Latin Phrases and Expressions
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Half the English vocabulary comes from ancient Rome, and everyday communications are peppered with Latin phrases like et cetera and per capita. And Latin quotations abound in Western countries.
And "cui bono?" means "Who benefits", or more literally: "For whose benefit is it?" It is a very good question throughout life's encounters.
About 690 quotes have been collected from a variety of sources. The page is designed for genus irritabile vatum (the irritable race of poets) and all other interested ones.
Moreover, philosophers (thinkers) tend to use not a few latin tags and phrases. Below are some to back you up, apart from O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem! Oh! More! Go on! Yes! Ooh! Ummm!
A fonte puro pura defluit aqua. Pure water flows from a pure spring.
A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. A precipice in front, wolves behind. In other words, "Between a rock and a hard place."
A posteriori. Later, following and adv. "from the latter"; inductive; relating to or derived by reasoning from observed facts. from what comes after "From effect to cause." A thing is known a posteriori if it is known from evidence or empirical reasoning. Adj. and adv. "from the latter"; inductive; relating to or derived by reasoning from observed facts. from what comes after from effects to causes, reasoning based on past experience. From what comes after', reasoning based on experience.
A priori. Reasoning from causes to effects. Adj. and adv. "from the former"; deductive; relating to or derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions; presupposed by experience; being without examination or analysis; presumptive; formed or conceived beforehand. From what comes before. A thing is known a priori if it is evident by logic alone from what is already known. From causes to effects, conclusions drawn from assumptions, deductive reasoning. 'From what is already known', reasoning based on deduction. From what was before.
A propositum aberrare, declinare, deflectare, digredi, egredi. To digress from the point at issue.
Ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia. The consequences of abuse do not apply to general use (rights abused by some are still rights).
Ab aeterno. From eternity.
Ab imo pectore. From the bottom of the chest (from the bottom of the heart).
Ab incunabulis From infancy.
Ab initio. From the beginning.
Ab intra. From within.
Ab urbe condita; anno urbis conditae. "From the founding of the city" (of Rome); 753 B.C., according to Livy's count; used as a reference point by the Romans for establishing dates, as we use A.D. today.
Ab (ex) uno disce omnes. From one person, learn all people.
Absentem laedit cum ebrio qui litigat. To quarrel with a drunk is to wrong a man who is not even there.
Absit invidia. Let ill will be absent.
Absit omen. May the omen be; may the omen be absent (asks for protection against evil) or absent (may this not be an omen).
Absolvi meam animam. I have set my mind free. I got that off my chest.
Absolvo. I acquit.
Absum! I'm out of here!
Abundant dulcibus vitiis. Nobody's perfect.
Abusus non tollit usum. Misuse does not nullify proper use.
Accessit. He/she came close. Honorable mention.
Acta est fabula. The drama has been acted out; It is all over. (Usually in the context of a life or event coming to an unhappy end).
Actio personalis monitur cum persona. Dead men do not sue.
Ad alta. To the summit.
Ad arbitrium. At pleasure.
Ad finem. To the end; at or near the end.
Ad hoc. For this purpose (a temporary committee); toward this (matter) something created especially for a particular occasion; for this particular purpose (for this one reason) For the immediate purpose. An ad hoc committee is appointed for some specific purpose, after completing which it is dissolved. "For a particular purpose (improvised)".
Ad idem. Of the same mind.
Ad infinitum. Without limit, forever, or "to the infinite"; without end or limit. To infinity, without limit. Never ending. Without limit or end. To infinity. (It indicates that a process or operation is to be carried out indefinitely, without limit.
Ad Kalendas Graecas. At the Greek Kalends; hence, never. (It speaks of a date that does not or will not exist. Kalends were a part of the Roman month, but did not exist in the Greek calendar, so the Latin phrase is used when confronted with a false or unlikely promise).
Ad libitium (ad lib). "Freely; at ease; at pleasure; at will.
Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora. Eggs today are better than chickens tomorrow (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush).
Ad vitam. For life.
Ad vitam paramus. We are preparing for life.
Adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit. Add a little to a little and there will be a great heap (Ovid)
Adsum. I am present.
Adversus solem ne loquitor. Do not speak against the sun (do not waste your time arguing the obvious).
Aegrescit medendo. He becomes worse by the remedies used.
Aegroto dum anima est, spes esse dicitur. As long as there is life there is hope for the ill one, it is said (Cicero).
Aegroto dum anima est, spes est. As long as a sick person is conscious - or has a good character, reacts - there is still hope.
Age quod agis. Attend to what you are about.
Albae gallinae filius. Son of a white hen.
Alea iacta est. The die is cast. The die has been cast. i.e., The decision has been made. [Julius Caesar uttered this when making the decision to cross the Rubicon in 49 B.C. Used when a bold and irretrievable decision has been made.]
Alias (dictus). Otherwise called.
Aliquid ad ridiculum convertere. To make a joke of a thing.
Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi. The deepest rivers flow with the least sound (still waters run deep).
Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur. Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time.
Amici probantur rebus adversis. Friends are tested in adversity.
Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur. One's friends are known in the hour of need.
Amicus humani generis. A friend of the human race (philanthropist).
Amor nummi. Love of money.
Animis opibusque parati. Prepared in minds and resources (ready for anything).
Animo prompto esse ad jocandum. To be humorously inclined.
Annus Bisextus. Leap year.
Annus mirabilis. A remarkable year, a miraculous year; a year in which an unusual number of remarkable things occurred.
Ante languorem adhibe medicinam. Use medicine before you get too weak (Sirak).
Ante meridiem. Before noon. Usually abbreviated A.M.
Ante partum. Before childbirth.
Ante victoriam ne canas triumphum. Do not count your chickens before they're hatched.
Apparatus criticus. Critical matter.
Apudne te vel me? Your place or mine?
Aqua pura. Pure water.
Aqua vitae. Water of life (formerly applied to alcohol).
Aquila non capit murem. The eagle does not catch the mouse (do not sweat over small things.)
Aquila non capit muscas. An eagle does not catch [does not bother with] flies.
Arcanum arcanorum. Secret of secrets.
Argumentum ad baculum Argument to the stick (appeal to force)
Arma tuentur pacem. Arms maintain peace.
Ars amandi. The art of loving.
Ars artis gratia. Art for art's sake.
Ars artium. The art of arts (logic).
Ars dicendi. The art of speaking, oratory.
Ars longa, vita brevis. Art is long, but life is short. (Hippocrates said it in Greek).
Ars moriendi. The art of dying.
Ars poetica. The art of poetry.
Ars sine scienta nihil est. Art without science is nothing.
Arte perire sua. To perish by one's own creation.
Artes perditae. Lost arts.
Asinus asinum fricat. The ass rubs the ass (used to describe two people lavishing excessive praise on one another).
Aspergere sales orationi. To intersperse one's speech with humorous remarks.
Assiduus usus uni rei deditus et ingenium et artem saepe vincit. Constant practice devoted to one subject often outdoes both intelligence and skill (Cicero).
Audi et alteram partem. Hear the other side too.
Audiatur et altera pars. Let us hear the opposite side. The other part should be heard, too.
Aurea mediocritas. "Golden Mean" (an ethical goal to achieve).
Aureo hamo piscari. To fish with a golden hook.
Aurora australis. The southern polar lights.
Aurora borealis. The northern polar lights.
Auspicium melioris aevi. Omen of a better time.
Aut insanit homo, aut versus facit. The fellow is either mad or he is composing verses.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam. I will either find a way or make one (motto).
Ave atque vale. "Hail and farewell!".
Beati possidentes. Blessed are those who possess (possession is nine points of the law).
Beatus ille qui procul negotiis. Blessed is he who is free from the business pressures.
Bene ambula et redambula. A safe journey to you.
Bene diagnoscitur, bene curatur. Something that is well diagnosed can be cured well.
Bona diagnosis, bona curatio. Good diagnosis, good cure.
Bona fide. In good faith; genuine, sincere; genuinely, sincerely.
Bona fides Honest intention, good faith.
Bonis avibus. Under good birds (under favorable signs).
Braccae tuae aperiuntur. Your fly is open.
Breviter et commode dictum. A short, pointed witticism.
Caeca invidia est. Envy is [quite] blind.
Camera obscura. N. "dark chamber"; a darkened enclosure having an aperture usu. provided with a lens through which light from external objects enters to form an image of the objects on the opposite surface.
Canis meus id comedit. My dog ate it.
Capillamentum? Haudquaquam conieci esse! A wig? I never would have guessed!
Carpe diem. Seize the day; pluck the day; i.e., enjoy the day; (Lve in the now; do not waste good time or opportunity.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam. I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.
Cave canem. Beware of the dog.
Cave quid dicis, quando, et cui. Beware what you say, when, and to whom.
Caveat. "Let him beware"; a caution or warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices; an explanation to prevent misinterpretation; a legal warning to a judicial officer to suspend a proceeding until the opposition has a hearing.
Caveat emptor. "Let the buyer beware", i.e. the onus of responsibility is on the purchaser of goods.
Caveat venditor. Let the seller beware.
Cf. Confer, compare, see.
Clamo, clamatis, omnes clamamus pro glace lactis. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
Clara pacta, boni amici. Clear agreements [for] good friends.
Cogita ante salis. Think before you leap (i.e., look before you leap.
Cogito ergo doleo. I think, therefore I am depressed.
Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am (Rene Descartes).
Cogito sumere potum alterum. I think I'll have another drink.
Coitus interruptus. Interrupted coitus.
Commune naufragium dulce. Common shipwreck is sweet. [Common traumas connect people.].
Commune periculum concordiam parit. Common danger begets concord.
Compos sui. Master of himself.
Compos voti. Having obtained one's wish.
Condemnant quod non intellegunt. "They condemn because they do not understand"; a phrase that can be used to defend much.
Conditio sine qua non. A necessary condition. A necessary or indispensable condition (without which [there is] nothing).
Confer (abbreviated Cf.). Compare.
Consilio et prudentia. By wisdom and prudence.
Cornucopia. Horn of plenty.
Corpus Delicti. "The body of the crime"; the substance or fundamental facts of crime; the material evidence that a crime has occurred.
Cui bono. Whom does it benefit? (including the profit?) (From Cicero).
Cui Fortuna favet multos amicos habet. He whom Fortune favors has many friends.
Cui prodest. Who profits? Who gains? "Whom does it benefit?" (Short form for cui prodest scelus, is fecit in Seneca's Medea - the murderer (could be) the one who gets advantage from the murder).
Culpa est mea. "The fault is mine".
Cum grano salis. With a grain of salt. (Take something not literally, but with due consideration.).
Cum laude. "With praise (honour)" Used on degree certificates to indicate exceptional academic standing.
Cura, ut valeas! Take care.
Curae leves loquuntur ingentes stupent. Slight griefs talk, great ones are speechless (minor losses can be talked away, profound ones strike us dumb).
Curia pauperibus clausa est. The Senate house is closed to the poor.
Curriculum vitae. The course of one's life (plural: curricula vitae).
Decet verecundum esse adolescentem. It becomes a young man to be modest.
De dicto. Of words.
De diem in die. From day to day.
De facto. "In reality"; according to fact; actually.
Deficiente pecunia deficit omnia. It's all over when money is gone.
De gustibus non est disputandum. There is no accounting for tastes.
De iure. By law; according to law.
De profundis. Out of the depths.
De re. Of things. About the thing.
Deo gratias. Thanks to God.
Deo volente. God willing.
Deus ex machina. A god out of a machine (device) i.e., a sudden, unexpected turnover; an artificially introduced solution. [Originating from Greek dramas, where Zeus was introduced on the stage by letting him descend from the sky, in the reality coming out of a machine].
Deus vobiscum. God be with you.
Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit! God, look at the time! My wife will kill me!
Di pia facta vident. The gods see virtuous deeds (Ovid).
Die dulci fruere. Have a nice day.
Dic mihi solum facta, domina. Just the facts, ma'am.
Dicendi praecepta tradere. To teach rhetoric.
Dicta dicere in aliquem. To make jokes on a person.
Dictum. "A thing said"; a noteworthy statement.
Dictum ac factum. Said and done.
Dictum sapienti sat est. A word to a wise person is sufficient.
Die dulci fruere. Have a nice day.
Dies natalis. Birthday.
Disertum esse. To be fluent.
Dispositio rerum. The arrangement of the subject-matter.
Dixi. I have spoken.
Docendo discimus. We learn by teaching.
Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos. As long as you are fortunate, you will have many friends.
Dramatis personae. Characters of the play.
Dulcis domus. Sweet home.
Dum spiro, spero. "While (as long as) I breathe, I hope".
Dum vita est spes est. While there is life, there is hope.
Dum vivimus, vivamus. While we live, let us really live. (Epicurean philosophy).
Dura necessitas. Necessity is harsh.
Durum hoc est sed ita lex scripta est. This is harsh but the law is written.
E fructu arbor cognoscitur. The tree can be recognized by its fruits.
E pluribus unum. Out of many, one (motto on the Great Seal of the United States).
E.g. For example.
Edamus, bibamus, gaudeamus. Let us eat, drink and be merry (Solomon).
Editio princeps. First edition.
Eiusdem generis. Of the same kind.
Eloquentia corporis. Eloquent body (impressive exterior).
Emeritus. Honorary; by merit: having served his time. For example, "She is now professor emerita."
Ergo. Therefore; used to show a logical conclusion.
Errare humanum est, in errore perservare stultum. (Seneca). It is human to make a mistake, it is stupid to persist on it.
Erratum (plur. errata). Error (The term refers to corrections of not very large errors in books and papers after publishing.
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre? Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?
Et al. Abbreviation of et alii, which means "and others". It is used to avoid writing a long list.
Et cetera. And the rest; and so on. Often abbreviated etc. or &c.
Et nunc et semper. Now and forever.
Et uxor (abbreviated Et ux.). And wife; with wife.
Ex aequo et bono. According to what is just and good.
Ex animo. From the heart (sincerely, heartily).
Ex Cathedra. "From the (bishop's) chair"; speaking with formal, official authority. Figuratively, any authoritative pronouncement. Usually an official pronouncement from the Pope. A Cathedra is the seat reserved for a Bishop in a cathedral.
Ex gratia. As a favour.
Ex imo corde. From the bottom of the heart.
Ex libris. From the library (book collection) of.
Ex malis moribus bonae leges natae sunt. From bad ways (customs) good laws were born.
Ex mea sententia. In my opinion.
Ex more. According to custom.
Ex officio. By virtue of the office held; out of (as a result of) one's duty or office.
Ex parte. From a part; by just one party to a dispute, the other party being absent. Often: one-sided point of view.
Ex post facto. Resulting after the fact (deed); "from what is done afterward". (Also "post facto").
Ex tempore. From the moment.
Ex uno disce omnes. From one person learn all persons. (From one we can judge the rest.)
Excelsior. "Ever upward".
Excitabat fluctus in simpulo. He was stirring up billows in a ladle (Cicero).
Exempli gratia. For example; for the sake of example; for instance. Usually abbreviated e.g.
Ex pede Herculem. From the foot (we recognize) a Hercules; we judge of a whole from the specimen.
Experientia docet. Experience teaches.
Experto crede. Believe (trust) the expert.
Explorant adversa viros. Misfortunes put men to the test.
Extra jocum, remotum joco. Joking apart.
Fac ut (facut) gaudeam. Make my day.
Fac ut vivas. Get a life.
Facete dictum. A witticism, bon mot.
Facete et commode dicere. To indulge in apt witticisms.
Facetiis uti, facetum esse. To make witty remarks.
Facilis descensus Averni. The descent to the lower world is easy; the road to evil is easy.
Facta non verba. Deeds, not words (Actions speak louder than words).
Facultas dicendi. Oratorical talent.
Fama nihil est celerius. Nothing is swifter than rumor.
Fecit. He/she made it. (follows the artist's signature).
Felicitas multos habet amicos. Prosperity has many friends.
Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum. Happy is he who gets cautious by another's damages.
Fiat experimentum in corpore vili. Let the experiment (or trial) be done on a worthless subject.
Flagrante delicto. "While the crime is blazing"; caught red-handed, in the very act of a crime; a blazing offense.
Floruit. "He flourished"; a period of flourishing (of a person or movement).
Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo. Resolutely in action, gently in manner. (To do unhesitatingly what must be done but accomplishing it as inoffensively as possible.
Fortuna suffragante. With luck on our side.
Genius loci. The presiding spirit or genius of the place.
Genus dicendi grave or grande, medium, tenue. Elevated, moderate, plain style. [Speeches belong according to their subject-matter to genus deliberativum, genus judiciale, or genus demonstrativum.";.
Genus homo. The human race.
Gestum (always in the singular) agere. To gesticulate.
Gratulari alicui aliquid orde aliqua re. To congratulate a person on something.
Gutta cavat lapidem (non vi, sed saepe cadendo). (Ovid). The water drop drills stone (not by the force, but by falling often). [The endurance can overcome the obstacle even without the force.";.
Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed saepe cadendo. A drop drills the rock not with force but with perseverance.
Habetis bona deum. Have a nice day.
Haec fabula docet. This fable teaches us.
Haec olim meminisse juvabit. It will delight us to remember this some day.
Hic jacet. "Here lies.".
Hinc sermo ductus est. The conversation began in this way.
Hoc nomen meum verum non est. This is not my real name.
Hodie mihi, cras tibi. Today me, tomorrow you.
Homines libenter quod volunt credunt. Men believe what they want to. (Terentius).
Hores non numero, nisi serenas. I do not count the hours unless they are sunny (inscription on Roman sundial).
Horribile dictu. Horrible to say.
Ibid. In the same place (in a book). Abbreviation for ibidem.
Id quod (mihi) propositum et. A theme, subject proposed for discussion.
Ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes viros. Fire tests gold; adversity tests strong men.
Ignorantia legis non excusat. Being ignorant of law cannot be assumed as a justification.
Ilium fuit. Troy no longer exists (It applied to anything that is past and gone).
Illiud Latine dici non potest. You cannot say that in Latin.
Imprimatur. Let it be printed.
In absentia. In one's absence; in absence.
In actu. In practice.
In caelo quies. There is rest in heaven.
In camera. "In a chamber"; in private, secretly; In secret or private session; not in public.
In dentibus anticis frustum magnum spiniciae habes. You have a big piece of spinach in your front teeth.
In dubio mitior sententia est praeferenda. In (cases of) doubt a milder sentence (judgement) is preferred.
In dubio pro reo. Let doubt favour the accused one [rendered].
In extenso. At full length.
In extremis. In the last agonies; near death.
In flagrante delicto. Caught in the act; in the very act of committing an offence.
In forma pauperis. In the form of a poor person; in a humble or abject manner; in the form or manner of a poor man.
In loco. In the place of.
In loco parentis. In the place of a parent.
In mari magno pisces capiuntur. Fish are caught in the big ocean.
In medias res. "Into the middle of things"; (straight) into the middle of a narrative or plot; in the middle of a narrative or plot.
In memoriam. To the memory of; in memory of.
In nubibus. In the clouds; not yet settled.
In nuce. In a nut (nutshell) i.e., in short.
In omnia paratus. Prepared for all things.
In omnibus caritas. In all things charity.
In pace, ut sapiens, aptarit idonea bello. In peace, like a wise man, he appropriately prepares for war.
In perpetuum. Into perpetuity.
In pleno. In full.
In propria persona. In one's own person.
In re. "In regards to"; in the matter of.
In sermonem ingredi. To begin a conversation.
In situ. In its original place (position, situation).
In statu quo. In the same state (or situation it was before).
Inter nos. Between ourselves.
In toto. Entirely; "in total"; altogether.
Intra parietes. Within walls; in private.
In vinculis e tiam audax. In chains yet still bold (free).
In vino veritas. In wine is truth. (Truth is told under the influence of wine.)
In vivo. Within the living organism.
Incipit. It begins. (Used to show the beginning of a text or book).
Infra. Below, on a later page.
Iniuria solvit amorem. Injury destroys love.
Integra mens augustissima possessio. A sound mind is the most majestic possession.
Integritas, sinceritas orationis. Purity of style.
Inter alia. Among other things.
Inter alios. Among other persons.
Inter nos. Between us.
Inter se. Among themselves.
Intra parietes. Within four walls.
Ipse dixit. "He himself said it"; an assertion made but not proved.
Ipso facto. "by the fact itself"; by that very fact or act; as an inevitable result.
Ipso facto. By the fact itself; "by that very fact"; thereby.
Ita est. It is so.
Jucunde esse. To be in good temper.
Lapsus memoriae. Memory lapse; error of the memory.
Lapsus nivium! Avalanche!
Latine loqui coactus sum. I have this compulsion to speak Latin.
Lege atque lacrima. Read 'em and weep.
Lepos in jocando. Humour.
Leve fit quod bene fertur onus. The burden is made light which is borne well.
Licentia poetica. Poetic liberty (licence).
Littera scripta manet. The written letter lasts (as evidence).
Litterae non dant panem. Literature earns no bread (Medieval saying).
Loco citato (abbreviated Loc cit.). In the passage just quoted.
Locus classicus. The most authoritative source.
Lupus pilum mutat, non mentem. The wolf changes his coat, not his disposition.
Magister mundi sum! I am the master of the universe!
Magna Charta. The Great Paper.
Magna cum laude. With great praise. With great honour.
Magna est veritas. Great is truth.
Magnum bonum. Great good.
Magnum opus. "A great work"; masterpiece; especially, the greatest achievement of an artist or writer.
Magnus frater spectat te. Big Brother is watching you.
Malesuada fames. Hunger is a bad counsellor.
Materia medica. Medical material.
Materia mihi crescit. My subject grows as I write.
Materia rerum et copia uberrima. Abundance of material.
Mea mihi conscientia pluris est quam omium sermo. My conscience is more to me than what the world says.
Medicus curat, natura sanat. The doctor cares [for his patient], and nature heals [him or her]
Mellita, domi adsum. Honey, I'm home.
Membrum virile. The virile member; penis.
Memento mori. "Remember that you must die"; Remember death (comes). Remember your mortality. Also, ironically, Remember to die. Cf. memento skulls.
Memento vivere. "Remember to live". A reminder of life (literally remember that you have to live).
Mens rea. Guilty mind.
Mens sana in corpore sano. "A sound mind in a sound body".
Minime senuisti! You have not aged a bit!
Mirabile dictu. Wonderful to say. Wonderful to relate.
Mirabile visu. "Wonderful to see".
Missis ambagibus dicere. To speak without circumlocution.
Modus operandi. A method of working, of work, or operating. Manner or method of work characterizing a particular person's professional habits.
Modus vivendi. Way of living.
Monstra mihi pecuniam! Show me the money.
Morologus es! You're talking like a moron.
Mors omnibus instat. Death threatens everyone (Grave inscription).
Multa paucis. Say much in few words.
Muta est pictura poema. A picture is a silent poem.
Mutatis mutandis. With the necessary changes (modifications). The necessary changes being made.
Naturam expellas furca tamen usque recurret. Though you drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet will she ever return.
Navis amoris. The Love Boat.
Ne auderis delere orbem rigidum meum! Don't you dare erase my hard disk!
Ne plus ultra. No more beyond (nothing better); nothing further; the highest point capable of being attained: acme.
Necessitas non habet legem. Necessity does not have a law.
Nemo dat quod non habet. No one gives what he does not have.
Nemo surdior est quam is qui non audiet. No man is more deaf than he who will not hear.
Nihil agere delectat. Not having anything to do is wonderful (Cicero).
Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione. I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.
Nihil de nihilo fit. "Nothing comes from nothing," simplified from Lucretius.
Nimium ne crede colori. Trust not too much to looks (or externals).
Nobilitat stultum vestis honesta virum. Good clothes enoble a stupid man (Medieval saying).
Noli irritare leones. Do not irritate lions.
Noli me vocate, ego te vocabo. Do not call me, I'll call you.
Noli nothis permittere te terere. Do not let the bastards get you down.
Nomen est omen. A name is an omen. The name is the sign.
Non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat. It is not the heat, it is the humidity.
Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema. I do not care. If it does not rhyme, it is not a poem.
Non est mea culpa. It is not my fault.
Non omne licitum honestum. Not every lawful thing is honorable.
Non omne quod nitet aurum est. Not everything that is shining is gold. (Hence: Not everything that looks beautiful is good.
Non plus ultra! Nothing above that!
Non scholae sed vitae discimus. We learn not for school, but for life.
Non semper ea sunt qua videntur. Not always are they (things) what they seem to be.
Non semper erit aestas. It will not always be summer (be prepared for hard times).
Non sequitur. It does not follow. (Concerning an inference that does not follow from the premises.) Used to indicate a statement or conclusion that does not follow from what has gone before; a conclusion which does not accord with the premises.)
Non sum pisces. I am not a fish.
Non vestimentum virum ornat, sed vir vestimentum. Not the raiment graces the man, but the man the raiment.
Nosce te ipsum. Know thyself.
Nota bene. "Note well". Mark well; used to call attention to something important, is a way of saying, "take note of this".
Novus homo. A new man [in politics].
Nulla dies sine linea. Not a day without a line [by Apeles, Greek painter). Not a day without something done.
Nunquam non paratus. Never unprepared; always ready. Do something every day!
O quam cito transit gloria mundi! O how quickly passes the glory of the world!
O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem! Oh! More! Go on! Yes! Ooh! Ummm!
Obesa cantavit. The fat lady has sung.
Obiter dictum. Said incidentally, by the way.
Oblitus sum perpolire clepsydras! I forgot to polish the clocks!
Oculi plus vident quam oculus. Some eyes see more than only one.
Omnes homines sibi sanitatem cupiunt, saepe autem omnia, quae valetudini contraria sunt, faciunt. All men wish to be healthy, but often they do everything that is disadvantageous to their health.
Omnia mea mecum porto. (Bias). All that is mine, I carry with me. [My wisdom is my greatest wealth.].
Omnis amans amens. Every lover is demented, lovers are lunatics.
Omnium artium medicina nobilissima est. Medicine is the noblest of all arts.
Onus probandi. Burden of proof.
Opere citato (abbreviated Op cit.). In the work just quoted.
Opus artificem probat. The work proves the craftsman.
Ora et labora. Pray and work.
Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano. Let's hope that there is a healthy spirit in a healthy body.
Oratio accurata et polita. A carefully prepared speech.
Oratio aequabiliter fluens. An easy, fluent style.
Oratio pura, pura et emendata. Pure, correct language.
Pro tanto. So far.
Oratio subita. An extempore speech.
Oratio subtilis. The plain style.
Orationem commentari. To prepare a speech.
Orationem conficere. To compose a speech.
Orationem habere. To make a speech.
Orbes volantes exstare. Flying saucers are real.
Ornate dicere. To speak well, elegantly.
Ornatus orationis, verborum. Well-chosen language, grace of style.
Otium cum dignitate. Rest with dignity.
Pacta sunt servanda. Agrements must be honoured.
Pari passu. Equally.
Pares cum paribus facillime congregantur. Like join the most easily like (Those who are like each other, join one another most easily).
Par pari refero. I return like for like; tit for tat.
Parva scintilla saepe magnam flamam excitat. The small sparkle often initiates a large flame.
Pauci sed boni. Few men but good ones.
Paucis te volo. I want a word with you.
Paucis verbis, quid est deconstructionismus? What, in a nutshell, is deconstructionism?
Pax. Peace; often found in combination with a latinized name, such as Pax Americana, Pax Brittanica, Pax Romana.
Pax in bello. Peace in [the middle of] war.
Per annum. By the year. Per year.
Per ardua ad astra. "Through hardship to the stars," motto of the Royal Air Force.
Per capita. "By heads"; equally to each individual; per unit of population: by or for each person per capita of any state in the union. By heads or individuals. Per head. By the head. "Per person".
Per consequens. By consequence.
Per contra. On the other side.
Per diem. Literally, "by the day"; by the day (a phrase used in business); for each day; based on use or service by the day: daily; paid by the day; Plural: per diems a daily allowance; a daily fee.
Per scientiam ad salutem aegroti. To heal the sick through knowledge.
Per se. By itself; in itself; essentially. "In and of itself." Taken alone.
Per stirpes. By stocks or families.
Perorare. (1) to make one's peroration; (2) to deliver the closing speech (in a case where several speeches have been made).
Perscriptio in manibus tabellariorum est. The check is in the mail.
Persona grata. "A pleasing person"; personally acceptable or welcome.
Persona non grata. Adj. "a not-pleasing person"; personally unacceptable or unwelcome; an unacceptable or unwelcome person.
Perspicue, diserte dicere. To speak in clear expressive language.
Philosophum non facit barba. The beard does not define a philosopher.
Pistrix! Pistrix! Shark! Shark!
Pituita me tenet. I have caught a cold. (From Pompeii).
Plane, aperte dicere. To speak openly, straightfowardly.
Poeta nascitur, non fit. The poet is born, not made.
Poeta nascitur, orator fit. A poet is born but an orator is manufactured.
Ponere. To propose, set a theme.
Ponere alicui, de quo disputet. To set someone a theme for discussion.
Pons asinorum. "The bridge of fools," anything that divides the capable from the incapable, e.g., a geometry problem.
Possunt quia posse videntur. They can because they think they can.
Post bellum, auxilium. Aid after the war.
Post coitem. After sexual intercourse.
Post hoc non est propter hoc. "After" is not "because".
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. "After, therefore because of." A common fallacy in reasoning.
Post partum. After birth; after childbirth; of or occuring in the period shortly after childbirth.
Praemonitus pramunitus. Forewarned, [is] forearmed.
Prima facie. At first sight; on the face of it. "At first appearance"; at first view: "On its face." Indicates that a conclusion is indicated (but not necessarily proved) from the appearance of things.
Primum non nocere. First, do no harm. [From the Hippocratic Oath. The first principle is not to harm.
Primum viveri diende philosophari. Live before you philosophize.
Probitas laudatur, et alget. Honesty is praised, and is left to starve.
Pro forma. For form's sake. For the sake of form. "For form"; made or carried out in a perfunctory manner or as a formality. E.g., "It was a pro forma interview - the decision to hire her had already been made.".
Pro tanto. So far.
Pro tempore. Temporarily. "For the time being".
Pro, contra. For, against.
Pronuntiatio. Artistic delivery; declamation.
Propria laus sordet. Self-praise stinks.
Prudens futuri. Thoughtful of the future.
Pueri pueri, pueri puerilia tractant. Children are children, (therefore) children do childish things.
Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum. Garbage in, garbage out.
QED. See quod erat demonstrandum.
QEF. See quod erat faciendum.
Qua. In the capacity of. (Example, "He is really very personable, but qua chairman he can be seem overbossy.)
Quae nocent docent. That which hurts teaches.
Quae nocent, saepe docent. What hurts, often instructs. [One learns by bitter/adverse experience.].
Quaeso esto meus vicinus. Please will not you be my neighbour.
Qualis pater, talis filius. As is the father, so is the son; (like father, like son).
Qualis rex, talis grex. Of what sort is the king, of that sort is the flock/people.
Quam se ipse amans-sine rivale! Himself loving himself so much- without a rival! (Cicero).
Quanti est sapere. How desirable is wisdom or knowledge.
Quanti canicule ille in finestere? How much is that doggie in the window?
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Quasi. As if.
Qui dedit benificium taceat; narret qui accepit. Let him who has done a good deed be silent; let him who has received it tell it (Seneca).
Qui proficit in literis et deficit in moribus, plus deficit quam proficit. He who moves forward in science and moves back in moral, goes more back than forward.
Qui vult dare parva non debet magna rogare. He who wishes to give little should not ask for much.
Quid agis, medice? What is up, Doc?
Quid agis? How are you? Quid agis? is also used as an expression of surprise: "What are you thinking of?"
Quid agitur? Quid fit? What is going on? How are you getting on?
Quid est illa in auqua? What is that in the water?
Quid novi? What is new?
Quid pro quo. One thing for another; something for something; tit for tat. "What for what," a phrase that denotes an exchange. Something for something, or something in exchange for something - a fair exchange. Something in return.
Quidquid agis, prudenter agas. Whatever you do, may you do it prudently.
Quidvis recte factum quamvis humile praeclarum. Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Who shall guard the guards?
Quo signo nata es? What is your sign?
Quo vadis. Where are you going?
Quoad hoc. To this extent.
Quod bonum, felix, faustumque sit! And may it be lucky, prosperous, and auspicious!
Quod erat demonstrandum. Which was to be demonstrated (which had to be (was to be) shown or proved). Text in the end of demonstration, usually abbreviated Q.E.D. More loosely: "We have proved the proposition." This abbreviation is often written at the bottom of a proof to indicate that the assignment is complete. The QED is now usually indicated by a small square.
Quod erat faciendum. Which was to be done. Abbreviated QEF, it was traditionally used to mark the end of a solution or calculation. It is rarely used now. (Impress your professor by putting it at the end of exam problems.)
Quod erat in veniendum. Which was to be found.
Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. What is permitted (allowed) to Jupiter is not (necessarily) permitted to a cow.
Quod medicina aliis, aliis est acre venenum. One person's medicine is another's foul poison.
Quod vide. Which See; see that reference - usually abbreviated q.v. (This is a scholarly way of directing the reader to a reference.)
Quot capita, tot sententiae. As many opinions as people.
Quot homines, tot sententiae. As many men, so many opinions.
Ratio et consilium propriae ducis artes. Reason and deliberation are the proper skills of a general.
Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem. Stand aside, little people! I am here on imperial (official) business.
Recte et suaviter. Justly and agreeably.
remis velisque. With oars and sails; using every endeavour.
Repetitio est mater studiorum. Repeating is the mother of learning (studies).
Requiescat in pace. Let him/her (may he/she) rest in peace. Usually abbreviated R.I.P.<
Res componere ac digerere. To arrange and divide the subject-matter.
Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself [literally, the affair itself speaks]. The affair speaks for itself.
Res mihi suppetit. I have abundance to say.
Res proposita. A theme, subject proposed for discussion.
Respice, adspice, prospice. Examine the past, examine the present, examine the future.
Re vera. In truth; in actual fact.
Rudis indigestaque moles. A rude and undigested mass.
Rumores volant. (also Rumor volat). Rumors fly. (Rumor flies).
Saepe morborum gravium exitus incerti sunt. The effects of serious illnesses are often unknown.
Saepe ne utile quidem est scire quid futurum sit. Often it is not even advantageous to know what will be (Cicero).
Saepe stilum vertas. May you often turn the stylus. (You should make frequent corrections.)
Salus aegroti suprema lex. The well-being of the patient is the most important law.
Salus publica suprema lex. Public safety is the supreme law.
Salute data (accepta) redditaque. After mutual greetings.
Saluti alicui dicere, impertire, nuntiare. To greet a person.
Salva veritate. With truth preserved.
Sanitas orationis. The plain style.
Sapere aude. Dare to be wise.
Sapiens nihil affirmat quod non probat. A wise man states as true nothing he does not prove (do not swear to anything you do not know firsthand).
Sed haec, hactenus. But so far, this will suffice.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? (Juvenal)
Sed redeant, unde aberravit oratio. But to return from the digression we have been making.
Semper idem. Always the same thing.
Semper letteris mandate. Always get it in writing.
Semper paratus. Always prepared (motto of the Boy Scouts and United States Coast Guard).
Senatus populusque Romanus. "The Senate and the Roman people," seen today mostly in Rome on manhole covers, street lampposts, etc., and it can be seen in slides and pictures of Rome.
Sensu bono. In a good sense.
Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare. I think some people in togas are plotting against me.
Serio dicere. To say in earnest.
Sermo cotidianus, or simplysermo. Conversational language.
Sermo ortus est ab aliqua re. The conversation began with.
Sermonem alio transferre. To turn the conversation to another topic.
Sermonem conferre, instituere, ordire, cum aliquo. To enter into conversation with someone.
Sermonem inferre, de aliqua re. To turn the conversation on to a certain subject.
Severitatem adhibere. To show that one is serious.
Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes! If you can read this sign, you can get a good job in the fast-paced, high-paying world of Latin!
Si post fata venit gloria non propero. If glory comes after death, I'm not in a hurry (if one must die to be recognised, I can wait).
Si sapis, sis apis. If you are wise, be a bee.
Si vis pacem, para iustitiam. If you want peace, prepare justice.
Sic hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis propinquus ades. If you can read this bumper sticker, you are both very well educated, and much too close.
Sic transit gloria mundi. Thus passes the glory of the world. [The world's glory is transitory.].
Siccitas. The plain style.
Simila similibus curantur. Like things are cured by likes.
Similis simili gaudet. Like is pleased with like.
Simul et dictum et factum. At the same time both said and done.
Sine die. Without a day being set (specified). With no time fixed. Without stipulating a day. Literally, without a day. Without any future date being designated (as for for reconvening, for resumption: indefinitely.) Unknown period of time .
Sine labore non erit panis in ore. Without work there will not be any bread in your mouth.
Sine qua non. Without which not (hence: a necessity). "That without which nothing." Indicates an essential or indispensable element or condition or precondition. That which is of necesssity. Pl. sine qua nons; also sine quibus non [literally, without which not] something absolutely indispensable or essential.
Sine sole sileo. (inscription on Roman sundials). Without the sun I am silent.
Sit vis nobiscum. May the force be with you.
Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you wish for peace, prepare for war.
Socius criminis. A partner in crime.
Sona si Latine loqueris. Honk if you speak Latin.
Spero nos familiares mansuros. I hope we will still be friends.
Status quo. The existing state of affairs (from "statu quo ante", prior or current situation). The present state of affairs. The existing condition. Things as they are - The situation or state in which [it was before].
Stet. Let it stand as it is (printing term used in editing to indicate that something crossed out is to remain).
Studium immane loquendi. An insatiable desire for talking.
Stultus est licut stultus facit. Stupid is as stupid does.
Sub judice. Before a court.
Sub omni lapide scorpio dormit. Under every stone sleeps a scorpion.
Sub rosa. Under the rose (hidden). Secretly, confidential, in confidence.
Sub specie aeternitatis. Under eternity's angle of view.
Sum, ergo edo. I am, therefore I eat.
Summa cum laude. With the highest honour [literally, with highest praise]. With greatest praise. With highest distinction.
Summa summarum. The sum total.
Summum bonum. The highest (or chief) good.
Sumus quod sumus. We are what we are [motto on the crest of the mythical town of Lake Woebegone in Minnesota - a creation by the author Garrison Keilor].
Sumptus censum ne superet. Let not your spending exceed your income.
Sunt pueri, pueri puerilia tractant. Children are children, (therefore) children do childish things.
Supra. Above, on an earlier page.
Sursum corda. [Lift] up [your] hearts.
Sutor, ne ultra crepidam. "Shoemaker, do not go farther than (your competence on) the shoes" - It is said that a Greek painter was one day painting a warrior but he was uncertain on how to render his shoe (crepida); he then asked a cobbler (sutor) and this one explained him what required. But next the cobbler started criticising other parts of the painting too, so the arts asked him to keep within the borders of his competence.
Suum cuique. To each his own.
Tace atque abi. Shut up and go away.
Tarditas et procrastinatio odiosa est. Delay (including putting things off until tomorrow) is odious (Cicero).
Tauri in decurso. Bulls on parade.
Te valere jubeo. I bid you farewell.
Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis. (Ovid). Times are changing, and we are changing within them. (The times are changed, and we are changed in them).
Tempus edax rerum. Time is the devourer of things.
Tempus fugit. Time flies (Vergil).
Terra firma. Solid earth; a secure foothold.
Timendi causa est nescire. Ignorance is the cause of fear (Seneca).
Tot homines, quot sententiae. So many men, so many opinions.
Totus, teres, atque rotundus. Complete, polished, and rounded.
Tragoediae. Tragic pathos.
Tres faciunt collegium. Three makes a company.
Tribus verbis te volo. I want a word with you.
Tu quoque. You too, a retort to an accusation.
Ubi bene, ibi patria. Where you feel good, there is your home.
Ubi concordia, ibi victoria. Where there is concord (unity, harmony), there is victory.)
Ubi dubium ibi libertas. Where there is doubt, there is freedom.
Ubi est mea anaticula cumminosa? Where is my rubber ducky?
Ubi fumus, ibi ignis. Where there is smoke, there is fire. [Cf. Plautus "flamma fumo est proxima" - flame follows smoke].
Ubi spiritus est cantus est. Where there is spirit there is song.
Ubi tu Gaius, ibi ego Gaia. Where you are, Gaius, there I, Gaia, will be.
Ubicumque homo est, ibi beneficio locus est. "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness." (Seneca).
Ultima Thule. Farthest North.
Ultra posse nemo obligatur. No one is obligated beyond what he is able to do.
Usus magister est optimus. Practice makes perfect.
Ut ameris, amebilis esto. That you may be loved, be lovable.
Ut sementem feceris, ita metes. As you sow you shall reap (Cicero).
Ut si! As if!
Ut ver dat florem, studium sic reddit honorem. As spring brings flowers, so study brings honours (Medieval saying).
Vacuus cantat coram latrone viator. The traveller with an empty purse sings in the presence of the highwayman.
Vade in pace. Go in peace (Roman way of saying goodbye).
Vade mecum! Go (come) with me (for a guide). (Vademecum: something carried by a person at all times; a constant companion.)
Vah! Denuone latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur. Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.
Valeat quantum valere potest. Let it pass for what it is worth.
Vale orcura ut valeas. Farewell.
Varietas [or variatio] delectat. The diversity is delighting (Variety delights)
Velis et remis. With sails and oars; Full speed ahead!
Velle aliquem. To wish to speek to someone.
Venienti occurrite morbo. Meet the coming of the disease; prevention is better than cure.
Ventis secundis, tene (tenete cursum). The winds being favorable, hold the course. i.e., If [when] the winds are favorable, stay on course (do not deviate).
Ventis secundis, tene cursum. Go with the flow.
Verba docent, exempla trahunt. Words instruct, examples (or illustrations) lead.
Verba facere apud populum, in contione. To address a meeting of the Roman people. [apud is used of appearing before an official assembly; coram is used of an informal casual meeting.].
Verba movent, exempla trahunt. Words move people, examples draw/compel them.
Verbatim. Word for word. (Indicates a precise transmission of a phrase, discussion, or text.)
Verborum tenuitas. The plain style.
Verbum sapienti sat (est). A word to the wise is enough.
Veritas numquam perit. Truth never dies.
Veritas vincit. Truth conquers.
Veris amicus rara avis. A true friend is a rare bird (rarity).
Vescere bracis meis. Eat my shorts.
Vestis virum facit. Clothes make the man.
Via. By way of.
Via dolorosa. The way of sorrow.
Via media. A middle way or course. "Middle path".
Vice versa. The other way round. "A reverse of order or meaning". In reverse, turn in place, the other way round. The positions being reversed.
Victis honor. Honour to the vanquished.
Victoria, non praeda. Victory, not loot.
Videlicet (abbreviated Viz.). Namely. That is to say; To wit.
Vidistine nuper imagines moventes bonas? Seen any good movies lately?
Vigilantis pretium libertatis. Vigilance in the price of liberty.
Vilius argentum est auro, virtutibus aurum. Silver is less valuable than gold, and gold than virtue.
Vincit omnia veritas. Truth conquers all (motto).
Vincit qui se vincit. He conquers who conquers himself.
Vincit veritas. Truth conquers (motto).
Vires acquirit eundo. As it goes it acquires strength (originally said of rumours).
Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur. It is a wise man who speaks little. (quoted in Shakespeare's, Love's Labour's Lost) Cf. Proverbs 17: 28.
Virtus millia acuta. Virtue is a thousand shields.
Virtutis fortuna comes. Fortune is the companion of virtue.
Vis maior. Higher force.
Visne saltare? Do you want to dance?
Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est. Life is more than merely staying alive.
Vitanda est improba siren desidia. One must steer clear of the wicked temptress, Laziness (Horace).
Vitio format perit, vino corrumpitur aetas. By wine beauty perishes, by wine youth is corrupted.
Viva voce. By word of mouth; orally.
Vive quasi cras moriturus. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
Vivere disce, cogita mori. (inscription on Roman sundials). Learn to live; Remember death.
Viz. Abbreviation of Videlicet.
Vox audita perit, littera scripta manet. The spoken word vanishes but the written letter remains.
Vox canóra. A melodious, ringing voice.
Vox humana. The human voice.
Vox magna, clara. A strong clear voice.
Vulnerant omnes, ultima necat. (inscription on Roman sundials). Every (hour) wounds, the last kills.
Vulpem pilum mutat, non mores. A fox may change its hair, not its tricks. [People change behaviour but not their aims.]
Vulpes non capitur muneribus. A fox is not caught by gifts (Medieval saying).
Vulturum non capit muscam! The eagle does not catch flies.
Vultus est index animi. The face is the index of the soul/mind.
Waldorf Semper. Waldorf (tact) always.
Henderson, Sampson. Latin Proverbs and Quotations: With Translations and Parallel Passages and a Copious English Index. London: Sampson Low, 1869.
Werner, Helmut. Lateinische Sprichwörter. Hamburg: Nikol Verlag, 2010.
Werner, Jakob. Lateinische Sprichwörter und Sinnspruche des Mittelalters aus Handschriften gesammelt. Heidelberg: Carl Winter's Universitätsbuchhandlung Verlag, 1912.
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