Latin Phrases and Idioms
I took special care to make sure that all words have been copied, and especially capitalized properly. I also added in information mutatis mutandis. Any words I didn't realize weren't of latin origin are listed inside brackets, ' [' and ']'.
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
ab origine - From the origin.
ab ovo - From the egg; from the beginning.
absit invidia – Let there be no ill will; all envy aside.
Ab uno disce omnes – From one specimen judge all the rest.
ad extremum – To the end.
ad finem – To the end.
ad hoc – For this special object or occasion.
ad infinitum – To infinity.
ad interim – In the interim; for the meantime, temporarily.
ad libitum – At pleasure.
ad litem – For or during legal process. A representative is selected ad litem to speak and to act in behalf of a person who is incompetent.
ad nauseam – To the point of causing disgust.
ad rem – To the purpose; to the point.
Adsum – I am present; here.
ad summam – In short.
ad valorem – According to the value.
ad verbum – Word for word, verbatim.
advocatus diaboli – The devil’s advocate; a detractor.
a fortiori – With stronger reason.
Age quod agis – Attend to what you are about.
ager publicus – Public domain.
aggregatio mentium – A meeting of minds.
Agnus Dei – The Lamb of God.
Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est. - Yes, that is a very large amount of corn.
aliquis in omnibus, nullis in singulis – Jack of all trades, but master of none.
alter ego – another self.
A maximis ad minima – From the greatest to the least(Microsoft Word spellchecker says that for number agreement, it must be either “maximis ad minima” or “A maximis ad minimum.”)
Amici probantur rebus adversis – Friends are tested by adversity.
Amor omnia vincit (or vincit omnia) – Love conquers all things.
amor patriae – Love of country.
Anathema sit – Let him be accursed. From Vulgate, Galatians 1, 8 and Corinthians 16, 22.
Anno Domini – In the year of our Lord. Abbr. A.D.
Annuit Coeptis – He (God) has favored our beginning. (Motto for the reverse side of the great seal of the U.S.)
ante – Before.
ante bellum – Before the war.
ante diluvium – Before the flood.
a posteriori – From the effect to the cause; reasoning sequence opposed to a priori.
a priori – Reasoning sequence from cause to effect.
[a propos (or á propos) – apparently of French origin – Apt; to the purpose; at the right moment]
arbiter elegantiarum – A judge or supreme authority in matters of taste.
argumentum ad absurdum – An argument providing the absurdity of an opponent’s argument.
argumentum ad hominem – An argument to the individual man; i.e. to his interest and prejudices.
argumentum ad ignorantiam – An argument based on the ignorance of an opponent.
argumentum ad judicium – An argument appealing to common sense and judgment.
Ars longa, vita brevis – Art (is) long, life (is) short.
Artium Magister – Master of Arts.
Asperges – Thou shalt sprinkle; the ceremony of sprinkling holy water in High Mass
aurea mediocritas – The golden mean
aurora australis – A luminous phenomenon of the South Polar region similar to the northern lights.
aut Caesar, aut nihil – Either Caesar or nothing.
Aut vincere aut mori – Either to conqueror or to die.
Ave Maria – Hail Mary; thus the angel Gabriel greeted the Virgin Mary.
bona fide – In good faith
cacoethes scribendi – The itch to write.
capias – literally ‘that you take’ - General name for writs for arrest.
Carpe Diem – Enjoy the present day.
casus fortuitus – A matter of chance.
Caveat emptor – Let the buyer beware.
Caveat venditor – Let the seller beware.
Cave canem – Beware of the dog.
Cena Domini – The Lord’s Supper.
Cepi corpus – A sherif’s endorsement upon a writ of arrest after having made thatarrest.
certiorari – A writ calling for a case in a lower court, or records of that case, to be brought before a higher court.
Cetera desunt – The rest are missing. (Found at the end of old segments of manuscripts, indicating that the remainder has never been located.)
ceteris paribus – Other things being equal.
circum – Around; about.
Civus Romanus sum – I am a Roman citizen.
Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am (Descartes).
compos mentis – Of sound mind.
conditio sine qua non – A necessary condition.
Conquiescat in pace – Rest in peace.
Consummatum est – It is finished. (Last words of Christ on the cross.)
[contra – apparently of Spanish origin – against.]
Corpus Christi – The body of Christ.
corpus delecti – The body or object of a crime, as the corpse in a homocide or stolen goods in a theft.
Corpus Juris Civilis – The body of roman civil law.
cuique suum – To each his own.
culpa – Fault, guilt.
cum grano salis – With a grain of salt.
cum laude – With praise.
cum privilegio – With privelige.
[Da capo – apparently of Italian origin – From the beginning; again.]
Damnant quod non intelligunt – They condemn what they do not understand.
de facto – In fact; actually.
De gustibus non est disputandum – There is no disputing about tastes.
Dei gratia – By the grace of God
de jure – From the law; by right.
Delenda est Carthago – Carthage must be destroyed (Cato the Elder).
delirium tremens – A nervous disorder characterized by delusion, hallucination, and uncontrollable trembling of limbs: due to excessive alcoholic consumption followed by abstinence.
De mortis nil nisi bonum – (Say) nothing but good of the dead.
de novo – Anew.
Deo gratias – Thanks to God.
Deo volente - God willing. By God’s will.
de profundis – Out of the depths.
desideratum – Something desired or needed.
Deus nobiscum, quis contra? – If God is with us, who is against us?
Deus vobiscum – God be with you.
Deus vult – God wishes it.
Dirigo – I direct. (The state motto of Maine.)
Divide et impera – Divide and rule.
Dixi – I have spoken.
Doctor Mirabilis – literally ‘The Admirable Doctor’ – Roger Bacon.
Doctor Subtilis – literally ‘The Subtle Doctor’ – John Duns Scotus.
Dominus vobiscumm – The Lord be with you.
dramatis personae – The persons or characters in a drama.
Dum spiro spero – While I breathe I hope. (South Carolina state motto.)
Dum vita est, spes est – While there is life, there is hope.
Dum vivimus, vivamus – While we live, let us live.
editio princeps – The first printed edition of a book.
Edo, ergo sum – I eat, therefore I am.
emeritus – Retired after long and worthy service.
E pluribus unum – One out of many; one composed of many.
ergo – Therefore, consequently.
Errare humanum est – To err is human.
esse quam videri – To be rather than to seem.
Est modus in rebus – There is a medium in all things.
et cetera – And so forth; and the rest. Abbr. Etc.
et nunc et semper – Now and always.
Et tu, Brute! – And thou also, Brutus.
ex animo – Heartily,; sincerely.
ex cathedra – With authority: since 1870 the Pope has claimed to be infallible when speaking ex cathedra.
excelsior – Higher, upward.
Exeat – Let him leave; a permit granting a student permission for temporary absence.
exempli gratia – By way of example. Abbr. e.g.
exeunt – They go out.
exit – He [or she] goes out.
ex libris – From the books of.
Ex nihilo nihil fit – Out of nothing, nothing comes.
ex officio – By virtue of office.
ex parte – From one side only.
ex post facto – After the deed is done; retrospective.
ex tempore – Without preparation; impromptu.
extra muros – Beyond the walls.
Facilis descensus Averno – The descent to hell is easy.
facta, non verba – Deeds, not words.
factum est – It is done.
fait accompli – A thing already done.
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus – False in one thing, false in everything. Legally, the entire testimony of a witness may be disregarded if some part of it is found to be false.
fama semper vivat! – May his fame live forever.
felix culpa – A fortunate mistake; a happy fall.
festina lente – Hasten slowly.
Fiat lux – Let there be light.
fiat voluntas tua – Thy will be done. Matt. 6:10.
fidei defensor – Defender of the faith.
fide, non armis – By faith, not arms.
fides et justitita – Faith and justice.
finis – The end.
Flagellum Dei – The scourge of God: name given to Atilla the Hun.
fortiter in re – With firmness in acting.
Frater – Brother.
Gaudeamus igitur – Let us then be glad.
Gloria in Excelsis – Glory (to God) in the highest.
Gloria Patri – Glory be to the Father.
habeas corpus – You have the body. Several legal writs begin with these words, and all generally call for bringing the party in custody before the court.
Hic et ubique – Here and everywhere.
hic jacet – Here lies.
hora fugit – The hour flies; time flies.
Humanum est errare – To err is human.
ibidem – At the same place, as in a book. Abbr. ibid.
idem – The same. Abbr. id.
id est – That is. Abbr. i.e.
Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iundaeorum – Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Abbr. I.N.R.I.
in articulo mortis – At the point of death
in curia – In court.
in esse – In being; in actualyity; in existence.
in excelsis – In the highest; on high.
in extremis – At the point of death.
in futuro – In the future; henceforth.
in loco – in place; in the natural or proper place.
in loco parentis – In the place of a parent.
in memoriam – To the memory of; in memory.
in nomine –In the name of.
in omnia paratus – Prepared for all things.
in perpetuum – Forever.
in re – In the matter of; regarding.
in situ – In its original situation.
in statu quo – In the former state.
inter – Amid, among, between.
inter alia – Among other things.
in toto – In the whole; entirely.
intra muros – Withing the walls.
Ipse dixit – He said it; a dogmatic saying or assertion.
ipso facto – By the fact itself; in the nature of the case.
Jesus Hominum Salvator – Jesus, Savior of Men.
judicium Dei – The judgement of God.
jus canonicum – Canon law.
jus civile – Civil law.
jus divinum – Divine law.
jus gladii – The right of the sword.
jus sanguinis – The right of blood; legal right of heritage or descent.
Labor omnia vincit – Labor conquers everything.
lapis – A stone.
lapsus linguae – A slip of the tongue.
lapsus memoriae – A slip of the memory.
Latine dictum – Spoken in Latin.
lex – law.
lex loci –The law or custom of the place.
lex non scripta – Unwritten law; common law.
lex scripta – Written law; statue law.
Litera scripta manet – The written word remains.
loco citato – In the place cited. Abbr. loc. Cit.
magna cum laude – With great praise.
magni nominis umbra – The shadow of a great name.
magnum opus – A great work.
mala fide – With bad faith; treacherously.
[mal a propos (or mal á propos) – apparently of French origin – Inopportunely or improperly timed.]
Mare Nostrum – Roman name for Mediterranean Sea.
maragritas ante porcos – Pearls before swine.
mea culpa – My fault; by fault of my own.
me judice – I being judge; in my opinion.
mens sana in corpore sano – A sound mind in a sound body.
meum et tuum – Mine and thine.
mirabile dictu – Wonderful to relate.
misericordia – Compassion, pity, mercy.
Missa cantata – Mass sung by a single priest.
modus operandi – Manner of working.
modus vivendi – Mode of living.
motu proprio – Of his own accord.
mutatis mutandis – With the necessary changes.
Nec habeo, nec careo, nec curo – I want not, I care not.
ne quid nimis – Nothing to excess.
Nescit vox missa reverti – The spoken word can never be recalled.
nihil – Nothing.
nihil ad rem – Nothing to the point.
Nisi Dominus frustra – Unless God (be with us) all is in vain.
nolens volens – Whther willing or not; unwilling.
Noli me tangere – Touch me not.
Nolo contendere – literally ‘I will not contest it’ – A plea of a defendant by which he submits to conviction, but without necessarily admitting his guilt.
non compos mentis – Not of sound mind.
non culpabilis – Not guilty.
non obstante – Notwithstanding.
non possumus – We cannot (comply).
non sequitur – It does not follow.
Nosce te ipsum – Know thyself.
Nota bene – Mark well, take note.
nulli secundus – Second to none.
nunc aut nunquam – Now or never.
nunquam non paratus – Never unprepared; always ready.
Obiit – He (she) died.
obiter dictum – A thing said by the way.
odium theologicum – The hatred of theologians for one another; the bitterness of theological controversy.
Omnia vincit amor – Love conquers all things.
Omnia vincit labor – Labor overcomes all things.
onus probandi – The burden of proof.
opus – A work.
origo mali – Origin of the evil.
O tempora! O mores! – O the times. O the customs.
pace – By or with the leave of.
pace tua – By your leave.
pars pro toto – Part for the whole.
partim – In part; partly.
passim – Everywhere; throughout; here and there.
pater – Father.
paterfamilias – Father of a family; household head.
Pater Noster – Our Father, the first words of the Lord’s Prayer.
pater patriae – Father of his country.
patres conscripti – Conscript fathers; Roman senators.
pax – Peace.
Pax Romana – Roman peace; peace established by Roman might and security.
pax vobiscum – Peace be with you.
per annumm – By the year; annually.
per capita – By the head; for each person.
per centum – By the hundred.
per diem – By the day; daily.
periculum in mora – Danger in delay.
per mensum – By the month.
per se – By or in itself.
persona grata – An acceptable or welcome person.
persona non grata – An unacceptable person.
post meridiem – After noon; afternoon.
post mortem – After death; an autopsy.
prima facie- At first appearance; at first glance.
primo – In the first place, in the beginning, at first.
principia non homines – Principles, not men.
pro bono publico – For the good of the public.
pro et contra – For and against.
por patria – For country.
propter hoc – On account of this, because of this.
pro rata – According to this current rate; proportionately.
pro rege, lege, et grege – For the king, the law, and the people.
pro tempore – For the time; temporarily.
quam proxime– As nearly as possible.
quasi – As if; as it were.
quid nunc? - What now?
quid pro quo – Something in return; compensation.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who shall keep the keepers themselves? Who shall guard the guards?
quoad hoc – To this extent; as to this; as far as this is concerned.
quo animo – With what intention or motive.
quo vadis? - Whiter goest thou?
regina – Queen.
requiescat in pace – May he (she) rest in peace. Abbr. R.I.P.
res gestae – Things done; exploits; accomplishments.
res judicata – A suit already judged; a settled case.
rex – King.
Rex non potest peccare – The king can do no wrong.
salve! – Hail.
sanctum sanctorum – The holy of holies.
semper fidelis – Always faithful.
semper idem – Always the same.
semper paratus – Always ready.
Sequitur – It follows. Abbr. seq.
sic – Thus; thus in the original copy: used parenthetically to the point out errors in a quotation.
sic passim – Thus everywhere; the same here and there throughout the text.
Sic semper tyrannis – May it always be so to tyrants.
Si Deus nobiscum, quis contra nos? – If God is with us, who can be against us?
Si monumentum requiris, circumspice – If you seek this monument, look around you.
sine – Without.
sine cura – Without care; without duty or responsibility.
sine dubio – Without any doubt.
sine qua non – Without which, not; a necessity.
spes – Hope.
sponte sua – Of one’s own accord.
status quo – The existing condition or state of affairs at some particular time.
status quo ante bellum – In the state in which tihngs were beforethe war.
suaviter in modo, fortiter in re – Gentle in manner, firm in action.
sub judice – Under (judicial) consideration.
sub poena – Under penalty; a legal writ ordering court appearance under penalty of punishment.
sub rosa – Secretly, confidentially, privately.
sui generis – Of its own unique kind; in a class of its own.
summa cum laude – With highest praise.
summum bonum – The chief good.
suum cuique – To each his own.
tabula rasa – A clean, blank tablet; John Lock theorized that at birth, the mind was just such a blank tablet.
Te Deum Laudamus – We praise thee, O God; a hymn sung in both roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
te judice – You being the judge; in you opinion.
tempori parendum – One must yield to the times.
tempus fugit – Time flies.
tempus omnia revelat – Time reveals all things.
te nosce – Know thyself.
terra nova – A new land.
totum – The whole; all.
tuum – Thine.
una voce – With one voice; of one accord, unanimously.
uno animo – With one mind; of one accord, unanimously.
us supra – As above.
ut infra – As (stated) below.
vade in pace – Go in peace.
vale – Good-bye, farewell.
Veni, vidi, vici. – I came, I saw, I conquered.
veritas – Truth.
via media – A middle course.
vide et crede – See and believe.
vide infra – See below.
vide post – See after; see the following.
vide supra – See above.
vi et armis – By force and arms; by main force.
vincit omnia veritas – Truth conquers all things.
virtute et labore – By virtue and labor.
virtute, non verbis – By virtue, not by words.
vis – Force; might; strength.
vis vitae – Vital force, the life force.
Vita brevis, ars longa – Life is short, art (is) long.
volo, non valeo – I am willing, but not able.
vox – Voice.
vox et praeterea nihil – A voice and nothing more.
vox populi, vox Dei – The voice of the people is the voice of God.