera -in secret (literally "in the chamber")

Incipit - Begin here.

index librorum prohibitorum - list of forbidden books

in dubio - in doubt

in duplo - in two

in effigie - in (the form of) an image

in esse - in existence

in excelsis - in the highest

in extenso - in long (form) that is complete, unabridged.

in extremis - in extremity

In fidem - to faith

in fine - at the end

In flagrante delicto - In flaming crime (caught in the act)

in flore - in bloom

in foro - in forum (in court)

infra - below, underneath

in futuro - in the future

in infinitum - to infinity

In loco - at the place

in loco parentis - in the place of a parent

In medias res - into the middle of things

in memoriam - in memory of

In nuce - in a nutshell

in perpetuum - for ever

in personam - against the person

in pleno - in full

in praesenti - at the present time

in principio - in the beginning

in propria persona - in person

in puris naturalibus - completely naked

in rem - against the matter (property)

in rerum natura - in the nature of things

In salvo - in safety

in se - in itself

in situ - in position

in totidem verbis - in so many words

in toto - totally,completely

in transitu - in passing

In triplo - in three (copies)

in usu - in use

in utero - in the womb

in vacuo - in a vacuum

In vino veritas. - In wine is truth.

in vitro - in glass

in vivo - in the living (thing)

incredibile dictu - incredible to say

inter alia - among other things

inter alios - among other people

inter se - between themselves

inter spem et metum - between hope and fear

inter vivos - between living (people)

intra muros - within the walls, not public

intra vires - within the powers

Ipsi dixit. - He himself said it.

ipsissima verba - the exact words

ipso facto - by the fact itself

ipso iure - by operation of the law

ius gentium - the law of nations



justitia omnibus - justice for all



Not used in Latin



lapsus linguae - a slip of the tongue

lapsus memoriae - a slip of the memory

Laus Deo - Praise be to God.

lex domicilii - the law of a person's home country

Lex lata - the law as it exists

lex loci - the law of the place

lex non scripta - the unwritten (common) law

lex scripta - the written law

Licentia poetica - Poetic license

literati - men of letters

locus delicti - the scene of the crime

locus in quo - the place in which something happens

Loquitur - He/She speaks.

lumen naturale - natural light

lusus naturae - a freak of nature

lux et veritas - light and truth

lux mundi - the light of the world



Magister Artium (MA) - master of arts

magna cum laude - with great distinction

Magnificat. - It magnifies.

magnum opus - the greatest piece of work

mala fide - in bad faith

manu propria (m.p.) - with one's own hand

mater - mother

materfamilias - mother of family

mea culpa - through my fault

Memento mori. - Remember that you must die.

memorabilia - memorable things

mens sana in corpore - a healthy mind in a healthy body

millennium (millennia) - a thousand year period

mirabile visu - wonderful to behold

Miserere. - Have mercy.

modus operandi (m.o.) - way of operating

modus vivendi - way of living

moratorium - a delay

Morituri te salutant. - Those who are about to die salute you.



Nascentes morimur. - From the moment we are born, we die.

Natura abhorret a vacuo. - Nature abhors a vacuum

ne plus ultra (also non plus ultra) "nothing more beyond" literally, the best or most extreme example of something.

nihil - nothing

nihil per os (n.p.o.) - nothing by mouth

nolens volens - whether unwilling or willing

Noli me tangere. - Touch me not.

nolle prosequi - not willing to prosecute (a legal motion to drop legal charges, usually in exchange for a diversion program or out-of-court settlement)

Nolo contendere - I do not wish to contend. (no contest - a plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states the accused doesn't admit guilt but will accept punishment for a crime.)

non mihi solum �not for myself alone

non sequitur - it does not follow

Nota bene (n.b.) Note it well.

nulli secundus - second to none

nunc pro tunc - now for then (effective from an earlier date)



O tempora, O mores! - "Oh the times! Oh the morals!" (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

oculus dexter (O.D.) - right eye

oculus sinister (O.S.) - left eye

Oderint dum metuant ~ Let them hate so long as they fear. Lucius Accius Better known perhaps as one of Caligula's favorite sayings

Odi et amo. � �I hate (her) and I love (her).� (Catullus)

Omnia vincit amor - Love conquers all.

onus probandi - the burden of proof

opera omnia - all works (the collected works of an author)

opere citato (op.cit) - in the cited work

ophidia in herba - a snake in the grass (hidden danger or unknown risk)

opus Dei - the work of God



panem et circenses - bread and circuses

pari passu - with equal step (moving together, simultaneously)

pater noster - our father

paterfamilias - father of the family

paucis verbis - in a few words

pax - peace

Pax vobiscum. - Peace be with you.

per annum - yearly

per capita - per head (per person)

per cent - per hundred

per diem - daily

per os (p.o.) - by mouth

per se - by itself

per qod - by virtue of and depending on external facts e.g. a libel would only be valid if the accuser were truly of good character. Opposite of per se.

per stirpes - per branch (used in wills to indicate that each branch of the testator's family should inherit equally)

persona non grata - person not wanted,

post bellum - after the war

post cibum (p.c.) - after meals

post facto - after the fact

post hoc - after this

Post hoc ergo procter hoc - A logical fallacy of ascribing causatiuon when it is not justified.

post meridiem (pm) - after midday, from noon to midnight

post mortem - after death

post partum - after childbirth

Post prandial - after eating.

post scriptum (ps) - written later, used to mark additions to a letter after the signature.

prima facie - at first sight

Primum non nocere. "First, do no harm." (Hippocrates)

primus inter pares - first among equals

pro bono (pro bono publico) - for the good of the public said of a lawyer's work that is not charged for.

pro forma - as a matter of form, formality

pro nunc - for now

pro patria - for one's country

pro rata - for the rate, (in proportion to the value)

pro re nata (prn) - as needed

pro tempore - for the time being, (temporary)

Probatum est - It has been proved.

punctum saliens - the outstanding (essential or most notable) point



qua - in so far as

Quaere verum. - Seek the truth.

quaque die (qd) - every day

quaque hora (qh) - every hour

quaque mane (qm) - every morning

quaque nocte (qn) - every night

quater in die (qid) - four times a day

Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius - Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad

Qui tacet consentit. - Who keeps silent, consents.

quid pro quo - this for that (a favor for a favor)

Quidnunc? or Quid nunc? - What now? (noun: a busybody or a gossip)

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - Who will guard the guardians?

quo iure - by what law

Quo vadis - Where are you going?

quod erat demonstrandum (QED) - which was to be demonstrated

Quod est (qe) - which is

quorum - of whom



re - concerning

redivivus - come back to life

reductio ad absurdum - reduction to the absurd

referendum - something to be referred

regina - queen

Requiescat in pace. - (RIP) May he/she rest in peace.

Res ipsa loquitur. - The thing speaks for itself.

res iudicata � a judged thing (Legal concept: once a matter has been finally decided by the courts, it cannot be litigated again.)

rex - king

rigor mortis - the rigidity of death



salve - hello

satis - enough

scilicet (s.c.) - that is to say

Scripsit. - He/She wrote it.

semper fidelis � (Semper Fi) always faithful

semper paratus - always prepared.

sequens (seq) - the following (one)

sic - thus

Si vis pacem, para bellum - If you wish for peace, prepare for war

Sic vita est - Such is life.

Signetur (sig) - Let it be labeled.

sine anno (s.a.) - without year (unknown publication date)

sine cura - without a care

sine die - without a day (indefinitely)

sine qua non - something/someone indispensable

sine loco (sl) - without place

sine prole (sp) - without issue

statim (stat) - immediately

Sola scriptura - the idea that the holy book is doctrinally infallible and all required knowledge is to be found therin (A Theological concept.)

solum Deum prae oculis habentes - having only God before your eyes

Solvitur Ambulando - It is all solved with a walk

status quo - the current state of being

Stet - Let it stand. (marginal mark in proofreading to indicate that something previously deleted or marked for deletion should be retained)

stricto sensu - in the strict sense

stupor mundi - wonder of the world

sub poena - under penalty of law

sub rosa - under the rose (secretly)

sui generis - of his/her/its own kind

sui juris - of one's own right (capable of legal responsibility)

summa cum laude - with highest praise

summum bonum - the highest good

summum malum - the supreme evil

Sunt omnes unum. - They are all one.

suo iure - in one's own right

suo loco - in a person's rightful place

supra - above



tabula rasa - blank tablet or slate

tacet - silence

tempore - in the time of

Tempus fugit. - Time flees.

terra firma - solid ground

terra incognita - unknown land

ter in die (t.i.d.) - three times a day



ut dictum - as directed

unus multorum - one of many (an average person)



 Vade in pace. - Go in peace.

vale - farewell

Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas. - "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes, 1:2)

Veni, vidi, vici. - I came, I saw, I conquered.

vera causa - the true cause (of)

verbatim et litteratim - word for word and letter for letter

Verbum sapienti sat est. - A word is enough to the wise.

Veritas - truth

Veritas nunquam perit. - Truth never dies.

Veritas vos liberabit. - The truth will set you free.

versus (vs.) - against

veto - I forbid (a right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation)

via - by way of

vice - in place of

vice versa - with places exchanged (in reverse order)

vide - see

Vis legis - force of the law

Vivat regina - Long live the queen.

Vivat rex - Long live the king.

vox populi - voice of the people

Linda Byard

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