The List of Latin phrases reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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List of Latin phrases

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This page includes English translations of less common Latin phrases (i.e., not always found in dictionaries), some of which are themselves translations from Greek.

For a list of more formal proverbs, see: List of Latin proverbs. Note that the difference between phrases and proverbs is often subjective. Please use this test to see whether a Latin sentence is a phrase or proverb: If the sentence is an old yet common saying that expresses some practical truth, then it is probably a proverb. If it is in the form of an incomplete sentence or does not contain some practical truth, then it is probably a phrase.

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


A

;A bene placito
"At your pleasure."
;A fortiori
"From the stronger" — loosely, "even more so". Often used to lead from a less certain proposition to a more evident corollary. e.g. "It is unwise to invest in pyramid schemes, and, a fortiori, in e-mail pyramid schemes."
;A pedibus usque ad caput
"From feet to head."
;
A posteriori
"From the latter" — based on observation, the reverse of a priori.
;A priori
"From the former" — presupposed, the reverse of a posteriori.
;Ab hinc
"From here on"
;Ab imo pectore
"From the depths of (my) chest" — i.e. "from my heart". Attributed to Julius Caesar.
;Ab initio
"From the beginning" — compare in media res; see also List of legal terms
;Ab origine
"From the origin"
;Ab ovo usque ad mala
"From the eggs to the apples" i.e. from beginning to end (the Roman main meal traditionally began with an eggdish and ended with fruit)
;Ab urbe condita (A.U.C.)
"From the founding of the city (of Rome)" — i.e. from 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.
;Absit omen
"May the presentiment not be realized."
;Acta est fabula, plaudite!
"The play is over, applaud!" common ending phrase of ancient Roman comedies
;Ad captandum vulgus
"To appeal to the crowd" — often used of politicians who make false or insincere promises appealing to popular interest.
;Ad hoc
"For this" — i.e. improvised, made up on the spot.
;Ad hominem
"To the man" — usually, an argument criticizing the opponent's person rather than his ideas; or also an argument designed to appeal to personal interest rather than objective fact.
;Ad infinitum
"To infinity" — going on forever.
;Ad interim
"In the meantime" — as in the term "chargé d'affaires ad interim" for a diplomatic officer who acts in place of an ambassador.
;Ad kalendas graecas
"To the Greek Kalends" — said by Emperor Augustus, in Suetonius, with the sense of "never". Kalends were part of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, so the "Greek kalends" are "a date that will never happen".
;Ad libitum (ad lib)
"At ease" — means "do as you please", "improvise", "just ramble on"; esp. in music partitures, theatrical scripts, etc..
;Ad lucem
"Towards the light" — the motto of the University of Lisbon.
;Ad majorem Dei gloriam (A.M.D.G.)
"To the greater glory of God" — motto of the Jesuits.
;Ad multos annos
"To many years!" — i.e. "Many happy returns!"
;Ad nauseam
"To the point of nausea".
;Ad pedem litterae
"At the foot of the letter" — i.e. "exactly as it is written".
;Ad perpetuam memoriam
"To the eternal memory [of]"
;Ad usum Delphini
"For usage of the Dauphin" — said of a work that has been expurgated of offensive or improper parts. The phrase originates from editions of Greek and Roman classics which Louis XIV had printed for his heir apparent, the Dauphin.
;Ad usum proprium (ad us. propr.)
"For own usage"
;Ad valorem
"By the value" — e.g. ad valorem tax.
;Advocatus Diaboli
"The Devil's Advocate" — said about someone who defends an unpopular view for the sake of discussion (without really meaning it).
;Aegri somnia
"Troubled dreams."
;Alea iacta est
"The die is cast" — said by Julius Caesar, in Suetonius, after his decision to defy Roman law by crossing the Rubicon with his troops. (Suetonius actually uses it in the future imperative "Alea iacta esto": "Be sure to cast the dice").
;Alis volat propiis
"She flies with her own wings" - the Oregon state motto.
;Alma mater
"Nourishing mother" — term used for the university one attends/has attended. The word "matriculation" is derived from "mater". The term suggests that the students are "fed" knowledge and taken care of by the university.
;Alter ego
"Another I" — a pseudonym or a close associate who always acts on one's behalf.
;Amicus curiae
"Friend of the court" — an adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of powerful people (like Romana curia). In current U.S. legal usage, a third party allowed to submit a brief (an amicus brief) to the court.
;Anno Domini (A.D.)
"In the year of the lord" — indicates a year counted from the traditional date birth of Jesus Christ; also called the Common Era (C.E.).
;Anno urbis conditae (A.U.C.)
"In the year from the founding of the city (Rome)" — see Ab urbe condita.
;Annuit CÜptis
"He [God] has approved our beginnings" - motto of the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the US one dollar bill
;Annus horribilis
"A horrible year" — used memorably by Queen Elizabeth II to describe what a bad year 1992 had been for her.
;Ante litteram
"Before the letter" — said after an expression that described something that existed before the expression itself was introduced or became common. For example, one could say that Alan Turing was a computer scientist ante litteram, since the profession of "computer scientist" was not recognised in Turing's day.
;Ante meridiem (a.m.)
"Before noon" — in the period from midnight to noon.
;Ante prandium (a.p.)
"Before lunch" — i.e. before a meal. Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions.
;Asinus asinorum in saecula saeculorum.
"The jackass of jackasses in the centuries of centuries" — i.e. "The greatest jackass in eternity."
;Aurea mediocritas
"Golden Mean" — in Horace's Odes, an ethical goal.
;Auri sacra fames
"Accursed hunger for gold" — from Vergil, Aeneis 3,57; later quoted by Seneca: quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames ("What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!")
;Aut Caesar aut nihil
"Caesar or nothing" — i.e., all or nothing. (Caesar is here used in the meaning emperor.)
;Aut vincere aut mori
"Victory or death."
;Ave atque vale
"Hail and farewell!"

B

;Beati possidentes
"The happy who possess", translation of a quote from Euripides
;Bona fide
"In good faith."
;Bona officia
"Good services", a nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations
;Bonum commune communitatis
"General welfare."
;Bonum commune hominis
"Common good of man."
;Busillis
Pseudo-Latin meaning "baffling puzzle" or "difficult point". John of Cornwall (ca. 1170) was once asked by a scribe what the word meant. It turns out that the original text said in diebus illis magnis plenæ ("in those days plenty of great things"), which the scribe misread as indie busillis magnis plenæ ("in India there were plenty of large busillis")... [1].

C

;Cacoethes scribendi
"Bad habit of writing" — i.e. an insatiable urge to write. From Juvenal.
;Caeteris paribus
"Other things being equal."
;Casus belli
"Event (that is cause or justification) for war."
;Cave canem
"Beware of the dog" — found written on a floor mosaic depicting a dog, at the entrance of a Roman house excavated at Pompei [1].
;Caveat emptor
"Let the buyer beware" — i.e. the purchaser of the goods is responsible for checking whether they suit his need.
;Caveat lector
"Let the reader beware" — i.e. the writer does not vouch for the accuracy of a text. Probably a recent calque on caveat emptor.
;Caveat venditor
"Let the seller beware" — the seller of goods is responsible for providing information about the goods to the purchaser.
;Cetera desunt
"The rest is missing."
;Ceteris paribus
"All other things being equal."
;Ceterum censeo
"In conclusion, I think that..." — Cato the Elder used to conclude his speeches, on any topic whatsoever, with Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("In conclusion, I think that Carthage must be destroyed").
;Christus Rex
"Christ the King."
;Citius altius fortius
"Faster, higher, stronger" — Motto of the modern Olympics.
;Circa (ca.)
"Around" — in the sense of "approximately, about"; usually of a date, e.g. "Jesus was actually born circa 6 B.C"
;Claves Sancti Petri
"The keys of St. Peter" &nits; symbol of the Papacy.
;Compos mentis
"Of sound mind" — sometimes used rather humorously.
;Conditio sine qua non
"Condition without which not" — i.e. "indispensable".
;Confer (cf.)
"Compare" — used as an abbreviation in text to recommend a comparison with another thing.
;Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.)
"Helvetian Confederation" — the official name of Switzerland, which explains the use of "ch" for its ISO country code and Internet domain.
;Consummatum est
"It is completed" — In the Latin translation of John 19:30, the last words of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
;Contemptus saeculi
"Contempt of the secular (world)" — the monk's or philosopher's rejection of mundane life and values.
;Corpus Christi
"Body of Christ."
;Corpus delicti
"Body of the crime" — the body of facts that prove a crime.
;Corpus vile
"Vile body" — a person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment.
;Cui bono
"Good for whom?" — a maxim sometimes used in the detection of crime.
;Cui prodest
"Whom does it benefit?" — short form for cui prodest scelus, is fecit in Seneca's Medea; the murderer is the one who gains by the murder.
;Cum gladius et fustibus or cum gladiis et fustibus
"With sword and staff" — from the Bible.
;Cum grano salis
"With a grain of salt" — i.e. not to be taken too seriously.
;Cum laude
"With honors."
;Curriculum vitae
"Course of life" — a résumé.

D

;Damnant quod non intellegunt
"They condemn what they do not understand."
;
De facto
"In fact" — Said of something that actually is the case. Often the implication is that it isn't the case of necessity (de jure) or that it is supposed not to be the case; e.g. "The Shogun was the de facto ruler of Japan."
;De jure
"By law."
;De novo
"Anew."
;Deus ex machina
"A god from a machine" — a contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by machine an actor playing Zeus onto the stage — as though he were descending from Olympus — to resolve an awkward plot.
;Dictum sapienti sat est
"The said is enough for the wise" — understandable for a wise one without the need for explanations (Plautus), also as: sat sapienti and sapienti sat.
;Dies irae
"Day of wrath."
;Disjecti membra poetae
"Members of a dismembered poet" i.e. "the scattered remnants of the poet" (Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62), battered poetry.
;Dramatis personae
"People of the play" — the characters represented in a dramatic work; cast.
;Duces Tecum
"Bring with You" — see subpoena duces tecum.
;Dulce et Utile
"Sweet and useful."

E

;
E pluribus unum
"From many, one" - the motto of the USA.
;Ecce homo
"Behold the man!" — in the Latin translation of the Gospel of John these words are spoken by Pilate as he presents Jesus Christ crowned with thorns to the crowd.
;Editio princeps
"First edition."
;Emeritus
"From merit" — often used to refer to a retired professor.
;Esse quam videri
"To be, rather than to seem" — motto of the U.S. state of North Carolina.
;Esto perpetua
"Let it be everlasting" — used by the historian Fra Paolo Sarpi of his native Venice.
;Et alii (et al.)
"And others" — used to abbreviate a list of names (Alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or mixed men and women; the feminine et aliae is appropriate when the "others" are all female.)
;Et cetera (etc. or &c.)
"And the rest" — nowadays also "and others", "and so on", "and more".
;Et in Arcadia ego
"I, also, am in Arcadia" — see memento mori.
;Et tu, Brute
"And thou, Brutus?" — literal quotation from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He renders as Latin in an English play what was originally quoted as Greek supposedly spoken by a Roman. But Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, Kai su, teknon?Greek for "You too, my child?" (Greek would have been the language of Rome's elite at the time.) However it is unlikely that Caesar actually said these words.
;Ex animo
"From the heart" — i.e. "sincerely".
;Ex ante
"From before" — "beforehand", "before the event", i.e. based on prior assumptions.
;Ex Cathedra
"From the Chair" — a phrase applied to the Pope when he is speaking infallibly and, by extension, to others who speak with supreme authority or arrogance.
;Ex Deo
"From God."
;Ex hypothesi
"From the hypothesis" — i.e. by hypothesis.
;Ex libris...
"From the books (library) of..."
;Ex nihilo
"From nothing" — Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions holds that God created the universe from nothing.
;Ex officio
"From the office" — when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another, e.g. the U.S vice president is ex officio president of the Senate.
;Ex parte
"By (or for) one party" — a legal term.
;Ex post facto
"From after the fact" — of a law with retroactive effect.
;Ex vi termini
"By definition."
;Excelsior
"Higher" — i.e. "ever upward!"
;Exempli gratia (e.g.)
"For the sake of example", "for example."
;Exeunt
"They leave" — see exit.
;Exeunt omnes
"They all leave" — see exit.
;Exit
"He/she leaves" — used e.g. in theatrical stage directions.
;Experimentum crucis
"Critical experiment" — a decisive test of a scientific theory.

F

;
Fiat lux (et facta est lux)
"Let there be light (and there was light)" — from Genesis.
;Fidei Defensor (Fid Def or fd)
"Defender of the Faith" — a title given to Henry VIII of England by Pope Leo X on October 17, 1521 before Henry became an heresiarch. Appears on all British coins, usually abbreviated.
;Fons et origo
"The wellspring and origin."

G

;Genius loci
"The spirit of the place."
;Gloria in excelsis Deo
"Glory to God in the highest."

H

;
Habeas corpus
"You must have the body" — i.e. you must justify an imprisonment. First two words of the Writ to bring a prisoner to court (Charles II of England, Habeas Corpus Act - 1679) and commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to have the charge against specifically identified.
;Habemus papam
"We have a pope" — used in a Catholic Church conclave to announce a successful ballot to elect a new pope.
;Hic jacet...
"Here lies..." — written on gravestones or tombs.
;Hic sepultus...
"Here is buried..."
;Honoris causa
"For the sake of honor" — said of an honorary title, e.g., Doctor of Science honoris causa.
;Horas non numero nisi serenas
"I only count the sunny hours" — common inscription on sundials.
;Horribile dictu
"Horrible to say" — i.e. "an horrible thing to relate."

I

;Ibidem (ibid.)
"In the same place" — usually in bibliographic citations.
;Id est (i.e.)
"That is (to say)", abbreviated as "i.e." — sometimes "in this case," depending on the context. When celebrating this holiday (i.e. Christmas), hang a wreath on your door. It is not equivalent to "e.g.", in any context.
;Imago dei
"In the image of God" — a religious concept.
;Imitatio dei
"In imitation of God" — a principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
;Imperium in imperio
"An empire within an empire" — i.e. a fifth column, a group of people within an nation's territory who owe allegiance to some other leader.
;Imprimatur
"(It) may be printed" — an authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).
;In absentia
"In the absence" — e.g. of a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
;In duplo
"In two (copies)"
;In effigie
"In (the form of) an image" — as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person".
;In extenso
"In long (form)" — i.e. "in full", "completely", "unabridged."
;In fidem
"To faith" — to the verification of
;In fine (i.f.)
"Finally."
;In flore
"In bloom."
;In flagrante delicto
"In flaming crime" — i.e. "caught red-handed."
;In foro
"In forum" — in court.
;In illo tempore
"At that time", found often in the Gospel lecture during the Mass. It is used to mark a time in a indetermined past.
;In loco
"At the place" — as e.g., "the water samples were analyzed in loco."
;In loco parentis
"In place of the parents" — Legal term, "assuming custodial/parental responsibility and authority".
;In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum
"In your hands I command my spirit", according to Luke 23:46 the last words of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
;In media res
"Into the middle things" — by Horace, refers to the poetic technique of beginning a narrative poem at a late point in the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
;In memoriam
"In memory of" — i.e. to remember or honor a deceased person.
;In nuce
"In a nutshell."
;In partibus infidelium
"The the land of the infidels" — infidels here refers to non-Catholics. After Islam conquered a big part of the Roman Empire, the corresponding bishoprics didn't disappear, but remained as honorific titles.
;In rerum natura
"In the nature of things."
;In salvo
"In safety."
;In silico
"In silicon", an experiment or process performed as a computer simulation. Compare with in vitro and in vivo.
;In statu nascendi
"At the moment of birth" — just as something is about to begin.
;In situ
"In place" — in the original place, position, or arrangement.
;In toto
"In all" — "totally", "completely".
;In triplo
"In three (copies)."
;In vitro
"In glass" — an experiment or process performed in a non-natural laboratory setting, for example in a test tube.
;In vivo
"In life" — an experiment or process performed in a living specimen, as opposed to in vitro.
;Incredibile dictu
"Incredible to say."
;Index librorum prohibitorum
"List of prohibited books" — a list of books considered heretic by the Catholic Church.
;Inter alia
"Among other things."
;Inter caetera
"Among others". Title of a papal bull.
;Inter spem et metum
"Between hope and fear."
;Inter vivos
"Between the living" — said of property transfers between living persons, as opposed to inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
;Integer vitae scelerisque purus
"Untouched by life and free of wickedness" — by Horace, used as a funeral hymn.
;Intra muros
"Within the walls" — i.e. "not public".
;In usum Delphini
"In the manner of the Dauphin" — rare variant of ad usum Delphini.
;Ipse dixit
"He, himself, has spoken" — emphasizes that some assertion comes from some authority. See appeal to authority.
;Ipsissima verba
"The words themselves, verily" — i.e. "strictly word by word."
;Ipso facto
"By the fact itself."
;Ita vero
"Thus (it is) true" — i.e. "thus indeed". A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes".
;Ite, missa est
"Leave, the mass is finished" — the final words of the Roman Missal.
;Iunctis viribus
"By united efforts."
;Ius primae noctis
"Right of the first night" — the droit de seigneur.

L

;Lapsus calami
"A slip of the pen."
;Lapsus linguae
"A slip of the tongue."
;Lapsus memoriae
"Memory lapse."
;
Legitime
"Forced share" — a legal term describing the portion of an deceased person's estate from which the immediate family cannot be disinherited.
;Lex talionis
"Law of retaliation" — cf. Retributive justice, an eye for an eye.
;Locus classicus
"A classic place" — a quote from a classical text used as an example of something.
;Lorem ipsum
A mangled fragment from Cicero's De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum ("On the Ends (Limits) of Good and Evil," 45 BC), used as typographer's filler to show fonts (a.k.a greeked text).

M

;
Magna cum laude
"With great honor."
;Magnum opus
"Great work" — said (sometimes ironically) of someone's masterpiece.
;Mala fide
"In bad faith" — said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone.
;Malum in se
"Wrong in itself" — a crime that is inherently wrong; cf. malum prohibitum.
;Malum prohibitum
"Prohibited wrong" — something that society decided to forbid, but is not inherently evil.
;Mea (maxima) culpa
"By my own (very great) fault" — used in Christian prayers and confession.
;Memento mori
"Remember that you will die!"
;Mirabile dictu
"Wonderful to tell."
;Modus operandi (M. O.)
"Way of working" — usually used to describe a criminal's methods.
;Modus ponens
"Method of adding" — loosely "method of affirming", a logical rule of inference, saying that from proposition P and if P then Q one can conclude Q.
;Modus tollens
"Method of subtracting" — loosely "method of denying", a logical rule of inference, saying that from propositions not Q and if P then Q one can conclude not P.
;Modus vivendi
"Way to life" — i.e. an accommodation between disagreeing parties to allow life to go on.
;Multum in parvo
"Much in little" — e.g. "Latin phrases are often multum in parvo, because they convey much in few words."
;Mutatis mutandis
"Changing what is to be changed" — i.e., "with the appropriate changes".

N

;Nemine contradicente (nem. con.)
"Without contestation" — used especially in committees, where a matter may be passed nem. con..
;Nihil obstat
"Nothing prevents" — a notation, usually on a title page, indicating that a Catholic censor has reviewed the book and found nothing objectionable to faith or morals in its content. See also imprimatur.
;Nolens (aut) volens
"Willing or not."
;Noli me tangere
"Touch me not" — according to the Gospel of John, this was said by Christ to Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection.
;Nolle prosequi
"Not willing to prosecute" — a legal motion by a prosecutor or other plaintiff to drop legal charges, usually in exchange for a diversion program or out-of-court settlement.
;Nomen nescio (N. N.)
"Name unknown" — i.e. "unknown person."
;Non compos mentis or Non compos sui
"Of unsound mind."
;Non obstante veredicto
"Notwithstanding the verdict" — a legal motion asking the court to reverse the jury's verdict on the grounds that the jury could not reasonably have reached such a verdict.
;Non sequitur
"It does not follow" — a statement that is the result of faulty logic.
;Non serviam
"I will not serve."
;Nota bene (N. B.)
"Note it well" — i.e. "please note", "important note."
;Novus Ordo Seclorum
"New Order of the Ages" — motto on the Great Seal of the United States; from Vergil.
;Nullam rem natam
"No thing born" — i.e. "nothing". It has been claimed that this expression is the origin of Italian nulla, French rien, and Spanish/Portuguese nada, all with the same meaning.
;Numerus clausus
"Closed number."

O

;O tempora, O mores!
"Oh the times! Oh the morals!" — Marcus Tullius Cicero, Catilina I, 1, 2).
;Oderint dum metuant
"Let them hate, so long as they fear" — attributed by Seneca to the playwright Lucius Accius, and said to be a favourite saying of Caligula.
;Odi et amo
"I hate (her), and I love (her)" — from Catullus.
;Odium theologicum
"Theological hatred" — a name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes.
;Opera omnia
"All works" — the collected works of some author.
;Opera posthuma
"Posthumous works" — i.e. published after the author's death.
;Opere Citato (op. cit.)
"In work (already) cited" — used in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used.
;Ophidia in herba
"A snake in the grass" — any hidden danger or unknown risk.

P

;Pace tua
"With your permission."
;Panem et circenses
"Bread and circus plays" — Juvenal, Satires 10, 81, describing all that was needed for the emperors to placate the Roman mob, and today used to describe any public entertainment.
;Parens patriae
"Parent of the country."
;Pari passu
"With equal step" — moving together, simultaneously, etc..
;Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus
"The mountains are in labour, and a ridiculous mouse shall be born" — i.e. "much ado about nothing"; from Horace.
;Passim
"Throughout", "here and there", "frequently" — of a word that occurs several times in a cited texts; also, in proof reading, of a change that is to be repeated everywhere needed.
;Pater familias
"Father of the family."
;Pater peccavi
"Father, I have sinned" — the traditional beginning of a Catholic confession.
;Pax Americana
"The Peace of America" — a euphemism for the United States of America and its sphere of influence, adapted from Pax Romana (q.v.)
;Pax Britannica
"The Peace of Britain" — a euphemism for the British Empire, adapted from Pax Romana (q.v.)
;Pax Romana
"The Peace of Rome" — the peace forcefully imposed by the Roman Empire.
;Pax tecum
"Peace be with you (singular)."
;Pax vobiscum
"Peace be with you (plural)."
;Pendent opera interrupta
"The work hangs interrupted" — from the Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV
;Per annum
"Per year."
;Per capsulam
"By letter."
;Per caput or per capita
"Per head" — i.e. "per person".
;per curiam
"by [the] court."
;Per procurationem (p.p.)
Through the agency (of) — used to indicate that a person is signing a document on behalf of another person (correctly placed before the name of the person signing, but often placed before the name of the person on whose behalf the document is signed, sometimes through incorrect translation of the alternative abbreviation "per pro." as "for and on behalf of").
;Per se
"By itself" or "in itself" — i.e. without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc.; for instance, negligence per se.
;Per stirpes
"Per branch" — used in willss to indicate that each branch of the testator's family should inherit equally; contrast per capita.
;Perpetuum mobile
"Thing in perpetual motion."
;Persona non grata
"Person not wanted" — an unwanted or undesirable person. In diplomatic contexts, a person rejected by the host government. (Unwelcome, banned)
;Petitio principii
"Begging the principle" — i.e. "begging the question"; a logical fallacy.
;Pia desideria
"Pious desires."
;Pia fraus
"Pious betrayal" — expression from Ovid used to describe betrayal which serves Church purposes.
;Pontifex Maximus
"The greatest high priest" — a traditional epithet of the pope.
;Posse comitatus
"Power of the county".
;Post facto
"After the fact." (see ex post facto)
;Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
"After this, therefore because of this" — a logical fallacy.
;Post meridiem (p.m.)
"After noon" — in the period from noon to midnight.
;Post mortem
"After death."
;Post scriptum (p.s.)
"Post script" used to mark additions to a letter, after the signature.
;Prima facie
"At first sight" — used to designate conclusive evidence in a trial.
;Primum non nocere
"First, do no harm." — A medical precept, attributed to Hippocrates.
;Primus inter pares
"First among equals" — a title of the Roman emperors.
;Pro bono (publico)
"For the (public) good" — said of a lawyer's work that is not charged for.
;Pro hac vice
"for this occasion" — request of a state court to allow an out-of-state lawyer to represent a client. (see List of legal terms)
;Pro studio et labore
"For hard work and labor."
;Pro rata
"For the rate" — e.g. per hour.
;Pro tempore
"For the time (being)" — i.e. "temporary."
;Profanum vulgus
"The uninitiated masses" — from Horace.
;Propria manu (p.m.)
"By own hand."
;Punctum saliens
"The outstanding point" — i.e. the essential or most notable point.

Q

;Quære
"(You might) ask..." — used to introduce questions, usually rhetorical or tangential questions.
;Qualis artifex pereo!
"What a great artist dies with me!" — attributed to Nero by Suetonius.
;Quid novi ex Africa?
"What's new out of Africa?" — derived from an Aristotle quote.
;Quid pro quo
"A thing for a thing" — i.e. a favor for a favor.
;Quidnunc? or Quid nunc?
"What now?" — as a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip.
;Quo vadis
"Where are you going?" — according to Christian legend, asked by St. Peter meeting Jesus on the Appian way in Rome.
;Quo vide (q.v.)
"Which see" — used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book.
;Quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D)
"That which was to be demonstrated" — often written (abbreviated) at the bottom of a mathematical proof.
;Quo errat demonstrator
"Where the prover errs" — a pun on Quod erat demonstrandum.
;Quousque tandem?
"For how much longer?" — from Cicero's speech to the Roman senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? i.e. "For how much longer, Catilina, will you abuse our patience?".

R

;Rara avis
"A rare bird" — i.e. an extraodinary or unusual thing (from Juvenal's Satires: rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cycno, "a rare bird on the earth, and very like a black swan").
;Ratio legis
"Legal foundation."
;Reductio ad absurdum
"Reduction to absurdity" — a technique of argument that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. This is an oft-used method of proof in mathematics and philosophy.
;Regnat populus
"Let the People rule."
;Requiescat in pace (R.I.P.)
"May he rest in peace" — a benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers.
;Res ipsa loquitur
"The thing speaks for itself" — a phrase from the common law of torts that means negligence can be inferred from the fact that such an accident happened, without proof of exactly how.
;Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?
"The thing speaks for itself, but what the hell did it say?" — a sarcastic pseudo-Latin commentary on res ipsa loquitur, reminding the listener that we must still interpret the significance of events that "speak for themselves."
;Res judicata
Literally, "Judged thing" — i.e. matter which has been decided by a court. Commonly, the legal concept that once a matter has been finally decided by the courts it cannot be litigated again. See also Double jeopardy
;Res nullius
"Nobody's thing" — i.e. goods without owner.
;Rosa rubicundior, lilio candidior, omnibus formosior, semper in te glorior
"Redder than the rose, whiter than the lilies, fairer than everything, I will always glory in thee."

S

;Saltus in demonstrando
"Leap in demonstration."
;Salva veritate
"With truth preserved."
;Salvo errore et omissione (s.e.e.o.)
"Except for errors and omissions" — appears on statements of "account currents".
;Salvo honoris titulo (SHT)
"Excluding the title" — used in writings to unfamiliar persons, as an excuse for not using the correct title.
;Sancta sedes
"the Holy Chair" — i.e. the Papacy or the Holy See.
;Sedes apostolica
"the Apostolic Chair" — i.e. the Papacy or the Holy See.
;Servus servorum Dei
"Servant of the servants of God" — a title for the Pope.
;Semper fidelis
"Always faithful" — motto of the United States Marine Corps, often abbreviated Semper Fi.
;Semper paratus
"Always prepared" — the motto of the United States Coast Guard.
;Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR)
"The Senate and the People of Rome" — i.e. "The Aristocrats and the Commoners", the official name of the Roman Republic. "SPQR" was carried on battle standards by the Roman Legions.
;Sesquipedalia verba
"Words a foot and a half long" — long and complicated words that are used without necessity.
;Sic
"Thus", "just so" — states that the preceding quoted material appears exactly that way in the source, usually despite errors of spelling, grammar, usage, or fact.
;Sic itur ad astra
"Thus to the stars" — that's how to achieve fame.
;Sic passim
"thus in various places" — used when referencing books; see passim.
;Sine anno (s.a.)
"Without year" — used in bibliographies to indicate that the date of publication of a document is unknown.
;Sine die
"Without a (set) day" — originally from old common law texts, where it indicates that a final, dispositive order has been made in the case: there is nothing left for the court to do, so no date for further proceedings is set.
;Sine ira et studio
"Without anger or bias" — impartially. From Cornelius Tacitus, Annals 1,1.
;Sine loco (s.l.)
"Without place" — used in bibliographies to indicate that the place of publication of a document is unknown.
;Sine nomine (s.n.)
"Without name" — used in bibliographies to indicate that the publisher of a document is unknown.
;Sit tibi terra levitas (S.T.T.L.)
"May the earth rest lightly on you" — a benediction for the dead, often inscribed on tombstones or other gravestones.
;Sit venia verbo
"With apologies for the word" — i.e. "pardon my French."
;Stanta pede
"On standing foot" — immediately.
;Status quo (ante)
"The state that was (before)" — the status of affairs or situation prior to some upsetting event.
;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."
;Sua sponte
"Of own accord." — motto of the U.S. Army Rangers.
;Sub iudice or sub judice
"Under a judge" — said of a case that cannot be publicly discussed until it is finished.
;Sub poena duces tecum
"Bring with you under penalty" — legal writ requiring appearance with documents, etc..
;Sub poena (subpoena)
"Under penalty" — of a request (usually by a court) that must be complied to on pain of punishment.
;Sub rosa
"Under the rose" — secretly (a rose was placed above a door to indicate that what was said in the room beyond was not to be repeated outside).
;Sub specie æternitatis
"From eternity's point of view." (Spinoza, Ethics)
;Sui generis
Of its (own) kind — in a class of its own.
;Sui juris
Of one's own right — capable of (legal) responsiblity; legal and ecclesiastical use.
;Sum quod eris / Fui quod sis
"I am what you will be / I was what you are" — gravestone incriptions that remind the reader of the inevitability of death. Also see Tu fui, ego eris.
;Summa cum laude
"With the highest honor."
;Summum bonum
"The supreme good."
;Summum malum
"The supreme evil."
;Sunt omnes uno
"They are all one."

T

;Tabula rasa
"Scraped tablet" — i.e. "a blank slate". Romans used to write on wax-covered wooden tablets, which were erased by scraping with the flat end of the stylus. John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth before it had acquired any knowledge.
;Tabula gratulatoria
"List of congratulations."
;Talis qualis
"As such"
;Taliter qualiter
"Somewhat"
;Tempora Heroica
"The Heroic Age."
;Terra firma
"Solid ground."
;Terra incognita
"Unknown land."
;Terra nullius
"Empty land."
;Tertium non datur
"No third is given" — logical axiom that a claim is either true or false, with no third option.
;Tregua Dei
"Truce of God" — a decree by the medieval Church that all feuds should be cancelled during the Sabbath (effectively from wednesday or thursday night until monday).
;Tu autem
"You, also" — see memento mori.
;Tu fui, ego eris
"I was you, you will be me" — i.e. "What you are, I was; what I am, you will be."; a gravestone inscription to remind the reader that death is unavoidable.
;Tu quoque fili
"You too, son" — attributed to Julius Caesar; see Et tu, Brute.

U

;Ubi re vera ... or ubi revera ...
"Where(as), in reality ..."
;Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant
Where they make a wasteland, they call it peace" — Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, Agricola, ch. 30.
;Ultima ratio
"Last argument" — the last resort. Louis XIV, King of France, had Ultima Ratio Regum ("The last resort of kings") engraved on the cannons of his armies.
;Unus multorum
"One of many" — an average person.
;Urbi et orbi
"To the city (of Rome) and to the globe" — standard opening of Roman proclamations; also a traditional blessing by the Pope.
;Ut biberent, quando (or quoniam) esse nollent
"So that they might drink, since they refused to eat" — from a story by Suetonius (Vit. Tib. 2.2) and Cicero (De Natura Deorum, 2.3). The phrase was said by Roman admiral Publius Claudius Pulcher, right before the battle of Drepana, as he threw overboard the sacred chickens which had refused to eat the grain offered them — an unwelcome omen of bad luck. So the sense is "if they do not perform as expected, they must suffer the consequences".
;Ut infra
"As below."
;Ut retro
"As backwards" or "as on the back side" — i.e. "as above" or "as on the previous page".
;Ut supra
"As above."

V

;Vade mecum
"Go with me" — a vade-mecum or vademecum is an item one carries around, especially a handbook.
;Vade retro!
"Go back!" — i.e. "step back!", "begone!" Publius Terent, Formio I, 4, 203.
;Vade retro Satana!
"Go back, Satan!" — implied meaning "go away, do not dare to tempt me!". From a popular Medieval Catholic exorcism formula, apparently based on a rebuke by Jesus to Peter in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33: vade retro me, Satana. ("step back from me, Satan!").
;Veni, vidi, vici
"I came, I saw, I conquered" — the full text of a message sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman senate, to describe his battle against King Pharnakles of Pontus near Zela in 47 BC.
;Vera causa
"The true cause (of)."
;Verbatim et litteratim
"Word by word and letter by letter."
;Verbi divini minister
"Servant of the word of God" — i.e. a priest.
;Versus (vs.)
"Against" — as in "Good versus Evil."
;Via
"By way (of)."
;Via media
"Middle path" — the Church of England was said to be a via media between the errors of Roman Catholicism and the extremes of Protestantism.
;Vice versa
"With places exchanged" — i.e. "in reverse order", "conversely".
;Vide infra (v.i.)
"See below."
;Vide supra (v.s.)
"See above."
;Videre licet (videlicet, viz.)
"one may see" — used to introduce examples or a listing of something just named. (Videlicet is not Latin, it is an English contraction.)
;Visio dei
"God's vision."
;Vite ante acta
"Life before the events" — i.e. a previous life
;Vivat, crescat, floreat!
"May he/she/it live, grow, and flourish!"
;Vivat Regina!
"Long live the Queen!"
;Vivat Rex!
"Long live the King!"
;Vox clamantis in deserto
"The voice of one shouting in the desert" — thus "unheeded", "in vain."

See also

External links