Latin Phrases | Expressions Proverbs, Sayings, Allusions and Motto

Latin phrases

Latin Phrases

List of Latin Phrases. List below are popular expressions, proverbs, proverbs, allusions (figures of speech) and idioms in Latin. The Latin phrases, words or sentences below are often used and are mostly the motto of countries, regions, schools, commerce, business, law and medical faculties and many more.

A – Latin Phrases

a bene placitofrom one well pleasedi.e., “at will” or “at one’s pleasure.” This phrase, and its Italian (beneplacito) and Spanish (beneplácito) derivatives, are synonymous with the more common ad libitum (at pleasure).
a maiore ad minusfrom the greater to the smallerFrom general to particular; “What holds for all X also holds for one particular X.” – argumentum a fortiori
a minore ad maiusfrom the smaller to the greaterAn inference from smaller to bigger; what is forbidden at least is forbidden at more (“If riding a bicycle with two on it is forbidden, riding it with three on it is at least similarly punished”.)
a caelo usque ad centrumfrom the sky to the centeri.e., “from Heaven all the way to the center of the Earth.” In law, it may refer to the proprietary principle of cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (“whosoever is the soil, it is his up to the sky and down to the depths [of the Earth]”).
a capite ad calcemfrom head to heeli.e., “from top to bottom,” “all the way through,” or “from head to toe.” See also a pedibus usque ad caput.
a contrariofrom the oppositei.e., “on the contrary” or “au contraire“. Thus, an argumentum a contrario (“argument from the contrary”) is an argument or proof by contrast or direct opposite.
a falsis principiis proficiscito set forth from false principlesLegal phrase. From Cicero, De Finibus IV.53.
a fortiorifrom the strongeri.e., “even more so” or “with even stronger reason.” Often used to lead from a less certain proposition to a more evident corollary.
a pedibus usque ad caputfrom feet to headi.e., “completely,” “from tip to toe,” “from head to toe.” Equally a capite ad calcem. See also ab ovo usque ad mala.
a posse ad essefrom being able to being“From possibility to actuality” or “from being possible to being actual”.
a posteriorifrom the latterBased on observation, i. e., empirical evidence. Opposite of a priori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known after a proof has been carried out. In philosophy, used to denote something known from experience.
a priorifrom the formerPresupposed independent of experience; the reverse of a posteriori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known or postulated before a proof has been carried out. In philosophy, used to denote something is supposed without empirical evidence. In everyday speech, it denotes something occurring or being known before the event.
a solis ortu usque ad occasumfrom sunrise to sunset
ab absurdofrom the absurdSaid of an argument either for a conclusion that rests on the alleged absurdity of an opponent’s argument (cf. appeal to ridicule) or that another assertion is false because it is absurd. The phrase is distinct from reductio ad absurdum, which is usually a valid logical argument.
ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentiaThe inference of a use from its abuse is not validi.e., a right is still a right even if it is abused (e.g. practiced in a morally/ethically wrong way); cf. § abusus non tollit usum.
ab aeternofrom the eternalLiterally, “from the everlasting,” “from eternity,” or “from outside of time.” Philosophically and theologically, it indicates something, e. g., the universe, that was created from outside of time. Sometimes used incorrectly to denote something, not from without time, but from a point within time, i.e. “from time immemorial,” “since the beginning of time.” or “from an infinitely remote time in the past”)
ab antiquofrom the ancienti.e., from ancient times
ab epistulisfrom the lettersRegarding or pertaining to correspondence. Ab epistulis was originally the title of the secretarial office in the Roman Empire
ab extrafrom beyond/withoutLegal term denoting derivation from an external source, as opposed to a person’s self or mind—the latter of which is denoted by ab intra.
ab hincfrom here onAlso sometimes written as “abhinc”
ab imo pectorefrom the deepest chesti.e., “from the bottom of my heart,” “with deepest affection,” or “sincerely.” Attributed to Julius Caesar.
ab inconvenientifrom an inconvenient thingNew Latin for “based on unsuitability,” “from inconvenience,” or “from hardship.” An argumentum ab inconvenienti is one based on the difficulties involved in pursuing a line of reasoning, and is thus a form of appeal to consequences. The phrase refers to the legal principle that an argument from inconvenience has great weight.
ab incunabulisfrom the cradlei.e., “from the beginning” or “from infancy.” Incunabula is commonly used in English to refer to the earliest stage or origin of something, and especially to copies of books that predate the spread of the printing press c. AD 1500.
ab initiofrom the beginningi.e., “from the outset,” referring to an inquiry or investigation. Ab initio mundi means “from the beginning of the world.” In literature, it refers to a story told from the beginning rather than in medias res (‘from the middle’). In science, it refers to the first principles. In other contexts, it often refers to beginner or training courses. In law, it refers to a thing being true from its beginning or from the instant of the act, rather than from when the court declared it so. Likewise, an annulment is a judicial declaration of the invalidity or nullity of a marriage ab initio: the so-called marriage was “no thing” (Latin: nullius, from which the word “nullity” derives) and never existed, except perhaps in name only.
ab intestatofrom an intestatei.e., from a (dead) decedent, who died without executing a legal will; cf. ex testamento
ab intrafrom withini.e., from the inside, as opposed to ab extra (“from without”).
ab invitoagainst one’s will
ab iratofrom/by an angry personMore literally, “from/by an angry man.” Though the form irato is masculine, the application of t he phrase is not limited to men. Rather, “person” is meant because the phrase probably elides homo (“man/person”), not vir (“man”). It is used in law to describe a decision or action that is motivated by hatred or anger instead of reason and is detrimental to those whom it affects.
ab originefrom the sourcei.e., from the origin, beginning, source, or commencement; or, “originally.”Root of the word aboriginal.
ab ovofrom the eggi.e., from the beginning or origin. Derived from the longer phrase in Horace’s Satire 1.3: “ab ovo usque ad mala,” meaning “from the egg to the apples,” referring to how Ancient Roman meals would typically begin with an egg dish and end with fruit (cf. the English phrase soup to nuts). Thus, ab ovo means “from the beginning,” and can connote thoroughness.
absens haeres non eritan absent person will not be an heirLegal principle that a person who is not present is unlikely to inherit.
absente reo (abs. re.)[with] the defendant being absentLegal phrase denoting action “in the absence of the accused.”
absit iniuriaabsent from injuryi.e., “no offense,” meaning to wish that no insult or injury be presumed or done by the speaker’s words.Also rendered as absit iniuria verbis (“let injury be absent from these words”). cf. absit invidia.
absit invidiaabsent from envyAs opposed to “no offense,” absit invidia is said in the context of a statement of excellence, to ward off envious deities who might interpret a statement of excellence as hubris. Also extended to absit invidia verbo (“may ill will/envy be absent from these words”). cf. absit iniuria verbis.
absit omenabsent from omeni.e., “let this not be a bad omen,” expressing the hope that something ill-boding does not turn out to be bad luck in the future.
absolutum dominiumabsolute dominioni.e., total or supreme power, dominion, ownership, or sovereignty
absolvoI absolveLegal term pronounced by a judge in order to acquit a defendant following their trial. Te absolvo or absolvo te (“I forgive you”) is said by Roman Catholic priests during the Sacrament of Confession, prior to the Second Vatican Council and in vernacular thereafter.
abundans cautela non nocetabundant caution does no harmi.e., “one can never be too careful”
ab uno disce omnesfrom one, learn allRefers to situations in which a single example or observation indicates a general or universal truth. Coined in Virgil, Aeneid II 65-6. Example: in the court of King Silas in the American television series Kings.
ab urbe condita (AUC)from the founding of the Cityi.e., “from the founding of Rome,” which occurred in 753 BC, according to Livy. It was used as a referential year in ancient Rome from which subsequent years were calculated, prior to being replaced by other dating conventions. Also anno urbis conditae (AUC), literally “in the year of the founded city.”
abusus non tollit usummisuse does not remove useThe misuse of some thing does not eliminate the possibility of its correct use. cf. ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia
ab utilifrom utilityUsed of an argument
abyssus abyssum invocatdeep calleth unto deepFrom Psalms 42:7; some translations have “sea calls to sea.”
accipe hoctake thisMotto of the 848 Naval Air Squadron, British Royal Navy
accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deono one ought to accuse himself except in the presence of GodLegal principle denoting that an accused person is entitled to plead not guilty, and that a witness is not obligated to respond or submit a document that would incriminate himself. A similar phrase is nemo tenetur se ipsum accusare (“no one is bound to accuse himself”).
acta deos numquam mortalia falluntmortal actions never deceive the godsDerived from Ovid, Tristia, I.ii, 97: si tamen acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt, / a culpa facinus scitis abesse mea. (“Yet if mortal actions never deceive the gods, / you know that crime was absent from my fault.”)
acta est fabula plauditeThe play has been performed; applaud!Common ending to ancient Roman comedies: Suetonius claimed in The Twelve Caesars that these were the last words of Augustus; Sibelius applied them to the third movement of his String Quartet No. 2, so that his audience would recognize that it was the last one, because a fourth would be ordinarily expected.
acta non verbaDeeds not WordsMotto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
acta sanctorumDeeds of the SaintsAlso used in the singular preceding a saint’s name: Acta Sancti (“Deeds of Saint”) N.; a common title of hagiography works
actiones secundum fideiaction follows beliefi.e., “we act according to what we believe (ourselves to be).”
actore non probante reus absolviturA defendant is exonerated by the failure of the prosecution to prove its casepresumption of innocence
actus me invito factus non est meus actusthe act done by me against my will is not my act
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit reaThe act does not make [a person] guilty unless the mind should be guilty.Legal principle of the presumption of mens rea in a crime
actus reusguilty actThe actual crime that is committed, as opposed to the intent, thinking, and rationalizing that procured the criminal act; the external elements of a crime, rather than the internal elements (i.e. mens rea).
ad absurdumto absurdityIn logic, to the point of being silly or nonsensical. See also reductio ad absurdum. Not to be confused with ab absurdo (“from the absurd”).
ad abundantiamto abundanceUsed in legal language when providing additional evidence to an already sufficient collection. Also used commonly as an equivalent of “as if this wasn’t enough.”
ad actato the archivesDenoting the irrelevance of a thing
ad altiora tendoI strive towards higher things
ad arbitriumat will, at pleasure
ad astrato the starsA common name or motto, in whole or part, among many publications
ad astra per asperato the stars through difficultiesi.e., “a rough road leads to the stars,” as on the Launch Complex 34 memorial plaque for the astronauts of Apollo 1. Used as a motto by the State of Kansas and other organisations
ad augusta per angustathrough difficulties to honoursi.e., to rise to a high position overcoming hardships.
ad captandum vulgusto captivate the mobi.e., to appeal to the masses. Often said of or used by politicians. Likewise, an argumentum ad captandum is an argument designed to please the crowd.
ad clerumto the clergyFormal letter or communication in the Christian tradition from a bishop to his clergy. An ad clerum may be an encouragement in a time of celebration or a technical explanation of new regulations or canons.
a Deucalionefrom or since DeucalionA long time ago; from Gaius Lucilius, Satires VI, 284
ad eundemto the sameAn ad eundem degree (derived from ad eundem gradum, “to the same step or degree”) is a courtesy degree awarded by a university or college to an alumnus of another. Rather than an honorary degree, it is a recognition of the formal learning for which the degree was earned at another college.
ad fontesto the sourcesMotto of Renaissance humanism and the Protestant Reformation
ad fundumto the bottomi.e., “bottoms up!” (during a generic toast) or “back to the basics,” depending on context.
ad hocto thisi.e., “for this,” in the sense of improvised or intended only for a specific, immediate purpose.
ad hominemto/at the manProvides the term argumentum ad hominem, a logical fallacy in which a person themselves is criticized, when the subject of debate is their idea or argument, on the mistaken assumption that the soundness of an argument is dependent on the qualities of the proponent.
ad honoremto/for the honouri.e., not for the purpose of gaining any material reward
ad infinitumto infinityi.e., enduring forever. Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof. Also used in philosophical contexts to mean “repeating in all cases.”
ad interim (ad int.)for the meantimeAs in the term “chargé d’affaires ad interim,” denoting a diplomatic officer who acts in place of an ambassador.
ad kalendas graecasat the Greek Calendsi.e., “when pigs fly.” Attributed by Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars to Augustus. The Calends were specific days of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, and so the “Greek Kalends” would never occur.
ad libitum (ad lib)toward pleasurei.e, “according to what pleases” or “as you wish.” In music and theatrical scripts, it typically indicates that the performer has the liberty to change or omit something. Ad lib is often, specifically used when one improvises or ignores limitations. Also used by some restaurants in favor of the colloquial “all you can eat or drink.” Libitum comes from the past participle of libere (“to please”).
ad litemto the lawsuitLegal phrase referring to a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party who is deemed incapable of representing himself. An individual who acts in this capacity is called a guardian ad litem.
ad locum (ad loc.)at the placeUsed to suggest looking for information about a term in the corresponding place in a cited work of reference.
ad lucemto the lightfrequently used motto for educational institutions
ad maiorem Dei gloriam(AMDG)For the greater glory of Godmotto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
ad melioratowards better thingsMotto of St Patrick’s College, Cavan, Ireland
ad mortemto/at deathMedical phrase serving as a synonym for death
ad multos annosto many yearsWish for a long life; similar to “many happy returns.”
ad nauseamto sicknessi.e., “to the point of disgust.” Sometimes used as a humorous alternative to ad infinitum. An argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy in which erroneous proof is proffered by prolonged repetition of the argument, i. e., the argument is repeated so many times that persons are “sick of it”.
ad oculosto the eyesi.e., “obvious on sight” or “obvious to anyone that sees it”
ad pedem litteraeto the foot of the letteri.e., “exactly as it is written,” “to the letter,” or “to the very last detail”
ad perpetuam memoriamto the perpetual memoryGenerally precedes “of” and a person’s name, used to wish for someone to be remembered long after death
ad pondus omnium (ad pond om)to the weight of all thingsi.e., “considering everything’s weight”. The abbreviation was historically used by physicians and others to signify that the last prescribed ingredient is to weigh as much as all of the previously mentioned ones.
ad quod damnumto whatever damagei.e., “according to the harm” or “in proportion to the harm.” The phrase is used in tort law as a measure of damages inflicted, implying that a remedy (if one exists) ought to correspond specifically and only to the damage suffered. cf. damnum absque iniuria.
ad referendum
(ad ref)
to referencei.e., subject to be proposed, provisionally approved, but still needing official approval. Not the same as a referendum.
ad remto the matteri.e., “to the point” or “without digression”
adsumushere we areMotto of the Brazilian Marine Corps
ad susceptum perficiendumin order to achieve what has been undertakenMotto of the Association of Trust Schools
ad terminum qui praeteriitfor the term which has passedLegal phrase for a writ of entry
ad undasto the wavesi.e., “to Hell”
ad unumto one
ad usum Delphinifor the use of the DauphinSaid of a work that has been expurgated of offensive or improper parts. Originates from editions of Greek and Roman classics which King Louis XIV of France had censored for his heir apparent, the Dauphin. Also rarely in usum Delphini (“into the use of the Dauphin“).
ad usum proprium (ad us. propr.)for one’s own use
ad utrumque paratusprepared for either [alternative]Motto of Lund University, with the implied alternatives being the book (study) and the sword (defending the nation in war), and of the United States Marine Corps’ III Marine Expeditionary Force
ad valoremaccording to valueUsed in commerce to refer to ad valorem taxes, i. e., taxes based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property
ad victoriamto/for victoryUsed as a battle cry by the Romans.
ad vitam aeternamto eternal lifei.e., “to life everlasting.” A common Biblical phrase
ad vitam aut culpamfor life or until faultUsed in reference to the ending of a political term upon the death or downfall of the officer (demise as in their commission of a sufficiently grave immorality and/or legal crime).
addendumthing to be addedi.e., an item to be added, especially as a supplement to a book. The plural is addenda.
adaequatio rei et intellectuscorrespondence of mind and realityOne of the classic definitions of “truth:” when the mind has the same form as reality, we think truth. Also rendered as adaequatio intellectus et rei.
adaequatio intellectus nostri cum reconformity of intellect to the factPhrase used in epistemology regarding the nature of understanding.
adsumI am herei.e., “present!” or “here!” The opposite of absum (“I am absent”).
adversus solem ne loquitordo not speak against the Suni.e., “do not argue what is obviously/manifestly incorrect.”
advocatus diaboliDevil’s advocateSomeone who, in the face of a specific argument, voices an argument that he does not necessarily accept, for the sake of argument and discovering the truth by testing the opponent’s argument. cf. arguendo.
aegri somniaa sick man’s dreamsi.e., “troubled dreams.” From Horace, Ars Poetica VII 7.
aes alienumforeign debti.e., “someone else’s money”
aetatis suae (aetatis, aetat. or aet.)of his age or at the age ofThe word aetatis means “aged” or “of age” (e.g. “aetatis 36” denotes being “of age 36” or “aged 36 years old.”) Appears on portraits, gravestones, monuments, etc. Usually preceded by anno (AAS), “in the year # [of his age/life].” Frequently combined with Anno Domini, giving a date as both the age of Jesus Christ and the age of the decedent. Example: “Obiit anno Domini MDCXXXVIo (tricensimo sexto), [anno] aetatis suae XXVo (vicensimo quinto)” (“he died in the 1636th year of the Lord, [being] the 25th [year] of his age[/life]”).
affidavithe assertedLegal term derived from fides (“faith”), originating at least from Medieval Latin to denote a statement under oath.
age quod agisdo what you doi.e., “do what you are doing” or “do well whatever you do.” Figuratively, it means “keep going, because you are inspired or dedicated to do so.” This is the motto of several Roman Catholic schools, and was also used by Pope John XXIII in the sense of “do not be concerned with any other matter than the task in hand;” he was allaying worry of what would become of him in the future: his sense of age quod agis was “joy” regarding what is presently occurring and “detachment” from concern of the future.
agere sequitur (esse)action follows beingMetaphysical and moral principle that indicates the connection of ontology, obligation, and ethics.
Agnus DeiLamb of GodRefers both to the innocence of a lamb and to Christ being a sacrificial lamb after the Jewish religious practice. It is the Latin translation from John 1:36, when St. John the Baptist exclaimes “Ecce Agnus Dei!” (“Behold the Lamb of God!”) upon seeing Jesus Christ.
alea iacta estthe die has been castSaid by Julius Caesar (Greek: ἀνερρίφθω κύβοςanerrhíphthō kýbos) upon crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC, according to Suetonius. The original meaning was similar to “the game is afoot,” but its modern meaning, like that of the phrase “crossing the Rubicon,” denotes passing the point of no return on a momentous decision and entering into a risky endeavor where the outcome is left to chance.
alenda lux ubi orta libertasLet light be nourished where liberty has arisen“Light” meaning learning. Motto of Davidson College.
aliasat another time, otherwiseAn assumed name or pseudonym; similar to alter ego, but more specifically referring to a name, not to a “second self.”
alibielsewhereLegal defense where a defendant attempts to show that he was elsewhere at the time a crime was committed (e.g. “his alibi is sound; he gave evidence that he was in another city on the night of the murder.”)
aliquid stat pro aliquosomething stands for something elseFoundational definition in semiotics.
alis aquilaeon an eagle’s wingsFrom Isaiah 40: “But those who wait for the Lord shall find their strength renewed, they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not grow faint.”
alis grave nilnothing [is] heavy with wingsi.e., “nothing is heavy to those who have wings”; motto of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
alis volat propriisshe flies with her own wingsMotto of the State of Oregon, adopted in 1987, replacing the previous state motto of “The Union,” which was adopted in 1957.
alma maternourishing motherTerm used for the university one attends or has attended. Another university term, matriculation, is also derived from mater. The term suggests that the students are “fed” knowledge and taken care of by the university. It is also used for a university’s traditional school anthem.
alter egoanother Ii.e., another self, a second persona or alias. Can be used to describe different facets or identities of a single character, or different characters who seem representations of the same personality. Often used of a fictional character’s secret identity.
alterius non sit qui suus esse potestlet no man be another’s who can be his ownUsually attributed to Cicero, the phrase is the final sentence in Aesop’s ascribed fable “The Frogs Who Desired a King” as appears in the collection commonly known as the “Anonymus Neveleti,” in Fable 21B: De ranis a Iove querentibus regem.Used as a motto by Paracelsus.
alterum non laedereto not wound anotherOne of Justinian I’s three basic legal precepts
alumnus, or, alumnapupilGraduate or former student of a school, college, or university. Plural of alumnus is alumni (male). Plural of alumna is alumnae (female).
a mari usque ad marefrom sea to seaFrom Psalm 72:8, “Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae” (KJV: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth”). National motto of Canada.
amat victoria curamvictory favours careMotto of several schools
amicus certus in re incertaa sure friend in an unsure matterFrom Ennius, as quoted by Cicero in Laelius de Amicitia, s. 64
amicus curiaefriend of the courti.e., an adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of a powerful group (e. g., the Roman Curia). In current U.S. legal usage, an amicus curiae is a third party who is allowed to submit a legal opinion in the form of an amicus brief to the court.
Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas.Plato is my friend, but truth is a better friend.An assertion that truth is more valuable than friendship. Attributed to Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1096a15; and Roger Bacon, Opus Majus, Part 1, Chapter 5.
amicus usque ad arasa friend as far as to the altars“a friend as far as to the altars,” “a friend whose only higher allegiance is to religion,” a friend to the very end.”
amittere legem terraeto lose the law of the landAn obsolete legal phrase signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.
amor Dei intellectualisintellectual love of GodFrom Baruch Spinoza
amor et melle et felle est fecundissimuslove is rich with both honey and venom
amor fatilove of fateNietzscheian alternative worldview to that represented through memento mori (“remember you must die”): Nietzsche believed amor fati was more affirmative of life.
amor omnibus idemlove is the same for allFrom Virgil, Georgics III
amor patriaelove of the fatherlandi.e., “love of the nation;” patriotism
amor vincit omnialove conquers allOriginally from Virgil, Eclogues X, 69: omnia vincit amor: et nos cedamus amori (“love conquers all: let us too surrender to love”). The phrase is inscribed on a bracelet worn by the Prioress in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?Said by Axel Oxenstierna to encourage his son, a delegate to the negotiations that would lead to the Peace of Westphalia, who worried about his ability to hold his own amidst experienced and eminent statesmen and diplomats.
anglicein EnglishUsed before the anglicized version of a word or name. For example, “Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland”.
animus in consulendo libera mind unfettered in deliberationMotto of NATO
anno (an.)in the yearAlso used in such phrases as anno urbis conditae (see ab urbe condita), Anno Domini, and anno regni.
anno Domini (A.D.)in the year of our LordAbbreviation of Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi (“in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ”), the predominantly-used system for dating years across the world; used with the Gregorian Calendar and based on the perceived year of the birth of Jesus Christ. The years before His birth were formerly signified by a. C. n (ante Christum natum, “before Christ was born”), but now use the English abbreviation “BC” (“before Christ”). For example, Augustus was born in the year 63 BC and died in AD 14.
anno regniIn the year of the reignPrecedes “of” and the current ruler
annuit cœptishe nods at things now beguni.e., “he approves our undertakings.” Motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and, consequently, on the reverse of the United States one-dollar bill; in this context the motto refers to God.
annus horribilishorrible yearVariation on annus mirabilis, recorded in print from 1890. Notably used in a speech by Queen Elizabeth II to describe what a bad year 1992 had been for her. In Classical Latin, this phrase actually means “terrifying year”. See also annus terribilis.
annus mirabiliswonderful yearUsed particularly to refer to the years 1665 and 1666, during which Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation. Annus Mirabilis is also the title of a poem by John Dryden written in the same year. It has since been used to refer to other years, especially to 1905, when Albert Einstein made equally revolutionary discoveries concerning the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, mass-energy equivalence, and the special theory of relativity. (See Annus Mirabilis papers)
annus terribilisdreadful yearUsed to describe 1348, the year the Black Death began to afflict Europe.
ante bellumbefore the warAs in status quo ante bellum (“as it was before the war”); commonly used as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War, primarily in reference to the Southern United States at that time.
ante cibum (a.c.)before foodMedical shorthand for “before meals”
ante faciem Dominibefore the face of the LordMotto of the Christian Brothers College, Adelaide
ante litterambefore the letterSaid of an expression or term that describes something which existed before the phrase itself was introduced or became common. Example: Alan Turing was a computer scientist ante litteram, since the field of “computer science” was not yet recognized in Turing’s day.
ante meridiem (a.m.)before middayFrom midnight to noon; confer post meridiem
ante mortembefore deathSee post mortem (“after death”)
ante omnia armaribefore all else, be armed
ante prandium (a.p.)before lunchUsed on pharmaceutical prescriptions to denote “before a meal”. Less common is post prandium (“after lunch”).
antiqui colant antiquum dierumlet the ancients worship the ancient of daysThe motto of Chester
aperire terram gentibusopen the land to nationsMotto of Ferdinand de Lesseps referring to the Suez and Panama Canals. Also appears on a plaque at Kinshasa train station.
apparatus criticustools of a criticTextual notes or a list of other readings relating to a document, especially in a scholarly edition of a text.
apologia pro vita suadefense of one’s life
apudin the writings ofUsed in scholarly works to cite a reference at second hand
aqua (aq.)water
aqua fortisstrong waterRefers to nitric acid, thus called because of its ability to dissolve all materials except gold and platinum
aqua purapure waterOr, “clear water” or “clean water”
aqua regiaroyal waterRefers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, thus called because of its ability to dissolve gold and platinum
aqua vitaewater of life“Spirit of Wine” in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in the Netherlands, brandy (eau de vie) in France, and akvavit in Scandinavia.
aquila non capit muscasan eagle does not catch fliesOr, “a noble or important person does not deal with insignificant matters”
arare litusto plough the seashoreDesiderius Erasmus, Adagia (AD 1508); meaning “wasted labor”
arbiter elegantiarumjudge of tastesOne who prescribes, rules on, or is a recognized authority on matters of social behavior and taste. Said of Petronius. Sometimes found in the singular as arbiter elegantiae (“judge of taste”).
arcana imperiithe secrets of powerOriginally used by Tacitus to refer to the state secrets and unaccountable acts of the Roman imperial government
arcanum boni tenoris animaeThe secret behind a good moodMotto of the Starobrno Brewery in Brno
arcus senilisbow of an old personAn opaque circle around the cornea of the eye, often seen in elderly people. When it is found in patients less than 50 years old it is termed arcus juvenilis
arduus ad solemStriving towards the SunMotto of Victoria University of Manchester
argentum albumwhite silverAlso “silver coin”; mentioned in the Domesday Book; signifies bullion or silver uncoined
arguendofor arguingOr, “for the sake of argument”. Said when something is done purely in order to discuss a matter or illustrate a point. E. g., “let us assume, arguendo, that your claim is correct.”
argumentumargumentOr “reasoning”, “inference”, “appeal”, or “proof”. The plural is argumenta. Commonly used in the names of logical arguments and fallacies, preceding phrases such as a silentio (by silence), ad antiquitatem (to antiquity), ad baculum (to the stick), ad captandum (to capturing), ad consequentiam (to the consequence), ad crumenam (to the purse), ad feminam (to the woman), ad hominem (to the person), ad ignorantiam (to ignorance), ad invidiam (to envy/jealousy/odium/hatred/reproach – appealing to low passions), ad judicium (to judgment), ad lazarum (to poverty), ad logicam (to logic), ad metum (to fear), ad misericordiam (to pity), ad nauseam (to nausea), ad novitatem (to novelty), ad personam (to the character), ad numerum (to the number), ad odium (to spite), ad populum (to the people), ad temperantiam (to moderation), ad verecundiam (to reverence), ex silentio (from silence), in terrorem (into terror), and e contrario (from/to the opposite).
armata potentiaarmed and powerfulcharge made by a Justice of the Peace in Medieval England against those who rode in arms against the King’s Peace.
ars celare artemart [is] to conceal artAn aesthetic ideal that good art should appear natural rather than contrived. Of medieval origin, but often incorrectly attributed to Ovid.
ars gratia artisart for the sake of artTranslated into Latin from Baudelaire’s L’art pour l’art. Motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While symmetrical for the logo of MGM, the better word order in Latin is “Ars artis gratia”.
ars longa, vita brevisart is long, life is shortSeneca, De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1, translating a phrase of Hippocrates that is often used out of context. The “art” referred to in the original aphorism was the craft of medicine, which took a lifetime to acquire.
arte et laboreby art and by labourMotto of Blackburn Rovers F.C.
arte et marteby skill and by fightingMotto of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of the British Army and Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) Branch of the Canadian Forces
Artis Bohemiae AmicisFriends of Czech ArtsAward of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic for the promotion of the positive reputation of Czech culture abroad
asinus ad lyraman ass to the lyreDesiderius Erasmus, Adagia (AD 1508); meaning “an awkward or incompetent individual”
asinus asinum fricatthe jackass rubs the jackassUsed to describe 2 persons who are lavishing excessive praise on one another
assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sitthe assured does not seek profit but makes [it his profit] that he not be in lossRefers to the insurance principle that the indemnity can not be larger than the loss
astra inclinant, sed non obligantthe stars incline us, they do not bind usRefers to the distinction of free will from astrological determinism
auctores variivarious authorsUsed in bibliography for books, texts, publications, or articles that have more than 3 collaborators
auctoritasauthorityLevel of prestige a person had in Roman society
auctoritas non veritas facit legemauthority, not truth, makes lawThis formula appears in the 1668 Latin revised edition of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, book 2, chapter 26, p. 133.
audacia pro muro et scuto opusboldness is our wall, action is our shieldCornelis Jol, in a bid to rally his rebellious captains to fight and conquer the Spanish treasure fleet in 1638.
audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeretslander boldly, something always sticksFrancis Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum (AD 1623)
audax at fidelisbold but faithfulMotto of Queensland, Australia
audeamuslet us dareMotto of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment [CSOR] on their regimental coat of arms; of Otago University Students’ Association, a direct response to the university’s motto of sapere aude (“dare to be wise”); and of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
audemus jura nostra defenderewe dare to defend our rightsMotto of the State of Alabama, adopted in 1923; translated into Latin from a paraphrase of the stanza “Men who their duties know / But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain” from William Jones, “What Constitutes a State?”
audentes fortuna iuvatfortune favors the boldFrom Virgil, Aeneid, Book 10, 284, where the first word is in the archaic form audentis. Allegedly the last words of Pliny the Elder before he left the docks at Pompeii to rescue people from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79. Often quoted as audaces fortuna iuvat. Also the motto of the Portuguese Army Commandos and the USS Montpelier in the latter form.
audere est facereto dare is to doMotto of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
audi alteram partemhear the other sideLegal principle; also worded as audiatur et altera pars (“let the other side be heard also”)
audio hostemI hear the enemyMotto of the 845 NAS Royal Navy
audi, vide, tacehear, see, be silent
aurea mediocritasgolden meanFrom Horace’s Odes, 2, 10. Refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes. The golden mean concept is common to many philosophers, chiefly Aristotle.
auri sacra famesaccursed hunger for goldFrom Virgil, Aeneid, Book 3, 57. Later quoted by Seneca as quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames (“what do not you force mortal hearts [to do], accursed hunger for gold”).
auribus teneo lupumI hold a wolf by the earsCommon ancient proverb, this version from Terence. It indicates that one is in a dangerous situation where both holding on and letting go could be deadly. A modern version is “to have a tiger by the tail”.
aurora australissouthern dawnThe Southern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Southern Hemisphere. It is less well-known than the Northern Lights (aurorea borealis). The Aurora Australis is also the name of an Antarctic icebreaker ship.
aurora borealisnorthern dawnThe Northern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Northern Hemisphere.
aurora musis amicadawn is a friend to the musesTitle of a distich by Iohannes Christenius (1599–1672): “Conveniens studiis non est nox, commoda lux est; / Luce labor bonus est et bona nocte quies.” (“Night is not suitable for studying, daylight is; / working by light is good, as is rest at night.”); in Nihus, Barthold (1642). Epigrammata disticha. Johannes Kinckius.
aurum potestas estgold is powerMotto of the fictional Fowl Family in the Artemis Fowl series, written by Eoin Colfer
auspicium melioris aevihope/token of a better ageMotto of the Order of St Michael and St George and of Raffles Institution in Singapore
aut Caesar aut nihileither Caesar or nothingDenotes an absolute aspiration to become the Emperor, or the equivalent supreme magistrate, and nothing else. More generally, “all or nothing”. A personal motto of Cesare Borgia. Charlie Chaplin also used the phrase in The Great Dictator to ridicule Hynkel’s (Chaplin’s parody of Hitler) ambition for power, but substituted “nullus” for “nihil”.
aut consilio aut enseeither by meeting or the swordI. e., either through reasoned discussion or through war. It was the first motto of Chile (see coat of arms), changed to Spanish: Por la razón o la fuerza. Name of episode 1 in season 3 of Berlin Station.
aut cum scuto aut in scutoeither with shield or on shieldOr, “do or die” or “no retreat”. A Greek expression («Ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς») that Spartan mothers said to their sons as they departed for battle. It refers to the practices that a Greek hoplite would drop his cumbersome shield in order to flee the battlefield, and a slain warrior would be borne home atop his shield.
aut imiteris aut oderisimitate or loathe itSeneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 7:7. From the full phrase: “necesse est aut imiteris aut oderis” (“you must either imitate or loathe the world”).
aut neca aut necareeither kill or be killedAlso: “neca ne neceris” (“kill lest you be killed”)
aut pax aut bellumeither peace or warMotto of the Gunn Clan
aut simul stabunt aut simul cadentthey will either stand together or fall togetherSaid of two situations that can only occur simultaneously: if one ends, so does the other, and vice versa.
aut viam inveniam aut faciamI will either find a way or make oneHannibal
aut vincere aut morieither to conquer or to dieGeneral pledge of victoria aut mors (“victory or death”). Motto of the Higgenbotham and Higginbottom families of Cheshire, England; participants in the War of the Roses. Also the motto for the United States 1st Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
ave atque valehail and farewellCatullus, Carmen 101, addressed to his deceased brother
ave Europa nostra vera patriahail Europe, our true fatherlandAnthem of Imperium Europa
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutantHail, Emperor! Those who are about to die salute you!From Suetonius’ The Twelve CaesarsClaudius 21. A salute and plea for mercy recorded on one occasion by naumachiarii–captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters. Later versions included a variant of “We who are about to die”, and this translation is sometimes aided by changing the Latin to nos morituri te salutamus.
Ave MariaHail, MaryRoman Catholic prayer of intercession asking St. Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ to pray for the petitioner
ave mater AngliaeHail, Mother of EnglandMotto of Canterbury, England

B – Latin Phrases

barba crescit caput nescitbeard grows, head doesn’t grow wiser
barba non facit philosophuma beard doesn’t make one a philosopher
barba tenus sapienteswise as far as the beardWise only in appearance. From Erasmus’s collection of Adages.
Beata Virgo Maria (BVM)Blessed Virgin MaryA common name in the Roman Catholic Church for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The genitive, Beatae Mariae Virginis (BMV), occurs often as well, appearing with such words as horae (hours), litaniae (litanies) and officium (office).
beatae memoriaeof blessed memorySee in memoriam
beati pauperes spiritublessed in spirit [are] the poor.A Beatitude from Matthew 5:3 in the Vulgate: beati pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum “Blessed in spirit [are] the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens”.
beati possidentesblessed [are] those who possessTranslated from Euripides
beati qui ambulant lege dominiblessed are they who walk in the law of the LordInscription above the entrance to St. Andrew’s Church (New York City), based on the second half of Psalm 119:1
beati quorum via integra estblessed are they whose way is uprightfirst half of Psalm 119:1, base of several musical setting such as Beati quorum via (Stanford)
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiamblessed is the man who finds wisdomFrom Proverbs 3:13; set to music in a 1577 motet of the same name by Orlando di Lasso.
Bella, mulier qui hominum allicit et accipit eos per fortiswar, a woman who lures men and takes them by forceLatin proverb
bella gerant alii
Protesilaus amet!
let others wage war
Protesilaus should love!
Originally from Ovid, Heroides 13.84, where Laodamia is writing to her husband Protesilaus who is at the Trojan War. She begs him to stay out of danger, but he was in fact the first Greek to die at Troy. Also used of the Habsburg marriages of 1477 and 1496, written as bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube (let others wage war; you, happy Austria, marry). Said by King Matthias.
bella detesta matribuswar hateful to mothersFrom Horace
bello et jure senescoI grow old through war and lawMotto of the House of d’Udekem d’Acoz [nl]
bellum omnium contra omneswar of all against allA phrase used by Thomas Hobbes to describe the state of nature
bellum Romanumwar as the Romans did itAll-out war without restraint as Romans practiced against groups they considered to be barbarians
bellum se ipsum aletwar feeds itself
Biblia pauperumPaupers’ BibleTradition of biblical pictures displaying the essential facts of Christian salvation
bibo ergo sumI drink, therefore I amA play on “cogito ergo sum”, “I think therefore I am”
bis dat qui cito dathe gives twice, who gives promptlyA gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts.
bis in die (bid)twice in a dayMedical shorthand for “twice a day”
bona fidein good faithIn other words, “well-intentioned”, “fairly”. In modern contexts, often has connotations of “genuinely” or “sincerely”. Bona fides is not the plural (which would be bonis fidebus), but the nominative, and means simply “good faith”. Opposite of mala fide.
bona notabilianote-worthy goodsIn law, if a person dying has goods, or good debts, in another diocese or jurisdiction within that province, besides his goods in the diocese where he dies, amounting to a certain minimum value, he is said to have bona notabilia; in which case, the probat of his will belongs to the archbishop of that province.
bona officiagood servicesA nation’s offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations
bona patriagoods of a countryA jury or assize of countrymen, or good neighbors
bona vacantiavacant goodsUnited Kingdom legal term for ownerless property that passes to The Crown
boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubereit is a good shepherd’s [job] to shear his flock, not to flay themTiberius reportedly said this to his regional commanders, as a warning against taxing the populace excessively.
bono malum superateovercome evil with goodMotto of Westonbirt School
bonum commune communitatiscommon good of the communityOr “general welfare”. Refers to what benefits a society, as opposed to bonum commune hominis, which refers to what is good for an individual. In the film Hot Fuzz, this phrase is chanted by an assembled group of people, in which context it is deliberately similar to another phrase that is repeated throughout the film, which is The Greater Good.
bonum commune hominiscommon good of a manRefers to an individual’s happiness, which is not “common” in that it serves everyone, but in that individuals tend to be able to find happiness in similar things.
boreas domus, mare amicusthe North is our home, the sea is our friendMotto of Orkney
brutum fulmenharmless (or inert) thunderboltUsed to indicate either an empty threat, or a judgement at law which has no practical effect
busillis [it]baffling puzzle, thorny problemJohn 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 [in those days], which the scribe misread as in die busillis [at the day of Busillis], believing this was a famous man. This mondegreen has since entered the literature; it occurs in Alessandro Manzoni’s novel The Betrothed (1827), in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1880), and in Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series.

C – Latin Phrase

cacatum non est pictumThat what’s shat, is not painted.From Gottfried August Bürger’s Prinzessin Europa (line 60); popularised by Heinrich Heine’s Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen (XI, 44); also the title of Joseph Haydn’s canon for four voices, Hob. XXVIIb:16; Ludwig van Beethoven set the text by Bürger as a three-voice canon, WoO 224. Contemporary critics applied this epithet to both of Turner’s Regulus (1828 and 1837).
cacoethes scribendiinsatiable desire to writeCacoēthes “bad habit”, or medically, “malignant disease” is a borrowing of Greek kakoēthes. The phrase is derived from a line in the Satires of Juvenal: Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes, or “the incurable desire (or itch) for writing affects many”. See hypergraphia.
cadavera vero innumeratruly countless bodiesUsed by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.
Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.Kill them all. For the Lord knows those who are his.Supposed statement by Abbot Arnaud Amalric before the Massacre at Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade, recorded 30 years later, according to Caesarius of Heisterbach. cf. “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”
Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare curruntThose who hurry across the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mindHexameter by Horace (Epistula XI). Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum (You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky) in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1.
Caesar non supra grammaticosCaesar has no authority over the grammariansPolitical power is limited; it does not include power over grammar.
caetera desuntthe rest is missingCaetera is Medieval Latin spelling for cētera.
calix meus inebriansmy cup making me drunk
calamus gladio fortiorThe pen is mightier than the sword
camera obscuradark chamberAn optical device used in drawing, and an ancestor of modern photography. The source of the word camera.
Cane Nero magna bella PersicaTell, oh Nero, of the great wars of PersiaPerfectly correct Latin sentence usually reported as funny from modern Italians because the same exact words, in today’s dialect of Rome, mean “A black dog eats a beautiful peach”, which has a ridiculously different meaning.
canes pugnaceswar dogs or fighting dogs
canis canem editdog eats dogRefers to a situation where nobody is safe from anybody, each man for himself. Original name of the video game Bully.
capax Deicapable of receiving GodFrom Augustine, De Trinitate XIV, 8.11: Mens eo ipso imago Dei est quo eius capax est, “The mind is the image of God, in that it is capable of Him and can be partaker of Him.”
capax imperii nisi imperassetcapable of imperial power if only he had not held itWritten by Tacitus in The Histories to describe Galba as emperor.
capax infinitiholding the infiniteCapability of achieving goals by force of many instead of a single individual.
caput inter nubila (condit)(she plunges) [her] head in the cloudsSo aggrandized as to be beyond practical (earthly) reach or understanding (from Virgil’s Aeneid and the shorter form appears in John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government)
caput mortuumdead headOriginally an alchemical reference to the dead head or worthless residue left over from a reaction. Also used to refer to a freeloader or worthless element.
Caritas ChristiThe love of ChristIt implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Francis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park, Edmonton.
Caritas in veritateCharity in truthPope Benedict XVI’s third encyclical
carpe diemseize the dayAn exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. Carpere refers to plucking of flowers or fruit. The phrase collige virgo rosas has a similar sense.
carpe noctemseize the nightAn exhortation to make good use of the night, often used when carpe diem, q.v., would seem absurd, e.g., when observing a deep-sky object or conducting a Messier marathon or engaging in social activities after sunset.
carpe vinumseize the wine
Carthago delenda estCarthage must be destroyedThe Roman senator Cato the Elder ended every speech after the Second Punic War with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally “For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed.”
castigat ridendo moresOne corrects customs by laughing at themOr, “[Comedy/Satire] criticises customs through humour”, is a phrase coined by French New Latin poet Jean-Baptiste de Santeul (1630–1697), but sometimes wrongly attributed to his contemporary Molière or to Roman lyric poet Horace.
casus bellievent of warRefers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.
causa latet, vis est notissimaThe cause is hidden, but the result is well known.Ovid: Metamorphoses IV, 287; motto of Alpha Sigma Phi.
causa mortiscause of death
cavebeware!especially used by Doctors of Medicine, when they want to warn each other (e.g.: “cave nephrolithiases” in order to warn about side effects of an uricosuric). Spoken aloud in some British public schools by pupils to warn each other of impending authority.
cave canemBeware of the dogEarliest written example is in the Satyricon of Petronius, circa 1st century C.E.
caveat emptorlet the buyer bewareThe purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need. Phrases modeled on this one replace emptor with lectorsubscriptorvenditorutilitor: “reader”, “signer”, “seller”, “user”.
caveat venditorlet the seller bewareIt is a counter to caveat emptor and suggests that sellers can also be deceived in a market transaction. This forces the seller to take responsibility for the product and discourages sellers from selling products of unreasonable quality.
cedant arma togaelet arms yield to the gown“Let military power yield to civilian power”, Cicero, De Officiis I:77. Former motto of the Territory of Wyoming. See also Toga#Roman military.
cedere nescioI know not how to yieldMotto of HMAS Norman
Celer – Silens – MortalisSwift – Silent – DeadlyMotto of the United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance, also known as FORCE RECON or FORECON, one of the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Capable Forces (SOC) that provide essential elements of military intelligence to the command element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), supporting their task force commanders, and their subordinate operating units of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF).
celerius quam asparagi cocunturmore swiftly than asparagus [stem]s are cookedOr simply “faster than cooking asparagus”. A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternative mood and spelling of coquere.
cepi corpusI have taken the bodyIn law, it is a return made by the sheriff, upon a capias, or other process to the like purpose; signifying, that he has taken the body of the party. See also habeas corpus.
certum est quod certum reddi potestit is certain, whatever can be rendered certainOr “… if it can be rendered certain.” Often used in law when something is not known, but can be ascertained (e.g. the purchase price on a sale which is to be determined by a third-party valuer)
cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lexwhen the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceasesA rule of law becomes ineffective when the reason for its application has ceased to exist or does not correspond to the reality anymore. By Gratian.
cetera desuntthe rest are missingAlso spelled “caetera desunt”.
ceteris paribusall other things being equalThat is, disregarding or eliminating extraneous factors in a situation.
charta pardonationis se defendendoa paper of pardon to defend oneselfThe form of a pardon for killing another man in self-defence (see manslaughter).
charta pardonationis utlagariaea paper of pardon to the outlawThe form of a pardon of a man who is outlawed. Also called perdonatio utlagariae.
Christianos ad leones[Throw the] Christians to the lions!
Christo et DoctrinaeFor Christ and LearningThe motto of Furman University.
Christus nos liberavitChrist has freed ustitle of volume I, book 5, chapter XI of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
Christus RexChrist the KingA Christian title for Jesus.
Cicero pro domo sua [it]Cicero’s speech in 57 BC to regain his confiscated houseSaid of someone who pleads cases for their own benefit; see List of Latin phrases (P) § pro domo
circa (c.) or (ca.)aroundIn the sense of “approximately” or “about”. Usually used of a date.
circulus in probandocircle made in testing [a premise]Circular reasoning. Similar term to circulus vitiosus.
circulus vitiosusvicious circleIn logic, begging the question, a fallacy involving the presupposition of a proposition in one of the premises (see petitio principii). In science, a positive feedback loop. In economics, a counterpart to the virtuous circle.
citius altius fortiusfaster, higher, strongerMotto of the modern Olympics.
civis romanus sumI am (a) Roman citizenIs a phrase used in Cicero’s In Verrem as a plea for the legal rights of a Roman citizen
clamea admittenda in itinere per atturnatumA writ whereby the king of England could command the justice to admit one’s claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king’s service, cannot come in person.
clarere audere gaudere[be] bright, daring, joyfulMotto of the Geal family.
clausum fregitA legal action for trespass to land; so called, because the writ demands the person summoned to answer wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e., why he entered the plaintiff’s land.
claves Sancti Petrithe keys of Saint PeterA symbol of the Papacy.
clavis aureagolden keyThe means of discovering hidden or mysterious meanings in texts, particularly applied in theology and alchemy.
clerico admittendofor being made a clerkIn law, a writ directed to the bishop, for the admitting a clerk to a benefice upon a ne admittas, tried, and found for the party who procures the writ.
clerico capto per statutum mercatorumIn law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk out of prison, who is imprisoned upon the breach of statute merchant.
clerico convicto commisso gaolae in defectu ordinarii deliberandoIn law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk to his ordinary, that was formerly convicted of felony; by reason that his ordinary did not challenge him according to the privilege of clerks.
clerico intra sacros ordines constituto non eligendo in officiumIn law, a writ directed to the bailiffs, etc., that have thrust a bailiwick or beadleship upon one in holy orders; charging them to release him.
Codex Iuris CanoniciBook of Canon LawThe official code of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Corpus Iuris Canonici).
Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur“No one suffers punishment for mere intent.”A Latin legal phrase. See, State v. Taylor, 47 Or. 455, 84 P. 82 (1906).
cogito, ergo sumI think, therefore I am.A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.
coitus interruptusinterrupted congressAborting sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation—the only permitted form of birth control in some religions.
coitus more ferarumcongress in the way of beastsA medical euphemism for the doggy-style sexual position.
collige virgo rosaspick, girl, the roses
Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to Carpe diem, from “De rosis nascentibus” (also titled “Idyllium de rosis”), attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.Waterhouse-gather ye rosebuds-1909.jpg“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”, 1909, by John William Waterhouse
combinatio novanew combinationIt is frequently abbreviated comb. nov.. It is used in the life sciences literature when a new name is introduced, e.g. Klebsiella granulomatis comb. nov..
communibus annisin common yearsOne year with another; on an average. “Common” here does not mean “ordinary”, but “common to every situation”
communibus locisin common placesA term frequently used among philosophical and other writers, implying some medium, or mean relation between several places; one place with another; on a medium. “Common” here does not mean “ordinary”, but “common to every situation”
communis opiniocommon opinionprevailing doctrine, generally accepted view (in an academic field), scientific consensus; originally communis opinio doctorum, “common opinion of the doctors”
compos mentisin control of the mindDescribes someone of sound mind. Sometimes used ironically. Also a legal principle, non compos mentis (not in control of one’s faculties), used to describe an insane person.
concilio et laboreby wisdom and effortMotto of the city of Manchester.
concordia cum veritatein harmony with truthMotto of the University of Waterloo
concordia saluswell-being through harmonyMotto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.
concordia parvae res crescuntsmall things grow in harmonyMotto of Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood
condemnant quod non intelleguntThey condemn what they do not understand or
They condemn because they do not understand
The quod here is ambiguous: it may be the relative pronoun or a conjunction.
condicio sine qua noncondition without which notA required, indispensable condition. Commonly mistakenly rendered with conditio (“seasoning” or “preserving”) in place of condicio (“arrangement” or “condition”).
conditur in petrait is founded on the rockMotto of Peterhouse Boys’ School and Peterhouse Girls’ School
confer (cf.)compareThe abbreviation cf. is used in text to suggest a comparison with something else (cf. citation signal).
Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris C.Ss.RCongregation of the Most Holy RedeemerRedemptorists
coniunctis viribuswith connected strengthOr “with united powers”. Sometimes rendered conjunctis viribus. Motto of Queen Mary, University of London.
consensuwith consent
consuetudo pro lege servaturCustom is held as law.Where there are no specific laws, the matter should be decided by custom; established customs have the force of laws. Also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law); see also: Consuetudinary.
consummatum estIt is completed.The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.
contemptus mundi/saeculiscorn for the world/timesDespising the secular world. The monk or philosopher’s rejection of a mundane life and worldly values.
contra bonos moresagainst good moralsOffensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.
contra legemagainst the lawEspecially in civil law jurisdictions, said of an understanding of a statute that directly contradicts its wording and thus is neither valid by interpretation nor by analogy.
contra proferentemagainst the proferrorIn contract law, the doctrine of contractual interpretation which provides that an ambiguous term will be construed against the party that imposed its inclusion in the contract – or, more accurately, against the interests of the party who imposed it.
contra spem speroI hope against hopeTitle of a poem by Lesya Ukrainka; it derives from an expression found in Paul’s Letter to the Romans 4:18 (Greek: παρ’ ἐλπίδα ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι) with reference to Abraham the Patriarch who maintained faith in becoming the father of many nations despite being childless and well-advanced in years.
contra vim mortis non crescit herba (or salviain hortisNo herb (or sage) grows in the gardens against the power of deaththere is no medicine against death; from various medieval medicinal texts
contradictio in terminiscontradiction in termsA thing or idea that would embody a contradiction, for example, payment for a gift, or a circle with corners. The fallacy of proposing such a thing.
contra principia negantem non est disputandumthere can be no debate with those who deny the foundationsDebate is fruitless when you don’t agree on common rules, facts, presuppositions.
cor ad cor loquiturheart speaks to heartFrom Augustine’s Confessions, referring to a prescribed method of prayer: having a “heart to heart” with God. Commonly used in reference to a later quote by Cardinal John Henry Newman. A motto of Newman Clubs.
cor aut morsHeart or Death(Your choice is between) The Heart (Moral Values, Duty, Loyalty) or Death (to no longer matter, to no longer be respected as person of integrity.)
cor meum tibi offero domine prompte et sinceremy heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerelyJohn Calvin’s personal motto, also adopted by Calvin College
cor unumone heartA popular school motto. Often used as names for religious and other organisations such as the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
coram Deoin the presence of GodA phrase from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God; see also coram Deo (disambiguation).
coram nobis, coram vobisin our presence, in your presenceTwo kinds of writs of error.
coram populoin the presence of the peopleThus, openly.
coram publicoin view of the public
Corpus ChristiBody of ChristThe name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the Eucharist. It is also the name of a city in Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, the name of Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge universities, and a controversial play.
corpus delictibody of the offenceThe fact that a crime has been committed, a necessary factor in convicting someone of having committed that crime; if there was no crime, there can not have been a criminal.
Corpus Iuris CanoniciBody of Canon LawThe official compilation of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici).
Corpus Iuris CivilisBody of Civil LawThe body of Roman or civil law.
corpus vileworthless bodyA person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment, as in the phrase ‘Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.’
corrigendathings to be corrected
corruptio optimi pessimathe corruption of the best is the worst
corruptissima re publica plurimae legesWhen the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerousTacitus
corvus oculum corvi non eruita raven does not pick out an eye of another raven
corruptus in extremiscorrupt to the extremeMotto of the fictional Mayor’s office in The Simpsons
cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras ametMay he who has never loved before, love tomorrow; And may he who has loved, love tomorrow as wellThe refrain from the ‘Pervigilium Veneris’, a poem which describes a three-day holiday in the cult of Venus, located somewhere in Sicily, involving the whole town in religious festivities joined with a deep sense of nature and Venus as the “procreatrix”, the life-giving force behind the natural world.
cras es nosterTomorrow, be oursAs “The Future is Ours”, motto of San Jacinto College, Texas
creatio ex nihilocreation out of nothingA concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context. Also known as the ‘First Cause’ argument in philosophy of religion. Contrasted with creatio ex materia.
Credo in Unum DeumI Believe in One GodThe first words of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed.
credo quia absurdum estI believe it because it is absurdA very common misquote of Tertullian’s et mortuus est Dei Filius prorsus credibile quia ineptum est (and the Son of God is dead: in short, it is credible because it is unfitting), meaning that it is so absurd to say that God’s son has died that it would have to be a matter of belief, rather than reason. The misquoted phrase, however, is commonly used to mock the dogmatic beliefs of the religious (see fideism). This phrase is commonly shortened to credo quia absurdum, and is also sometimes rendered credo quia impossibile est (I believe it because it is impossible) or, as Darwin used it in his autobiography, credo quia incredibile.
credo ut intelligamI believe so that I may understandA motto of St Anselm, used as the motto of St. Anselm Hall, Manchester
crescamus in Illo per omniaMay we grow in Him through all thingsMotto of Cheverus High School.
crescat scientia vita excolaturlet knowledge grow, let life be enrichedMotto of the University of Chicago. Often rendered in English as “Let knowledge grow from more to more, And so be human life enriched,” so as to achieve an iambic meter.
crescente luceLight ever increasingMotto of James Cook University.
crescit cum commercio civitasCivilization prospers with commerceMotto of Claremont McKenna College.
crescit eundoit grows as it goesFrom Lucretius’ De rerum natura book VI, where it refers in context to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes. This metaphor was adapted as the state motto of New Mexico (adopted in 1887 as the territory’s motto, and kept in 1912 when New Mexico received statehood) and is seen on the seal. Also the motto of Rocky Mount, Virginia.
cruci dum spiro fidowhile I live, I trust in the cross, Whilst I trust in the Cross I have lifeMotto of the Sisters of Loreto (IBVM) and its associated schools.
cucullus non facit monachumThe hood does not make the monkWilliam Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Scene I, Act V 48–50
cui bonoGood for whom?“Who benefits?” An adage in criminal investigation which suggests that considering who would benefit from an unwelcome event is likely to reveal who is responsible for that event (cf. cui prodest). Also the motto of the Crime Syndicate of America, a fictional supervillain group. The opposite is cui malo (Bad for whom?).
cui prodestfor whom it advancesShort for cui prodest scelus is fecit (for whom the crime advances, he has done it) in Seneca’s Medea. Thus, the murderer is often the one who gains by the murder (cf. cui bono).
cuique suumto each his own
cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferosWhose the land is, all the way to the sky and to the underworld is his.First coined by Accursius of Bologna in the 13th century. A Roman legal principle of property law that is no longer observed in most situations today. Less literally, “For whosoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths.”
cuius regio, eius religiowhose region, his religionThe privilege of a ruler to choose the religion of his subjects. A regional prince’s ability to choose his people’s religion was established at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.
cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his faultCicero, Philippica XII, 5.
culpafaultAlso “blame” or “guilt”. In law, an act of neglect. In general, guilt, sin, or a fault. See also mea culpa.
cum gladiis et fustibuswith swords and clubsFrom the Bible. Occurs in Matthew 26:47 and Luke 22:52.
cum gladio et salewith sword and saltMotto of a well-paid soldier. See salary.
cum grano saliswith a grain of saltNot to be taken too seriously or as the literal truth.
cum hoc ergo propter hocwith this, therefore on account of thisFallacy of assuming that correlation implies causation.
cum laudewith praiseThe standard formula for academic Latin honors in the United States. Greater honors include magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
cum mortuis in lingua mortuawith the dead in a dead languageMovement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
cum privilegio ad imprimendum solumwith the exclusive right to printCopyright notice used in 16th-century England, used for comic effect in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
cuncti adsint meritaeque expectent praemia palmaelet all come who by merit deserve the most rewardMotto of University College London.
cupio dissolvidesire to be dissolvedFrom the Bible, locution indicating a will to death (“I want to die”).
cur Deus HomoWhy the God-ManThe question attributed to Anselm in his work of by this name, wherein he reflects on why the Christ of Christianity must be both fully Divine and fully Human. Often translated “why did God become Man?”
cura personaliscare for the whole personMotto of Georgetown University School of Medicine and University of Scranton.
cura te ipsumtake care of your own selfAn exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others.
curriculum vitaecourse of lifeAn overview of a person’s life and qualifications, similar to a résumé.
custodi civitatem, Domineguard the city, O LordMotto of the City of Westminster.
custos morumkeeper of moralsA censor.
cygnis insignisdistinguished by its swansMotto of Western Australia.
cygnus inter anatesswan among ducks

D – Latin Phrases

da Deus fortunaeO God, give fortune/happinessA traditional greeting of Czech brewers.
da mihi factum, dabo tibi iusGive me the fact, I will give you the lawAlso da mihi facta, dabo tibi ius (plural “facta” (facts) for the singular “factum”). A legal principle of Roman law that parties to a suit should present the facts and the judge will rule on the law that governs them. Related to iura novit curia (the court knows the law).
damnant quod non intelleguntThey condemn what they do not understandParaphrase of Quintilianus, De Institutione Oratoria, Book 10, Chapter 1, 26:

  • Modesto tamen et circumspecto iudicio de tantis viris pronuntiandum est, ne, quod plerisque accidit, damnent quae non intellegunt.
    • Yet students must pronounce with diffidence and circumspection on the merits of such illustrious characters, lest, as is the case with many, they condemn what they do not understand. (translated by Rev. John Selby Watson)
damnatio ad bestiascondemnation to [the] beastsColloquially, “thrown to the lions”.
damnatio memoriaedamnation of memoryThe ancient Roman custom by which it was pretended that disgraced Romans, especially former emperors), never existed, by eliminating all records and likenesses of them.
damnum absque injuriadamage without injuryMeaning a loss that results from no one’s wrongdoing. In Roman law, a person is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another that results from a lawful act. This protection does not necessarily apply to unintended damage caused by one’s negligence or folly.
dat deus incrementum, or, deus dat incrementumGod gives growthMotto of several schools.
data veniawith due respect / given the excuseUsed before disagreeing with someone.
datum perficiemus munusWe shall accomplish the mission assignedMotto of Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
de bene esseas well doneIn law, a de bene esse deposition is used to preserve the testimony of a witness who is expected not to be available to appear at trial and be cross-examined.
de bonis asportatiscarrying goods awayIn law, trespass de bonis asportatis was the traditional name for larceny, i.e., the unlawful theft of chattels (moveable goods).
de datoof the dateUsed, e.g., in “as we agreed in the meeting d.d. 26th May 2006”.
de factoby deedSaid of something that is the actual state of affairs, in contrast to something’s legal or official standing, which is described as de jureDe facto refers to “the way things really are” rather than what is officially presented as the fact of the matter in question.
de fideliwith faithfulnessA clerk of a court makes this declaration when he is appointed, by which he promises to perform his duties faithfully as a servant of the court.
de fideli administrationeof faithful administrationDescribes an oath taken to faithfully administer the duties of a job or office, like that taken by a court reporter.
de futuroregarding the futureUsually used in the context of “at a future time”.
de gustibus non est disputandumOf tastes there is nothing to be disputedLess literally, “there is no accounting for taste”, because they are judged subjectively and not objectively: everyone has his own and none deserve preeminence. The complete phrase is “de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum” (“when we talk about tastes and colours there is nothing to be disputed”). Probably of Scholastic origin; see Wiktionary.
de integroagain, a second time
de jureby law“Official”, in contrast with de facto; analogous to “in principle”, whereas de facto is to “in practice”. In other contexts, it can mean “according to law”, “by right”, and “legally”.
de lege ferendaof/from law to be passed
de lege lataof/from law passed / of/from law in force
de minimis non curat lexThe law does not care about the smallest things.A court does not care about small, trivial things. A case must have some importance in order for a court to hear it. See “de minimis non curat praetor”.
de minimis non curat praetorThe commander does not care about the smallest things.Also, “the chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles.” Trivial matters are no concern of a high official; cf. aquila non capit muscas (the eagle does not catch flies). Sometimes rex (king) or lex (law) is used in place of praetorDe minimis is a legal phrase referring to things unworthy of the law’s attention.
de mortuis aut bene aut nihilabout the dead, either well or nothingLess literally, “speak well of the dead or not at all”; cf. de mortuis nil nisi bonum.
de mortuis nil nisi bonumabout the dead, nothing unless a good thingFrom de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est (“nothing must be said about the dead except the good”), attributed by Diogenes Laërtius to Chilon. In legal contexts, this quotation is used with the opposite meaning: defamation of a deceased person is not a crime. In other contexts, it refers to taboos against criticizing the recently deceased.
de nobis fabula narraturAbout us is the story toldThus: “their story is our story”. Originally it referred to the end of Rome’s dominance. Now often used when comparing any current situation to a past story or event.
de novofrom the new“Anew” or “afresh”. In law, a trial de novo is a retrial. In biology, de novo means newly synthesized, and a de novo mutation is a mutation that neither parent possessed or transmitted. In economics, de novo refers to newly founded companies, and de novo banks are state banks that have been in operation for five years or less. (Cf. ex novo)
de omni re scibili et quibusdam aliisabout every knowable thing, and even certain other thingsThe Italian scholar Giovanni Pico della Mirandola of the 15th century wrote the De omni re scibili (“concerning every knowable thing”) part, and a wag added et quibusdam aliis (“and even certain other things”).
de omnibus dubitandumBe suspicious of everything / doubt everythingAttributed to the French philosopher René Descartes. It was also Karl Marx’s favorite motto and a title of one of Søren Kierkegaard’s works, namely, De Omnibus Dubitandum Est.
de oppresso liberfree from having been oppressedLoosely, “to liberate the oppressed”. Motto of the United States Army Special Forces.
de praescientia Deifrom/through the foreknowledge of GodMotto of the Worshipful Company of Barbers.
de profundisfrom the depthsMeaning from out of the depths of misery or dejection. From the Latin translation of the Vulgate Bible of Psalm 130, of which it is a traditional title in Roman Catholic liturgy.
de reabout/regarding the matterIn logic, de dicto statements regarding the truth of a proposition are distinguished from de re statements regarding the properties of a thing itself.
decessit sine proledied without issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p., to indicate a person who died without having had any children.
decessit sine prole legitimadied without legitimate issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p.l., to indicate a person who died without having had any children with a spouse.
decessit sine prole mascula legitimadied without legitimate male issueUsed in genealogical records in cases of nobility or other hereditary titles, often abbreviated as d.s.p.m.l. or d.s.p.m. legit, to indicate a person who died without having had any legitimate male children (indicating there were illegitimate male children)
decessit sine prole mascula superstitedied without surviving male issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p.m., to indicate a person who died without having had any male children who survived, i.e., outlived, him.
decessit sine prole superstitedied without surviving issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p.s., to indicate a person who died without having had any children who survived, i.e., outlived him.
decessit vita matrisdied in the lifetime of the motherUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.v.m., to indicate a person who predeceased his mother.
decessit vita patrisdied in the lifetime of the fatherUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.v.p., to indicate a person who predeceased his father.
decus et tutamenan ornament and a safeguardA phrase from the Aeneid of Virgil. Inscription on British one-pound coins. Originally inscribed on coins of the 17th century, it refers to the inscribed edge of the coin as a protection against the clipping of its precious metal.
defendit numerusThere is safety in numbers
Defensor FortisDefender of the ForceOfficial motto of the United States Air Force Security Forces (Security Police).
Dei gratiaBy the grace of GodPart of the full style of a monarch historically considered to be ruling by divine right, notably in the style of the English and British monarch since 1521
Dei gratia reginaBy the Grace of God, QueenAlso Dei gratia rex (“By the Grace of God, King”). Abbreviated as D G REG preceding Fidei Defensor (F D) on British pound coins, and as D G Regina on Canadian coins.
Dei sub numine vigetUnder God’s Spirit she flourishesMotto of Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States.
delectatio morosapeevish delightIn Catholic theology, pleasure taken in a sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images. As voluntary and complacent erotic fantasizing, without attempt to suppress such thoughts, it is distinct from actual sexual desire.
delegata potestas non potest delegariDelegated powers can not be [further] delegatedA legal principle whereby one to whom certain powers were delegated may not ipso facto re-delegate them to another. A distinction may be had between delegated powers and the additional power to re-delegate them.
delirant isti RomaniThey are mad, those Romans[!]A Latin translation of René Goscinny’s phrase in French ils sont fous, ces romains! or Italian Sono pazzi questi Romani. Cf. SPQR, which Obelix frequently used in the Asterix comics.
Deo ac veritatifor God and for truthMotto of Colgate University.
Deo confidimusIn God we trustMotto of Somerset College.
Deo domuiqueFor God and for homeMotto of Methodist Ladies’ College, Melbourne.
Deo et patriaeFor God and countryMotto of Regis High School in New York City, New York, United States.
Deo gratiasThanks [be] to GodA frequent phrase in the Roman Catholic liturgy, used especially after the recitation of a lesson, the Last Gospel at Mass or as a response to Ite Missa Est / Benedicamus Domino.
Deo juvantewith God’s helpMotto of Monaco and its monarch, which is inscribed on the royal arms.
Deo non fortunaby God, not fortune/luckMotto of the Epsom College in Surrey, England.
Deo optimo maximo (DOM)To the best and greatest GodDerived from the pagan Iupiter optimo maximo (“to the best and greatest Jupiter”). Printed on bottles of Bénédictine liqueur.
Deo patriae litterisFor God, country, [and] learningMotto of Scotch College (Melbourne).
Deo regi vicinoFor God, king and neighbourMotto of Bromsgrove School.
Deo volenteGod willingThis was often used in conjunction with a signature at the end of letters. It was used in order to signify that “God willing” this letter will get to you safely, “God willing” the contents of this letter come true. As an abbreviation (simply “D.V.”) it is often found in personal letters (in English) of the early 1900s, employed to generally and piously qualify a given statement about a future planned action, that it will be carried out, so long as God wills (see James 4:13-15, which encourages this way of speaking). The motto of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
descensus in cuniculi cavumThe descent into the cave of the rabbitDown the rabbit hole. See Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland#Famous lines and expressions.
desiderantes meliorem patriamthey desired a better landFrom Hebrews 11: 16. Adopted as the motto of the Order of Canada.
Deus caritas estGod Is LoveTitle and first words of the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. For other meanings see Deus caritas est (disambiguation).
deus ex machinaa god from a machineFrom the Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēchanēs theós). A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by crane (the mechanê) an actor playing a god or goddess onto the stage to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot. The device is most commonly associated with Euripides.
Deus lux mea estGod is my lightThe motto of The Catholic University of America.
Deus meumque jusGod and my rightThe principal motto of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. See also Dieu et mon droit.
Deus nobis haec otia fecitGod has given us these days of leisureMotto of the city of Liverpool, England.
Deus nolens exitusGet results, whether God likes it or notLiterally: Results, God unwilling. Can also be rendered as “Deus Nolens Exituus”.
Deus otiosusGod at leisure
Deus spes nostraGod is our hopeThe motto of Sir Thomas de Boteler, founder of Boteler Grammar School in Warrington in 1526.
Deus vultGod wills itThe principal slogan of the Crusades. Motto of Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey, United States.
dictatum erat (dict)as previously statedA recent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient phrase “as previously stated”. Literally, has been stated. Compare also “dicta prius”; literally, said previously.
dicto simpliciter[from] a maxim, simplyI.e. “from a rule without exception.” Short for a dicto simpliciter, the a is often dropped because it is confused with the English indefinite article. A dicto simpliciter occurs when an acceptable exception is ignored or eliminated. For example, the appropriateness of using opiates is contingent on suffering extreme pain. To justify the recreational use of opiates by referring to a cancer patient or to justify arresting said patient by comparing him to the recreational user would be a dicto simpliciter.
dictum factumwhat is said is doneMotto of United States Navy Fighter Squadron VF-194.
dictum meum pactummy word [is] my bondMotto of the London Stock Exchange.
diem perdidiI have lost the dayFrom the Roman Emperor Titus. Recorded in the biography of him by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars.
dies iraeDay of wrathReference to the Judgment Day in Christian eschatology. The title of a famous Medieval Latin hymn by Tommaso da Celano in the 13th century and used in the Requiem Mass.
dies non juridicumDay without judiciaryDays under common law (traditionally Sunday), during which no legal process can be served and any legal judgment is invalid. The English Parliament first codified this precept in the reign of King Charles II.
Dies tenebrosa sicut noxa day as dark as nightFirst entry in Annales Cambriae, for the year 447.
dirigoI directIn Classical Latin, “I arrange”. Motto of the State of Maine, United States; based on a comparison of the State to the star Polaris.
dis aliter visumIt seemed otherwise to the godsIn other words, the gods have ideas different to those of mortals, and so events do not always occur in the way persons wish them to. Confer Virgil, Aeneid, 2: 428. Also confer “Man proposes and God disposes” and “My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways”, Isaiah 55, 8-9.
dis manibus sacrum (D.M.S.)Sacred to the ghost-godsRefers to the Manes, i.e. Roman spirits of the dead. Loosely, “to the memory of”. A conventional pagan inscription preceding the name of the deceased on his tombstone; often shortened to dis manibus (D.M.), “for the ghost-gods”. Preceded in some earlier monuments by hic situs est (H. S. E.), “he lies here”.
disce aut discedelearn or depart / learn or leaveMotto of Royal College, Colombo and of King’s School, Rochester.
disce ut semper victurus, vive ut cras moriturusLearn as if always going to live; live as if tomorrow going to die.Attributed to St. Edmund of Abingdon. First seen in Isidoro de Sevilla
discendo discimuswhile learning we learnSee also docendo…(2).
discere faciendolearn by doingMotto of California Polytechnic State University, California, United States.
disiecta membrascattered limbsI.e., “scattered remains”. Paraphrased from Horace, Satires, 1, 4, 62, where it is written “disiecti membra poetae” (limbs of a scattered poet).
ditat DeusGod enrichesMotto of the State of Arizona, United States, adopted in 1911. Probably derived from the translation of the Vulgate Bible of Genesis 14: 23.
divide et imperadivide and rule / “divide and conquer”A Roman maxim adopted by Roman Dictator Julius Caesar, King Louis XI of France and the Italian political author Niccolò Machiavelli.
dixiI have spokenA popular, eloquent expression, usually used in the end of a speech. The implied meaning is that the speaker has said all that he had to say and thus his argument is completed.
[“…”, …] dixit[“…”, …] saidUsed to attribute a statement or opinion to its author, rather than the speaker.
do ut desI give that you may giveOften said or written of sacrifices, in which one “gives” and expects a return from the gods.
docendo disciturIt is learned by teaching / one learns by teachingAttributed to Seneca the Younger.
docendo disco, scribendo cogitoI learn by teaching, I think by writing
dolus specialisspecial intent“The … concept is particular to a few civil law systems and cannot sweepingly be equated with the notions of ‘special’ or ‘specific intent’ in common law systems. Of course, the same might equally be said of the concept of ‘specific intent’, a notion used in the common law almost exclusively within the context of the defense of voluntary intoxication.” (Genocide scholar William A. Schabas)
Domine dirige nosO Lord, guide usMotto of the City of London, England.
Domine salvum fac regemO Lord, save the kingPsalm 20, 10.
Domine salvam fac reginamO Lord, save the queenAfter Psalm 20, 10.
Dominica in albis [depositis]Sunday in [Setting Aside the] White GarmentsLatin name of the Octave of Easter in the Roman Catholic liturgy.
Dominus fortitudo nostraThe Lord is our strengthMotto of the Southland College, Philippines. Psalm 28, 8.
Dominus illuminatio meaThe Lord is my lightMotto of the University of Oxford, England. Psalm 27, 1.
Dominus pastorThe Lord is [our] shepherdMotto of St. John’s College and Prep School, Harare, Zimbabwe. After Psalm 23, 1.
Dominus vobiscumThe Lord be with you.A phrase used in the Roman Catholic liturgy, and sometimes in its sermons and homilies, and a general form of greeting among and towards members of Catholic organizations. See also Pax vobiscum.
dona nobis pacemgive us peaceOften set to music, either by itself or as the final phrase of the Agnus Dei prayer of the Holy Mass. Also an ending in the video game Haunting Ground.
donatio mortis causaa donation in expectation of deathA legal concept in which a person in imminent mortal danger need not satisfy the otherwise requisite consideration to effect a testamentary donation, i.e., a donation by instituting or modifying a will.
draco dormiens nunquam titillandusa sleeping dragon is never to be tickledMotto of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry of the Harry Potter series; translated more loosely in the books as “never tickle a sleeping dragon”.
dramatis personaethe parts/characters of the playMore literally, “the masks of the drama”; the cast of characters of a dramatic work.
duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum esttwo blank slates with nothing written upon themStan Laurel, inscription for the fan club logo of The Sons of the Desert.
ducimuswe leadMotto of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps.
ducit amor patriaelove of country leads meMotto of the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, Australia.
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahuntthe fates lead the willing and drag the unwillingAttributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Sen. Ep. 107.11).
ductus exemploleadership by exampleMotto of the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, at the base in Quantico, Virginia, United States.
dulce bellum inexpertiswar is sweet to the inexperiencedMeaning: “war may seem pleasant to those who have never been involved in it, though the experienced know better”. Erasmus of Rotterdam.
dulce est desipere in locoIt is sweet on occasion to play the fool. / It is pleasant to relax once in a while.Horace, Odes 4, 12, 28. Also used by George Knapton for the portrait of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 6th Baronet in 1744.
dulce et decorum est pro patria moriIt is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland.Horace, Odes 3, 2, 13. Also used by Wilfred Owen for the title of a poem regarding World War I, Dulce et Decorum Est.
dulce et utilea sweet and useful thing / pleasant and profitableHorace, Ars Poetica: poetry must be dulce et utile, i.e., both enjoyable and instructive.
dulce periculumdanger is sweetHorace, Odes, 3 25, 16. Motto of the Scottish clan MacAulay.
dulcius ex asperissweeter after difficultiesMotto of the Scottish clan Fergusson.
dum cresco speroI hope when I growMotto of The Ravensbourne School.
dum Roma deliberat Saguntum peritwhile Rome debates, Saguntum is in dangerUsed when someone has been asked for urgent help, but responds with no immediate action. Similar to Hannibal ante portas, but referring to a less personal danger.
dum spiro sperowhile I breathe, I hopeCicero. Motto of the State of South Carolina. Motto of the Clan MacLennan.
dum vita est, spes estwhile there is life, there is hope
dum vivimus servimuswhile we live, we serveMotto of Presbyterian College.
dum vivimus, vivamuswhile we live, let us liveAn encouragement to embrace life. Motto inscribed on the sword of the main character of the novel Glory Road.
duos habet et bene pendenteshe has two, and they dangle nicelyAccording to legend, the words spoken by the cardinal verifying that a newly-elected pope was a man, in a test employed after the reign of pope Joan.
dura lex sed lex[the] law [is] harsh, but [it is the] lawUlpian, Digesta Iustiniani, Roman jurist of the 3rd century AD.
dura matertough motherThe outer covering of the brain.
durante bene placitoduring good pleasureMeaning: “serving at the pleasure of the authority or officer who appointed”. A Mediaeval legal Latin phrase.
durante munerewhile in officeFor example, the Governor General of Canada is durante munere the Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada.
dux bellorumwar leader

E – Latin Phrases

e causa ignotaof unknown causeOften used in medicine when the underlying disease causing a symptom is not known. See also idiopathic.
E pluribus unumout of many, oneLiterally, out of more (than one), one. The former national motto of the United States, which “In God We Trust” later replaced; therefore, it is still inscribed on many US coins and on the United States Capitol. Also the motto of S.L. Benfica. Less commonly written as ex pluribus unum.
ecce ancilla dominibehold the handmaiden of the LordFrom Luke 1:38 in the Vulgate Bible. Name of an oil painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and motto of Bishopslea Preparatory School.
ecce homobehold the manFrom the Gospel of John in the Vulgate 19:5 (Douay-Rheims), where Pontius Pilate speaks these words as he presents Christ, crowned with thorns, to the crowd. It is also the title of Nietzsche’s autobiography and of the theme music by Howard Goodall for the ITV comedy Mr. Bean, in which the full sung lyric is Ecce homo qui est faba (“Behold the man who is a bean”).
ecce panis angelorumbehold the bread of angelsFrom the Catholic hymn Lauda Sion; occasionally inscribed near the altar of Catholic churches; it refers to the Eucharist, the Bread of Heaven; the Body of Christ. See also: Panis angelicus.
editio princepsfirst editionThe first published edition of a work.
ejusdem generisof the same kinds, class, or natureFrom the canons of statutory interpretation in law. When more general descriptors follow a list of many specific descriptors, the otherwise wide meaning of the general descriptors is interpreted as restricted to the same class, if any, of the preceding specific descriptors.
ego te absolvoI absolve youPart of the formula of Catholic sacramental absolution, i. e., spoken by a priest as part of the Sacrament of Penance (Catholic Church) (see also absolvo).
ego te provocoI challenge youUsed as a challenge; “I dare you”. Can also be written as te provoco.
eheu fugaces labuntur anniAlas, the fleeting years slip byFrom Horace’s Odes, 2, 14.
eluceat omnibus luxlet the light shine out from allThe motto of Sidwell Friends School.
emeritusveteranRetired from office. Often used to denote an office held at the time of one’s retirement, as an honorary title, e. g. professor emeritus and provost emeritus. Inclusion in one’s title does not necessarily denote that the honorand is inactive in the pertinent office.
emollit mores nec sinit esse ferosa faithful study of the liberal arts humanizes character and permits it not to be cruelFrom Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto (II, 9, 48). Motto of University of South Carolina.
ens causa suiexisting because of oneselfOr “being one’s own cause”. Traditionally, a being that owes its existence to no other being, hence God or a Supreme Being (see also Primum Mobile).
ense petit placidam sub libertate quietemby the sword she seeks a serene repose under libertyMotto of the US state of Massachusetts, adopted in 1775.
entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatementities must not be multiplied beyond necessityOccam’s razor or Law of Parsimony; arguments which do not introduce extraneous variables are to be preferred in logical argumentation.
entitas ipsa involvit aptitudinem ad extorquendum certum assensumreality involves a power to compel certain assentA phrase used in modern Western philosophy on the nature of truth.
eo ipsoby that very (act)Technical term in philosophy and law. Similar to ipso facto. Example: “The fact that I am does not eo ipso mean that I think.” From the Latin ablative form of id ipsum (“that thing itself”).
eo nomineby that name
equo ne creditedo not trust the horseFrom Virgil, Aeneid, II. 48–49; a reference to the Trojan Horse.
erga omnesin relation to everyoneUsed in law, especially international law, to denote a kind of universal obligation.
ergothereforeDenotes a logical conclusion (see also cogito ergo sum).
errare humanum estto err is humanSometimes attributed to Seneca the Younger, but not attested: Errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum, et tertia non datur (To err is human; to persist [in committing such errors] is of the devil, and the third possibility is not given.) Several authors contemplated the idea before Seneca: Livy, Venia dignus error is humanus (Storie, VIII, 35) and Cicero: is Cuiusvis errare: insipientis nullius nisi, in errore perseverare (Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his fault) (Philippicae, XII, 2, 5). Cicero, being well-versed in ancient Greek, may well have been alluding to Euripides’ play Hippolytus some four centuries earlier. 300 years later Saint Augustine of Hippo recycled the idea in his Sermones, 164, 14: Humanum fuit errare, diabolicum est per animositatem in errore manere. The phrase gained currency in the English language after Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism of 1711: “To err is human, to forgive divine” (line 325).
erratumerrorI. e., mistake. Lists of errors in a previous edition of a work are often marked with the plural errata (“errors”).
errantis voluntas nulla estthe will of a mistaken party is voidRoman legal principle formulated by Pomponius in the Digest of the Corpus Juris Civilis, stating that legal actions undertaken by man under the influence of error are invalid.
eruditio et religioscholarship and dutyMotto of Duke University
esse est percipito be is to be perceivedMotto of George Berkeley for his subjective idealist philosophical position that nothing exists independently of its perception by a mind except minds themselves.
esse quam viderito be, rather than to seemTruly being a thing, rather than merely seeming to be a thing. The motto of many institutions. From Cicero, De amicitia (On Friendship), Chapter 26. Prior to Cicero, Sallust used the phrase in Bellum Catilinae, 54, 6, writing that Cato esse quam videri bonus malebat (“preferred to be good, rather than to seem so”). Earlier still, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes, line 592: ou gar dokein aristos, all’ enai thelei (“he wishes not to seem the best, but to be the best”).
est modus in rebusthere is measure in thingsthere is a middle or mean in things, there is a middle way or position; from Horace, Satires 1.1.106; see also: Golden mean (philosophy). According to Potempski and Galmarini (Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 9471–9489, 2009) the sentence should be translated as: “There is an optimal condition in all things”, which in the original text is followed by sunt certi denique fines quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum (“There are therefore precise boundaries beyond which one cannot find the right thing”).
esto perpetuamay it be perpetualSaid of Venice, Italy, by the Venetian historian Fra Paolo Sarpi shortly before his death. Motto of the US state of Idaho, adopted in 1867; of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka; of Sigma Phi Society.
esto quod esbe what you areMotto of Wells Cathedral School.
et adhuc sub iudice lis estit is still before the courtFrom Horace, Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry) 1.78.
et alibi (et al.)and elsewhereA less common variant on et cetera (“and the rest”) used at the end of a list of locations to denote unenumerated/omitted ones.
et alii (et al.)and othersUsed similarly to et cetera (“and the rest”) to denote names that, usually for the sake of space, are unenumerated/omitted. Alii is masculine, and therefore it can be used to refer to men, or groups of men and women; the feminine et aliae is proper when the “others” are all female, but as with many loanwords, interlingual use, such as in reference lists, is often invariable. Et alia is neuter plural and thus in Latin text is properly used only for inanimate, genderless objects, but some use it as a gender-neutral alternative. APA style uses et al. (normal font) if the work cited was written by more than six authors; MLA style uses et al. for more than three authors; AMA style lists all authors if ≤6, and 3 + et al if >6. AMA style forgoes the period (because it forgoes the period on abbreviations generally) and it forgoes the italic (as it does with other loanwords naturalized into scientific English); many journals that follow AMA style do likewise.
et cetera (etc., &c.)and the restIn modern usage, used to mean “and so on” or “and more”.
et cum spiritu tuoand with your spiritA response in the Dominus Vobiscum element of the Catholic Mass.
et facere et pati fortia Romanum estActing and suffering bravely is the attribute of a RomanThe words of Gaius Mucius Scaevola when Lars Porsena captured him.
et facta est luxAnd light came to be or was madeFrom Genesis, 1:3: “and there was light”. Motto of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. See also Fiat lux.
et hoc genus omneand all that sort of thingAbbreviated as e.h.g.o. or ehgo
et in Arcadia egoand in Arcadia [am] IIn other words, “I too am in Arcadia”. See also memento mori.
et lux in tenebris lucetand light shines in the darknessSee also Lux in Tenebris. Motto of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
et nunc reges intelligite erudimini qui judicatis terram“And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.”From the Book of Psalms, II.x. (Vulgate), 2.10 (Douay-Rheims).
et passim (et pass.)and throughoutUsed in citations after a page number to indicate that further information in other locations in the cited resource. See also passim.
et sequentes (et seq.)and the following (masculine/feminine plural)Also et sequentia (“and the following things”: neut.), abbreviations: et seq., or sqq. Commonly used in legal citations to refer to statutes that comprise several sequential sections of a code of statutes (e. g. National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 159 et seq.; New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:25-17 et seq.).
et suppositio nil ponit in esseand a supposition puts nothing in beingMore usually translated as “Sayin’ it don’t make it so”.
Et tu, Brute?And you, Brutus?Or “Even you, Brutus?” or “You too, Brutus?” Indicates betrayal by an intimate associate. From William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, based on the traditional dying words of Julius Caesar. However, these were almost certainly not Caesar’s true last words: Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying in Greek, the language of the Roman elite at the time, καὶ σὺ τέκνον (Kaì sù téknon?), translated as “You too, (my) child?”, quoting from Menander.
et uxor (et ux.)and wifeA legal term.
et virand husbandA legal term.
Etiam si omnes, ego nonEven if all others, I will neverSaint Peter to Jesus Christ, from the Vulgate, Gospel of Matthew 26:33; New King James Version: Matthew 26:33).
etsi deus non daretureven if God were not a givenThis sentence synthesizes a famous concept of Hugo Grotius (1625).
ex abundanti cautelaout of an abundance of cautionIn law, describes someone taking precautions against a very remote contingency. “One might wear a belt in addition to braces ex abundanti cautela“. In banking, a loan in which the collateral is more than the loan itself. Also the basis for the term “an abundance of caution” employed by United States President Barack Obama to explain why the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court John Roberts had to re-administer the presidential oath of office, and again in reference to terrorist threats. Read also: Bank Fraud | Stay vigilant against it and 7 Most Common Types of Bank Frauds
ex abundantia enim cordis os loquiturfor out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.From the Gospel of Matthew, XII.xxxiv (Vulgate), 12.34 (Douay-Rheims) and the Gospel of Luke, VI.xlv (Vulgate), 6.45 (Douay-Rheims). Sometimes rendered without enim (“for”).
ex aequofrom the equalDenoting “on equal footing”, i. e., in a tie. Used for those two (seldom more) participants of a competition who demonstrated identical performance.
ex Africa semper aliquid novi“(There is) always something new (coming) out of Africa”Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 8, 42 (unde etiam vulgare Graeciae dictum semper aliquid novi Africam adferre, a translation of the Greek «Ἀεὶ Λιβύη φέρει τι καινόν».
ex amicitia paxpeace from friendshipOften used on internal diplomatic event invitations. A motto sometimes inscribed on flags and mission plaques of diplomatic corps.
ex animofrom the soulSincerely.
ex antefrom beforeDenoting “beforehand”, “before the event”, or “based on prior assumptions”; denoting a prediction.
Ex Astris ScientiaFrom the Stars, KnowledgeThe motto of the fictional Starfleet Academy of Star Trek. Adapted from ex luna scientia, which in turn derived from ex scientia tridens.
ex cathedrafrom the chairA phrase applied to the declarations or promulgations of the Catholic Supreme Pontiff (Pope) when, preserved from the possibility of error by the Holy Spirit (see Papal infallibility), he solemnly declares or promulgates (“from the chair” that was the ancient symbol of the teacher and governor, in this case of the Church) a dogmatic doctrine on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. Used, by extension, of anyone who is perceived as speaking as though with supreme authority.
ex cultu roburfrom culture [comes] strengthThe motto of Cranleigh School, Surrey.
ex Deofrom God
ex dolo malofrom fraud“From harmful deceit”; dolus malus is the Latin legal term denoting “fraud”. The full legal phrase is ex dolo malo non oritur actio (“an action does not arise from fraud”). When an action has its origin in fraud or deceit, it cannot be supported; thus, a court of law will not assist a man who bases his course of action on an immoral or illegal act.
ex duris gloriaFrom suffering [comes] gloryMotto of Rapha Cycling club (see also Rapha (sportswear)).
ex faciefrom the faceIdiomatically rendered “on the face of it”. A legal term typically used to state that a document’s explicit terms are defective absent further investigation.
ex fide fiduciafrom faith [comes] confidenceMotto of St George’s College, Harare and Hartmann House Preparatory School.
ex fide fortisfrom faith [comes] strengthMotto of Loyola School in New York City, New York, United States.
ex glande quercusfrom the acorn the oakMotto of the Municipal Borough of Southgate, London, England, United Kingdom.
ex gratiafrom kindnessMore literally “from grace”. Refers to someone voluntarily performing an act purely from kindness, as opposed to for personal gain or from being compelled to do it. In law, an ex gratia payment is one made without recognizing any liability or obligation.
ex hypothesifrom the hypothesisDenoting “by hypothesis”.
ex ignorantia ad sapientiam; ex luce ad tenebras (e.i.)from ignorance into wisdom; from light into darknessMotto of the fictional Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, from the Cthulhu Mythos
ex infra (e.i.)“from below”Recent academic notation denoting “from below in this writing”. See also ex supra.
ex juvantibusfrom that which helpsThe medical pitfall in which response to a therapeutic regimen substitutes proper diagnosis.
ex legefrom the law
ex librisfrom the booksPrecedes a person’s name, denoting “from the library of” the nominate; also a synonym for “bookplate”.
ex luna scientiafrom the moon, knowledgeThe motto of the Apollo 13 lunar mission, derived from ex scientia tridens, the motto of Jim Lovell’s alma mater, the United States Naval Academy.
ex malo bonumgood out of evilFrom Saint Augustine of Hippo, “Sermon LXI”, in which he contradicts the dictum of Seneca the Younger in Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 87:22: bonum ex malo non fit (“good does not come from evil”). Also the alias of the song “Miserabile Visu” by Anberlin in the album New Surrender.
ex mea sententiain my opinion
ex mero motuout of mere impulse, or of one’s own accord
ex nihilo nihil fitnothing comes from nothingFrom Lucretius, and said earlier by Empedocles. Its original meaning is “work is required to succeed”, but its modern meaning is a more general “everything has its origins in something” (see also causality). It is commonly applied to the conservation laws in philosophy and modern science. Ex nihilo is often used in conjunction with “creation”, as in creatio ex nihilo, denoting “creation out of nothing”. It is often used in philosophy and theology in connection with the proposition that God created the universe from nothing. It is also mentioned in the final ad-lib of the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
ex novoanewDenotes something that has been newly made or made from scratch (see also de novo).
Ex Oblivionefrom oblivionThe title of a short story by H. P. Lovecraft.
ex officiofrom the officeBy virtue or right of office. Often used when someone holds one office by virtue of holding another: for example, the President of France is an ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. A common misconception is that all ex officio members of a committee or congress may not vote; but in some cases they do. In law ex officio can also refer to an administrative or judicial office taking action of its own accord, in the case of the latter the more common term is ex proprio motu or ex meru motu, for example to invalidate a patent or prosecute infringers of copyright.
ex opere operantisfrom the work of the one workingA theological phrase contrasted with ex opere operato, referring to the notion that the validity or promised benefit of a sacrament depends on the person administering it.
ex opere operatofrom the work workedA theological phrase meaning that the act of receiving a sacrament actually confers the promised benefit, such as a baptism actually and literally cleansing one’s sins. The Catholic Church affirms that the source of grace is God, not just the actions or disposition of the minister or the recipient of the sacrament.
ex oriente luxlight from the eastOriginally refers to the sun rising in the east, but alludes to culture coming from the Eastern world. Motto of several institutions.
ex oriente paxpeace comes from the east (i.e. from the Soviet Union)Shown on the logo as used by East Germany’s CDU, a blue flag with two yellow stripes, a dove, and the CDU symbol in the center with the words ex oriente pax.
ex partefrom a partA legal term that means “by one party” or “for one party”. Thus, on behalf of one side or party only.
ex pede Herculemfrom his foot, so HerculesFrom the measure of Hercules’ foot you shall know his size; from a part, the whole.
ex postfrom after“Afterward”, “after the event”. Based on knowledge of the past. Measure of past performance.
ex post factofrom a thing done afterwardSaid of a law with retroactive effect.
ex professofrom one declaring [an art or science]Or ‘with due competence’. Said of the person who perfectly knows his art or science. Also used to mean “expressly”.
ex rel., or, ex relatio[arising] out of the relation/narration [of the relator]The term is a legal phrase; the legal citation guide called the Bluebook describes ex rel. as a “procedural phrase” and requires using it to abbreviate “on the relation of,” “for the use of,” “on behalf of,” and similar expressions. An example of use is in court case titles such as Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar
ex scientia tridensfrom knowledge, sea power.The United States Naval Academy motto. Refers to knowledge bringing men power over the sea comparable to that of the trident-bearing Greek god Poseidon.
ex scientia verafrom knowledge, truthThe motto of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.
ex silentiofrom silenceIn general, the claim that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition. An argumentum ex silentio (“argument from silence”) is an argument based on the assumption that someone’s silence on a matter suggests (“proves” when a logical fallacy) that person’s ignorance of the matter or their inability to counterargue validly.
ex situout of positionopposite of “in situ”
ex solo ad solemfrom the Earth to the SunThe motto of the University of Central Lancashire, Preston
ex supra (e.s.)“from above”Recent academic notation for “from above in this writing”. See also ex infra.
ex temporefrom [this moment of] time“This instant”, “right away” or “immediately”. Also written extempore.
Ex turpi causa non oritur actioFrom a dishonorable cause an action does not ariseA legal doctrine which states that a claimant will be unable to pursue a cause of action, if it arises in connection with his own illegal act. Particularly relevant in the law of contract, tort and trusts.
ex umbra in solemfrom the shadow into the lightMotto of Federico Santa María Technical University.
ex undisfrom the waves [of the sea]motto in the coat of arms of Eemsmond
Ex Unitate Viresunion is strength, or unity is strengthFormer motto of South Africa.
ex vi terminifrom the force of the termThus, “by definition”.
ex vita discedo, tanquam ex hospitio, non tanquam ex domoI depart from life as from an inn, not as from homeCicero, Cato Maior de Senectute (On Old Age) 23
ex vivoout of or from lifeUsed in reference to the study or assay of living tissue in an artificial environment outside the living organism.
ex votofrom the vowThus, in accordance with a promise. An ex voto is also an offering made in fulfillment of a vow.
ex vulgus scientiafrom crowd, knowledgeused to describe social computing, in The Wisdom of Crowds and discourse referring to it.
excelsiorhigher“Ever upward!” The state motto of New York. Also a catchphrase used by Marvel Comics head Stan Lee.
exceptio firmat (or probatregulam in casibus non exceptisThe exception confirms the rule in cases which are not exceptedA juridical principle which means that the statement of a rule’s exception (e.g., “no parking on Sundays”) implicitly confirms the rule (i.e., that parking is allowed Monday through Saturday). Often mistranslated as “the exception that proves the rule”.
excusatio non petita accusatio manifestaan excuse that has not been sought [is] an obvious accusationMore loosely, “he who excuses himself, accuses himself”—an unprovoked excuse is a sign of guilt. In French, qui s’excuse, s’accuse.
exeats/he may go outA formal leave of absence.
exegi monumentum aere perenniusI have reared a monument more enduring than bronzeHorace, Carmina III:XXX:I
exempli gratia (e. g.)for the sake of example, for exampleExempli gratiā, ‘for example’, is usually abbreviated “e. g.” or “e.g.” (less commonly, ex. gr.). The abbreviation “e.g.” often is interpreted anglicised as ‘example given’. The plural “exemplōrum gratiā” to refer to multiple examples separated by commas, is now not in frequent use as “ee.g.” and even “” corresponding to the practice of doubling plurals in Latin abbreviations. It is not usually followed by a comma in British English, but it often is in American usage. E.g. is often confused with i.e. (id est, meaning ‘that is’ or ‘in other words’). Some writing styles give such abbreviations without punctuation, as ie and eg
Exemplum virtutisa model of virtue
exercitus sine duce corpus est sine spirituan army without a leader is a body without a spiritOn a plaque at the former military staff building of the Swedish Armed Forces.
exeuntthey leaveThird-person plural present active indicative of the Latin verb exire; also seen in exeunt omnes, “all leave”; singular: exit.
experientia docetexperience teachesThis term has been used in dermatopathology to express that there is no substitute for experience in dealing with all the numerous variations that may occur with skin conditions. The term has also been used in gastroenterology. It is also the motto of San Francisco State University.
experimentum crucisexperiment of the crossOr “crucial experiment”. A decisive test of a scientific theory.
experto credetrust the expertLiterally “believe one who has had experience”. An author’s aside to the reader.
expressio unius est exclusio alteriusthe expression of the one is the exclusion of the other“Mentioning one thing may exclude another thing”. A principle of legal statutory interpretation: the explicit presence of a thing implies intention to exclude others; e.g., a reference in the Poor Relief Act 1601 to “lands, houses, tithes and coal mines” was held to exclude mines other than coal mines. Sometimes expressed as expressum facit cessare tacitum (broadly, “the expression of one thing excludes the implication of something else”).
extra domum[placed] outside of the houseRefers to a possible result of Catholic ecclesiastical legal proceedings when the culprit is removed from being part of a group like a monastery.
extra Ecclesiam nulla salusoutside the Church [there is] no salvationThis expression comes from the Epistle to Jubaianus, paragraph 21, written by Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the third century. It is often used to summarise the doctrine that the Catholic Church is absolutely necessary for salvation.
extra omnesoutside, all [of you]It is issued by the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations before a session of the Papal conclave which will elect a new Pope. When spoken, all those who are not Cardinals, or those otherwise mandated to be present at the Conclave, must leave the Sistine Chapel.
extra territorium jus dicenti impune non pareturhe who administers justice outside of his territory is disobeyed with impunityRefers to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Often cited in law of the sea cases on the high seas.
extrema ratio“extreme solution”, “last possibility”, “last possible course of action”

Read also: Latin Legal Terms and Expressions (Civil, Common and Ecclesiastical Laws)

F – Latin Phrases

faber est suae quisque fortunaeevery man is the artisan of his own fortuneAppius Claudius Caecus; motto of Fort Street High School in Petersham, Sydney, Australia
fac et sperado and hopemotto of Clan Matheson
fac fortia et pateredo brave deeds and enduremotto of Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia
fac similemake a similar thingorigin of the word facsimile, and, through it, of fax
faciam eos in gentem unumI will make them into one nationappeared on British coinage following the Union of the Crowns
faciam quodlibet quod necesse estI’ll do whatever it takes
faciam ut mei meminerisI’ll make you remember mefrom Plautus, Persa IV.3–24; used by Russian hooligans as tattoo inscription
facile princepseasily the firstsaid of the acknowledged leader in some field, especially in the arts and humanities
facilius est multa facere quam diuIt is easier to do many things, than one thing consecutivelyQuintilian, Institutio Oratoria 1/12:7
facio liberos ex liberis libris libraque“I make free adults out of children by means of books and a balance.”motto of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico
facta, non verbadeeds, not wordsFrequently used as motto
factum fieri infectum non potestIt is impossible for a deed to be undoneTerence, Phormio 5/8:45
falsus in uno, falsus in omnibusfalse in one, false in allA Roman legal principle indicating that a witness who willfully falsifies one matter is not credible on any matter. The underlying motive for attorneys to impeach opposing witnesses in court: the principle discredits the rest of their testimony if it is without corroboration.
familia supra omniafamily over everythingfrequently used as a family motto
fas est et ab hoste doceriIt is lawful to be taught even by an enemyOvid, Metamorphoses 4:428
febris amatoriafever of loveHypochromic anemia or chlorosis, once described as the “fever of love”, which was believed to stem from the yearning for passion in virgins. First written about in 1554 by the German physician Johannes Lange. Also known as “Disease of the Virgins”.
feci quod potui, faciant meliora potentesI have done what I could; let those who can do better.Slight variant (“quod potui feci”) found in James Boswell’s An Account of Corsica, there described as “a simple beautiful inscription on the front of Palazzo Tolomei at Siena”. Later, found in Henry Baerlein’s introduction to his translation of The Diwan of Abul ʿAla by Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri (973–1057); also in Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, act 1. Also in Alfonso Moreno Espinosa, Compendio de Historia Universal, 5. ed. (Cádiz 1888).
NN fecitNN made (this)a formula used traditionally in the author’s signature by painters, sculptors, artisans, scribes etc.; compare pinxit
fecisti patriam diversis de gentibus unam“From differing peoples you have made one native land”Verse 63 from the poem De reditu suo by Rutilius Claudius Namatianus praising emperor Augustus.
felicior Augusto, melior Traiano“be more fortunate than Augustus and better than Trajan”ritual acclamation delivered to late Roman emperors
Felicitas, Integritas Et SapientiaHappiness, Integrity and KnowledgeThe motto of Oakland Colegio Campestre school through which Colombia participates of NASA Educational Programs
felix culpafortunate faultfrom the “Exsultet” of the Catholic liturgy for the Easter Vigil
felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causashappy is he who can ascertain the causes of thingsVirgil. “Rerum cognoscere causas” is the motto of the London School of Economics, University of Sheffield, and University of Guelph.
felo de sefelon from himselfarchaic legal term for one who commits suicide, referring to early English common law punishments, such as land seizure, inflicted on those who killed themselves
fere libenter homines id quod volunt creduntmen generally believe what they want toPeople’s beliefs are shaped largely by their desires. Julius Caesar, The Gallic War 3.18
festina lentehurry slowlyAn oxymoronic motto of Augustus. It encourages proceeding quickly, but calmly and cautiously. Equivalent to “more haste, less speed”. Motto of the Madeira School, McLean, Virginia and Berkhamsted School, Berkhamsted, England, United Kingdom
festinare nocet, nocet et cunctatio saepe; tempore quaeque suo qui facit, ille is bad to hurry, and delay is often as bad; the wise person is the one who does everything in its proper time.Ovid. Law and Love in Ovid breaks new ground by examining the ways in which poetic and legal discourse influence each other in Augustan Rome.
fiat iustitia et pereat munduslet justice be done, though the world shall perishmotto of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
fiat justitia ruat caelumlet justice be done, should the sky fallattributed to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus
fiat luxlet there be lightfrom the Genesis, “dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux” (“and God said: ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.”); frequently used as the motto of schools.
fiat mihi secundum verbum tuumbe it done to me according to thy wordVirgin Mary’s response to the Annunciation
fiat panislet there be breadMotto of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
fiat voluntas DeiMay God’s will be donemotto of Robert May’s School; see the next phrase below
fiat voluntas tuaThy will be donemotto of Archbishop Richard Smith of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton; quotation of the third petition of the Pater Noster (Our Father) prayer dictated by Jesus Christ and his response to the Father during the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima verisfictions meant to please should approximate the truthHorace, Ars Poetica (338); advice presumably discounted by the magical realists
Fidei Defensor (Fid Def) or (fd)Defender of the FaithA title given to King Henry VIII of England by Pope Leo X on 17 October 1521, before Henry broke from the Roman Church and founded the Church of England. British monarchs continue to use the title, which is still inscribed on all British coins, and usually abbreviated.
fidem scithe knows the faithsometimes mistranslated to “keep the faith” when used in contemporary English writings of all kinds to convey a light-hearted wish for the reader’s well-being
fides qua crediturthe faith by which it is believedRoman Catholic theological term for the personal faith that apprehends what is believed, contrasted with fides quae creditur, which is what is believed; see next phrase below
fides quae crediturthe faith which is believedRoman Catholic theological term for the content and truths of the Faith or “the deposit of the Faith”, contrasted with fides qua creditur, which is the personal faith by which the Faith is believed; see previous phrase
fides quaerens intellectumfaith seeking understandingmotto of St. Anselm; Proslogion
fidus Achatesfaithful Achatesrefers to a faithful friend; from the name of Aeneas’s faithful companion in Virgil’s Aeneid
filiae nostrae sicut anguli incisi similitudine templimay our daughters be as polished as the corners of the templemotto of Francis Holland School
finis coronat opusthe end crowns the workA major part of a work is properly finishing it. Motto of St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; on the Coat of Arms of Seychelles; and of the Amin Investment Bank
finis vitae sed non amoristhe end of life, but not of loveunknown
flagellum deithe scourge of Godtitle for Attila the Hun, the ruthless invader of the Western Roman Empire
flatus vocis[a or the] breath of voicea mere name, word, or sound without a corresponding objective reality; expression used by the nominalists of universals and traditionally attributed to the medieval philosopher Roscelin of Compiègne
flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta moveboif I can not reach Heaven I will raise HellVirgil, Aeneid, Book VII.312
floreat Etonamay Eton flourishMotto of Eton College, England, United Kingdom
floreat nostra scholamay our school flourisha common scholastic motto
floruit (fl.)one flourishedindicates the period when a historic person was most active or was accomplishing that for which he is famous; may be used as a substitute when the dates of his birth and/or death are unknown.
fluctuat nec mergiturshe wavers and is not immersedMotto of the City of Paris, France
fons et origothe spring and sourcealso: “the fountainhead and beginning”
fons sapientiae, verbum Deithe fount of knowledge is the word of Godmotto of Bishop Blanchet High School
fons vitae caritaslove is the fountain of lifemotto of Chisipite Senior School and Chisipite Junior School
formosam resonare doces Amaryllida silvasteach the woods to re-echo “fair Amaryllis”Virgil, Eclogues, 1:5
forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabitperhaps even these things will be good to remember one dayVirgil, Aeneid, Book 1, Line 203
fortes fortuna adiuvatFortune favours the boldThe motto of the United States Marine Corps 3rd Marine Regiment
fortes fortuna juvatFortune favours the boldThe motto of the Jutland Dragoon Regiment of Denmark
fortes in fidestrong in faitha common motto
fortis cadere, cedere non potestthe brave may fall, but can not yieldmotto on the Coat of Arms of the Fahnestock Family and of the Palmetto Guard of Charleston, South Carolina
fortis est veritastruth is strongmotto on the Coat of Arms of Oxford, England, United Kingdom
fortis et liberstrong and freemotto of Alberta, Canada
fortis in arduisstrong in difficulties/adversarymotto of the Municipal Borough of Middleton, from the Earl of Middleton and of Syed Ahmad Shaheed House of Army Burn Hall College in Abbottabad, Pakistan
fortiter et fideliterbravely and faithfullya common motto
fortiter in re, suaviter in modoresolute in execution, gentle in mannera common motto
fortuna utaris et prudentiamake use of your luck and your reasonMotto on the Casino chips of Spielbanken Niedersachsen, Germany by Sebastian Peetz
fortunae meae, multorum faberartisan of my fate and that of several othersmotto of Gatineau
fraus omnia vitiata legal principle: the occurrence or taint of fraud in a (legal) transaction entirely invalidates it
fui quod es, eris quod sumI once was what you are, you will be what I amAn epitaph that reminds the reader of the inevitability of death, as if to state: “Once I was alive like you are, and you will be dead as I am now.” It was carved on the gravestones of some Roman military officers.
fumus boni iurispresumption of sufficient legal basisa legal principle
fundamenta inconcussaunshakable foundation

G – Latin Phrases

gaudia certaministhe joys of battleaccording to Cassiodorus, an expression used by Attila in addressing his troops prior to the 451 Battle of Châlons
gaudeamus hodielet us rejoice today
gaudeamus igiturtherefore let us rejoiceFirst words of an academic anthem used, among other places, in The Student Prince.
gaudete in dominorejoice in the LordMotto of Bishop Allen Academy
gaudium in veritatejoy in truthMotto of Campion School
generalia specialibus non derogantgeneral provisions enacted in later legislation do not detract from specific provisions enacted in earlier legislationA principle of statutory interpretation: If a matter falls under a specific provision in a statute enacted before a general provision enacted in a later statute, it is to be presumed that the legislature did not intend that the earlier specific provision be repealed, and the matter is governed by the earlier specific provision, not the more recent general one.
genius locispirit of placeThe unique, distinctive aspects or atmosphere of a place, such as those celebrated in art, stories, folk tales, and festivals. Originally, the genius loci was literally the protective spirit of a place, a creature usually depicted as a snake.
generatim discite cultusLearn each field of study according to its kind. (Virgil, Georgics II.)Motto of the University of Bath.
gens una sumuswe are one peopleMotto of FIDE. Can be traced back to Claudian’s poem De consulatu Stilichonis.
gesta non verbadeeds, not wordsMotto of James Ruse Agricultural High School.
Gloria in excelsis DeoGlory to God in the HighestOften translated “Glory to God on High”. The title and beginning of an ancient Roman Catholic doxology, the Greater Doxology. See also ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
Gloria invidiam vicistiBy your fame you have conquered envySallust, Bellum Jugurthum (“Jugurthine War“) 10:2.
gloria filiorum patresThe glory of sons is their fathers (Proverbs17:6)Motto of Eltham College
Gloria PatriGlory to the FatherThe beginning of the Lesser Doxology.
gloriosus et liberglorious and freeMotto of Manitoba
gradatim ferociterby degrees, ferociouslyMotto of private spaceflight company Blue Origin, which officially treats “Step by step, ferociously” as the English translation
gradibus ascendimusascending by degreesMotto of Grey College, Durham
Graecia capta ferum victorem cepitConquered Greece in turn defeated its savage conquerorHorace Epistles 2.1
Graecum est; non legiturIt is Greek (and therefore) it cannot be read.Most commonly from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar where Casca couldn’t explain to Cassius what Cicero was saying because he was speaking Greek. The more common colloquialism would be: It’s all Greek to me.
grandescunt aucta laboreBy hard work, all things increase and growMotto of McGill University
gratia et scientiagrace and learningMotto of Arundel School
gratiae veritas naturaeTruth through mercy and natureMotto of Uppsala University
graviora manentheavier things remainVirgil Aeneid 6:84; more severe things await, the worst is yet to come
Gravis Dulcis Immutabilisserious sweet immutableTitle of a poem by James Elroy Flecker
gutta cavat lapidem [non vi sed saepe cadendo]a water drop hollows a stone [not by force, but by falling often]main phrase is from Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV, 10, 5.; expanded in the Middle Ages

H – Latin Phrases

habeas corpusYou should have the bodyA legal term from the 14th century or earlier. Refers to a number of legal writs to bring a person before a court or judge, most commonly habeas corpus ad subiciendum (you may have the body to bring up). Commonly used as the general term for a prisoner’s legal right to challenge the legality of their detention. (Corpus here is used in a similar sense to corpus delicti, referring to the substance of the reason for detention rather than a physical human body.)
habemus papamwe have a popeUsed after a Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope.
Habent sua fata libelliBooks have their destiny [according to the capabilities of the reader]Terentianus Maurus, De Litteris, De Syllabis, De Metris1:1286.
hac legewith this law
haec olim meminisse iuvabitone day, this will be pleasing to rememberCommonly rendered in English as “One day, we’ll look back on this and smile”. From Virgil’s Aeneid 1.203. Also, motto of Handsworth Grammar School, and the Jefferson Society.
haec ornamenta mea [sunt]“These are my ornaments” or
“These are my jewels”
Attributed to Cornelia Africana (talking about her children) by Valerius Maximus in Factorum ac dictorum memorabilium libri IX, IV, 4, incipit.
Hannibal ad portasHannibal at the gatesFound in Cicero’s first Philippic and in Livy’s Ab urbe condita
Hannibal was a fierce enemy of Rome who almost brought them to defeat.
Sometimes rendered “Hannibal ante portas”, with verisimilar meaning: “Hannibal before the gates”
haud ignota loquorI speak not of unknown thingsThus, “I say no things that are unknown”. From Virgil’s Aeneid, 2.91.
Hei mihi! quod nullis amor est medicabilis herbis.Oh me! love can not be cured by herbsFrom Ovid’s Metamorphoses (“Transformations”), I, 523.
hic abundant leoneshere lions aboundWritten on uncharted territories of old maps; see also: here be dragons.
hic et nunchere and nowThe imperative motto for the satisfaction of desire. “I need it, Here and Now”
hic et ubiquehere and everywhere
hic jacet (HJ)here liesAlso rendered hic iacet. Written on gravestones or tombs, preceding the name of the deceased. Equivalent to hic sepultus (here is buried), and sometimes combined into hic jacet sepultus (HJS), “here lies buried”.
hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitaeThis is the place where death delights in helping lifeA motto of many morgues or wards of anatomical pathology.
hic manebimus optimehere we’ll stay excellentlyAccording to Titus Livius the phrase was pronounced by Marcus Furius Camillus, addressing the senators who intended to abandon the city, invaded by Gauls, circa 390 BC. It is used today to express the intent to keep one’s position, even if the circumstances appear adverse.
hic Rhodus, hic saltaFrom the Latin version of “The Boastful Athlete” in Aesop’s Fables as formulated by Erasmus in his Adagia“Here is Rhodes, here is where you jump.” – Prove what you can do, here and now. Cited by Hegel and Marx.
hic sunt draconeshere there are dragonsWritten on a globe engraved on two conjoined halves of ostrich eggs, dated to 1504.
hic sunt leoneshere there are lionsWritten on uncharted territories of old maps.
hinc et indefrom both sides
hinc illae lacrimaehence those tearsFrom Terence, Andria, line 125. Originally literal, referring to the tears shed by Pamphilus at the funeral of Chrysis, it came to be used proverbially in the works of later authors, such as Horace (Epistula XIX, 41).
hinc itur ad astrafrom here the way leads to the starsWritten on the wall of the old astronomical observatory of Vilnius University, Lithuania, and the university’s motto.
hinc robur et securitasherefore strength and safetyMotto of the Central Bank of Sweden.
historia vitae magistrahistory, the teacher of lifeFrom Cicero’s De Oratore, II, 9. Also “history is the mistress of life”.
hoc agedo thisMotto of Bradford Grammar School
hoc est bellumThis is war
hoc est Christum cognoscere, beneficia eius cognoscereTo know Christ is to know his benefitsFamous dictum by the Reformer Melanchthon in his Loci Communes of 1521
hoc est enim corpus meumFor this is my BodyThe words of Jesus reiterated in Latin during the Roman Catholic Eucharist. Sometimes simply written as “Hoc est corpus meum” or “This is my body”.
hoc genus omneAll that crowd/peopleFrom Horace’s Satires1/2:2. Refers to the crowd at Tigellio’s funeral (c. 40–39 BC). Not to be confused with et hoc genus omne (English: and all that sort of thing).
hodie mihi, cras tibiToday it’s me, tomorrow it will be youInscription that can be seen on tombstones dating from the Middle Ages, meant to outline the ephemerality of life.
hominem pagina nostra sapitIt is of man that my page smellsFrom Martial’s Epigrams, Book 10, No. 4, Line 10; stating his purpose in writing.
hominem non morbum curaTreat the Man, not the DiseaseMotto of the Far Eastern University – Institute of Nursing
homo bullaman is a bubbleVarro (116 BC – 27 BC), in the opening line of the first book of Rerum Rusticarum Libri Tres, wrote “quod, ut dicitur, si est homo bulla, eo magis senex” (for if, as they say, man is a bubble, all the more so is an old man) later reintroduced by Erasmus in his Adagia, a collection of sayings published in 1572.
homo homini lupusman [is a] wolf to manFirst attested in Plautus’ Asinaria (lupus est homo homini). The sentence was drawn on by Hobbes in Leviathan as a concise expression of his views on human nature.
Homo minister et interpres naturaeMan, the servant and interpreter of natureMotto of the Lehigh University
homo praesumitur bonus donec probetur malusOne is innocent until proven guiltySee also: presumption of innocence.
homo sum humani a me nihil alienum putoI am a human being; nothing human is strange to meFrom Terence’s Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor) (163 BC). Originally “strange” or “foreign” (alienum) was used in the sense of “irrelevant”, as this line was a response to the speaker being told to mind his own business, but it is now commonly used to advocate respecting different cultures and being humane in general. Puto (I consider) is not translated because it is meaningless outside of the line’s context within the play.
homo unius libria man of a single bookAttributed to Thomas Aquinas: «Hominem unius libri timeo» “I fear a man of a single book.”
honestas ante honoreshonesty before gloryMotto of King George V School (Hong Kong)
honor virtutis praemiumesteem is the reward of virtueMotto of Arnold School, Blackpool, England
honoris causafor the sake of honorSaid of an honorary title, such as “Doctor of Science honoris causa
hora fugitthe hour fleesSee tempus fugit
hora somni (h.s.)at the hour of sleepMedical shorthand for “at bedtime”
horas non numero nisi serenasI do not count the hours unless they are sunnyA common inscription on sundials.
horresco referensI shudder as I tellFrom Virgil’s Aeneid, 2.204, on the appearance of the sea-serpents who kill the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons
horribile dictuhorrible to saycf. mirabile dictu
hortus in urbeA garden in the cityMotto of the Chicago Park District, a playful allusion to the city’s motto, urbs in horto, q.v.
hortus siccusA dry gardenA collection of dry, preserved plants
hostis humani generisenemy of the human raceCicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general.
humilitas occidit superbiamhumility conquers pride
hypotheses non fingoI do not fabricate hypothesesFrom Newton, Principia. Less literally, “I do not assert that any hypotheses are true”.

I – Latin Phrases

I, Vitelli, dei Romani sono belliGo, O Vitellius, at the war sound of the Roman godPerfectly correct Latin sentence usually reported as funny by modern Italians because the same exact words, in Italian, mean “Romans’ calves are beautiful”, which has a ridiculously different meaning.
ibidem (ibid.)in the same placeUsually used in bibliographic citations to refer to the last source previously referenced.
id est (i.e.)that is (literally “it is”)“That is (to say)” in the sense of “that means” and “which means”, or “in other words”, “namely”, or sometimes “in this case”, depending on the context.
id quod plerumque acciditthat which generally happensA phrase used in legal language to indicate the most probable outcome from an act, fact, event or cause.
idem (id.)the sameUsed to refer to something that has already been cited; ditto. See also ibidem.
idem quod (i.q.)the same asNot to be confused with an intelligence quotient.
Idus Martiaethe Ides of MarchIn the Roman calendar, the Ides of March refers to the 15th day of March. In modern times, the term is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC; the term has come to be used as a metaphor for impending doom.
Jesu juva (J.J.)Jesus, help!Used by Johann Sebastian Bach at the beginning of his compositions, which he ended with “S.D.G.” (Soli Deo gloria). Compare Besiyata Dishmaya.
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI)Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews
From Vulgate; John 19:19. John 19:20 states that this inscription was written in three languages—Aramaic, Latin and Greek—at the top of the cross during the crucifixion of Jesus.
igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellumTherefore whoever desires peace, let him prepare for warPublius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De Re Militari; similar to si vis pacem, para bellum and in pace ut sapiens aptarit idonea bello.
igne natura renovatur integrathrough fire, nature is reborn wholeAn alchemical aphorism invented as an alternate meaning for the acronym INRI.
igni ferroquewith fire and ironA phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also rendered as igne atque ferroferro ignique, and other variations.
ignis aurum probatfire tests goldA phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances, it is also the motto of the Prometheus Society.
ignis fatuusfoolish fireWill-o’-the-wisp.
ignorantia juris non excusat(or ignorantia legis non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat) ignorance of the law is no excuseA legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability.
ignoratio elenchiignorance of the issueThe logical fallacy of irrelevant conclusion: making an argument that, while possibly valid, doesn’t prove or support the proposition it claims to. An ignoratio elenchi that is an intentional attempt to mislead or confuse the opposing party is known as a red herringElenchi is from the Greek elenchos.
ignotum per ignotiusunknown by means of the more unknownAn explanation that is less clear than the thing to be explained. Synonymous with obscurum per obscurius.
ignotus (ign.)unknown
illum oportet crescere me autem minuiHe must become greater; I must become lessIn the Gospel of John 3:30, a phrase said by John the Baptist after baptizing Jesus. Motto of Saint John the Baptist Catholic School, San Juan, Metro Manila.
imago Deiimage of GodFrom the religious concept that man was created in “God’s image”.
imitatio deiimitation of a godA principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
imperium in imperioan order within an order1. A group of people who owe utmost fealty to their leader(s), subordinating the interests of the larger group to the authority of the internal group’s leader(s).
2. A “fifth column” organization operating against the organization within which they seemingly reside.
3. “State within a state”
imperium sine finean empire without an endIn Virgil’s Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, never-ending empire, the endless (sine fine) empire.
impossibilium nulla obligatio estthere is no obligation to do the impossiblePublius Juventius Celsus, Digesta L 17, 185.
imprimaturlet it be printedAn authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).
in absentiain the absenceUsed in a number of situations, such as in a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
in absentia lucis, tenebrae vincuntin the absence of light, darkness prevails
in actuin actIn the very act; in reality.
[Dominica] in albis [depositis][Sunday in Setting Aside the] White GarmentsLatin name of the Octave of Easter.
in articulo mortisat the point of death
in bono veritastruth is in the good
in camerain the chamberIn secret. See also camera obscura.
in casu (i.c.)in the eventIn this case.
in cauda venenumthe poison is in the tailUsing the metaphor of a scorpion, this can be said of an account that proceeds gently, but turns vicious towards the end—or more generally waits till the end to reveal an intention or statement that is undesirable in the listener’s ears.
in com. Ebor.In the county of YorkshireEboracum was the Roman name for York and this phrase is used in some Georgian and Victorian books on the genealogy of prominent Yorkshire families.
in Christi lumine pro mundi vitain the light of Christ for the life on the worldMotto of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
in Deo speramusin God we hopeMotto of Brown University.
in dubio pro reoin doubt, on behalf of the [alleged] culpritExpresses the judicial principle that in case of doubt the decision must be in favor of the accused (in that anyone is innocent until there is proof to the contrary).
in duploin doubleIn duplicate
in effigiein the likenessIn (the form of) an image; in effigy (as opposed to “in the flesh” or “in person”).
in essein existenceIn actual existence; as opposed to in posse.
in extensoin the extendedIn full; at full length; complete or unabridged
in extremisin the furthest reachesAt the very end. In extremity; in dire straits; also “at the point of death” (cf. in articulo mortis).
in fide scientiamTo our faith add knowledgeMotto of Newington College.
in fideminto faithTo the verification of faith.
in fieriin becomingIn progress; pending.
in fine (i.f.)in the endAt the end. The footnote says “p. 157 in fine“: “the end of page 157”.
in flagrante delictoin a blazing wrong, while the crime is blazingCaught in the act (esp. a crime or in a “compromising position”); equivalent to “caught red-handed” in English idiom.
in florein blossomBlooming.
in foroin forumIn court (legal term).
in girum imus nocte et consumimur igniWe enter the circle at night and are consumed by fireA palindrome said to describe the behavior of moths. Also the title of a film by Guy Debord.
in harmonia progressioprogress in harmonyMotto of Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.
in hoc sensu, or, in sensu hoc (s.h.)in this senseRecent academic abbreviation for “in this sense”.
in hoc signo vincesby this sign you will conquerWords Constantine the Great claimed to have seen in a vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
in hunc effectumfor this purposeDescribes a meeting called for a particular stated purpose only.
in ictu oculiin the blink of an eye
in illo ordine (i.o.)in that orderRecent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient “…, respectively.”
in illo temporein that timeAt that time, found often in Gospel lectures during Masses, used to mark an undetermined time in the past.
in inceptum finis estlit.: in the beginning is the endor: the beginning foreshadows the end
in limineat the outset/thresholdPreliminary, in law, a motion in limine is a motion that is made to the judge before or during trial, often about the admissibility of evidence believed prejudicial.
in locoin the place, on the spotThat is, ‘on site’. “The nearby labs were closed for the weekend, so the water samples were analyzed in loco.”
in loco parentisin the place of a parentAssuming parental or custodial responsibility and authority (e.g., schoolteachers over students); a legal term.
in luce Tua videmus lucemin Thy light we see lightMotto of Valparaiso University. The phrase comes from the book of Psalms 36:9 “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”
in lumine tuo videbimus lumenin your light we will see the lightMotto of Columbia University, Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School and Ohio Wesleyan University. Also, it is the motto of the South African University of Fort Hare.
in manus tuas commendo spiritum meuminto your hands I entrust my spiritAccording to Luke 23:46, the last words of Jesus on the cross.
in medias resinto the middle of thingsFrom Horace. Refers to the literary technique of beginning a narrative in the middle of, or at a late point in, the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the OdysseyOs LusíadasOthello, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
in memoriaminto the memoryEquivalent to “in the memory of”. Refers to remembering or honoring a deceased person.
in naturain nature
in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritasin necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity“Charity” (caritas) is being used in the classical sense of “compassion” (cf. agape). Motto of the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. Often misattributed to Augustine of Hippo.
in nocte consiliumadvice comes over night. Literally: the night brings advice, source of the English expression “Sleep over it”I.e., “Tomorrow is a new day.” Motto of Birkbeck College, University of London.
in nomine diaboliin the name of the devil
in nomine Dominiin the name of the LordMotto of Trinity College, Perth, Australia; the name of a 1050 papal bull
in nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sanctiin the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spiritinvocation of the Holy Trinity
in nucein a nutin a nutshell; briefly stated; potential; in the embryonic phase
in odium fideiin hatred of the faithUsed in reference to the deaths of Christian martyrs
in omnia paratusReady for anything.Motto of the United States Army’s 18th Infantry Regiment
in omnibus amare et servire DominoIn everything, love and serve the Lord.The motto of Ateneo de Iloilo, a school in the Philippines
in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libroEverywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a bookQuote by Thomas à Kempis
in ovoin the egg or in the embryoAn experiment or process performed in an egg or embryo (e.g. in ovo electroporation of chicken embryo).
in pace ut sapiens aptarit idonea belloin peace, like the wise man, make preparations for warHorace, Satires 2/2:111; similar to si vis pacem, para bellum and igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
in pace requiescatin peace may he restAlternate form of requiescat in pace (“let him rest in peace”). Found in this form at the end of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe.
in pari materiaupon the same matter or subjectIn statutory interpretation, when a statute is ambiguous, its meaning may be determined in light of other statutes on the same subject matter.
in partibus infideliumin the parts of the infidels“In the land of the infidels”; used to refer to bishoprics that remains as titular sees even after the corresponding territory was conquered by Muslim empires.
in pectorein the heartA cardinal named in secret by the pope. See also ab imo pectore.
in personaminto a personDirected towards a particular person
in possein potentialIn the state of being possible; as opposed to in esse.
in propria personain one’s own personFor one’s self, for the sake of one’s “Personhood”; acting on one’s own behalf, especially a person representing themselves in a legal proceeding; see also litigant in person, pro se legal representation in the United States (abbreviated pro per).
in principio erat Verbumin the beginning was the Word (Logos)Beginning of the Gospel of John
in rein the matter [of]A legal term used to indicate that a judicial proceeding may not have formally designated adverse parties or is otherwise uncontested. The term is commonly used in case citations of probate proceedings, for example, In re Smith’s Estate; it is also used in juvenile courts, as, for instance, In re Gault.
in rebusin the thing [itself]Primarily of philosophical use to discuss properties and property exemplification. In philosophy of mathematics, it is typically contrasted with “ante rem” and, more recently, “post res” structuralism. Sometimes in re is used in place of in rebus.
in regione caecorum rex est luscusIn the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.A quote of Desiderius Erasmus from Adagia (first published 1500, with numerous expanded editions through 1536), III, IV, 96.
in remto the thingLegal term indicating a court’s jurisdiction over a piece of property rather than a legal person; contrast with personal (ad personam) jurisdiction. See In rem jurisdiction; Quasi in rem jurisdiction
in rerum naturain the nature of thingsSee also Lucretius’ De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).
in retentisamong things held backUsed to describe documents kept separately from the regular records of a court for special reasons.
in saecula (saeculorum), in saeculum saeculiroughly: down to the times of the timesforever (and ever), liturgical
in saeculoin the timesIn the secular world, esp. outside a monastery, or before death.
in salvoin safety
in scientia et virtueIn Knowledge, and VirtueMotto of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. Sri Lanka.
in se magna ruuntgreat things collapse of their own weightLucan, Pharsalia 1:81.
in situin the placeIn the original place, appropriate position, or natural arrangement.
in somnis veritasIn dreams there is truth
in spein hope“future” (“my mother-in-law in spe“, i.e. “my future mother-in-law”), or “in embryonic form”, as in “Locke’s theory of government resembles, in spe, Montesquieu’s theory of the separation of powers.”
in specialibus generalia quaerimusTo seek the general in the specificsThat is, to understand the most general rules through the most detailed analysis.
in statu nascendiin the state of being bornJust as something is about to begin
in theatro luduslike a scene in a playSurreal
in totoin allTotally; entirely; completely.
in triploin tripleIn triplicate.
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimusThen we will fight in the shade
in uteroin the womb
in utrumque paratusprepared for either (event)
in vacuoin a voidIn a vacuum; isolated from other things.
in varietate concordiaunited in diversityThe motto of the European Union and the Council of Europe
in verbo tuoat your worda reference to the response of Peter when he was invited by Jesus to “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4–5).
invidiae prudentia victrixprudence conquers jealousy
in vino veritasin wine [there is] truthThat is, wine loosens the tongue (referring to alcohol’s disinhibitory effects).
in vitroin glassAn experimental or process methodology performed in a “non-natural” setting (e.g. in a laboratory using a glass test tube or Petri dish), and thus outside of a living organism or cell. Alternative experimental or process methodologies include in vitroex vivo and in vivo.
in vivoin life/in a living thingAn experiment or process performed on a living specimen.
in vivo veritasin a living thing [there is] truthAn expression used by biologists to express the fact that laboratory findings from testing an organism in vitro are not always reflected when applied to an organism in vivo. A pun on in vino veritas.
incepto ne desistamMay I not shrink from my purpose!Westville Boys’ High School and Westville Girls’ High School’s motto is taken directly from Virgil. These words, found in Aeneid, Book 1, are used by Juno, queen of heaven who hated the Trojans led by Aeneas. When she saw the fleet of Aeneas on its way to Italy, after the sack of Troy by the Greeks, she planned to scatter it by means of strong winds. In her determination to accomplish her task she cried out “Incepto Ne Desistam!”
incertae sedisof uncertain position (seat)A term used to classify a taxonomic group when its broader relationships are unknown or undefined.
incredibile dictuincredible to sayA variant on mirabile dictu.
intus et in cuteInwardly, under the skin [intimately, without reservation]Persius, Satire 3:30.
Index Librorum ProhibitorumIndex of Prohibited (or, Forbidden) BooksA list of books considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.
indigens Deobeing-in-need-of-God, beggar before GodFrom Augustine, De Civitate Dei XII, 1.3: beatitudinem consequatur nec expleat indigentiam suam, “since it is not satisfied unless it be perfectly blessed.”
indignor quandoque bonus dormitat HomerusI too am annoyed whenever good Homer nods offHorace, Ars Poetica 358
indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliterindivisible and inseparableMotto of Austria-Hungary before it was divided and separated into independent states in 1918.
Infinitus est numerus stultorum.Infinite is the number of fools.
infirma mundi elegit DeusGod chooses the weak of the worldThe motto of Venerable Vital-Justin Grandin, the bishop of the St. Albert Diocese, which is now the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton
infra dignitatem (infra dig)beneath one’s dignity
ingenio stat sine morte decusThe honors of genius are eternalPropertius, Elegies Book III, 2
initium sapientiae timor DominiThe fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.A quotation of Psalm 111:10. Motto of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
iniuriae qui addideris contumeliamYou who have added insult to injuryPhaedrus, Fables 5/3:5.
inopiae desunt multa, avaritiae omniaTo poverty many things are lacking; to avarice, everythingPublilius Syrus.
insita hominibus libidine alendi de industria rumoresMen have an innate desire to propagate rumors or reportsTitus Livius, (XXVII, XXIV); Michel de Montaigne, (Essays).
instante mense (inst.)in the present monthUsed in formal correspondence to refer to the current month, sometimes abbreviated as inst; e.g.: “Thank you for your letter of the 17th inst.”—ult. mense = last month, prox. mense = next month.
Instrumentum regniinstrument of governmentUsed to express the exploitation of religion by State or ecclesiastical polity as a means of controlling the masses, or in particular to achieve political and mundane ends.
Instrumentum vocaleinstrument with voiceSo Varro in his De re rustica (On Agriculture) defines the slave: an instrument (as a simple plow, or etc.) with voice.
intaminatis fulget honoribusUntarnished, she shines with honorFrom Horace’s Odes (III.2.18). Motto of Wofford College.
integer vitae scelerisque purusunimpaired by life and clean of wickednessFrom Horace. Used as a funeral hymn.
intelligenti paucaFew words suffice for he who understands
inter alia (i.a.)among other thingsA term used in formal extract minutes to indicate that the minute quoted has been taken from a fuller record of other matters, or when alluding to the parent group after quoting a particular example.
inter aliosamong othersOften used to compress lists of parties to legal documents
inter arma enim silent legesin a time of war, the law falls silentSaid by Cicero in Pro Milone as a protest against unchecked political mobs that had virtually seized control of Rome in the 60s and 50s BC. Famously quoted in the essay Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau as “The clatter of arms drowns out the voice of the law”. This phrase has also been jokingly translated as “In a time of arms, the legs are silent.”
inter caeteraamong othersTitle of a papal bull
inter mutanda constantiaSteadfast in the midst of changeMotto for Rockwell College in Ireland and Francis Libermann Catholic High School in Ontario, Canada
inter spem et metumbetween hope and fear
inter faeces et urinam nascimurwe are born between feces and urineAttributed to Saint Augustine
inter vivosbetween the livingRefers to property transfers between living persons, as opposed to a testamentary transfer upon death such as an inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
intra muroswithin the wallsNot public; source of the word intramural. See also Intramuros, Manila.
intra vireswithin the powersWithin one’s authority
invenias etiam disiecti membra poetaeYou would still recognize the scattered fragments of a poetHorace, Satires, I, 4, 62, in reference to the earlier Roman poet Ennius
inveniet quod quisque velitEach shall find what he desiresAttributed to Petronius or Prudentius. Motto of Nature in Cambridgeshire:

Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.
(“Each shall find what he desires; no one thing pleases all; one gathers thorns, another roses.”)
invictaUnconqueredMotto of the English county of Kent and the city of Oporto
invictus maneoI remain unvanquishedMotto of the Armstrong Clan
Iohannes est nomen eiusJohn is his nameMotto of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
ipsa scientia potestas estknowledge itself is powerFamous phrase written by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597
ipse dixithe himself said itCommonly said in Medieval debates and referring to Aristotle. Used in general to emphasize that some assertion comes from some authority, i.e., as an argument from authority, and the term ipse-dixitism has come to mean any unsupported rhetorical assertion that lacks a logical argument. A literal translation by Cicero (in his De Natura Deorum 1.10) of the Greek «αὐτὸς ἔφα», an invocation by Pythagoreans when appealing to the pronouncements of the master.
ipsissima verbathe very words themselves“Strictly word for word” (cf. verbatim). Often used in Biblical Studies to describe the record of Jesus’ teaching found in the New Testament (specifically, the four Gospels).
ipsissima vocein the very ‘voice’ itselfTo approximate the main thrust or message without using the exact words
ipso factoby the fact itselfBy that very fact
ipso iureby the law itselfAutomatically as a consequence of law
ira deorumwrath of the godsLike the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the ancient Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of pax deorum (peace of the gods) instead of ira deorum (wrath of the gods): earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.
ira furor brevis estWrath (anger) is but a brief madness
ita verothus indeedA useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for “yes”, preferring to respond to questions with the affirmative or negative of the question (e.g., “Are you hungry?” was answered by “I am hungry” or “I am not hungry”, not “Yes” or “No).
ite, missa estGo, it is the dismissalLoosely: “You have been dismissed”, literally “Go. Mass is over”. Concluding words addressed to the people in the Mass of the Roman Rite.
iter legisThe path of the lawThe path a law takes from its conception to its implementation
iucunda memoria est praeteritorum malorumPleasant is the memory of past troublesCicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum 2, 32, 105
iugulare mortuosto cut the throat of corpsesFrom Gerhard Gerhards’ (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). It can mean attacking the work or personality of deceased person. Alternatively, it can be used to describe criticism of an individual already heavily criticised by others.
iuncta iuvanttogether they strivealso spelled juncta juvant; from the legal principle quae non valeant singula, iuncta iuvant (“What is without value on its own, helps when joined”)
iura novit curiathe court knows the lawA legal principle in civil law countries of the Roman-German tradition that says that lawyers need not to argue the law, as that is the office of the court. Sometimes miswritten as iura novat curia (the court renews the laws).
iure matrisin right of his motherIndicates a right exercised by a son on behalf of his mother
iure uxorisin right of his wifeIndicates a right exercised by a husband on behalf of his wife
iuris ignorantia est cum ius nostrum ignoramusit is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights
ius accrescendiright of accrualCommonly referred to as “right of survivorship”: a rule in property law that surviving joint tenants have rights in equal shares to a decedent’s property
ius ad bellumlaw towards warRefers to the laws that regulate the reasons for going to war. Typically, this would address issues of self-defense or preemptive strikes.
ius cogenscompelling lawRefers to a fundamental principle of international law considered to have acceptance among the international community of states as a whole. Typically, this would address issues not listed or defined by any authoritative body, but arise out of case law and changing social and political attitudes. Generally included are prohibitions on waging aggressive war, crimes against humanity, war crimes, piracy, genocide, slavery, and torture.
ius est ars boni et aequithe law is the art of goodness and equityAppears on the front of the Sievekingplatz 2, a couthouse of the Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht, in Hamburg, Germany.
ius in bellolaw in warRefers to the “laws” that regulate the conduct of combatants during a conflict. Typically, this would address issues of who or what is a valid target, how to treat prisoners, and what sorts of weapons can be used. The word jus is also commonly spelled ius.
ius primae noctislaw of the first nightThe droit de seigneur
iustitia fundamentum regnijustice is the foundation of a reignMotto of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Czech Republic
iustitia omnibusjustice for allThe motto of Washington, D.C.
iuventuti nil arduumto the young nothing is difficultMotto of Canberra Girls Grammar School
iuventutis veho fortunasI bear the fortunes of youthMotto of Dollar Academy

L – Latin Phrases

labor ipse voluptasThe pleasure is in the work itself.Motto of Leopold von Ranke (Manilius IV 155)
labor omnia vincitHard work conquers all.Popular as a motto; derived from a phrase in Virgil’s Eclogue (X.69: omnia vincit Amor – “Love conquers all”); a similar phrase also occurs in his Georgics I.145.
laborare pugnare parati sumusTo work, (or) to fight; we are readyMotto of the California Maritime Academy
labore et honoreBy labour and honour
laboremus pro patriaLet us work for the fatherlandMotto of the Carlsberg breweries
laboris gloria LudiGames are the glory of work,Motto of the Camborne School of Mines, Cornwall, UK
lacrimae rerumThe poignancy of things.Virgil, Aeneid 1:462
lapsuslapse, slip, error; involuntary mistake made while writing or speaking
lapsus calamiinadvertent typographical error, slip of the pen
lapsus linguaeinadvertent speech error, slip of the tongue
lapsus memoriaeslip of memorysource of the term memory lapse
latius est impunitum relinqui facinus nocentis (quam innocentem damnari)It is better to let the crime of the guilty go unpunished (than to condemn the innocent)Ulpian, Digest 5:6.
lauda finempraise to the endMotto of Nottingham High School
Laudatio Ejus Manet In Secula SeculorumHis Praise Remains unto Ages of AgesMotto of Galway
laudator temporis actipraiser of time pastOne who is discontent with the present and instead prefers things of the past (“the good old days”). In Horace’s Ars Poetica, line 173; motto of HMS Veteran
laudetur Jesus ChristusPraise (Be) Jesus ChristOften used as a salutation, but also used after prayers or the reading of the gospel
laus Deopraise be to GodInscription on the east side at the peak of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.; motto of the Viscount of Arbuthnott and Sydney Grammar School; title of a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier commemorating the passage of the 13th Amendment
lectio brevior potiorThe shorter reading is the betterA maxim in text criticism. Codified, but simultaneously refuted, by Marxist educators.
lectio difficilior potiorThe more difficult reading is the stronger
lectori salutem (L. S.,)greetings to the readerOften abbreviated to L.S., used as opening words for a letter
lege artisaccording to the law of the artDenotes that a certain intervention is performed in a correct way. Used especially in a medical context. The ‘art’ referred to in the phrase is medicine.
legem terraethe law of the land
leges humanae nascuntur, vivunt, et moriunturlaws of man are born, live and die
leges sine moribus vanaelaws without morals [are] vainFrom Horace’s Odes; motto of the University of Pennsylvania
legio patria nostraThe Legion is our fatherlandMotto of the French Foreign Legion
legi, intellexi, et condemnaviI read, understood, and condemned.
legis plenitudo charitascharity (love) is the fulfilment of the lawMotto of Ratcliffe College, UK and of the Rosmini College, NZ
legitimelawfullyIn Roman and civil law, a forced share in an estate; the portion of the decedent’s estate from which the immediate family cannot be disinherited. From the French héritier legitime (rightful heir).
lex artislaw of the skillThe rules that regulate a professional duty.
lex dei vitae lampasthe law of God is the lamp of lifeMotto of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Melbourne
lex ferendathe law that should be borneThe law as it ought to be.
lex hac edictalithe law here proclaimsThe rule whereby a spouse cannot by deed inter vivos or bequeath by testament to his or her second spouse more than the amount of the smallest portion given or bequeathed to any child.
lex in casulaw in the eventA law that only concerns one particular case. See law of the case.
lex latathe law that has been borneThe law as it is.
lex locilaw of the place
lex non scriptalaw that has not been writtenUnwritten law, or common law
lex orandi, lex credendithe law of prayer is the law of faith
lex paciferatthe law shall bring peaceMotto of the European Gendarmerie Force
lex parsimoniaelaw of succinctnessalso known as Occam’s Razor
lex rexthe law [is] kingA principle of government advocating a rule by law rather than by men. The phrase originated as a double entendre in the title of Samuel Rutherford’s controversial book Lex, Rex (1644), which espoused a theory of limited government and constitutionalism.
lex scriptawritten lawStatutory law; contrasted with lex non scripta
lex talionisthe law of retaliationRetributive justice (i.e., eye for an eye)
libertas, justitia, veritasLiberty Justice TruthMotto of the Korea University and Freie Universität Berlin
Libertas perfundet omnia luceFreedom will flood all things with lightMotto of the University of Barcelona and the Complutense University of Madrid
Libertas quae sera tamenfreedom which [is] however lateLiberty even when it comes late; motto of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Libertas Securitas JustitiaLiberty Security JusticeMotto of the Frontex
libra (lb)balance; scalesIts abbreviation lb is used as a unit of weight, the pound.
lignum crucis arbor scientiaeThe wood of the cross is the tree of knowledgeSchool motto of Denstone College
littera scripta manetThe written word enduresAttributed to Horace
loco citato (lc)in the place citedMore fully written in loco citato; see also opere citato
locum tenensplace holderA worker who temporarily takes the place of another with similar qualifications, for example as a doctor or a member of the clergy; usually shortened to locum.
locus classicusa classic placeThe most typical or classic case of something; quotation which most typifies its use.
locus minoris resistentiaeplace of less resistanceA medical term to describe a location on or in a body that offers little resistance to infection, damage, or injury. For example, a weakened place that tends to be reinjured.
locus poenitentiaea place of repentanceA legal term, it is the opportunity of withdrawing from a projected contract, before the parties are finally bound; or of abandoning the intention of committing a crime, before it has been completed.
locus standiA right to standStanding in law (the right to have one’s case in court)
longissimus dies cito conditureven the longest day soon endsPliny the Younger, Epistulae 9/36:4
luce veritatisBy the light of truthSchool motto of Queen Margaret College
luceat lux vestraLet your light shineFrom Matthew Ch. 5 V. 16; popular as a school motto
lucem sequimurWe follow the lightMotto of the University of Exeter
luceo non uroI shine, not burnMotto of the Highland Scots Clan Mackenzie
lucida sideraThe shining starsHorace, Carmina 1/3:2
luctor et emergoI struggle and emergeMotto of the Dutch province of Zeeland to denote its battle against the sea, and the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame
Luctor, non mergor‘I struggle, but am not overwhelmedMotto of the Glass Family (Sauchie, Scotland)
lucus a non lucendo[it is] a grove by not being lightFrom late 4th-century grammarian Honoratus Maurus, who sought to mock implausible word origins such as those proposed by Priscian. A pun based on the word lucus (dark grove) having a similar appearance to the verb lucere (to shine), arguing that the former word is derived from the latter word because of a lack of light in wooded groves. Often used as an example of absurd etymology, it derives from parum luceat (it does not shine [being darkened by shade]) by Quintilian in Institutio Oratoria.
ludemus bene in companiaWe play well in groupsMotto of the Barony of Marinus
lupus est homo hominiA man to a man is a wolfPlautus’ adaptation of an old Roman proverb: homo homini lupus est (“man is a wolf to [his fellow] man”). In Asinaria, act II, scene IV, verse 89 [495 overall]. Lupus est homo homini, non homo, quom qualis sit non novit (“a man to a man is a wolf, not a man, when the other doesn’t know of what character he is.”)
lupus in fabulathe wolf in the storyWith the meaning “speak of the wolf, and he will come”; from Terence’s play Adelphoe.
lupus non mordet lupuma wolf does not bite a wolf
lupus non timet canem latrantema wolf is not afraid of a barking dog
lux aeternaeternal lightepitaph
lux et lexlight and lawMotto of the Franklin & Marshall College and the University of North Dakota
lux et veritaslight and truthA translation of the Hebrew Urim and Thummim. Motto of several institutions, including Yale University.
lux ex tenebrislight from darknessMotto of the 67th Network Warfare Wing
lux hominum vitalight the life of manMotto of the University of New Mexico
lux in Dominolight in the LordMotto of the Ateneo de Manila University
lux in tenebris lucetThe light that shines in the darknessMotto of Columbia University School of General Studies Also: John 1:5.
lux libertaslight and libertyMotto of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lux mentis Lux orbisLight of the mind, Light of the worldMotto of Sonoma State University
lux sitlet there be lightA more literal Latinization of the phrase; the most common translation is fiat lux, from Latin Vulgate Bible phrase chosen for the Genesis line “וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר” (And God said: ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light). Motto of the University of Washington.
lux tua nos ducatYour light guides us
lux, veritas, virtuslight, truth, courageMotto of Northeastern University
lux, vita, caritaslight, life, loveMotto of St John’s College, Johannesburg

M – Latin Phrases

Macte animo! Generose puer sic itur ad astraYoung, cheer up! This is the way to the skies.Motto of Academia da Força Aérea (Air Force Academy) of the Brazilian Air Force
macte virtute sic itur ad astrathose who excel, thus reach the starsor “excellence is the way to the stars”; frequent motto; from Virgil’s Aeneid IX.641 (English, Dryden)
magister dixitthe teacher has said itCanonical medieval reference to Aristotle, precluding further discussion
magister meus ChristusChrist is my teachercommon Catholic edict and motto of a Catholic private school, Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana
Magna CartaGreat CharterSet of documents from 1215 between Pope Innocent III, King John of England, and English barons.
magna cum laudewith great praiseCommon Latin honor, above cum laude and below summa cum laude
magna di curant, parva negleguntThe gods care about great matters, but they neglect small onesCicero, De Natura Deorum 2:167
magna est vis consuetudinisgreat is the power of habit
Magna Europa est patria nostraGreater Europe is Our FatherlandPolitical motto of pan-Europeanists
magno cum gaudiowith great joy
magnum opusgreat workSaid of someone’s masterpiece
magnum vectigal est parsimoniaEconomy is a great revenueCicero, Paradoxa 6/3:49. Sometimes translated into English as “thrift (or frugality) is a great revenue (or income)”, edited from its original subordinate clause: “O di immortales! non intellegunt homines, quam magnum vectigal sit parsimonia.” (English: O immortal gods! Men do not understand what a great revenue is thrift.)
maior e longinquo reverentiagreater reverence from afarWhen viewed from a distance, everything is beautiful. Tacitus, Annales 1.47
maiora premuntgreater things are pressingUsed to indicate that it is the moment to address more important, urgent, issues.
mala fidein bad faithSaid of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone. Opposite of bona fide.
Mala Ipsa NovaBad News ItselfMotto of the inactive 495th Fighter Squadron, US Air Force
mala tempora curruntbad times are upon usAlso used ironically, e.g.: New teachers know all tricks used by pupils to copy from classmates? Oh, mala tempora currunt!.
male captus bene detentuswrongly captured, properly detainedAn illegal arrest will not prejudice the subsequent detention/trial.
Malo mori quam foedariDeath rather than dishonourMotto of the inactive 34th Battalion (Australia), the Drimnagh Castle Secondary School
Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutemI prefer dangerous liberty to peaceful slaveryAttributed to the Count Palatine of Posen before the Polish Diet, cited in The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
malum discordiaeapple of discordAlludes to the apple of Eris in the Judgement of Paris, the mythological cause of the Trojan War. It is also a pun based on the near-homonymous word malum (evil). The word for “apple” has a long ā vowel in Latin and the word for “evil” a short a vowel, but they are normally written the same.
malum in sewrong in itselfA legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong (cf. malum prohibitum).
malum prohibitumwrong due to being prohibitedA legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law.
malum quo communius eo peiusthe more common an evil is, the worse it is
manu forteliterally translated means ‘with a strong hand’, often quoted as ‘by strength of hand’Motto of the Clan McKay
manibus date lilia plenisgive lilies with full handsA phrase from Virgil’s Aeneid, VI.883, mourning the death of Marcellus, Augustus’ nephew. Quoted by Dante as he leaves Virgil in Purgatory, XXX.21, echoed by Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass III, 6.
manu militariwith a military handUsing armed forces in order to achieve a goal
manu propria (m.p.)with one’s own handWith the implication of “signed by one’s hand”. Its abbreviated form is sometimes used at the end of typewritten or printed documents or official notices, directly following the name of the person(s) who “signed” the document exactly in those cases where there isn’t an actual handwritten signature.
manus manum lavatone hand washes the otherfamous quote from The Pumpkinification of Claudius, ascribed to Seneca the Younger. It implies that one situation helps the other.
manus multae cor unummany hands, one heartMotto of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
manus nigrablack hand
marcet sine adversario virtusvalor becomes feeble without an opponentSeneca the Younger, De Providentia 2:4. Also, translated into English as “[their] strength and courage droop without an antagonist” (“Of Providence” (1900) by Seneca, translated by Aubrey Stewart), “without an adversary, prowess shrivels” (Moral Essays (1928) by Seneca, translated by John W, Basore) and “prowess withers without opposition”.
mare clausumclosed seaIn law, a sea under the jurisdiction of one nation and closed to all others.
Mare Ditat, Rosa DecoratThe sea enriches, the rose adornsMotto of Montrose, Angus and HMS Montrose
mare liberumfree seaIn law, a sea open to international shipping navigation.
mare nostrumour seaA nickname given to the Mediterranean during the height of the Roman Empire, as it encompassed the entire coastal basin.
Mater DeiMother of GodA name given to describe Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, who is also called the Son of God.
mater familiasthe mother of the familyThe female head of a family. See pater familias.
mater lectionismother reading
Mater semper certa estthe mother is always certaina Roman-law principle which has the power of praesumptio iuris et de iure, meaning that no counter-evidence can be made against this principle (literally: Presumed there is no counter evidence and by the law). Its meaning is that the mother of the child is always known.
materia medicamedical matterBranch of medical science concerned with the study of drugs used in the treatment of disease. Also, the drugs themselves.
maxima debetur puero reverentiagreatest deference is owed to the childfrom Juvenal’s Satires XIV:47
me vexat pedeit annoys me at the footLess literally, “my foot itches”. Refers to a trivial situation or person that is being a bother, possibly in the sense of wishing to kick that thing away or, such as the commonly used expressions, a “pebble in one’s shoe” or “nipping at one’s heels”.
mea culpathrough my faultUsed in Christian prayers and confession to denote the inherently flawed nature of mankind; can also be extended to mea maxima culpa (through my greatest fault).
mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundatMy hovercraft is full of eelsA relatively common recent Latinization inspired by the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch by Monty Python.
media vita in morte sumusIn the midst of our lives we dieA well-known sequence, falsely attributed to Notker during the Middle Ages. It was translated by Cranmer and became a part of the burial service in the funeral rites of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
Mediolanum captum estMilan has been capturedUsed erroneously as Mediolanum Capta Est by the black metal band Mayhem as an album title. Mediolanum was an ancient city in present-day Milan, Italy.
Melius abundare quam deficereBetter too much than not enough.Also used in elliptical form as melius abundare.
meliorabetter thingsCarrying the connotation of “always better”. The motto of the University of Rochester.
Meliorare legem meliorare vitam estTo improve the law is to improve life.The motto of the Salem/Roanoke County, Virginia Bar Association.
Meliorem lapsa locavitHe has planted one better than the one fallen.The motto of the Belmont County, Ohio, and the motto in the seal of the Northwest Territory
Melita, domi adsumHoney, I’m home!A relatively common recent Latinization from the joke phrasebook Latin for All Occasions. Grammatically correct, but the phrase would be anachronistic in ancient Rome.
memento moriremember that [you will] dieremember your mortality
memento vivereremember to liveVivere memento (Remember You Live) is a poem composed by Ukrainian poet Ivan Franko on October 4, 1883.
meminerunt omnia amanteslovers remember all
memores acti prudentes futurimindful of things done, aware of things to comeThus, both remembering the past and foreseeing the future. From the North Hertfordshire District Council coat of arms.
Memoriae Sacrum (M.S.)Sacred to theMemory (of …)A common first line on 17th-century English church monuments. The Latinized name of the deceased follows, in the genitive case. Alternatively it may be used as a heading, the inscription following being in English, for example: “Memoriae Sacrum. Here lies the body of …”
mens agitat molemthe mind moves the massFrom Virgil; motto of several educational institutions
Mens conscia rectia mind aware of what is rightMotto of The College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA
mens et manusmind and handMotto of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, and also of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
mens reaguilty mindAlso “culprit mind”. A term used in discussing the mindset of an accused criminal.
mens sana in corpore sanoa sound mind in a sound bodyOr “a sensible mind in a healthy body”. Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal (10.356)
metri causafor the sake of the metreExcusing flaws in poetry “for the sake of the metre”
Miles GloriosusGlorious SoldierOr “Boastful Soldier”. Miles Gloriosus is the title of a play of Plautus. A stock character in comedy, the braggart soldier. (It is said that at Salamanca, there is a wall, on which graduates inscribe their names, where Francisco Franco had a plaque installed reading “Franciscus Francus Miles Gloriosus”.)
miles praesidii libertatisSoldier of the Bastion of FreedomA phrase on the plaque in commemoration of Prof. Benjamin Marius Telders [nl], Academiegebouw Leiden [nl] (Netherlands).
mictus cruentusbloody urinesee hematuria
minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibushe threatens the innocent who spares the guilty
mirabile dictuwonderful to tellVirgil, in Latin Publius Vergilius Maro, is a contemporary Latin poet of the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the reign of Emperor Augustus.
mirabile visuwonderful to seeA Roman phrase used to describe a wonderful event/happening.
mirum videtur quod sit factum iam diuDoes it seem wonderful [merely] because it was done a long time/so long ago?Livius Andronicus, Aiax Mastigophorus.
miscerique probat populos et foedera jungiHe approves of the mingling of the peoples and their bonds of unionLatin Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV, line 112, “he” referring to the great Roman god, who approved of the settlement of Romans in Africa. Old Motto of Trinidad and Tobago, and used in the novel A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul.
misera est servitus ubi jus est aut incognitum aut vagummiserable is that state of slavery in which the law is unknown or uncertainQuoted by Samuel Johnson in his paper for James Boswell on Vicious intromission.
miserabile visuterrible to seeA terrible happening or event.
miseram pacem vel bello bene mutariA bad peace is even worse than war.From Tacitus’ Annales, III, 44.
miserere nobishave mercy upon usA phrase within the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and the Agnus Dei, to be used at certain points in Christian religious ceremonies.
Missio Deithe Mission of GodA theological phrase in the Christian religion.
missit me Dominusthe Lord has sent meA phrase used by Jesus.
mittimuswe sendA warrant of commitment to prison, or an instruction for a jailer to hold someone in prison.
mobilis in mobili“moving in a moving thing” or, poetically, “changing through the changing medium”The motto of the Nautilus from the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
modus operandi (M.O.)method of operatingUsually used to describe a criminal’s methods.
modus ponensmethod of placingLoosely “method of affirming”, a logical rule of inference stating that from propositions if P then Q and P, then one can conclude Q.
modus tollensmethod of removingLoosely “method of denying”, a logical rule of inference stating that from propositions if P then Q and not Q, then one can conclude not P.
modus vivendimethod of living or way of lifeAn accommodation between disagreeing parties to allow life to go on. A practical compromise.
Monasterium sine libris est sicut civitas sine opibusA monastery without books is like a city without wealthUsed in the Umberto Eco novel The Name of the Rose. Part of a much larger phrase: Monasterium sine libris, est sicut civitas sine opibus, castrum sine numeris, coquina sine suppellectili, mensa sine cibis, hortus sine herbis, pratum sine floribus, arbor sine foliis. Translation: A monastery without books is like a city without wealth, a fortress without soldiers, a kitchen without utensils, a table without food, a garden without plants, a meadow without flowers, a tree without leaves.
montani semper liberimountaineers [are] always freeState motto of West Virginia, adopted in 1872; part of the coat of arms for the Colombian city of Bucaramanga.
Montis Insignia CalpeBadge of the Mons Calpe (Rock of Gibraltar)A self-referential literal identifier below the emblem
morbus virgineusDisease of the virgins or Virgin’s diseaseHypochromic anemia, an iron deficiency anemia common in young women
more ferarumlike beastsused to describe any sexual act in the manner of beasts
more suoin his/her/its/their usual way
morior invictusI die unvanquishedsometimes also translated as “death before defeat”
morituri nolumus moriwe who are about to die don’t want toFrom Terry Pratchett’s The Last Hero, an effective parody on Morituri te salutamus/salutant
morituri te salutantthose who are about to die salute youUsed once in Suetonius’ De Vita Caesarum 5, (Divus Claudius), chapter 21, by the condemned prisoners manning galleys about to take part in a mock naval battle on Lake Fucinus in AD 52. Popular misconception ascribes it as a gladiator’s salute. See also: Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant and Naumachia.
mors certa, hora incertadeath is certain, its hour is uncertain
mors mihi lucrumdeath to me is rewardA common epitaph, from St Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, 1:21 (Mihi enim vivere Christus est et mori lucrum, translated in the King James Bible as: “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain”)
mors omnibusdeath to allSignifies anger and depression.
mors tua, vita meayour death, my lifeFrom medieval Latin, it indicates that battle for survival, where your defeat is necessary for my victory, survival.
mors vincit omnia“death conquers all” or “death always wins”An axiom often found on headstones.
morte magis metuenda senectusold age should rather be feared than deathfrom Juvenal in his Satires
mortui vivos docentThe dead teach the livingUsed to justify dissections of human cadavers in order to understand the cause of death.
mortuum flagellasyou are flogging a dead (man)From Gerhard Gerhards’ (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Criticising one who will not be affected in any way by the criticism.
mos maiorumthe custom of our ancestorsan unwritten code of laws and conduct, of the Romans. It institutionalized cultural traditions, societal mores, and general policies, as distinct from written laws.
motu proprioon his own initiativeOr “by his own accord.” Identifies a class of papal documents, administrative papal bulls.
mulgere hircumto milk a male goatFrom Gerhard Gerhards’ (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Attempting the impossible.
mulier est hominis confusiowoman is man’s ruin“Part of a comic definition of woman” from the Altercatio Hadriani Augusti et Secundi. Famously quoted by Chauntecleer in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
multa paucisSay much in few words
multis e gentibus viresfrom many peoples, strengthMotto of Saskatchewan
multitudo sapientium sanitas orbisa multitude of the wise is the health of the worldFrom the Vulgate, Wisdom of Solomon 6:24. Motto of the University of Victoria.
multum in parvomuch in littleConciseness. The term “mipmap” is formed using the phrase’s abbreviation “MIP”; motto of Rutland, a county in central England.
Latin phrases are often multum in parvo, conveying much in few words.
mundus senescitthe world grows old
mundus vult decipithe world wants to be deceivedAscribed to Roman satirist Petronius. Also in Augustine of Hippo’s De Civitate Dei contra Paganos (5th century AD), Sebastian Franck’s Paradoxa Ducenta Octoginta (1542), and in James Branch Cabell’s 1921 novel Figures of Earth.
mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiaturthe world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceivedAscribed to Roman satirist Petronius. Also in Augustine of Hippo’s De Civitate Dei contra Paganos (5th century AD) as “si mundus vult decipi, decipiatur” (“if the world will be gulled, let it be gulled”), and only the first part, “mundus vult decipi” (“the world wants to be deceived”), in Sebastian Franck’s Paradoxa Ducenta Octoginta (1542) and in James Branch Cabell’s Figures of Earth (1921).
munit haec et altera vincitthis one defends and the other one conquersMotto of Nova Scotia.
mutata lex non peritthe law that does not evolve diesMotto of Seneca the Younger
mutatis mutandisafter changing what needed to be changed“with the appropriate changes”
mutato nomine de te fabula narraturchange but the name, and the story is told of yourselfHorace, Satires, I. 1. 69. Preceded by Quid rides? (“Why do you laugh?”; see Quid rides).

N – Latin Phrases

nanos gigantum humeris insidentesDwarfs standing on the shoulders of giantsFirst recorded by John of Salisbury in the twelfth century and attributed to Bernard of Chartres. Also commonly known by the letters of Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
nascentes morimur finisque ab origine pendetWhen we are born we die, our end is but the pendant of our beginning
nasciturus pro iam nato habetur, quotiens de commodis eius agiturThe unborn is deemed to have been born to the extent that his own inheritance is concernedRefers to a situation where an unborn child is deemed to be entitled to certain inheritance rights.
natura abhorret a vacuonature abhors vacuumPseudo-explanation for why a liquid will climb up a tube to fill a vacuum, often given before the discovery of atmospheric pressure.
natura artis magistraNature is the teacher of artThe name of the zoo in the centre of Amsterdam; short: “Artis”.
natura nihil frustra facitnature does nothing in vainCf. Aristotle: “οὐθὲν γάρ, ὡς φαμέν, μάτην ἡ φύσις ποιεῖ” (Politics I 2, 1253a9) and Leucippus: “Everything that happens does so for a reason and of necessity.”
natura non contristaturnature is not saddenedThat is, the natural world is not sentimental or compassionate. Derived by Arthur Schopenhauer from an earlier source.
natura non facit saltum ita nec lexnature does not make a leap, thus neither does the lawShortened form of “sicut natura nil facit per saltum ita nec lex” (just as nature does nothing by a leap, so neither does the law), referring to both nature and the legal system moving gradually.
natura non facit saltusnature makes no leapsA famous aphorism of Carl Linnaeus stating that all organisms bear relationships on all sides, their forms changing gradually from one species to the next. From Philosophia Botanica (1751).
natura valde simplex est et sibi consonaNature is exceedingly simple and harmonious with itselfSir Isaac Newton’s famous quote, defining foundation of all modern sciences. Can be found in his Unpublished Scientific Papers of Isaac Newton: A selection from the Portsmouth Collection in the University Library, Cambridge, 1978 edition
naturalia non sunt turpiaWhat is natural is not dirtyBased on Servius’ commentary on Virgil’s Georgics (3:96): “turpis non est quia per naturam venit.”
naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry backYou must take the basic nature of something into account.
– Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle X, line 24.
navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesseto sail is necessary; to live is not necessaryAttributed by Plutarch to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, who, during a severe storm, commanded sailors to bring food from Africa to Rome. Translated from Plutarch’s Greek “πλεῖν ἀνάγκη, ζῆν οὐκ ἀνάγκη”.
ne plus ultranothing more beyondAlso nec plus ultra or non plus ultra. A descriptive phrase meaning the best or most extreme example of something. The Pillars of Hercules, for example, were literally the nec plus ultra of the ancient Mediterranean world. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s heraldic emblem reversed this idea, using a depiction of this phrase inscribed on the Pillars – as plus ultra, without the negation. The Boston Musical Instrument Company engraved ne plus ultra on its instruments from 1869 to 1928 to signify that none were better. Non plus ultra is the motto of the Spanish exclave Melilla.
ne puero gladiumdo not give a sword to a boyNever give dangerous tools to someone who is untrained to use them or too immature to understand the damage they can do.
ne supra crepidam sutor iudicareta shoemaker should not judge beyond the shoesee Sutor, ne ultra crepidam
ne te quaesiveris extrado not seek outside yourselfline from the Roman satirist Persius inscribed on the boulder to the right of Sir John Suckling in the painting of the aforementioned subject by Sir Anthony van Dyck (ca. 1638) and invoked by Ralph Waldo Emerson at the opening of his essay Self-Reliance (1841)
Nec aspera terrentThey are not terrified of the rough thingsThey are not afraid of difficulties. Less literally “Difficulties be damned.” Motto for 27th Infantry Regiment (United States) and the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. Nec = not; aspera = rough ones/things; terrent = they terrify / do terrify / are terrifying.
Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus (inciderit)That a god not intervene, unless a knot show up that be worthy of such an untangler“When the miraculous power of God is necessary, let it be resorted to: when it is not necessary, let the ordinary means be used.” From Horace’s Ars Poetica as a caution against deus ex machina.
nec dextrorsum, nec sinistrorsumNeither to the right nor to the leftDo not get distracted. Motto for Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and the Bishop Cotton Girls’ School, both located in Bangalore, India.
nec spe, nec metuwithout hope, without fear
nec tamen consumebaturand yet it was not consumedRefers to the Burning Bush of Exodus 3:2. Motto of many Presbyterian churches throughout the world.
nec temere nec timideneither reckless nor timidMotto of the Dutch 11th Air Manoeuvre Brigade and the city of Gdańsk, Poland
nec vi, nec clam, nec precarioWithout permission, without secrecy, without interruptionThe law of adverse possession
neca eos omnes, Deus suos agnoscetkill them all, God will know his ownalternate rendition of Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. by Arnaud Amalric
necesse est aut imiteris aut oderisyou must either imitate or loathe the worldSeneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 7:7
necessitas etiam timidos fortes facitneed makes even the timid braveSallust, The Conspiracy of Catiline, 58:19
nemine contradicente (nem. con., N.C.D.)with no one speaking againstLess literally, “without dissent”. Used especially in committees, where a matter may be passed nem. con., or unanimously, or with unanimous consent.
nemo contra Deum nisi Deus ipseNo one against God except God himselfFrom Goethe’s autobiography From my Life: Poetry and Truth, p. 598
nemo dat quod non habetno one gives what he does not haveThus, “none can pass better title than they have”
nemo est supra legemnobody is above the law; or nemo est supra leges, nobody is above the laws
Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino umquam fuitNo great man ever existed who did not enjoy some portion of divine inspirationFrom Cicero’s De Natura Deorum, Book 2, chapter LXVI, 167
nemo iudex in causa suano man shall be a judge in his own causeLegal principle that no individual can preside over a hearing in which he holds a specific interest or bias
nemo malus felixpeace visits not the guilty mindAlso translated to “no rest for the wicked.” Refers to the inherent psychological issues that plague bad/guilty people.
nemo me impune lacessitNo one provokes me with impunityMotto of the Order of the Thistle, and consequently of Scotland, found stamped on the milled edge of certain British pound sterling coins. It is the motto of the Montressors in the Edgar Allan Poe short story “The Cask of Amontillado”. Motto of the San Beda College Beta Sigma Fraternity.
nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapitNo mortal is wise at all timesThe wisest may make mistakes.
nemo nisi per amicitiam cognosciturNo one learns except by friendshipUsed to imply that one must like a subject in order to study it.
nemo propheta in patria (sua)no man is a prophet in his own landConcept present in all four Gospels (Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24; John 4:44).
nemo saltat sobriusNobody dances soberThe short and more common form of Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit, “Nobody dances sober, unless he happens to be insane,” a quote from Cicero (from the speech Pro Murena).
nemo tenetur se ipsum accusareno one is bound to accuse himself (the right to silence)A maxim banning mandatory self-incrimination. Near-synonymous with accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo. Similar phrases include: nemo tenetur armare adversarium contra se (no one is bound to arm an opponent against himself), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to in any way assist the prosecutor to his own detriment; nemo tenetur edere instrumenta contra se (no one is bound to produce documents against himself, meaning that a defendant is not obligated to provide materials to be used against himself (this is true in Roman law and has survived in modern criminal law, but no longer applies in modern civil law); and nemo tenere prodere se ipsum (no one is bound to betray himself), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to testify against himself.
neque semper arcum tendit Apollonor does Apollo always keep his bow drawnHorace, Carmina 2/10:19-20. The same image appears in a fable of Phaedrus.
Ne quid nimisNothing in excess
nervos belli, pecuniam infinitamEndless money forms the sinews of warIn war, it is essential to be able to purchase supplies and to pay troops (as Napoleon put it, “An army marches on its stomach”).
nihil ad remnothing to do with the pointThat is, in law, irrelevant and/or inconsequential.
nihil boni sine laborenothing achieved without hard workMotto of Palmerston North Boys’ High School
nihil dicithe says nothingIn law, a declination by a defendant to answer charges or put in a plea.
nihil enim lacrima citius arescitnothing dries sooner than a tearPseudo-Cicero, Ad Herrenium2/31:50
nihil humanum mihi alienumnothing human is alien to meAdapted from Terence’s Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor), homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto (“I am a human being; nothing human is strange to me”). Sometimes ending in est.
nihil in intellectu nisi prius in sensunothing in the intellect unless first in senseThe guiding principle of empiricism, and accepted in some form by Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. Leibniz, however, added nisi intellectus ipse (except the intellect itself).
nihil nimisnothing tooOr nothing to excess. Latin translation of the inscription of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
nihil novinothing of the newOr just “nothing new”. The phrase exists in two versions: as nihil novi sub sole (nothing new under the sun), from the Vulgate, and as nihil novi nisi commune consensu (nothing new unless by the common consensus), a 1505 law of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and one of the cornerstones of its Golden Liberty.
nihil obstatnothing preventsA notation, usually on a title page, indicating that a Roman Catholic censor has reviewed the book and found nothing objectionable to faith or morals in its content. See also imprimatur.
nihil sine Deonothing without GodMotto of the Kingdom of Romania, while ruled by the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty (1878–1947).
nihil ultranothing beyondMotto of St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta
nil admiraribe surprised at nothingOr “nihil admirari”. Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes (3,30), Horace, Epistulae (1,6,1), and Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, (8,5). Motto of the Fitzgibbon family. See John FitzGibbon, 1st Earl of Clare
nil desperandumnothing must be despaired atThat is, “never despair”.
nil igitur fieri de nilo posse fatendumstnothing, therefore, we must confess, can be made from nothingFrom Lucretius’ De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things), I.205
Nil igitur mors est ad nosDeath, therefore, is nothing to usFrom Lucretius’ De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things), III.831
nil mortalibus ardui estnothing is impossible for humankindFrom Horace’s Odes. Motto of Rathkeale College, New Zealand and Brunts School, England.
nil nisi bonum(about the dead say) nothing unless (it is) goodShort for nil nisi bonum de mortuis dicere. That is, “Don’t speak ill of anyone who has died”. Also “Nil magnum nisi bonum” (nothing is great unless good), motto of St Catherine’s School, Toorak, Pennant Hills High School and Petit Seminaire Higher Secondary School.
nil nisi malis terrorino terror, except to the badMotto of The King’s School, Macclesfield
nil per os, rarely non per os (n.p.o.)nothing through the mouthMedical shorthand indicating that oral foods and fluids should be withheld from the patient.
nil satis nisi optimumnothing [is] enough unless [it is] the bestMotto of Everton F.C., residents of Goodison Park, Liverpool.
nil sine laborenothing without labourMotto of many schools
nil sine numinenothing without the divine willOr “nothing without providence”. State motto of Colorado, adopted in 1861. Probably derived from Virgil’s Aeneid Book II, line 777, “non haec sine numine divum eveniunt” (these things do not come to pass without the will of Heaven). See also numen.
nil volentibus arduumNothing [is] arduous for the willingNothing is impossible for the willing
nisi Dominus frustraif not the Lord, [it is] in vainThat is, “everything is in vain without God”. Summarized from Psalm 127 (126 Vulgate), nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustra vigilavit qui custodit (unless the Lord builds the house, they work on a useless thing who build it; unless the Lord guards the community, he keeps watch in vain who guards it); widely used motto.
nisi paria non pugnantit takes two to make a fightIrascetur aliquis: tu contra beneficiis prouoca; cadit statim simultas ab altera parte deserta; nisi paria non pugnant. (If any one is angry with you, meet his anger by returning benefits for it: a quarrel which is only taken up on one side falls to the ground: it takes two men to fight.) Seneca the Younger, De Ira (On Anger): Book 2, cap. 34, line 5.
nisi priusunless previouslyIn England, a direction that a case be brought up to Westminster for trial before a single judge and jury. In the United States, a court where civil actions are tried by a single judge sitting with a jury, as distinguished from an appellate court.
nitimur in vetitumWe strive for the forbiddenFrom Ovid’s Amores, III.4:17. It means that when we are denied of something, we will eagerly pursue the denied thing. Used by Friedrich Nietzsche in his Ecce Homo to indicate that his philosophy pursues what is forbidden to other philosophers.
nobis bene, nemini maleGood for us, Bad for no oneInscription on the old Nobistor [de] gatepost that divided Altona and St. Pauli
nolens volensunwilling, willingThat is, “whether unwillingly or willingly”. Sometimes rendered volens nolensaut nolens aut volens or nolentis volentis. Similar to willy-nilly, though that word is derived from Old English will-he nil-he ([whether] he will or [whether] he will not).
noli me tangeredo not touch meCommonly translated “touch me not”. According to the Gospel of John, this was said by Jesus to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.
noli turbare circulos meosDo not disturb my circles!That is, “Don’t upset my calculations!” Said by Archimedes to a Roman soldier who, despite having been given orders not to, killed Archimedes at the conquest of Syracuse, Sicily.
nolle prosequito be unwilling to prosecuteA legal motion by a prosecutor or other plaintiff to drop legal charges, usually in exchange for a diversion program or out-of-court settlement.
nolo contendereI do not wish to contendThat is, “no contest”. A plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states that the accused doesn’t admit guilt, but will accept punishment for a crime. Nolo contendere pleas cannot be used as evidence in another trial.
nomen amicitiae sic, quatenus expedit, haeretthe name of friendship lasts just so long as it is profitablePetronius, Satyricon, 80.
nomen dubiumdoubtful nameA scientific name of unknown or doubtful application.
nomen est omenthe name is a signThus, “true to its name”.
nomen nescio (N.N.)I do not know the nameThus, the name or person in question is unknown.
nomen nudumnaked nameA purported scientific name that does not fulfill the proper formal criteria and therefore cannot be used unless it is subsequently proposed correctly.
non auro, sed ferro, recuperanda est patriaNot gold, but iron redeems the native landAccording to some Roman this sentence was said by Marcus Furius Camillus to Brennus, the chief of the Gauls, after he demanded more gold from the citizens of the recently sacked Rome in 390 BC.
non bene pro toto libertas venditur auroliberty is not well sold for all the goldMotto of Republic of Ragusa, inscribed over the gates of St. Lawrence Fortress. From Gualterus Anglicus’s version of Aesop’s fable “The Dog and the Wolf”.
non bis in idemnot twice in the same thingA legal principle forbidding double jeopardy.
non canimus surdis, respondent omnia silvaewe sing not to the deaf; the trees echo every wordVirgil, Eclogues 10:8
non causa pro causanot the cause for the causeAlso known as the “questionable cause” or “false cause”. Refers to any logical fallacy where a cause is incorrectly identified.
non compos mentisnot in control of the mindSee compos mentis. Also rendered non compos sui (not in control of himself). Samuel Johnson, author of the first English dictionary, theorized that the word nincompoop may derive from this phrase.
non constatit is not certainUsed to explain scientific phenomena and religious advocations, for example in medieval history, for rulers to issue a ‘Non Constat’ decree, banning the worship of a holy figure. In legal context, occasionally a backing for nulling information that was presented by an attorney. Without any tangible proof, Non constat information is difficult to argue for.
non ducor, ducoI am not led; I leadMotto of São Paulo city, Brazil. See also pro Brasilia fiant eximia.
non est factumit is not [my] deeda doctrine in contract law that allows a signing party to escape performance of the agreement. A claim of “non est factum” means that the signature on the contract was signed by mistake, without knowledge of its meaning, but was not done so negligently. A successful plea would make the contract void ab initio.
non est princeps super leges, sed leges supra principemthe prince is not above the laws, but the law is above the prince.Pliny the Younger, Panegyricus 65:1.
non extingueturshall not be extinguishedMotto of the Society of Antiquaries of London accompanying their Lamp of knowledge emblem
non facias malum ut inde fiat bonumyou should not make evil in order that good may be made from itMore simply, “don’t do wrong to do right”. The direct opposite of the phrase “the ends justify the means”.
non hos quaesitum munus in ususA gift sought for no such purposeVirgil, Aeneid4:647, of the sword with which Dido will commit suicide. “Not for so dire an enterprise design’d.” (Dryden trans.; 1697) “A gift asked for no use like this.” (Mackail trans.; 1885). “Ne’er given for an end so dire.” (Taylor trans.; 1907) “A gift not asked for use like this!” (Williams trans.; 1910). Quoted by Francis Bacon of the civil law, “not made for the countries it governeth”.
non impediti ratione cogitationisunencumbered by the thought processmotto of radio show Car Talk
non in legendo sed in intelligendo leges consistuntthe laws depend not on being read, but on being understood
non liquetit is not provenAlso “it is not clear” or “it is not evident”. A sometimes controversial decision handed down by a judge when they feel that the law is not complete.
non loqui sed facerenot talk but actionMotto of the University of Western Australia’s Engineering faculty student society.
non mihi solumnot for myself aloneMotto of Anderson Junior College, Singapore.
non ministrari sed ministrarenot to be served, but to serveMotto of Wellesley College and Shimer College (from Matthew 20:28 in the Vulgate).
non multa sed multumnot quantity but qualityMotto of the Daniel Pearl Magnet High School.
Non nobis DomineNot to us (oh) LordChristian hymn based on Psalm 115.
non nobis nati‘Born not for ourselves’Motto of St Albans School (Hertfordshire)
non nobis solumnot for ourselves aloneAppears in Cicero’s De Officiis Book 1:22 in the form non nobis solum nati sumus (we are not born for ourselves alone). Motto of Lower Canada College, Montreal and University College, Durham University, and Willamette University.
non numerantur, sed ponderanturthey are not counted, but weighedOld saying. Paul Erdős (1913–1996), in The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman
non obstante veredictonot standing in the way of a verdictA judgment notwithstanding verdict, a legal motion asking the court to reverse the jury’s verdict on the grounds that the jury could not have reached such a verdict reasonably.
non oletit doesn’t smellSee pecunia non olet.
non omnia possumus omnestnot everyone can do everythingVirgil, Eclogues 8:63 (and others).
non omnis moriarI shall not all dieHorace, Carmina 3/30:6. “Not all of me will die”, a phrase expressing the belief that a part of the speaker will survive beyond death.
non plus ultranothing further beyondthe ultimate. See also ‘ne plus ultra’
non possumusnot possible
non possunt primi esse omnes omni in temporenot everyone can occupy the first rank forever(It is impossible always to excel) Decimus Laberius.
non progredi est regredito not go forward is to go backward
non prosequiturhe does not proceedA judgment in favor of a defendant when the plaintiff failed to take the necessary steps in an action within the time allowed.
non scholae sed vitae[We learn] not for school but for lifeAn inversion of non vitae sed scholae now used as a school motto
non qui parum habet, set qui plus cupit, pauper estIt is not he who has little, but he who wants more, who is the pauper.Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 2:6.
non quis sed quidnot who but whatUsed in the sense “what matters is not who says it but what he says” – a warning against ad hominem arguments; frequently used as motto, including that of Southwestern University.
non sequiturit does not followIn general, a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context (rather than due to being inherently nonsensical or internally inconsistent), often used in humor. As a logical fallacy, a conclusion that does not follow from a premise.
non serviamI will not servePossibly derived from a Vulgate mistranslation of the Book of Jeremiah. Commonly used in literature as Satan’s statement of disobedience to God, though in the original context the quote is attributed to Israel, not Satan.
non sibiNot for selfA slogan used by many schools and universities.
non sibi, sed patriaeNot for self, but for countryEngraved on the doors of the United States Naval Academy chapel; motto of the USS Halyburton (FFG-40).
non sibi, sed suisNot for one’s self but for one’s ownA slogan used by many schools and universities.
non sibi, sed omnibusNot for one’s self but for allA slogan used by many schools and universities.
non sic dormit, sed vigilatSleeps not but is awakeMartin Luther on mortality of the soul.
non silba, sed anthar; Deo vindiceNot for self, but for others; God will vindicateA slogan used by the Ku Klux Klan
non sum qualis eramI am not such as I wasOr “I am not the kind of person I once was”. Expresses a change in the speaker. Horace, Odes 4/1:3.
non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurumDo not hold as gold all that shines as goldAlso, “All that glitters is not gold.” Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice.
non timebo malaI will fear no evilIt is possibly a reference to Psalm 23. Printed on the Colt in Supernatural.
non vestra sed vosNot yours but youMotto of St Chad’s College, Durham.
non vitae sed scholae[We learn] not for life but for schooltimeFrom a passage of occupatio in Seneca the Younger’s moral letters to Lucilius, wherein Lucilius is given the argument that too much literature fails to prepare students for life
non vi, sed verboNot by force, but by the word [of God]From Martin Luther’s “Invocavit Sermons” preached in March, 1522, against the Zwickau prophets unrest in Wittenberg; later echoed in the Augsburg Confession as …sine vi humana, sed Verbo: bishops should act “without human force, but through the Word”.
nosce te ipsumknow thyselfFrom Cicero, based on the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), inscribed on the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, according to the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias (10.24.1). A non-traditional Latin rendering, temet nosce (thine own self know), is translated in The Matrix as “know thyself”.
noscitur a sociisa word is known by the company it keepsIn statutory interpretation, when a word is ambiguous, its meaning may be determined by reference to the rest of the statute.
noster nostriLiterally “Our ours”Approximately “Our hearts beat as one.”
nota benemark wellThat is, “please note” or “note it well”.
novus ordo seclorumnew order of the agesFrom Virgil. Motto on the Great Seal of the United States. Similar to Novus Ordo Mundi (New World Order).
nulla dies sine lineaNot a day without a line drawnPliny the Elder attributes this maxim to Apelles, an ancient Greek artist.
nulla dies umquam memori vos eximet aevoNo day shall erase you from the memory of timeFrom Virgil’s Aeneid, Book IX, line 447, on the episode of Nisus and Euryalus.
nulla poena sine legeno penalty without a lawRefers to the legal principle that one cannot be punished for doing something that is not prohibited by law, and is related to Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.
nulla quaestiothere is no question, there is no issue
nulla tenaci invia est viaFor the tenacious, no road is impassableMotto of the Dutch car builder Spyker.
nullam rem natamno thing bornThat is, “nothing”. It has been theorized that this expression is the origin of Italian nulla, French rien, and Spanish and Portuguese nada, all with the same meaning.
nulli secundussecond to noneMotto of the Coldstream Guards and Nine Squadron Royal Australian Corps of Transport and the Pretoria Armour Regiment.
nullius in verbaOn the word of no manMotto of the Royal Society.
nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenalino crime, no punishment without a previous penal lawLegal principle meaning that one cannot be penalised for doing something that is not prohibited by law; penal law cannot be enacted retroactively.
nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuitThere has been no great wisdom without an element of madness
numen lumenGod our lightThe motto of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The motto of Elon University.
numerus claususclosed numberA method to limit the number of students who may study at a university.
nunc aut nunquamnow or neverMotto of the Korps Commandotroepen, Dutch elite special forces.
nunc dimittisnow you sendbeginning of the Song of Simeon, from the Gospel of Luke.
nunc est bibendumnow is the time to drinkCarpe-Diem-type phrase from the Odes of Horace, Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus (Now is the time to drink, now the time to dance footloose upon the earth). Used as a slogan by Michelin and the origin of the Michelin Man’s name Bibendum.
nunc pro tuncnow for thenSomething that has retroactive effect, is effective from an earlier date.
nunc scio quid sit amornow I know what love isFrom Virgil, Eclogues VIII. Virgil in Latin Publius Vergilius Maro, is a contemporary Latin poet of the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the reign of Emperor Augustus.
nunquam minus solus quam cum solusnever less alone than when alone
nunquam non paratusnever unprepared, ever ready, always readyfrequently used as motto
nunquam obliviscarnever forget

O – Latin Phrases

O Deus ego amo teO God I Love Youattributed to Saint Francis Xavier
O fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint, agricolasThe farmers would count themselves lucky, if only they knew how good they had itfrom Virgil in Georgics, 458
o homines ad servitutem paratosMen ready to be slaves!attributed (in Tacitus, Annales, III, 65) to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, in disgust at the servile attitude of Roman senators; said of those who should be leaders but instead slavishly follow the lead of others
O tempora, o mores!Oh, the times! Oh, the morals!also translated “What times! What customs!”; from Cicero, Catilina I, 2
O Tite tute Tati tibi tanta tyranne tulistiO tyrant Titus Tatius, what terrible calamities you brought onto yourself!from Quintus Ennius, Annales (104), considered an example of a Latin tongue-twister
Obedientia civium urbis felicitasThe obedience of the citizens makes us a happy cityMotto of Dublin
obiit (ob.)one died“He/she died”, inscription on gravestones; ob. also sometimes stands for obiter (in passing or incidentally)
obit anis, abit onusThe old woman dies, the burden is liftedArthur Schopenhauer
obiter dictuma thing said in passingin law, an observation by a judge on some point of law not directly relevant to the case before him, and thus neither requiring his decision nor serving as a precedent, but nevertheless of persuasive authority. In general, any comment, remark or observation made in passing
obliti privatorum, publica curateForget private affairs, take care of public onesRoman political saying which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters for any person having a responsibility in the State
obscuris vera involvensthe truth being enveloped by obscure thingsfrom Virgil
obscurum per obscuriusthe obscure by means of the more obscureAn explanation that is less clear than what it tries to explain; synonymous with ignotum per ignotius
obtineo et teneoto obtain and to keepmotto
obtorto collowith a twisted neckunwillingly
oculus dexter (O.D.)right eyeOphthalmologist shorthand
oculus sinister (O.S.)left eye
oderint dum metuantlet them hate, so long as they fearfavorite saying of Caligula, attributed originally to Lucius Accius, Roman tragic poet (170 BC)
odi et amoI hate and I loveopening of Catullus 85; the entire poem reads, “odi et amo quare id faciam fortasse requiris / nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior” (I hate and I love. Why do I do this, you perhaps ask. / I do not know, but I feel it happening to me and I am burning up.)
odi profanum vulgus et arceoI hate the unholy rabble and keep them awayHorace, Carmina III, 1
odium theologicumtheological hatredname for the special hatred generated in theological disputes
oleum camino(pour) oil on the firefrom Erasmus’ (1466–1536) collection of annotated Adagia
omne ignotum pro magnificoevery unknown thing [is taken] for greator “everything unknown appears magnificent” The source is Tacitus: Agricola, Book 1, 30 where the sentence ends with ‘est’. The quotation is found in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes short story “The Red-Headed League” (1891) where the ‘est’ is missing.
omne initium difficile estevery beginning is difficult
omne vivum ex ovoevery living thing is from an eggfoundational concept of modern biology, opposing the theory of spontaneous generation
Omnes homines sunt asini vel homines et asini sunt asiniAll men are donkeys or men and donkeys are donkeysa sophisma proposed and solved by Albert of Saxony (philosopher)
omnes vulnerant, postuma necat, or, omnes feriunt, ultima necatall [the hours] wound, last one killsusual in clocks, reminding the reader of death
omnia cum deoall with Godmotto for Mount Lilydale Mercy College, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia
omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latinaeverything said [is] stronger if said in Latinor “everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin”; a more common phrase with the same meaning is quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur (whatever said in Latin, seems profound)
omnia in mensura et numero et pondere disposuistiThou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight.Book of Wisdom, 11:21
Omnia mea mecum portoAll that is mine I carry with meis a quote that Cicero ascribes to Bias of Priene
omnia mutantur, nihil interiteverything changes, nothing perishesOvid (43 BC – 17 AD), Metamorphoses, book XV, line 165
omnia omnibusall things to all men1 Corinthians 9:22
si omnia fictaif all (the words of poets) is fictionOvid, Metamorphoses, book XIII, lines 733–4: “si non omnia vates ficta
omnia vincit amorlove conquers allVirgil (70 BC – 19 BC), Eclogue X, line 69
omnia munda mundiseverything [is] pure to the pure [men]from The New Testament
omnia praesumuntur legitime facta donec probetur in contrariumall things are presumed to be lawfully done, until it is shown [to be] in the reversein other words, “innocent until proven guilty”
omnia sponte fluant absit violentia rebuseverything should flow by itself, force should be absent“let it go”
omnis vir enim suiEvery man for himself!
omnibus idemthe same to allmotto of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, usually accompanied by a sun, which shines for (almost) everyone
omnibus locis fit caedesThere is slaughter everywhere (in every place)Julius Caesar’s The Gallic War, 7.67
omnis traductor traditorevery translator is a traitorevery translation is a corruption of the original; the reader should take heed of unavoidable imperfections
omnis vir tigriseveryone a tigermotto of the 102nd Intelligence Wing
omnium gatherumgathering of allmiscellaneous collection or assortment; “gatherum” is English, and the term is used often used facetiously
onus probandiburden of proof
onus procedendiburden of procedureburden of a party to adduce evidence that a case is an exception to the rule
opera omniaall workscollected works of an author
opera posthumaposthumous worksworks published after the author’s death
operari sequitur esseact of doing something follows the act of beingscholastic phrase, used to explain that there is no possible act if there is not being: being is absolutely necessary for any other act
opere citato (op. cit.)in the work that was citedused in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used
opere et veritatein action and truthdoing what you believe is morally right through everyday actions
opere laudato (op. laud.)See opere citato
operibus anteireleading the way with deedsto speak with actions instead of words
ophidia in herbaa snake in the grassany hidden danger or unknown risk
opinio juris sive necessitatisan opinion of law or necessitya belief that an action was undertaken because it was a legal necessity; source of customary law
opus anglicanumEnglish workfine embroidery, especially used to describe church vestments
Opus DeiThe Work of GodCatholic organisation
ora et laborapray and workThis principle of the Benedictine monasteries reads in full: “Ora et labora (et lege), Deus adest sine mora.” “Pray and work (and read), God is there without delay” (or to keep the rhyme: “Work and pray, and God is there without delay”)
ora pro nobispray for usSancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis pecatoribus“; Brazilian name for Pereskia aculeata
orando laborandoby praying, by workingmotto of Rugby School
oratio rectadirect speechexpressions from Latin grammar
oratio obliquaindirect speech
orbis non sufficitthe world does not suffice or the world is not enoughfrom Satires of Juvenal (Book IV/10), referring to Alexander the Great; James Bond’s adopted family motto in the novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; it made a brief appearance in the film adaptation of the same name and was later used as the title of the nineteenth James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough.
orbis unumone worldseen in The Legend of Zorro
ordo ab chaoout of chaos, comes orderone of the oldest mottos of Craft Freemasonry.
(oremus) pro invicem(Let us pray), one for the other; let us pray for each otherPopular salutation for Roman Catholic clergy at the beginning or ending of a letter or note. Usually abbreviated OPI. (“Oremus” used alone is just “let us pray”).
orta recens quam pura nitesnewly risen, how brightly you shineMotto of New South Wales

P – Latin Phrases

paceAblative form of peace“With all due respect to”, “with due deference to”, “by leave of”, “no offence to”, or “despite (with respect)”. Used to politely acknowledge someone with whom the speaker or writer disagrees or finds irrelevant to the main argument.
pace tuawith your peaceThus, “with your permission”.
Pacem in terrisPeace on Earth
pacta sunt servandaagreements must be keptAlso “contracts must be honoured”. Indicates the binding power of treaties. One of the fundamental rules of international law.
palma non sine pulvereno reward without effortAlso “dare to try”; motto of numerous schools.
palmam qui meruit feratHe who has earned the palm, let him bear it.Loosely, “achievement should be rewarded” (or, “let the symbol of victory go to him who has deserved it”); frequently used motto
panem et circensesbread and circusesFrom Juvenal, Satire X, line 81. Originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob. Today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters.
par sit fortuna laboriLet the success be equal to the labor.This motto is of the families Buchanan, Lowman, and Palmer, according to Burke’s Peerage & Baronetage.
parvus pendetur fur, magnus abire videturThe petty thief is hanged, the big thief gets away.
para bellumprepare for warFrom “Si vis pacem para bellum”: if you want peace, prepare for war—if a country is ready for war, its enemies are less likely to attack. Usually used to support a policy of peace through strength (deterrence). In antiquity, however, the Romans viewed peace as the aftermath of successful conquest through war, so in this sense the proverb identifies war as the means through which peace will be achieved.
parare Domino plebem perfectamto prepare for God a perfect peoplemotto of the St. Jean Baptiste High School
parce sepultoforgive the interredit is ungenerous to hold resentment toward the dead. Quote from the Aeneid, III 13-68.
parens patriaeparent of the nationA public policy requiring courts to protect the best interests of any child involved in a lawsuit. See also Pater Patriae.
pari passuwith equal stepThus, “moving together”, “simultaneously”, etc.
parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus musThe mountains are in labour, a ridiculous mouse will be born.said of works that promise much at the outset but yield little in the end (Horace, Ars poetica 137) – see also The Mountain in Labour
parum luceatIt does not shine [being darkened by shade].Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria1/6:34 – see also lucus a nonlucendo
parva sub ingentithe small under the hugeImplies that the weak are under the protection of the strong, rather than that they are inferior. Motto of Prince Edward Island.
parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutusWhen you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things.Motto of Barnard Castle School, sometimes translated as “Once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely”.
passimhere and there, everywhereLess literally, “throughout” or “frequently”. Said of a word, fact or notion that occurs several times in a cited text. Also used in proofreading, where it refers to a change that is to be repeated everywhere needed. See also et passim.
pater familiasfather of the familyOr “master of the house”. The eldest male in a family, who held patria potestas (“paternal power”). In Roman law, a father had enormous power over his children, wife, and slaves, though these rights dwindled over time. Derived from the phrase pater familias, an Old Latin expression preserving the archaic –as ending for the genitive case.
Pater OmnipotensFather AlmightyA more direct translation would be “omnipotent father”.
Pater Patriaefather of the nationA Latin honorific meaning “Father of the Country”, or more literally, “Father of the Fatherland”.
pater peccaviFather, I have sinnedThe traditional beginning of a Roman Catholic confession.
pauca sed bonafew, but goodSimilar to “quality over quantity”; though there may be few of something, at least they are of good quality.
pauca sed maturafew, but ripeSaid to be one of Carl Gauss’s favorite quotations. Used in The King and I by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
paulatim ergo certeslowly therefore surelyFormer motto of Latymer Upper School in London (the text latim er is concealed in the words)
paulatim sed firmiterslowly but surelyMotto of University College School in London
pax aeternaeternal peaceA common epitaph
Pax AmericanaAmerican PeaceA euphemism for the United States of America and its sphere of influence. Adapted from Pax Romana.
Pax BritannicaBritish PeaceA euphemism for the British Empire. Adapted from Pax Romana
Pax ChristiPeace of ChristUsed as a wish before the Holy Communion in the Catholic Mass, also the name of the peace movement Pax Christi
pax Deipeace of GodUsed in the Peace and Truce of God movement in 10th-century France
Pax DeorumPeace of the godsLike the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of Pax Deorum (The Peace of the gods) instead of Ira Deorum (The Wrath of the gods).
Pax, Dominepeace, lordlord or master; used as a form of address when speaking to clergy or educated professionals
pax et bonumpeace and the goodMotto of St. Francis of Assisi and, consequently, of his monastery in Assisi; understood by Catholics to mean ‘Peace and Goodness be with you,’ as is similar in the Mass; translated in Italian as pace e bene.
pax et justitiapeace and justiceMotto of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
pax et luxpeace and lightMotto of Tufts University and various schools
Pax EuropaeaEuropean Peaceeuphemism for Europe after World War II
Pax HispanicaSpanish PeaceEuphemism for the Spanish Empire; specifically can mean the twenty-three years of supreme Spanish dominance in Europe (approximately 1598–1621). Adapted from Pax Romana.
pax in terrapeace on earthUsed to exemplify the desired state of peace on earth
Pax intrantibus, salus exeuntibusPeace to those who enter, health to those who depart.Used as an inscription over the entrance of buildings (especially homes, monasteries, inns). Often benedicto habitantibus (Blessings on those who abide here) is added.
pax matrum, ergo pax familiarumpeace of mothers, therefore peace of familiesIf the mother is peaceful, then the family is peaceful. The inverse of the Southern United States saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
Pax MongolicaMongolian Peaceperiod of peace and prosperity in Asia during the Mongol Empire
pax optima rerumpeace is the greatest goodSilius Italicus, Punica (11,595); motto of the university of Kiel
Pax RomanaRoman Peaceperiod of relative prosperity and lack of conflict in the early Roman Empire
Pax SinicaChinese Peaceperiod of peace in East Asia during times of strong Chinese hegemony
pax tecumpeace be with you (singular)
Pax tibi, Marce, Evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum.Peace to you, Mark, my Evangelist. Here will rest your body.
Legend states that when the evangelist went to the lagoon where Venice would later be founded, an angel came and said this. The first part is depicted as the note in the book shown opened by the lion of St Mark’s Basilica, Venice; registered trademark of the Assicurazioni Generali, Trieste.Part of Venice's coat of arms: a winged lion holding a sword upright and showing an opened book with the words: "Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus."
pax vobiscumpeace [be] with youA common farewell. The “you” is plural (“you all”), so the phrase must be used when speaking to more than one person; pax tecum is the form used when speaking to only one person.
peccaviI have sinnedTelegraph message and pun from Charles Napier, British general, upon completely subjugating the Indian province of Sindh in 1842 (‘I have Sindh’). This is, arguably, the most terse military despatch ever sent. The story is apocryphal.
pecunia non oletmoney doesn’t smellAccording to Suetonius’ De vita Caesarum, when Emperor Vespasian was challenged by his son Titus for taxing the public lavatories, the emperor held up a coin before his son and asked whether it smelled or simply said non olet (“it doesn’t smell”). From this, the phrase was expanded to pecunia non olet, or rarely aes non olet (“copper doesn’t smell”).
pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, dominaif you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don’t, money is your masterWritten on an old Latin tablet in downtown Verona (Italy).
pede poena claudopunishment comes limpingThat is, retribution comes slowly but surely. From Horace, Odes, 3, 2, 32.
pendent opera interruptathe works hang interruptedFrom the Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV
perBy, through, by means ofSee specific phrases below
per angusta ad augustathrough difficulties to greatnessJoining sentence of the conspirators in the drama Hernani by Victor Hugo (1830). The motto of numerous educational establishments.
per annum (pa.)each yearThus, “yearly”—occurring every year
per arduathrough adversityMotto of the British RAF Regiment
per ardua ad altathrough difficulty to heightsThrough hardship, great heights are reached; frequently used motto
per ardua ad astrathrough adversity to the starsMotto of the Royal, Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Air Forces, the U. S. State of Kansas and of several schools. The phrase is used by Latin Poet Virgil in the Aeneid; also used in H. Rider Haggard’s novel The People of the Mist.
per aspera ad astrathrough hardships to the starsFrom Seneca the Younger; frequently used motto, sometimes as ad astra per aspera (“to the stars through hardships”)
per capitaby heads“Per head”, i.e., “per person”, a ratio by the number of persons. The singular is per caput.
per capsulamthrough the small boxThat is, “by letter”
per contrathrough the contraryOr “on the contrary” (cf. a contrario)
per crucem vincemusthrough the cross we shall conquerMotto of St John Fisher Catholic High School, Dewsbury
Per Crucem Crescensthrough the cross, growthMotto of Lambda Chi Alpha
per curiamthrough the senateLegal term meaning “by the court”, as in a per curiam decision
per definitionemthrough the definitionThus, “by definition”
per diem (pd.)by dayThus, “per day”. A specific amount of money an organization allows an individual to spend per day, typically for travel expenses.
per fas et nefasthrough right or wrongBy fair means or foul
per fidem intrepidusfearless through faith
per literas regias
per lit. reg.
per regias literas
per reg. lit.
by royal lettersby letters patent;
of academic degrees: awarded by letters patent from the King/Queen, rather than by a University
per mare per terramby sea and by landMotto of the Royal Marines and (with small difference) of Clan Donald and the Compagnies Franches de la Marine
per mensem (pm.)by monthThus, “per month”, or “monthly”
per multum cras, cras, crebro dilabitur aetaswhat can be done today should not be delayed
per os (p.o.)through the mouthMedical shorthand for “by mouth”
per pedesby feetUsed of a certain place that can be traversed or reached by foot, or to indicate that one is travelling by foot as opposed to by a vehicle
per procura (p.p. or per pro)through the agencyAlso rendered per procurationem. 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 quodby reason of whichIn a UK legal context: “by reason of which” (as opposed to per se which requires no reasoning). In American jurisprudence often refers to a spouse’s claim for loss of consortium.
per rectum (pr)through the rectumMedical shorthand; see also per os
per rectum ad astravia rectum to the starsa modern parody of per aspera ad astra, originating and most commonly used in Russia, meaning that the path to success took you through most undesirable and objectionable places or environments; or that a found solution to a complex problem is extremely convoluted.
per risum multum poteris cognoscere stultumby excessive laughter one can recognise the fool
per sethrough itselfAlso “by itself” or “in itself”. Without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications etc. A common example is negligence per se. See also malum in se.
per stirpesthrough the rootsUsed in wills to indicate that each “branch” of the testator’s family should inherit equally. Contrasted with per capita.
per unitatem visthrough unity, strengthMotto of Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets
per veritatem visthrough truth, strengthMotto of Washington University in St. Louis
per volar sunata[sic]born to soarFrequently used motto; not from Latin but from Dante’s Purgatorio, Canto XII, 95, the Italian phrase “per volar sù nata”.
Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olimBe patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.From Ovid, Amores, Book III, Elegy XI
periculum in moradanger in delay
perinde ac [si] cadaver [essent][well-disciplined] like a corpsePhrase written by St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Constitutiones Societatis Iesu (1954)
perita manus mens excultaskilled hand, cultivated mindMotto of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia
perge sequaradvance, I followfrom Virgil’s Aeneid IV 114; in Vergil’s context: “proceed with your plan, I will do my part.”
Pericula ludusDanger is my pleasureMotto of the Foreign Legion Detachment in Mayotte
perpetuum mobilething in perpetual motionA musical term; also used to refer to hypothetical perpetual motion machines
Perseverantia et Fide in DeoPerseverance and Faith in GodMotto of Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, India
persona non grataperson not pleasingAn unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person. In diplomatic contexts, a person rejected by the host government. The reverse, persona grata (“pleasing person”), is less common, and refers to a diplomat acceptable to the government of the country to which he is sent.
Pes meus stetit in directoMy foot has stood in the right way (or in uprightness; in integrity)Motto of the Light Armoured Cavalry Regiment Santiago No 1, Spanish Army; Psalm 26:12
petitio principiirequest of the beginningBegging the question, a logical fallacy in which a proposition to be proved is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises
pia desideriapious longingsOr “dutiful desires”
pia frauspious fraudOr “dutiful deceit”. Expression from Ovid; used to describe deception which serves Church purposes
pia materpious motherOr “tender mother”. The delicate innermost of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Pietate et doctrina tuta libertasFreedom is made safe through character and learningMotto of Dickinson College
pinxitone paintedThus, “he painted this” or “she painted this”. Formerly used on works of art, next to the artist’s name.
piscem natare doces[you] teach a fish to swimLatin proverb, attributed by Erasmus in his Adagia to Greek origin (Diogenianus, Ἰχθὺν νήχεσθαι διδάσκεις); corollary Chinese idiom (班門弄斧)
placetit pleasesexpression of assent
plene scriptumfully written
plenus venter non studet libenterA full belly does not like studyingI.e., it is difficult to concentrate on mental tasks after a heavy meal. The following variant is also attested: plenus si venter renuit studere libenter (the belly, when full, refuses to study willingly).
plenus venter facile de ieiuniis disputatA full belly readily discusses fasting.Hieronymus, Epistulæ 58,2
pluralis majestatisplural of majestyThe first-person plural pronoun when used by an important personage to refer to himself or herself; also known as the “royal we
pluralis modestiaeplural of modesty
plus minusve (p.m.v.)more or lessFrequently found on Roman funerary inscriptions to denote that the age of a decedent is approximate
plus ultrafurther beyondNational motto of Spain and a number of other institutions
pollice compresso favor iudicabaturgoodwill decided by compressed thumbLife was spared with a thumb tucked inside a closed fist, simulating a sheathed weapon. Conversely, a thumb up meant to unsheath your sword.
pollice versowith a turned thumbUsed by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator. The type of gesture used is uncertain. Also the name of a famous painting depicting gladiators by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Polonia RestitutaRebirth of Poland
pons asinorumbridge of assesAny obstacle that stupid people find hard to cross. Originally used of Euclid’s Fifth Proposition in geometry.
Pontifex MaximusGreatest High PriestOr “Supreme Pontiff”. Originally an office in the Roman Republic, later a title held by Roman Emperors, and later a traditional epithet of the pope. The pontifices were the most important priestly college of the religion in ancient Rome; their name is usually thought to derive from pons facere (“to make a bridge”), which in turn is usually linked to their religious authority over the bridges of Rome, especially the Pons Sublicius.
posse comitatusforce of the countyThus, to be able to be made into part of a retinue or force. In common law, a sheriff’s right to compel people to assist law enforcement in unusual situations.
possunt quia posse videnturThey can because they think they canInscription on the back of Putney medals, awarded to boat race winning Oxford blues. From Virgil’s Aeneid Book V line 231.
post aut propterafter it or by means of itCausality between two phenomena is not established (cf. post hoc, ergo propter hoc)
post cibum (p.c.)after foodMedical shorthand for “after meals” (cf. ante cibum)
post coitumAfter sexAfter sexual intercourse
post coitum omne animal triste est sive gallus et mulierAfter sexual intercourse every animal is sad, except the cock (rooster) and the womanOr: triste est omne animal post coitum, praeter mulierem gallumque. Attributed to Galen of Pergamum.
post eventumafter the eventRefers to an action or occurrence that takes place after the event that is being discussed (similar in meaning to post factum). More specifically, it may refer to a person who is recounting an event long after it took place, implying that details of the story may have changed over time. (Some sources attribute this expression to George Eliot.)
post factumafter the factNot to be confused with ex post facto.
post festumafter the feastToo late, or after the fact
post hoc ergo propter hocafter this, therefore because of thisA logical fallacy where one assumes that one thing happening after another thing means that the first thing caused the second.
post meridiem (p.m.)after middayThe period from noon to midnight (cf. ante meridiem)
post mortem (pm)after deathUsually rendered postmortem. Not to be confused with post meridiem. Comes from the Latin “post” (after) and “mortem” (death), a term which designates an event occurring after the death of someone (the publication of a work, an autopsy, etc.)
Example: The victim’s post-mortem autopsy revealed significant alcohol consumption before his accident.
Post mortem auctoris (p.m.a.)after the author’s deathThe phrase is used in legal terminology in the context of intellectual property rights, especially copyright, which commonly lasts until a certain number of years after the author’s death.
post nubila phoebusafter the clouds, the sunMotto of the University of Zulia, Venezuela, as well as Hartford, Connecticut
post nubes luxout of darkness, lightMotto of Cranfield University
post scriptum (p.s.)after what has been writtenA postscript. Used to mark additions to a letter, after the signature. Can be extended to post post scriptum (p.p.s.), etc.
post tenebras lux, or, post tenebras spero lucemafter darkness, [I hope for] lightfrom Vulgata, Job 17:12; frequently used motto
postera crescam laudeI am going to grow in the esteem of future generationsMotto of the University of Melbourne
potest solum unumThere can be only oneHighlander
praemia virtutis honoreshonours are the rewards of virtue
praemonitus praemunitusforewarned is forearmedCommon catch phrase of the fictional character “Captain Blood” from the novel Captain Blood (novel)
praesis ut prosis ne ut imperesLead in order to serve, not in order to rule.Motto of Lancaster Royal Grammar School
praeter legemafter the lawLegal terminology, international law
Praga Caput RegniPrague, Head of the KingdomMotto of Prague from Middle Ages
Praga Caput Rei publicaePrague, Head of the RepublicMotto of Prague from 1991
Praga mater urbiumPrague, Mother of CitiesMotto of Prague from 1927
Praga totius Bohemiae dominaPrague, the mistress of the whole of BohemiaFormer motto of Prague
Pretium Laborum Non VileNo mean reward for labourMotto of the Order of the Golden Fleece
pretiumque et causa laborisThe prize and the cause of our labourMotto of Burnley Football Club; from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 4.739 (Latin)/English): “The Tale of Perseus and Andromeda”: resoluta catenis incedit virgo, pretiumque et causa laboris. (“freed of her chains the virgin approaches, cause and reward of the enterprise.”)
prima facieat first sightUsed to designate evidence in a trial which is suggestive, but not conclusive, of something (e.g., a person’s guilt)
prima luceat dawnLiterally “at first light”
primas sum: primatum nil a me alienum putoI am a primate; nothing about primates is outside of my bailiwickA sentence by the American anthropologist Earnest Hooton and the slogan of primatologists and lovers of the primates.
primum mobilefirst moving thingOr “first thing able to be moved”; see primum movens
primum movensprime moverOr “first moving one”. A common theological term, such as in the cosmological argument, based on the assumption that God was the first entity to “move” or “cause” anything. Aristotle was one of the first philosophers to discuss the “uncaused cause”, a hypothetical originator—and violator—of causality.
primum non nocerefirst, to not harmA medical precept. Often falsely attributed to the Hippocratic Oath, though its true source is probably a paraphrase from Hippocrates’ Epidemics, where he wrote, “Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things: to help, or at least to do no harm.”
primus inter paresfirst among equalsPosition of the Ecumenical Patriarch in the Eastern Orthodox Church, position of the President of the Swiss Confederation among the members of the Federal Council, and a title of the Roman Emperors (cf. princeps).
principia probant non probanturprinciples prove; they are not provedFundamental principles require no proof; they are assumed a priori.
principiis obsta (et respice finem)resist the beginnings (and consider the end)Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 91
principium individuationisIndividuationpsychological term: the self-formation of the personality into a coherent whole
prior tempore potior iureearlier in time, stronger in lawA legal principle that older laws take precedence over newer ones. The inverse principle is known as lex posterior.
pro aris et focisFor altars and hearthsThe motto of the Royal Queensland Regiment, and many other regiments.
pro bono publicofor the public goodOften abbreviated pro bono. Work undertaken voluntarily at no expense, such as public services. Often used of a lawyer’s work that is not charged for.
pro Brasilia fiant eximialet exceptional things be made for BrazilMotto of São Paulo state, Brazil.
pro Deo Domo PatriaFor God, home and countryMotto of the University of Mary Washington
pro Deo et PatriaFor God and CountryFrequently used motto
pro domo (sua)for (one’s own) home or houseserving the interests of a given perspective or for the benefit of a given group.
pro Ecclesia, pro TexanaFor Church, For TexasMotto of Baylor University, a private Christian Baptist university in Waco, Texas.
pro fide et patriafor faith and fatherlandMotto of the originally Irish Muldoon family and of several schools, such as the Diocesan College (Bishops) in Cape Town, South Africa, and All Hallows High School in the Bronx, New York.
pro formafor formOr “as a matter of form”. Prescribing a set form or procedure, or performed in a set manner.
pro gloria et patriafor glory and fatherlandMotto of Prussia
pro hac vicefor this occasionRequest of a state court to allow an out-of-state lawyer to represent a client.
pro multisfor manyIt is part of the Rite of Consecration of the wine in Western Christianity tradition, as part of the Mass.
pro partein partFrequently used in taxonomy to refer to part of a group.
pro patriafor countryPro Patria Medal: for operational service (minimum 55 days) in defence of the Republic South Africa or in the prevention or suppression of terrorism; issued for the Border War (counter-insurgency operations in South West Africa 1966–89) and for campaigns in Angola (1975–76 and 1987–88). Motto of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Royal South Australia Regiment, Hurlstone Agricultural High School.
pro patria vigilanswatchful for the countryMotto of the United States Army Signal Corps.
pro populo et gloriafor the people and gloryMotto of HMS Westminster
pro perfor selfto defend oneself in court without counsel; abbreviation of propria persona. See also: pro se.
pro ratafor the ratei.e., proportionately.
pro re nata (PRN, prn)for a thing that has been bornMedical shorthand for “as the occasion arises” or “as needed”. Also “concerning a matter having come into being”. Used to describe a meeting of a special Presbytery or Assembly called to discuss something new, and which was previously unforeseen (literally: “concerning a matter having been born”).
pro rege et legefor king and the lawFound on the Leeds coat of arms.
pro rege, lege et gregefor king, the law and the peopleFound on the coat of arms of Perth, Scotland.
pro sefor oneselfto defend oneself in court without counsel. Some jurisdictions prefer, “pro per”.
pro scientia atque sapientiafor knowledge and wisdommotto of Stuyvesant High School in New York City
pro scientia et patriafor science and nationmotto of the National University of La Plata
pro studio et laborefor study and work
pro tantofor so muchDenotes something that has only been partially fulfilled. A philosophical term indicating the acceptance of a theory or idea without fully accepting the explanation.
pro tanto quid retribuemuswhat shall we give in return for so muchThe motto of the city of Belfast; taken from the Vulgate translation of Psalm 116.
pro temporefor the time (being)Denotes a temporary current situation; abbreviated pro tem.
probatio pennaetesting of the penMedieval Latin term for breaking in a new pen
probis pateoI am open for honest peopleTraditionally inscribed above a city gate or above the front entrance of a dwelling or place of learning.
prodesse quam conspiciTo Accomplish Rather Than To Be Conspicuousmotto of Miami University
propria manu (p.m.)“by one’s own hand”
propter vitam vivendi perdere causasto destroy the reasons for living for the sake of lifeThat is, to squander life’s purpose just in order to stay alive, and live a meaningless life. From Juvenal, Satyricon VIII, verses 83–84.
protectio trahit subjectionem, et subjectio protectionemProtection draws allegiance, and allegiance draws protectionLegal maxim, indicating that reciprocity of fealty with protection
provehito in altumlaunch forward into the deepmotto of Memorial University of Newfoundland
proxime accessithe came nextthe runner-up
proximo mense (prox.)in the following monthUsed in formal correspondence to refer to the next month. Used with ult. (“last month”) and inst. (“this month”).
pulchrum est paucorum hominumBeauty is for the fewfrom Friedrich Nietzsche’s 1889 book Twilight of the Idols
pulvis et umbra sumuswe are dust and shadowFrom Horace, Carmina Book IV, 7, 16.
punctum saliensleaping pointThus, the essential or most notable point. The salient point.
purificatus non consumptuspurified, not consumed

– Latin Phrases

qua definitioneby virtue of definitionThus: “by definition”; variant of per definitionem; sometimes used in German-speaking countries. Occasionally misrendered as “qua definitionem”.
qua patet orbisas far as the world extendsMotto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
quae non posuisti, ne tollasdo not take away what you did not put in placePlato, Laws
quae non prosunt singula multa iuvantwhat alone is not useful helps when accumulatedOvid, Remedia amoris
quaecumque sunt verawhatsoever is truefrequently used as motto; taken from Philippians 4:8 of the Bible
quaecumque vera doce meteach me whatsoever is truemotto of St. Joseph’s College, Edmonton at the University of Alberta
quaereto seekOr “you might ask…” Used to suggest doubt or to ask one to consider whether something is correct. Often introduces rhetorical or tangential questions.
quaerite primum regnum Deiseek ye first the kingdom of GodAlso quaerite primo regnum dei; frequently used as motto
qualis artifex pereoAs what kind of artist do I perish?Or “What a craftsman dies in me!” Attributed to Nero in Suetonius’ De vita Caesarum
Qualitas potentia nostraQuality is our mightmotto of Finnish Air Force
quam bene non quantumhow well, not how muchmotto of Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diuit is how well you live that matters, not how longSeneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium CI (101)
quamdiu (se) bene gesseritas long as he shall have behaved well (legal Latin)I.e., “[while on] good behavior.” So for example the Act of Settlement 1701 stipulated that judges’ commissions are valid quamdiu se bene gesserint (during good behaviour). (Notice the different singular, “gesserit”, and plural, “gesserint”, forms.) It was from this phrase that Frank Herbert extracted the name for the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the Dune novels.
quantocius quantotiusthe sooner, the betteror, as quickly as possible
quantum libet (q.l.)as much as pleasesmedical shorthand for “as much as you wish”
quantum sufficit (qs)as much as is enoughmedical shorthand for “as much as needed” or “as much as will suffice”
quaque hora (qh)every hourmedical shorthand; also quaque die (qd), “every day”, quaque mane (qm), “every morning”, and quaque nocte (qn), “every night”
quare clausum fregitwherefore he broke the closeAn action of trespass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.
quater in die (qid)four times a daymedical shorthand
quem deus vult perdere, dementat priusWhom the gods would destroy, they first make insane
quem di diligunt adulescens moriturhe whom the gods love dies youngOther translations of diligunt include “prize especially” or “esteem”. From Plautus, Bacchides, IV, 7, 18. In this comic play, a sarcastic servant says this to his aging master. The rest of the sentence reads: dum valet sentit sapit (“while he is healthy, perceptive and wise”).
questio quid iurisI ask what law?from the Summoner’s section of Chaucer’s General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, line 648
qui audet adipisciturWho Dares WinsThe motto of the SAS, of the British Army
qui bene cantat bis orathe who sings well praises twicefrom St. Augustine of Hippo’s commentary on Psalm 73, verse 1: Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat (“He who sings praises, not only praises, but praises joyfully”)
qui bonowho with goodcommon misspelling of the Latin phrase cui bono (“who benefits?”)
quibuscum(que) viis(and) by whatever ways possibleUsed by Honoré de Balzac in several works, including Illusions perdues and Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes.
qui docet in doctrinahe that teacheth, on teachingMotto of the University of Chester. A less literal translation is “Let those who teach, teach” or “Let the teacher teach”.
qui habet aures audiendi audiathe who has ears to hear, let him hear“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”; Mark Mark 4:9
qui me tangit, vocem meam auditwho touches me, hears my voicecommon inscription on bells
qui tacet consentire videturhe who is silent is taken to agreeThus, silence gives consent. Sometimes accompanied by the proviso “ubi loqui debuit ac potuit“, that is, “when he ought to have spoken and was able to”. Pope Boniface VII in Decretale di Bonifacio VIII, Libro V, Tit. 12, reg. 43 AD 1294
qui prior est tempore potior est jureWho is first in point of time is stronger in rightAs set forth in the “Property Law” casebook written by Jesse Dukeminier, which is generally used to teach first year law students.
qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequiturhe who brings an action for the king as well as for himselfGenerally known as ‘qui tam,’ it is the technical legal term for the unique mechanism in the federal False Claims Act that allows persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the Government.
qui totum vult totum perdithe who wants everything loses everythingAttributed to Publilius Syrus
qui transtulit sustinethe who transplanted still sustainsOr “he who brought us across still supports us”, meaning God. State motto of Connecticut. Originally written as sustinet qui transtulit in 1639.
quia suam uxorem etiam suspicione vacare velletbecause he should wish his wife to be free even from any suspicionAttributed to Julius Caesar by Plutarch, Caesar 10. Translated loosely as “because even the wife of Caesar may not be suspected”. At the feast of Bona Dea, a sacred festival for females only, which was being held at the Domus Publica, the home of the Pontifex Maximus, Caesar, and hosted by his second wife, Pompeia, the notorious politician Clodius arrived in disguise. Caught by the outraged noblewomen, Clodius fled before they could kill him on the spot for sacrilege. In the ensuing trial, allegations arose that Pompeia and Clodius were having an affair, and while Caesar asserted that this was not the case and no substantial evidence arose suggesting otherwise, he nevertheless divorced, with this quotation as explanation.
quid agisWhat are you doing?What’s happening? What’s going on? What’s the news? What’s up?
quid est veritasWhat is truth?In the Vulgate translation of John 18:38, Pilate’s question to Jesus (Greek: Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;). A possible answer is an anagram of the phrase: est vir qui adest, “it is the man who is here.”
quid novi ex AfricaWhat of the new out of Africa?less literally, “What’s new from Africa?”; derived from an Aristotle quotation
quid nuncWhat now?Commonly shortened to quidnunc. As a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip. Patrick Campbell worked for The Irish Times under the pseudonym “Quidnunc”.
quid pro quowhat for whatCommonly used in English, it is also translated as “this for that” or “a thing for a thing”. Signifies a favor exchanged for a favor. The traditional Latin expression for this meaning was do ut des (“I give, so that you may give”).
Quid rides?
Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.
Why do you laugh? Change but the name, and the story is told of yourself.Horace, Satires, I. 1. 69.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videturwhatever has been said in Latin seems deepOr “anything said in Latin sounds profound”. A recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or “educated”. Similar to the less common omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.
quieta non moveredon’t move settled things
quilibet potest renunciare juri pro se inductoanyone may renounce a law introduced for their own benefitUsed in classical law to differentiate law imposed by the state for the benefit of a person in general, but by the state on behalf of them, and one imposed specifically that that person ought to have a say in whether the law is implemented.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?Who will guard the guards themselves?Commonly associated with Plato who in the Republic poses this question; and from Juvenal’s On Women, referring to the practice of having eunuchs guard women and beginning with the word sed (“but”). Usually translated less literally, as “Who watches the watchmen (or modern, ‘watchers’)?” This translation is a common epigraph, such as of the Tower Commission and Alan Moore’s Watchmen comic book series.
quis leget haec?Who will read this?
quis separabit?Who will separate us?motto of Northern Ireland and of the Order of St Patrick
quis ut DeusWho [is] as God?Usually translated “Who is like unto God?” Questions who would have the audacity to compare himself to a Supreme Being. It is a translation of the Hebrew name ‘Michael’ = Mi cha El Who like God מי/כ/ אל Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל‎ (right to left).
quo errat demonstratorwhere the prover errsA pun on “quod erat demonstrandum”
quo fata feruntwhere the fates bear us tomotto of Bermuda
quo non ascendamto what heights can I not rise?motto of Army Burn Hall College
Quod verum tutumwhat is true is rightmotto of Spier’s School
quousque tandem?For how much longer?From Cicero’s first speech In Catilinam to the Roman Senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? (“For how much longer, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?”).
Quo Vadimus?Where are we going?Title of the series finale of Aaron Sorkin’s TV dramedy Sports Night
quo vadis?Where are you going?According to Vulgate translation of John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, quo vadis? (“Lord, where are you going?”). The King James Version has the translation “Lord, whither goest thou?”
quocunque jeceris stabitwhithersoever you throw it, it will standmotto of the Isle of Man
quod abundat non obstatwhat is abundant doesn’t hinderIt is no problem to have too much of something.
quod cito fit, cito peritwhat is done quickly, perishes quicklyThings done in a hurry are more likely to fail and fail quicker than those done with care.
quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.)what was to be demonstratedThe abbreviation is often written at the bottom of a mathematical proof. Sometimes translated loosely into English as “The Five Ws”, W.W.W.W.W., which stands for “Which Was What We Wanted”.
quod erat faciendum (Q.E.F.)which was to be doneOr “which was to be constructed”. Used in translations of Euclid’s Elements when there was nothing to prove, but there was something being constructed, for example a triangle with the same size as a given line.
quod est (q.e.)which is
quod est necessarium est licitumwhat is necessary is lawful
quod gratis asseritur, gratis negaturwhat is asserted without reason may be denied without reasonIf no grounds have been given for an assertion, then there are no grounds needed to reject it.
quod licet Iovi, non licet boviwhat is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an oxIf an important person does something, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can do it (cf. double standard). Iovi (also commonly rendered Jovi) is the dative form of Iuppiter (“Jupiter” or “Jove”), the chief god of the Romans.
quod me nutrit me destruitwhat nourishes me destroys meThought to have originated with Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Generally interpreted to mean that that which motivates or drives a person can consume him or her from within. This phrase has become a popular slogan or motto for pro-ana websites, anorexics and bulimics.
quod natura non dat Salmantica non praestatwhat nature does not give, Salamanca does not provideRefers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.
quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt BarberiniWhat the barbarians did not do, the Barberinis didA well-known satirical lampoon left attached to the ancient “speaking” statue of Pasquino on a corner of the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. Through a sharp pun the writer criticizes Pope Urban VIII, of the Barberini family, who reused stones and decorations from ancient buildings to build new ones, thus wrecking classical constructions that even the barbarians had not touched.
quod periit, periitWhat is gone is goneWhat has happened has happened and it cannot be changed, thus we should look forward into the future instead of being pulled by the past.
quod scripsi, scripsiWhat I have written I have written.Pilate to the chief priests (John 19:22)
quod supplantandum, prius bene sciendumWhatever you hope to supplant, you will first know thoroughlyi.e. “You must thoroughly understand that which you hope to supplant”. A caution against following a doctrine of Naive Analogy when attempting to formulate a scientific hypothesis.
quod vide (q.v.)which seeUsed after a term, phrase, or topic that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document, book, etc. For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae vide (qq.v.).
Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite.Whatever He tells you, that you shall do.More colloquially: “Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you to do.” Instructions of Mary to the servants at the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:5). Also the motto of East Catholic High School.
quomodo valesHow are you?
quorumof whomthe number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional
quos amor verus tenuit tenebitThose whom true love has held, it will go on holdingSeneca
quot capita tot sensusas many heads, so many perceptions“There are as many opinions as there are heads” – Terence
quot homines tot sententiaeas many men, so many opinionsOr “there are as many opinions as there are people”, “how many people, so many opinions”

R – Latin Phrases

radix malorum est cupiditasthe root of evils is desireOr “greed is the root of all evil”. Theme of “The Pardoner’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales.
rara avis (rarissima avis)rare bird (very rare bird)An extraordinary or unusual thing. From Juvenal’s Satires VIrara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno (“a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan”).
rari nantes in gurgite vastoRare survivors in the immense seaVirgil, Aeneid, I, 118
ratio decidendireasoning for the decisionThe legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose a judgment’s rationale.
ratio legisreasoning of lawA law’s foundation or basis.
ratione personaeby reason of his/her personAlso “jurisdiction ratione personae” the personal reach of the courts jurisdiction.
ratione soliby account of the groundOr “according to the soil”. Assigning property rights to a thing based on its presence on a landowner’s property.
ratum et consummatumconfirmed and completedin Canon law, a consummated marriage
ratum tantumconfirmed onlyin Canon law, a confirmed but unconsummated marriage (which can be dissolved super rato)
re[in] the matter ofMore literally, “by the thing”. From the ablative of res (“thing” or “circumstance”). It is a common misconception that the “Re:” in correspondence is an abbreviation for regarding or reply; this is not the case for traditional letters. However, when used in an e-mail subject, there is evidence that it functions as an abbreviation of regarding rather than the Latin word for thing. The use of Latin re, in the sense of “about”, “concerning”, is English usage.
rebus sic stantibuswith matters standing thusThe doctrine that treaty obligations hold only as long as the fundamental conditions and expectations that existed at the time of their creation hold.
recte et fortiterUpright and StrongMotto of Homebush Boys High School
recte et fideliterUpright and FaithfulAlso “just and faithful” and “accurately and faithfully”. Motto of Ruyton Girls’ School
reductio ad absurdumleading back to the absurdA common debate technique, and a method of proof in mathematics and philosophy, that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. In general usage outside mathematics and philosophy, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. Translated from Aristotle’s “ἡ εις άτοπον απαγωγη” (hi eis atopon apagogi, “reduction to the impossible”).
reductio ad Hitlerumleading back to HitlerA term coined by German-American political philosopher Leo Strauss to humorously describe a fallacious argument that compares an opponent’s views to those held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party. Derived from reductio ad absurdum.
reductio ad infinitumleading back to the infiniteAn argument that creates an infinite series of causes that does not seem to have a beginning. As a fallacy, it rests upon Aristotle’s notion that all things must have a cause, but that all series of causes must have a sufficient cause, that is, an unmoved mover. An argument which does not seem to have such a beginning becomes difficult to imagine. If it can be established, separately, that the chain must have a start, then a reductio ad infinitum is a valid refutation technique.
reformatio in peiuschange to worseA decision from a court of appeal is amended to a worse one. With certain exceptions, this is prohibited at the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office by case law.
regem ego comitem me comes regemyou made me a Count, I will make you a KingMotto of the Forbin family
reginam occidereFrom “Reginam occidere nolite timere bonum est si omnes consentiunt ego non contradico”, a sentence whose meaning is highly dependent on punctuation: either the speaker wishes a queen killed or not.Written by John of Merania, bishop of Esztergom, to Hungarian nobles planning the assassination of Gertrude of Merania. The queen was assassinated as the plotters saw the bishop’s message as an encouragement.
regnat populusthe people ruleState motto of Arkansas, adopted in 1907. Originally rendered in 1864 in the plural, regnant populi (“the peoples rule”), but subsequently changed to the singular.
Regnum Mariae Patrona HungariaeKingdom of Mary, the Patron of HungaryFormer motto of Hungary.
regressus ad uterumreturn to the wombConcept used in psychoanalysis by Sándor Ferenczi and the Budapest School.
rem acu tetigistiYou have touched the point with a needlei.e., “You have hit the nail on the head”
renovatio urbisurban renewala period of city planning and architectural updating in rennaissance Italy, i.e. the vast architectural programme begun under Doge Andrea Gritti in Venice
repetita iuvantrepeating does goodLit: “Repeated things help”. Usually said as a jocular remark to defend the speaker’s (or writer’s) choice to repeat some important piece of information to ensure reception by the audience.
repetitio est mater studiorumrepetition is the mother of study/learning
requiem aeternameternal rest
requiescat in pace (R.I.P.)let him/her rest in peaceOr “may he/she rest in peace”. A benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers. “RIP” is commonly mistranslated as “Rest In Peace”, though the two mean essentially the same thing.
rerum cognoscere causasto learn the causes of thingsMotto of the University of Sheffield, the University of Guelph, and London School of Economics.
res firma mitescere nescita firm resolve does not know how to weakenUsed in the 1985 film American Flyers where it is colloquially translated as “once you got it up, keep it up”.
res gestaethings doneA phrase used in law representing the belief that certain statements are made naturally, spontaneously and without deliberation during the course of an event, they leave little room for misunderstanding/misinterpretation upon hearing by someone else ( i.e. by the witness who will later repeat the statement to the court) and thus the courts believe that such statements carry a high degree of credibility.
res ipsa loquiturthe thing speaks for itselfA phrase from the common law of torts meaning that negligence can be inferred from the fact that such an accident happened, without proof of exactly how.
res judicatajudged thingA matter which has been decided by a court. Often refers to the legal concept that once a matter has been finally decided by the courts, it cannot be litigated again (cf. non bis in idem and double jeopardy).
res, non verba“actions speak louder than words”, or “deeds, not words”From rēs (“things, facts”) the plural of rēs (“a thing, a fact”) + nōn (“not”) + verba (“words”) the plural of verbum (“a word”). Literally meaning “things, not words” or “facts instead of words” but referring to that “actions be used instead of words”.
res nulliusnobody’s propertyGoods without an owner. Used for things or beings which belong to nobody and are up for grabs, e.g., uninhabited and uncolonized lands, wandering wild animals, etc. (cf. terra nullius, “no man’s land”).
res publicaPertaining to the state or publicsource of the word republic
respice adspice prospicelook behind, look here, look aheadi.e., “examine the past, the present and future”. Motto of CCNY.
respice finemlook back at the endi.e., “have regard for the end” or “consider the end”. Generally a memento mori, a warning to remember one’s death. Motto of Homerton College, CambridgeTrinity College, Kandy, Georgetown College in Kentucky, Turnbull High School, Glasgow, and the London Oratory School.
respondeat superiorlet the superior respondRegarded as a legal maxim in agency law, referring to the legal liability of the principal with respect to an employee. Whereas a hired independent contractor acting tortiously may not cause the principal to be legally liable, a hired employee acting tortiously will cause the principal (the employer) to be legally liable, even if the employer did nothing wrong.
restitutio ad (or inintegrumrestoration to original conditionPrinciple behind the awarding of damages in common law negligence claims
resurgamI shall arise“I shall rise again”, expressing Christian faith in resurrection at the Last Day. It appears, inter alia, in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, as the epitaph written on Helen Burns’s grave; in a poem of Emily Dickinson: Poems (1955) I. 56 (“ ’Arcturus’ is his other name”), I slew a worm the other day – A ‘Savant’ passing by Murmured ‘Resurgam’ – ‘Centipede’! ‘Oh Lord – how frail are we’!; and in a letter of Vincent van Gogh. The OED gives “1662 J. Trapp, Annotations upon the Old and New Testament, in five distinct volumes (London, 1662), vol. I, p. 142: “Howbeit he had hope in his death, and might write Resurgam on his grave” as its earliest attribution in the English corpus.
retine vim istam, falsa enim dicam, si cogesRestrain your strength, for if you compel me I will tell liesAn utterance by the Delphic oracle recorded by Eusebius of Caesarea in Praeparatio evangelica, VI-5, translated from the Greek of Porphyry (c.f. E. H. Gifford’s translation) and used by William Wordsworth as a subtitle for his ballad “Anecdote for Fathers”.
rex regum fidelum etking even of faithful kingsLatin motto that appears on the crest of the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul and Jan Crouch.
rigor mortisstiffness of deathThe rigidity of corpses when chemical reactions cause the limbs to stiffen about 3–4 hours after death. Other signs of death include drop in body temperature (algor mortis, “cold of death”) and discoloration (livor mortis, “bluish color of death”).
risum teneatis, amici?Can you help laughing, friends?An ironic or rueful commentary, appended following a fanciful or unbelievable tale.
risus abundat in ore stultorumlaughter is abundant in the mouth of foolsexcessive and inappropriate laughter signifies stupidity.
Roma invictaUnconquered RomeInspirational motto inscribed on the Statue of Rome.
Roma locuta, causa finitaRome has spoken, the case is closedIn Roman Catholic ecclesiology, doctrinal matters are ultimately decided by the Vatican.
Romanes eunt domusPeople called Romans they go the houseAn intentionally garbled Latin phrase from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Its intended meaning is “Romans, go home!”, in Latin Romani ite domum.
rorate coelidrop down ye heavensa.k.a. The Advent Prose.
rosam quae meruit feratShe who has earned the rose may bear itMotto from Sweet Briar College
rus in urbeA countryside in the cityGenerally used to refer to a haven of peace and quiet within an urban setting, often a garden, but can refer to interior decoration.

S – Latin Phrase

saltus in demonstrandoleap in explaininga leap in logic, by which a necessary part of an equation is omitted.
salus in arduisa stronghold (or refuge) in difficultiesa Roman Silver Age maxim. Also the school motto of Wellingborough School.
salus populi suprema lex estothe welfare of the people is to be the highest lawFrom Cicero’s De Legibus, book III, part III, sub. VIII. Quoted by John Locke in his Second Treatise, On Civil Government, to describe the proper organization of government. Also the state motto of Missouri.
salva veritatewith truth intactRefers to two expressions that can be interchanged without changing the truth value of the statements in which they occur.
Salvator MundiSavior of the WorldChristian epithet, usually referring to Jesus. The title of paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci.
salvo errore et omissione (s.e.e.o.)save for error and omissionUsed as a reservation on statements of financial accounts. Often now given in English “errors and omissions excluded” or “e&oe”.
salvo honoris titulo (SHT)Addressing oneself to someone whose title is unknown.|
Sancta SedesHoly Chairliterally, “holy seat”. Refers to the Papacy or the Holy See.
sancta simplicitasholy innocenceOr “sacred simplicity”.
sancte et sapienterin a holy and wise wayAlso sancte sapienter (holiness, wisdom), motto of several institutions, notably King’s College London
sanctum sanctorumHoly of Holiesreferring to a more sacred and/or guarded place, within a lesser guarded, yet also holy location.
sapere audedare to knowFrom Horace’s Epistularum liber primus, Epistle II, line 40. Made popular in Kant’s essay Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment? defining the Age of Enlightenment. The phrase is common usage as a university motto.
sapiens qui prospicitwise is he who looks aheadMotto of Malvern College, England
sapienti satenough for the wiseFrom Plautus. Indicates that something can be understood without any need for explanation, as long as the listener has enough wisdom or common sense. Often extended to dictum sapienti sat est (“enough has been said for the wise”, commonly translated as “a word to the wise is enough”).
sapientia et doctrinawisdom and learningMotto of Fordham University, New York. Motto of Hill House School Doncaster, England.
sapientia et eloquentiawisdom and eloquenceOne of the mottos of the Ateneo schools in the Philippines.
Motto of the Minerva Society
sapientia et veritaswisdom and truthMotto of Christchurch Girls’ High School, New Zealand.
sapientia et virtuswisdom and virtueMotto of the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
sapientia ianua vitaewisdom is the gateway to lifeMotto of the Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Bebington, England.
sapientia melior aurowisdom is better than goldMotto of University of Deusto, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Spain.
sapientia, pax, fraternitasWisdom, Peace, FraternityMotto of Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Cholula, Mexico.
sapientia potentia estwisdom is powerMotto of the House of Akeleye, Sweden, Denmark, Czechoslovakia.
sat celeriter fieri quidquid fiat satis beneThat which has been done well has been done quickly enoughOne of the two favorite maxims of Augustus. The other is “festina lente” (“hurry slowly”, i. e., if you want to go fast, go slow).
scientia ac laboreBy/From/With knowledge and labourMotto of several institutions
scientia, aere perenniusknowledge, more lasting than bronzeunknown origin, probably adapted from Horace’s ode III (Exegi monumentum aere perennius).
scientia cum religionereligion and knowledge unitedMotto of St Vincent’s College, Potts Point
scientiae cedit mareThe sea yields to knowledgeMotto of the United States Coast Guard Academy.
scientiae et patriaeFor science and fatherlandMotto of University of Latvia
scientia et laborknowledge and workmotto of Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería
scientia et sapientiaknowledge and wisdommotto of Illinois Wesleyan University
scientia imperii decus et tutamenknowledge is the adornment and protection of the EmpireMotto of Imperial College London
scientia ipsa potentia estknowledge itself is powerStated originally by Sir Francis Bacon in Meditationes Sacrae (1597), which in modern times is often paraphrased as scientia est potestas or scientia potentia est (knowledge is power).
scientia, labor, libertasscience, labour, libertyMotto of the Free University of Tbilisi.
scientia non oletknowledge doesn’t smellA variation on Emperor Vespasian’s pecunia non olet in Suetonius’ De vita Caesarum. Used to say the way in which we learn something doesn’t matter as long as it is knowledge acquired.
scientia vincere tenebrasconquering darkness by scienceMotto of several institutions, such as the Brussels Free Universities (Université Libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel).
scilicet (sc. or ss.)it is permitted to knowthat is to say; to wit; namely; in a legal caption, it provides a statement of venue or refers to a location.
scioI know
scio me nihil scireI know that I know nothing
scire quod sciendumknowledge which is worth havingmotto of now defunct publisher Small, Maynard & Company
scribimus indocti doctique poemata passimEach desperate blockhead dares to writeas translated by Philip Francis. From Horace, Epistularum liber secundus (1, 117) and quoted in Fielding’s Tom Jones; lit: “Learned or not, we shall write poems without distinction.”
scuto amoris diviniby the shield of God’s loveThe motto of Skidmore College
seculo seculorumforever and ever
sed ipse spiritus postulat pro nobis, gemitibus inenarrabilibusBut the same Spirit intercedes incessantly for us, with inexpressible groansRomans 8:26
sed terrae graviora manentBut on earth, worse things awaitVirgil, Aeneid 6:84.
sede vacantewith the seat being vacantThe “seat” refers to the Holy See; the vacancy refers to the interregnum between two popes.
sedes apostolicaapostolic chairSynonymous with Sancta Sedes.
sedes incertaeseat (i.e. location) uncertainUsed in biological classification to indicate that there is no agreement as to which higher order grouping a taxon should be placed into. Abbreviated sed. incert.
sedet, aeternumque sedebitseat, be seated forevera Virgi’s verse, means when you stop trying, then you lose
semel in anno licet insanireonce in a year one is allowed to go crazyConcept expressed by various authors, such as Seneca, Saint Augustine and Horace. It became proverbial during the Middle Ages.
semper ad melioraalways towards better thingsMotto of several institutions
semper anticusalways forwardMotto of the 45th Infantry Division (United States) and its successor, the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States)
semper apertusalways openMotto of University of Heidelberg
semper ardensalways burningMotto of Carl Jacobsen and name of a line of beers by Danish brewery Carlsberg.
semper eademever the samepersonal motto of Elizabeth I, appears above her royal coat of arms. Used as motto of Elizabeth College, Guernsey, Channel Islands, which was founded by Elizabeth I, and of Ipswich School, to whom Elizabeth granted a royal charter. Also the motto of the City of Leicester and Prince George’s County.
semper excelsiusalways higherMotto of the K.A.V. Lovania Leuven and the House of Wrigley-Pimley-McKerr
semper fidelisalways faithfulMotto of several institutions, e.g. United States Marine Corps
semper fortisalways braveUnofficial motto of the United States Navy
semper idemalways the sameMotto of Underberg
semper in excretia sumus solim profundum variatWe’re always in the manure; only the depth varies.Lord de Ramsey, House of Lords, 21 January 1998
semper instansalways threateningMotto of 846 NAS Royal Navy
semper invictaalways invincibleMotto of Warsaw
semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agitthe necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays chargesLatin maxim often associated with the burden of proof
semper liberalways freeMotto of the city of Victoria, British Columbia
semper paratusalways preparedMotto of several institutions, e.g. United States Coast Guard
semper primusalways firstMotto of several US military units
semper progrediensalways progressingMotto of the island of Sint Maarten, of King City Secondary School in King City, Ontario, Canada and of Fairfax High School (Fairfax, Virginia)
semper reformandaalways in need of being reformedA phrase deriving from the Nadere Reformatie movement in the seventeenth century Dutch Reformed Church and widely but informally used in Reformed and Presbyterian churches today. It refers to the conviction of certain Reformed Protestant theologians that the church must continually re-examine itself in order to maintain its purity of doctrine and practice. The term first appeared in print in Jodocus van Lodenstein, Beschouwinge van Zion (Contemplation of Zion), Amsterdam, 1674.
semper sursumalways aim highMotto of Barrow-in-Furness, England. Motto of St. Stephen School, Chandigarh, India. Motto of St. Joseph’s College, Allahabad, India. Motto of Palmerston North Girls’ High School, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Motto of Vancouver Technical Secondary School, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Motto of 865 Dartmouth Kiwanis Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
semper vigilansalways vigilantMotto of several institutions including the US Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol), the city of San Diego, California, and the Providence, Rhode Island Police Department.
semper vigiloalways vigilantThe motto of the Scottish Police Forces, Scotland.
Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR)The Senate and the People of RomeThe official name of the Roman Republic. “SPQR” was carried on battle standards by the Roman legions. In addition to being an ancient Roman motto, it remains the motto of the modern city of Rome.
sensu latowith the broad, or general, meaningLess literally, “in the wide sense”.
sensu stricto cf. stricto sensu“with the tight meaning”Less literally, “in the strict sense”.
sensus pleniorin the fuller meaningIn biblical exegesis, the deeper meaning intended by God, not intended by the human author.
sequere pecuniamfollow the moneyIn an effort to understand why things may be happening contrary to expectations, or even in alignment with them, this idiom suggests that keeping track of where money is going may show the basis for the observed behavior. Similar in spirit to the phrase cui bono (who gains?) or cui prodest (who advances?), but outside those phrases’ historically legal context.
Sermo Tuus Veritas EstThy Word Is Truthmotto of the General Theological Seminary, Cornelius Fontem Esua
sero venientes male sedentesthose who are late are poorly seated
sero venientibus ossathose who are late get bones
servabo fidemKeeper of the faithI will keep the faith.
serviamI will serveThe answer of St. Michael the Archangel to the non serviam, “I will not serve” of Satan, when the angels were tested by God on whether they will serve an inferior being, a man, Jesus, as their Lord.
servus servorum Deiservant of the servants of GodA title for the Pope.
sesquipedalia verbawords a foot and a half longFrom Horace’s Ars Poetica, “proicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba” (“he throws down his high-flown language and his foot-and-a-half-long words”). A self-referential jab at long words and needlessly elaborate language in general.
Si comprehendis [,] non est Deusif you understand [something], it is not GodAugustine of Hippo, Sermo 117.3.5PL 38, 663
si dormiam capiarIf I sleep, I may be caughtMotto of HMS Wakeful (H88)
Si monumentum requiris circumspiceIf you seek (his) monument, look around youfrom the epitaph on Christopher Wren’s tomb in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Si non oscillas, noli tintinnareIf you can’t swing, don’t ringInscribed on a plaque above the front door of the Playboy mansion in Chicago.
si omnes… ego nonif all ones… not I
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritasif we deny having made a mistake, we are deceived, and there’s no truth in usFrom Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, where the phrase is translated “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there’s no truth in us.” (cf. 1 John 1:8 in the New Testament)
si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspiceif you seek a delightful peninsula, look aroundSaid to have been based on the tribute to architect Christopher Wren in St Paul’s Cathedral, London: si monumentum requiris, circumspice (see above). State motto of Michigan, adopted in 1835; the spelling of ‘peninsulam’ is used in the motto, although the correct ancient spelling is ‘paeninsulam’.
si quid novisti rectius istis, candidus imperti; si nil, his utere mecum.if you can better these principles, tell me; if not, join me in following themHorace, Epistles I :6, 67–68
si tacuisses, philosophus mansissesIf you had kept your silence, you would have stayed a philosopherThis quote is often attributed to the Latin philosopher Boethius of the late fifth and early sixth centuries. It translates literally as, “If you had been silent, you would have remained a philosopher.” The phrase illustrates a common use of the subjunctive verb mood. Among other functions it expresses actions contrary to fact. Sir Humphrey Appleby translated it to the PM as: “If you’d kept your mouth shut we might have thought you were clever.”
si vales valeo (SVV)if you are well, I am well (abbr)A common beginning for ancient Roman letters. An abbreviation of si vales bene est ego valeo, alternatively written as SVBEEV. The practice fell out of fashion and into obscurity with the decline in Latin literacy.
si vis amari amaIf you want to be loved, loveThis is often attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca, found in the sixth of his letters to Lucilius.
si vis pacem, para bellumif you want peace, prepare for warFrom Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De Re Militari. Origin of the name parabellum for some ammunition and firearms, such as the Luger Parabellum. (Similar to igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum and in pace ut sapiens aptarit idonea bello.)
sicthusOr “just so”. States that the preceding quoted material appears exactly that way in the source, despite any errors of spelling, grammar, usage, or fact that may be present. Used only for previous quoted text; ita or similar must be used to mean “thus” when referring to something about to be stated.
sic currite ut comprehendatisRun to winMore specifically, So run, that ye may obtain, 1 Corinthians 24. Motto of Divine Word University, Madang, Papua New Guinea.
sic et nonthus and notMore simply, “yes and no”.
sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nuncwe gladly feast on those who would subdue usMock-Latin motto of The Addams Family.
sic infitso it begins
sic itur ad astrathus you shall go to the starsFrom Virgil, Aeneid book IX, line 641. Possibly the source of the ad astra phrases. Motto of several institutions, including the Royal Canadian Air Force.
sic parvis magnagreatness from small beginningsMotto of Sir Francis Drake
sic passimThus here and thereUsed when referencing books; see passim.
sic semper erat, et sic semper eritThus has it always been, and thus shall it ever be
sic semper tyrannisthus always to tyrantsAttributed to Brutus at the time of Julius Caesar’s assassination and to John Wilkes Booth at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination; whether it was actually said at either of these events is disputed. State motto of Virginia, adopted in 1776.
sic transit gloria mundithus passes the glory of the worldA reminder that all things are fleeting. During Papal coronations, a monk reminds the Pope of his mortality by saying this phrase, preceded by pater sancte (“holy father”) while holding before his eyes a burning paper illustrating the passing nature of earthly glories. This is similar to the tradition of a slave in a Roman triumphs whispering memento mori in the ear of the celebrant.
sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedasuse [what is] yours so as not to harm [what is] of othersOr “use your property in such a way that you do not damage others'”. A legal maxim related to property ownership laws, often shortened to simply sic utere (“use it thus”).
sic vita estthus is lifeOr “such is life”. Indicates that a circumstance, whether good or bad, is an inherent aspect of living.
sidere mens eadem mutatoThough the constellations change, the mind is universalLatin motto of the University of Sydney.
signetur (sig or S/)let it be labeledMedical shorthand
signum fideiSign of the FaithMotto of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
silentium est aureumsilence is goldenLatinization of the English expression “silence is golden”. Also Latinized as silentium est aurum (“silence is gold”).
similia similibus curantur

similia similibus curentur

similar things are taken care of by similar things

let similar things be taken care of by similar things

“like cures like” and “let like be cured by like”; the first form (“curantur”) is indicative, while the second form (“curentur”) is subjunctive. The indicative form is found in Paracelsus (16th century), while the subjunctive form is said by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, and is known as the law of similars.
similia similibus solvuntursimilar substances will dissolve similar substancesUsed as a general rule in chemistry; “like dissolves like” refers to the ability of polar or non polar solvents to dissolve polar or non polar solutes respectively.
simplex sigillum verisimplicity is the sign of truthexpresses a sentiment akin to Keep It Simple, Stupid
sincere et constantersincere and constantMotto of the Order of the Red Eagle
sine anno (s.a.)without a yearUsed in bibliographies to indicate that the date of publication of a document is unknown.
sine diewithout a dayOriginally from old common law texts, where it indicates that a final, dispositive order has been made in the case. In modern legal context, it means there is nothing left for the court to do, so no date for further proceedings is set, resulting in an “adjournment sine die”.
sine ira et studiowithout anger and fondnessThus, impartially. From Tacitus, Annals 1.1.
sine honoris titulowithout honorary titleAddressing oneself to someone whose title is unknown.
sine labore non erit panis in orewithout labour there will be no bread in mouth
sine loco (s.l.)without a placeUsed in bibliographies to indicate that the place of publication of a document is unknown.
sine metu“without fear”Motto of Jameson Irish Whiskey
sine nomine (s.n.)“without a name”Used in bibliographies to indicate that the publisher of a document is unknown.
sine poena nulla lexWithout penalty, there is no lawRefers to the ineffectiveness of a law without the means of enforcement
sine proleWithout offspringFrequently abbreviated to “s.p.” or “d.s.p.” (decessit sine prole – “died without offspring”) in genealogical works.
sine prole superstiteWithout surviving childrenWithout surviving offspring (even in abstract terms)
sine timore aut favoreWithout Fear or FavorSt.George’s School, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada motto
sine qua nonwithout which notUsed to denote something that is an essential part of the whole. See also condicio sine qua non.
sine remediis medicina debilis estwithout remedies medicine is powerlessInscription on a stained glass in the conference hall of a pharmaceutical mill in Kaunas, Lithuania.
sine scientia ars nihil estwithout knowledge, skill is nothing
sisto activitatemI cease the activityPhrase, used to cease the activities of the Sejm upon the liberum veto principle
sit nomen Domini benedictumblessed be the name of the LordPhrase used in a pontifical blessing imparted by a Catholic bishop
sit nomine dignamay it be worthy of the nameMotto of Rhodesia
sit sine labe decuslet honour stainless beMotto of the Brisbane Boys’ College (Brisbane, Australia).
sit tibi terra levismay the earth be light to youCommonly used on gravestones, often contracted as S.T.T.L., the same way as today’s R.I.P.
sit venia verbomay there be forgiveness for the wordSimilar to the English idiom “pardon my French”.
sol iustitiae illustra nossun of justice, shine upon usMotto of Utrecht University.
sol lucet omnibusthe sun shines on everyonePetronius, Satyricon Lybri 100.
sol omnia regitthe sun rules over everythingInscription near the entrance to Frombork Museum
sola fideby faith aloneThe material principle of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the Protestant claim that the Bible teaches that men are saved by faith even without works.
sola dosis facit venemumthe dose makes the poisonIt is credited to Paracelsus who expressed the classic toxicology maxim “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison.”
sola gratiaby grace aloneA motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the Protestant claim that salvation is an unearned gift (cf. ex gratia), not a direct result of merit.
sola lingua bona est lingua mortuathe only good language is a dead languageExample of dog Latin humor.
sola scripturaby scripture aloneThe formal principle of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the Protestant idea that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority, not the Pope or tradition.
sola nobilitat virtusvirtue alone ennoblesSimilar to virtus sola nobilitas
solamen miseris socios habuisse dolorismisery loves companyFrom Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.
soli Deo gloria (S.D.G.)glory to God aloneA motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the idea that God is the creator of all good things and deserves all the praise for them. Johann Sebastian Bach often signed his manuscripts with the abbreviation S.D.G. to invoke this phrase, as well as with AMDG (ad maiorem Dei gloriam). The motto of the MasterWorks Festival, an annual Christian performing arts festival.
solus ChristusChrist aloneA motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the Protestant claim that the Bible teaches that Jesus is the only mediator between God and mankind. Also rendered solo Christo (“by Christ alone”).
solus ipseI alone
solvitur ambulandoit is solved by walkingThe problem is solved by taking a walk, or by simple experiment.
Spartam nactus es; hanc exornayour lot is cast in Sparta, be a credit to itfrom Euripides’s Telephus, Agamemnon to Menelaus.
specialia generalibus derogantspecial departs from general
species novanew speciesUsed in biological taxonomy
speculum speculorummirror of mirrors
spem gregisthe hope of the flockfrom Virgil’s Eclogues
spem reduxithe has restored hopeMotto of New Brunswick.
spero melioraI aspire to greater thingsAlso translated “I expect better” and “I hope for better things.”
spes bonagood hopeMotto of University of Cape Town.
spes vincit thronumhope conquers (overcomes) the throneRefers to Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” On the John Winthrop family tombstone, Boston, Massachusetts.
spiritus mundispirit of the worldFrom The Second Coming (poem) by William Butler Yeats. Refers to Yeats’ belief that each human mind is linked to a single vast intelligence, and that this intelligence causes certain universal symbols to appear in individual minds. The idea is similar to Carl Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious.
spiritus ubi vult spiratthe spirit spreads wherever it wantsRefers to The Gospel of Saint John 3:8, where he mentions how Jesus told Nicodemus “The wind blows wherever it wants, and even though you can hear its noise, you don’t know where it comes from or where it goes. The same thing happens to whomever has been born of the Spirit.” It is the motto of Cayetano Heredia University
splendor sine occasubrightness without settingLoosely “splendour without diminishment” or “magnificence without ruin”. Motto of British Columbia.
stamus contra malowe stand against by evilThe motto of the Jungle Patrol in The Phantom. The phrase actually violates Latin grammar because of a mistranslation from English, as the preposition contra takes the accusative case. The correct Latin rendering of “we stand against evil” would be “stamus contra malum“.
stante pedewith a standing foot“Immediately”.
stare decisisto stand by the decided thingsTo uphold previous rulings, recognize precedent.
stat sua cuique diesThere is a day [turn] for everybodyVirgil, Aeneid, X 467
statim (stat)“immediately”Medical shorthand used following an urgent request.
statio bene fide carinisA safe harbour for shipsMotto of Cork City, Ireland. Adapted from Virgil’s Aeneid (II, 23: statio male fida carinis, “an unsafe harbour”) but corrupted for unknown reasons to “fide”.
status quothe situation in whichThe current condition or situation. Also status quo ante (“the situation in which [things were] before”), referring to the state of affairs prior to some upsetting event (cf. reset button technique).
status quaestionisthe state of investigationmost commonly employed in scholarly literature to refer in a summary way to the accumulated results, scholarly consensus, and areas remaining to be developed on any given topic.
status quo ante bellumthe state before the warA common term in peace treaties.
stetlet it standMarginal mark in proofreading to indicate that something previously deleted or marked for deletion should be retained.
stet fortuna domuslet the fortune of the house standFirst part of the motto of Harrow School, England, and inscribed upon Ricketts House, at the California Institute of Technology.
stipendium peccati mors estthe reward of sin is deathFrom Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. (See Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”)
strenuis ardua ceduntthe heights yield to endeavourMotto of the University of Southampton.
stricto sensu cf. sensu strictowith the tight meaningLess literally, “in the strict sense”.
stupor mundithe wonder of the worldA title given to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. More literally translated “the bewilderment of the world”, or, in its original, pre-Medieval sense, “the stupidity of the world”.
sua sponteby its own accordLegal term when a court takes up a motion on its own initiative, not because any of the parties to the case has made the motion. The regimental motto of the 75th Ranger Regiment of the U.S. Army.
sub announder the yearCommonly abbreviated s.a. or sa, it is used in citing annals, which record events by year.
sub cruce lumenThe Light Under the CrossMotto of the University of Adelaide, Australia. Refers to the figurative “light of learning” and the Southern Cross constellation, Crux.
sub divounder the wide open skyAlso, “under the sky”, “in the open air”, “out in the open” or “outdoors”. Ablative “divo” does not distinguish divus, divi, a god, from divum, divi, the sky.
sub finemtoward the endUsed in citations to refer to the end of a book, page, etc., and abbreviated ‘s.f.’ Used after the page number or title. E.g., ‘p. 20 s.f. ‘
sub Iove frigidounder cold JupiterAt night; from Horace’s Odes 1.1:25
sub judiceunder a judgeSaid of a case that cannot be publicly discussed until it is finished. Also sub iudice.
sub poenaunder penaltyCommonly rendered subpoena. Said of a request, usually by a court, that must be complied with on pain of punishment. Examples include subpoena duces tecum (“take with you under penalty”), a court summons to appear and produce tangible evidence, and subpoena ad testificandum (“under penalty to testify”), a summons to appear and give oral testimony.
sub rosaunder the rose“In secret”, “privately”, “confidentially”, or “covertly”. In the Middle Ages, a rose was suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber to indicate that what was said in the “under the rose” was not to be repeated outside. This practice originates in Greek mythology, where Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, and he, in turn, gave it to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to ensure that his mother’s indiscretions—or those of the gods in general, in other accounts—were kept under wraps.
sub nomine (sub nom.)under the name“in the name of”, “under the title of”; used in legal citations to indicate the name under which the litigation continued.
sub silentiounder silenceimplied but not expressly stated.
sub specie aeternitatisunder the sight of eternityThus, “from eternity’s point of view”. From Spinoza, Ethics.
sub specie Deiunder the sight of God“from God’s point of view or perspective”.
sub tuum praesidiumBeneath thy compassionName of the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary). Also “under your protection”. A popular school motto.
Sub umbra floreoUnder the shade I flourishNational Motto of Belize, referring to the shade of the mahogany tree.
sub verbo; sub voceUnder the word or heading, as in a dictionary; abbreviated s.v.
sublimis ab undaRaised from the wavesMotto of King Edward VII and Queen Mary School, Lytham
subsiste sermonem statimstop speaking immediately
Succisa virescitCut down, we grow back strongerMotto of Delbarton School
Sudetia non cantatOne doesn’t sing on the Sudeten MountainsSaying from Hanakia
sui generisOf its own kindIn a class of its own.
sui iurisOf one’s own rightCapable of responsibility. Has both legal and ecclesiastical use. Commonly rendered sui juris.
sum quod erisI am what you will beA gravestone inscription to remind the reader of the inevitability of death (cf. memento mori). Also rendered fui quod sis (“I have been what you are”) and tu fui ego eris (“I have been you, you will be I”).
sum quod sumI am what I amfrom Augustine’s Sermon No. 76.
summa cum laudewith highest praise
summa potestassum or totality of powerIt refers to the final authority of power in government. For example, power of the Sovereign.
summa summarumall in allLiterally “sum of sums”. When a short conclusion is rounded up at the end of some elaboration.
summum bonumthe supreme goodLiterally “highest good”. Also summum malum (“the supreme evil”).
summum ius, summa iniuriasupreme law, supreme injusticeFrom Cicero (De officiis, I, 10, 33). An acritical application of law, without understanding and respect of laws’s purposes and without considering the overall circumstances, is often a means of supreme injustice. A similar sentence appears in Terence (Heautontimorumenos, IV, 5): Ius summum saepe summa est malitia (“supreme justice is often out of supreme malice (or wickedness)”).
sumptibus auctorispublished [cost of printing paid] by authorFound in self-published academic books of the 17th to 19th century. Often preceded by Latin name of city in which the work is published.
sunt lacrimae rerumthere are tears for thingsFrom Virgil, Aeneid. Followed by et mentem mortalia tangunt (“and mortal things touch my mind”). Aeneas cries as he sees Carthaginian temple murals depicting the deaths of the Trojan War. See also hinc illae lacrimae.
sunt omnes unumthey are all one
sunt pueri pueri, pueri puerilia tractantChildren are children, and children do childish thingsanonymous proverb
sunt superis sua iurathe gods have their own lawsFrom Ovid’s Metamorphoses, book IX, line 500; also used by David Hume in The Natural History of Religion, chapter XIII
suo jurein one’s own rightUsed in the context of titles of nobility, for instance where a wife may hold a title in her own right rather than through her marriage.
suo motuupon one’s own initiativeAlso rendered suo moto. Usually used when a court of law, upon its own initiative, (i.e., no petition has been filed) proceeds against a person or authority that it deems has committed an illegal act. It is used chiefly in South Asia.
suos cultores scientia coronatKnowledge crowns those who seek herThe motto of Syracuse University, New York.
super firmum fundamentum deiOn the firm foundation of GodThe motto of Ursinus College, Pennsylvania.
super fornicamon the lavatoryWhere Thomas More accused the reformer, Martin Luther, of going to celebrate Mass.
superbia in proeliapride in battleMotto of Manchester City F.C.
superbus via inscientiaeproud of the way of ignoranceMotto of the Alien Research Labs of the fictional Black Mesa Research Facility in the video game Half-Life (1998)
supero omniaI surpass everythingA declaration that one succeeds above all others.
surdo oppedereto belch before the deafFrom Erasmus’ collection of annotated Adagia (1508): a useless action.
surgamI shall riseMotto of Columbia University’s Philolexian Society.
sursum cordaLift up your heartsLiterally, “Lift hearts”. Motto of Haileybury College, Hertfordshire. The opening dialogue to the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer or Anaphora in the liturgies of the Christian Church.
sutor, ne ultra crepidamCobbler, no further than the sandal!Thus, don’t offer your opinion on things that are outside your competence. It is said that the Greek painter Apelles once asked the advice of a cobbler on how to render the sandals of a soldier he was painting. When the cobbler started offering advice on other parts of the painting, Apelles rebuked him with this phrase in Greek, and it subsequently became a popular Latin expression.
suum cuique tribuereto render to every man his dueOne of Justinian I’s three basic precepts of law. Also shortened to suum cuique (“to each his own”).
s.v.Abbreviation for sub verbo or sub voce (see above).

T – Latin Phrases

tabula gratulatoriacongratulatory tabletA list of congratulations.
tabula rasascraped tabletThus, “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.
talis qualisjust as such“Such as it is” or “as such”.
taliter qualitersomewhat
talium Dei regnumfor of such (little children) is the kingdom of Godfrom St Mark’s gospel 10:14 “talium (parvuli) est enim regnum Dei“; similar in St Matthew’s gospel 19:14 “talium est enim regnum caelorum” (“for of such is the kingdom of heaven”); motto of the Cathedral School, Townsville.
tanquam ex ungue leonemwe know the lion by his clawSaid in 1697 by Johann Bernoulli about Isaac Newton’s anonymously submitted solution to Bernoulli’s challenge regarding the Brachistochrone curve.
tarde venientibus ossaTo the late are left the bones
Te occidere possunt sed te edere non possunt nefas estThey can kill you, but they cannot eat you, it is against the law.The motto of the fictional Enfield Tennis Academy in the David Foster Wallace novel Infinite Jest. Translated in the novel as “They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier”.
technica impendi nationiTechnology impulses nationsMotto of Technical University of Madrid
temet nosceknow thyselfA reference to the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), inscribed on the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, according to the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias (10.24.1). Rendered also with nosce te ipsumtemet nosce (“thine own self know”) appears in The Matrix translated as “know thyself”.
tempora heroicaHeroic AgeLiterally “Heroic Times”; refers to the period between the mythological Titanomachy and the (relatively) historical Trojan War.
tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illisthe times are changing, and we change in them16th century variant of two classical lines of Ovid: tempora labuntur (“time labors”, Fasti) and omnia mutantur (“everything changes”, Metamorphoses). See entry for details.
tempus edax rerumtime, devourer of all thingsAlso “time, that devours all things”, literally: “time, gluttonous of things”, edax: adjectival form of the verb edo to eat. From Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15, 234-236.
tempus fugitTime flees.
Time flies.
From Virgil’s Georgics (Book III, line 284), where it appears as fugit inreparabile tempus. A common sundial motto. See also tempus volat, hora fugit below.
tempus rerum imperatortime, commander of all things“Tempus Rerum Imperator” has been adopted by the Google Web Accelerator project. It is shown in the “About Google Web Accelerator” page. Also, motto of Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
tempus vernumspring timeName of song by popular Irish singer Enya
tempus volat, hora fugittime flies, the hour flees
tendit in ardua virtusvirtue strives for what is difficultAppears in Ovid’s Epistulae ex Ponto
teneo te AfricaI hold you, Africa!Suetonius attributes this to Julius Caesar, from when Caesar was on the African coast.
tentanda viaThe way must be triedmotto for York University
ter in die (t.i.d.)thrice in a dayMedical shorthand for “three times a day”.
terminat hora diem; terminat auctor opus.The hour finishes the day; the author finishes his work.Phrase concluding Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus.
terminus ante quemlimit before whichIn archaeology or history, refers to the date before which an artefact or feature must have been deposited. Used with terminus post quem (limit after which). Similarly, terminus ad quem (limit to which) may also refer to the latest possible date of a non-punctual event (period, era, etc.), while terminus a quo (limit from which) may refer to the earliest such date.
terra australis incognitaunknown southern landFirst name used to refer to the Australian continent
terra firmasolid earthOften used to refer to the ground
terra incognitaunknown land
terra novanew landLatin name of Newfoundland (island portion of Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, capital- St. John’s), also root of French name of same, Terre-Neuve
terra nulliusland of noneThat is, no man’s land. A neutral or uninhabited area, or a land not under the sovereignty of any recognized political entity.
terras irradientlet them illuminate the landsOr “let them give light to the world”. An allusion to Isaiah 6.3: plena est omnis terra gloria eius (“the whole earth is full of his glory”). Sometimes mistranslated as “they will illuminate the lands” based on mistaking irradiare for a future indicative third-conjugation verb, whereas it is actually a present subjunctive first-conjugation verb. Motto of Amherst College; the college’s original mission was to educate young men to serve God.
tertium non daturno third (possibility) is givenA logical axiom that a claim is either true or false, with no third option.
tertium quida third something1. Something that cannot be classified into either of two groups considered exhaustive; an intermediate thing or factor. 2. A third person or thing of indeterminate character.
testis unus, testis nullusone witness is not a witnessA law principle expressing that a single witness is not enough to corroborate a story.
textus receptusreceived text
Tibi cordi immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramusWe consecrate to your immaculate heart and entrust to you (Mary) for safekeepingThe inscription found on top of the central door of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, otherwise known as the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines
timeo Danaos et dona ferentesI fear Greeks even if they bring giftsDanaos being a term for the Greeks. In Virgil’s Aeneid, II, 49, the phrase is said by Laocoön when warning his fellow Trojans against accepting the Trojan Horse. The full original quote is quidquid id est timeo Danaos et dona ferentisquidquid id est meaning “whatever it is” and ferentis being an archaic form of ferentes. Commonly mistranslated “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”.
timidi mater non fletA coward’s mother does not weepA proverb from Cornelius Nepos’s Vita of Thrasybulus: praeceptum illud omnium in animis esse debet, nihil in bello oportere contemni, neque sine causa dici matrem timidi flere non solere (that old precept has to be held by all in our minds: nothing should be condemned in war, and it is for a reason that it is said the mother of a coward does not weep [for her cowardly son]).
timor mortis conturbat methe fear of death confounds meRefrain originating in the response to the seventh lesson in the Office of the Dead. In the Middle Ages, this service was read each day by clerics. As a refrain, it appears also in other poems and can frequently be found inscribed on tombs.
toto cæloby whole heavenas far apart as possible; utterly.
totus tuustotally yoursOffering one’s life in total commitment to another. The motto was adopted by Pope John Paul II to signify his love and servitude to Mary the Mother of Jesus.
transire benefaciendoto travel along while doing goodLiterally “beneficial passage.” Mentioned in “The Seamy Side of History” (L’envers de l’histoire contemporaine, 1848), part of La Comédie humaine, by Honoré de Balzac, and Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.
translatio imperiitransfer of ruleUsed to express the belief in the transfer of imperial authority from the Roman Empire of antiquity to the Medieval Holy Roman Empire.
tres faciunt collegiumthree makes companyIt takes three to have a valid group; three is the minimum number of members for an organization or a corporation.
treuga DeiTruce of GodA decree by the medieval Church that all feuds should be cancelled during the Sabbath—effectively from Wednesday or Thursday night until Monday. See also Peace and Truce of God.
tria juncta in unoThree joined in oneMotto of the Order of the Bath
Triste est omne animal post coitum, præter mulierem gallumqueEvery animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster
tu autem Domine miserere nobisBut Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon usPhrase said at the end of biblical readings in the liturgy of the medieval church. Also used in brief, “tu autem”, as a memento mori epitaph.
tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperumDefence of the faith and assistance to the poorMotto of the Association of Canadian Knights of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta.
tu fui ego erisI was you; you will be meThus, “what you are, I was; what I am, you will be.”. A memento mori gravestone inscription to remind the reader that death is unavoidable (cf. sum quod eris).
tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior itoyou should not give in to evils, but proceed ever more boldly against themFrom Virgil, Aeneid, 6, 95. “Ne cede malis” is the motto of The Bronx.
tu quoqueyou tooThe logical fallacy of attempting to defend one’s position merely by pointing out the same weakness in one’s opponent.
tu stultus esyou are stupidMotto for the satirical news organization, The Onion
tueborI will protectFound on the Great Seal on the flag of the state of Michigan.
tunica propior est pallioA tunic is closer [to the body] than a cloakFrom Plautus’ Trinummus 1154. Equivalent to “blood is thicker than water” in modern English.
turris fortis mihi DeusGod is my strong towerMotto of the Kelly Clan
tutum te robore reddamI will give you safety by strengthMotto of the Clan Crawford
tuum estIt’s up to youMotto of the University of British Columbia

U – Latin Phrases

uberrima fidesmost abundant faithOr “utmost good faith” (cf. bona fide). A legal maxim of insurance contracts requiring all parties to deal in good faith.
ubertas et fidelitasfertility and faithfulnessMotto of Tasmania.
ubi amor, ibi dolorwhere [there is] love, there [is] pain
ubi bene, ibi patriawhere [it is] well, there [is] the fatherlandOr “Home is where it’s good”; see also ubi panis ibi patria.
ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi estwhere there is charity and love, God is there
ubi dubium, ibi libertaswhere [there is] doubt, there [is] freedomAnonymous proverb.
ubi jus, ibi remediumWhere [there is] a right, there [is] a remedy
ubi mel, ibi apeswhere [there is] honey, there [are] beesSimilar to “you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar”—treat people nicely and they will treat you nicely in return.
ubi libertas. ibi patriawhere [there is] liberty, there [is] the fatherlandOr “where there is liberty, there is my country”. Patriotic motto.
ubi nihil vales, ibi nihil veliswhere you are worth nothing, there you will wish for nothingFrom the writings of the Flemish philosopher Arnold Geulincx; also quoted by Samuel Beckett in his first published novel, Murphy.
ubi non accusator, ibi non iudexwhere [there is] no accuser, there [is] no judgeThus, there can be no judgment or case if no one charges a defendant with a crime. The phrase is sometimes parodied as “where there are no police, there is no speed limit”.
ubi panis ibi patriawhere there is bread, there is my countryIn any case, it is reminiscent in its form of another expression of motivation that would have served as a model, Ubi bene ibi patria (“homeland is where (life) is good”; lit. where the good, the homeland) . This last expression in particular recalls the verse (Teucer, fr. 291) of the tragic Roman poet Marcus Pacuvius (ca. 220–130 BCE) quoted by Cicero (106 BC – 43 BCE): Patria est locuumque est bene (45 BCE, Tusculanae Disputationes V, 108). Jean-Jacques Rousseau also alludes to this expression of motivation in his “Considerations on the Government of Poland and his “Reform Proposal” of 1772.
ubi pus, ibi evacuawhere there is pus, there evacuate it
ubi, re verawhen, in a true thingOr “whereas, in reality…” Also rendered ubi, revera (“when, in fact” or “when, actually”).
ubi societas, ibi iusif there’s a society, law will be thereBy Aristotle.
ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellantThey make a desert and call it peacefrom a speech by Calgacus reported/constructed by Tacitus, Agricola, ch. 30.
ubi sunt?where are they?Nostalgic theme of poems yearning for days gone by. From the line ubi sunt, qui ante nos fuerunt? (“Where are they, those who have gone before us?”).
ubique, quo fas et gloria ducunteverywhere, where right and glory leadsMotto of the Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery and most other Engineer or Artillery corps within the armies of the British Commonwealth (for example, the Royal Australian Engineers, Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal New Zealand Engineers, Royal Canadian Artillery, Royal Australian Artillery, Royal New Zealand Artillery). Interunit rivalry often leads to the sarcastic translation of ubique to mean all over the place in a derogative sense.Motto of the American Council on Foreign Relations, where the translation of ubique is often given as omnipresent, with the implication of pervasive hidden influence.
ultima ratiolast method
the final argument
the last resort (as force)
The last resort. Short form for the metaphor “The Last Resort of Kings and Common Men” referring to the act of declaring war. Used in names such as the French sniper rifle PGM Ultima Ratio and the fictional Reason weapon system. Louis XIV of France had Ultima Ratio Regum (“last argument of kings”) cast on the cannons of his armies. Motto of the American 1st Battalion 11th Marines; the French Fourth Artillery Regiment; Swedish Artilleriregementet. Also, the Third Battery of the French Third Marine Artillery Regiment has the motto Ultima Ratio Tribuni. The term is also borne by the gorget owned by Captain William Cattell, which inspired the crescent worn by the revolutionary militia of South Carolina and in turn the state’s flag.Cannon inscribed "ultima ratio regum"
ultimo mense (ult.)in the last monthUsed in formal correspondence to refer to the previous month. Used with inst. (“this month”) and prox. (“next month”).
ultra viresbeyond powers“Without authority”. Used to describe an action done without proper authority, or acting without the rules. The term will most often be used in connection with appeals and petitions.
ultra posse nemo obligaturNo one is obligated beyond what he is able to do.
ululas Athenas(to send) owls to AthensFrom Gerhard Gerhards’ (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Latin translation of a classical Greek proverb. Generally means putting large effort in a necessarily fruitless enterprise. Compare “selling coal to Newcastle”.
una hirundo non facit verone swallow does not make summerA single example of something positive does not necessarily mean that all subsequent similar instances will have the same outcome.
una salus victis nullam sperare salutemthe only safety for the conquered is to hope for no safetyLess literally, “the only safe bet for the vanquished is to expect no safety”. Preceded by moriamur et in media arma ruamus (“let us die even as we rush into the midst of battle”) in Virgil’s Aeneid, book 2, lines 353–354. Used in Tom Clancy’s novel Without Remorse, where character John Clark translates it as “the one hope of the doomed is not to hope for safety”. It was said several times in “Andromeda” as the motto of the SOF units.
unitas, iustitia, spesunity, justice, hopeMotto of Vilnius.
unitas per servitiamunity through serviceMotto for the St. Xavier’s Institution Board of Librarians.
uniti aedificamusunited we buildMotto of the Mississippi Makerspace Community
uno flatuin one breathUsed in criticism of inconsistent pleadings, i.e. “one cannot argue uno flatu both that the company does not exist and that it is also responsible for the wrong.”
uno sumus animowe are one of soulMotto of Stedelijk Gymnasium Leiden
unus multorumone of manyAn average person.
Unus papa Romae, unus portus Anconae, una turris Cremonae, una ceres RaconaeOne pope in Rome, one port in Ancona, one tower in Cremona, one beer in RakovníkMotto of the Czech Brewery in Rakovník.
Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro unoOne for all, all for oneunofficial motto of Switzerland, popularized by The Three Musketeers
Urbi et Orbito the city and the circle [of the lands]Meaning “To Rome and the World”. A standard opening of Roman proclamations. Also a traditional blessing by the pope.
urbs in hortocity in a gardenMotto of the City of Chicago.
usque ad finemto the very endOften used in reference to battle, implying a willingness to keep fighting until you die.
usus est magister optimuspractice is the best teacher.In other words, practice makes perfect. Also sometimes translated “use makes master.”
ut aquila versus coelumAs an eagle towards the skyMotto of Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
ut biberent quoniam esse nollentso that they might drink, since they refused to eatAlso rendered with quando (“when”) in place of quoniam. From a book 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. Thus, the sense is, “if they do not perform as expected, they must suffer the consequences”. He lost the battle disastrously.
ut cognoscant teso that they may know You.Motto of Boston College High School.
ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntasthough the power be lacking, the will is to be praised all the sameFrom Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto (III, 4, 79).
ut dicituras has been said; as above
ut incepit fidelis sic permanetas she began loyal, so she persistsPoetically, “Loyal she began, loyal she remains.” Motto of Ontario.
ut infraas below
ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus.that in all things, God may be glorifiedMotto of the Order of Saint Benedict
ut mare quod ut ventusto sea and into windMotto of USNS Washington Chambers
ut omnes te cognoscantthat all may know youMotto of Niagara University
ut omnes unum sintThat they all may be oneMotto of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
ut prosimthat I may serveMotto of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
ut proverbium loquitur vetus…you know what they say…Lit: As the old proverb says…
ut res magis valeat quam pereatthat the matter may have effect rather than fail
ut retroas backwardsOr “as on the back side”; thus, “as on the previous page” (cf. ut supra).
ut Roma cadit, sic omnis terraas Rome falls, so [falls] the whole world
ut sit finis litiumso there might be an end of litigationA traditional brocard. The full form is Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium, “it is in the government’s interest that there be an end to litigation.” Often quoted in the context of statutes of limitation.
ut supraas above
ut tensio sic visas the extension, so the forceRobert Hooke’s expression of his discovery of his law of linear elasticity. Also: Motto of École Polytechnique de Montréal. Motto of the British Watch and Clockmaker’s Guild.
utilis in ministeriumusefulness in serviceComes from 2 Timothy 4:11. Motto of Camberwell Girls Grammar School.
utraque unumboth into oneAlso translated as “that the two may be one.” Motto found in 18th century Spanish dollar coins. Motto of Georgetown University.From the Vulgate, Eph. 2:14, Ipse enim est pax nostra, qui fecit utraque unum, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one.”
utrinque paratusready for anythingMotto of The British Parachute Regiment. Motto of the Belize National Coast Guard.

– Latin Phrases

vacate et scireBe still and know.Motto of the University of Sussex
vade ad formicamgo to the antFrom the Vulgate, Proverbs 6:6. The full quotation translates as “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!”[Pro 6:6]
vade mecumgo with mevade-mecum or vademecum is an item one carries around, especially a handbook.
vade retro Satanago back, SatanAn exhortation to Satan to be gone, often a Roman Catholic response to temptation. From a popular Medieval Roman Catholic exorcism formula, derived from the rebuke of Jesus Christ to St. Peter, as quoted in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33vade retro me Satana (“get behind Me, Satan”).[Mark 8:33] The phrase “vade retro” (“go back”) is also in Terence’s Formio, I, 4, 203.
valenter volenterstrongly and willinglyMotto of HMS Valorous (L00)
vae, puto deus fioah, I think I am becoming a godLast words of Vespasian according to Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars
vae victiswoe to the conqueredAttributed by Livy to Brennus, the chief of the Gauls, stated with his demand for more gold from the citizens of the sacked city of Rome in 390 BC.
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitasvanity of vanities; everything [is] vanityOr more simply: “vanity, vanity, everything vanity”. From the Vulgate, Ecclesiastes 1:2;12:8.
vaticinium ex eventuprophecy from the eventA purported prediction stated as if it was made before the event it describes, while in fact being made thereafter.
vel nonor notSummary of alternatives, e. g., “this action turns upon whether the claimant was the deceased’s grandson vel non.”
velle est posseto be willing is to be ableNon-literally, “where there is a will, there is a way”. It is the motto of Hillfield, one of the founding schools of Hillfield Strathallan College.
velocius quam asparagi coquanturfaster than asparagus can be cookedRendered by Robert Graves in I, Claudius as “as quick as boiled asparagus”. Ascribed to Augustus by Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars, Book 2 (Augustus), para. 87. It refers to anything done very quickly. A very common variant is celerius quam asparagi cocuntur (“faster than asparagus [is] cooked”).
velut arbor aevoas a tree with the passage of timeMotto of the University of Toronto, Canada
veni, vidi, viciI came, I saw, I conqueredThe message supposedly sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe his battle against King Pharnaces II of Pontus near Zela in 47 BC.
venturis ventisto the coming windsMotto of Brasília, the capital of Brazil
vera causatrue cause
vera naturatrue natureUsed in Metaphysics and specifically in Kant’s Transcendental Idealism to refer to a subject as it exists in its logically distinct form rather than as it is perceived by the human faculty.
verba docent exempla trahuntwords instruct, illustrations leadThis refers to the relevance of illustrations, for example in preaching.
verba ex orewords from mouthTaking the words out of someone’s mouth, speaking exactly what the other colloquist wanted to say.
verba ita sunt intelligenda ut res magis valeat quam pereatwords are to be understood such that the subject matter may be more effective than wastedI. e., when explaining a subject, it is important to clarify rather than confuse.
verba vana aut risui non loquinot to speak words in vain or to start laughterA Roman Catholic religious precept, being Rule 56 of the Rule of Saint Benedict.
verba volant, scripta manentwords fly away, writings remainQuotation from a famous speech of Caius Titus in the ancient Roman Senate.
verbatimword for wordThe phrase refers to perfect transcription or quotation.
verbatim et literatimword for word and letter by letter
verbi divini ministerservant of the Divine WordA phrase denoting a priest. Cf. “Verbum Dei” infra.
verbi gratia
(v. gr. or v. g.)
for exampleLiterally, “for the sake of a word”.
Verbum DeiWord of GodSee religious text.
Verbum Domini lucerna pedibus nostrisThe word of the Lord [is] a light for our feetMotto of the University of Groningen
verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA)the word of the Lord endures foreverMotto of the Lutheran Reformation
verb. sap.
verbum sap.
a word to the wise [is sufficient]A phrase denoting that the listener can fill in the omitted remainder, or enough is said. It is the truncation of “verbum sapienti sat[is] est“.
verbum volitansflying wordA word that floats in the air, on which everyone is thinking and is just about to be imposed.
veritastruthMotto of many educational institutions
veritas aequitastruth [and] justice
veritas, bonitas, pulchritudo, sanctitastruth, goodness, beauty, [and] sanctityMotto of Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
veritas Christo et ecclesiaetruth for Christ and churchThe de iure motto of Harvard University, United States, which dates to its foundation; it is often shortened to veritas to remove its original religious meaning.
veritas cum libertatetruth with libertyMotto of Winthrop University
veritas curattruth curesMotto of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research
veritas Dei vincitthe truth of God conquersMotto of the Hussites
veritas Domini manet in aeternumthe truth of the Lord remains for eternity
veritas et fortitudotruth and fortitudeOne of the mottos of the Lyceum of the Philippines University
veritas et virtustruth and virtueMotto of the University of Pittsburgh, Methodist University, and Mississippi College
veritas, fides, sapientiatruth, faith, [and] wisdomMotto of Dowling Catholic High School
veritas in caritatetruth in charityMotto of Bishop Wordsworth’s School, St Munchin’s College, and the University of Santo Tomas
veritas, iustitia, libertastruth, justice, [and] libertyMotto of the Free University of Berlin
veritas liberabit vostruth shall liberate youMotto of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan
veritas lux meatruth [is] my lightA common, non-literal translation is “truth enlightens me”; motto of Seoul National University, South Korea
veritas numquam perittruth never expiresby Seneca the Younger
veritas odit morastruth hates delayby Seneca the Younger
veritas odium parittruth breeds hatred
veritas omnia vincittruth conquers allA quotation from a letter of Jan Hus; frequently used as a motto
veritas, probitas, iustitiatruth, honesty, justiceMotto of the University of Indonesia
veritas, unitas, caritastruth, unity, [and] loveMotto of Villanova University, United States
veritas vincittruth conquersCf. “veritas omnia vincit” supra. Motto on the standard of the presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, and of the Scottish Clan Keith
Veritas. Virtus. Libertas.Truth. Virtue. Liberty.Motto of the University of Szeged, Hungary
veritas vitæ magistratruth is the teacher of lifeAnother plausible translation is “truth is the mistress of life”. It is the unofficial motto of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras and is inscribed in its tower.
veritas vos liberabittruth will liberate you [all]Motto of Johns Hopkins University, United States
veritate duce progrediadvancing with truth leadingMotto of the University of Arkansas, United States
[in] veritate et caritatein truth and charityMotto of Catholic Junior College, Singapore; St. Xavier’s School, and Hazaribagh, India
veritate et virtutewith truth and virtueMotto of Sydney Boys High School. It is alternatively rendered “virtute et veritate” (“with virtue and truth”), which is the motto of Walford Anglican School for Girls and Pocklington School.
veritatem dilexiI esteemed truthAlternatively, “I loved truth”; motto of Bryn Mawr College
veritatem fratribus testarito bear witness to truth in fraternityMotto of Xaverian Brothers High School
veritatem cognoscereto know truthMotto of the Clandestine Service of the United States Central Intelligence Agency
vero nihil veriusnothing [is] truer than truthMotto of Mentone Girls’ Grammar School
vero possumusyes, we canA variation of the campaign slogan of then-Senator Barack Obama, which was superimposed on a variation of the Great Seal of the United States during the US presidential campaign of 2008.
versus (vs) or (v.)towardsLiterally, “in the direction [of]”. It is erroneously used in English for “against”, probably as the truncation of “adversus“, especially in reference to two opponents, e. g., the parties to litigation or a sports match.
vestigia nulla retrorsumNever a backward stepMotto of Wanganui Collegiate School
vetoI forbidThe word denotes the right to unilaterally forbid or void a specific proposal, especially legislation. It is derived from ancient Roman voting procedures.
vexata quaestiovexed questionLatin legal phrase denoting a question that is often debated or considered, but is not generally settled, such that contrary answers may be held by different persons.
vexilla regis prodeunt inferniforth go the banners of the king of HellAuthored by Dante Alighieri in Canto XXXIV of the Inferno, the phrase is an allusion to and play upon the Latin Easter hymn Vexilla Regis. The phrase is repeatedly referenced in the works of Walter M. Miller, Jr..
vi coactusunder constraintA legal phrase regarding contracts that indicates agreement made under duress.
vi et animowith heart and soulAlternatively, “strength and courage”; motto of the Ascham School
vi veri universum vivus viciby the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universeMagickal motto of Aleister Crowley.
viaby the road/wayThe word denotes “by way of” or “by means of”, e. g., “I will contact you via email”.
via mediamiddle road/wayThis phrase describes a compromise between two extremes or the radical center political position.
via, veritas, vitathe Way, the Truth, [and] the LifeWords of Jesus Christ in John 14:6; motto of many institutions
viam sapientiae monstrabo tibiI will show you the way of wisdomMotto of DePaul University
vicein place ofThe word refers to one who acts in the place of another. It is used as a separate word or as a hyphenated prefix, e. g., “Vice President” and “Vice-Chancellor”.
vice versa
versa vice
with position turned

Thus, “the other way around”, “conversely”, et cetera. Historically and in British English, vice is pronounced as two syllables, but in American English the singular-syllable pronunciation is almost universal. Classical Latin pronunciation dictates that the letter “c” is only a hard sound, like “k”. Moreover, the letter “v”, when consonantal, represents /w/; hence WEE-keh WEHR-sah.

victoria aut morsvictory or deathSimilar to aut vincere aut mori.
victoria concordia crescitvictory comes from harmonyMotto of Arsenal F.C.
victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catonithe victorious cause pleased the gods, but the conquered cause pleased CatoAuthored by Lucan in Pharsalia, 1, 128. The dedicatory inscription on the south face of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, United States.
vide“see” or “refer to”The word is used in scholarly citations.
vide infra (v. i.)see belowThe word is used in scholarly works.
vide supra (v. s.)see aboveThe word is used in scholarly works to refer to previous text in the same document. It is sometimes truncated to “supra“.
videlicet (viz.)“namely”, “that is to say”, or “as follows”A contraction of “videre licet” (“it is permitted to see”), vide infra.
video et taceoI see and keep silentMotto of Queen Elizabeth I of England
video meliora proboque deteriora sequorI see and approve of the better, but I follow the worseFrom the Metamorphoses Book 7, 20-1 of Ovid, being a summary of the experience of akrasia.
video sed non credoI see it, but I do not believe itThe statement of Caspar Hofmann [de] after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
videre licet“it is permitted to see” or “one may see”The phrase is used in scholarship.
vim promovet insitampromotes one’s innate powerMotto of the University of Bristol, derived from Horace, Ode 4, 4.
vince malum bonoovercome evil with goodA partial quotation of Romans 12:21; motto of Old Swinford Hospital and Bishop Cotton School in Shimla
vincere est vivereto conquer is to liveMotto of Captain John Smith
vincere scis Hannibal victoria uti nescisyou know [how] to win, Hannibal; you do not know [how] to use victoryAccording to Livy, a colonel in the cavalry stated this to Hannibal after victory in the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, meaning that Hannibal should have marched on Rome immediately.
vincit omnia veritastruth conquers allUniversity of Mindanao
vincit qui patiturhe conquers who enduresFirst attributed to the Roman scholar and satirst Persius; frequently used as a motto.
vincit qui se vincithe (she) conquers who conquers himself (herself)Motto of many educational institutions, including the Philadelphia High School for Girls and North Sydney Boys High School. It is alternatively rendered as bis vincit qui se vincit (“he (she) who prevails over himself (herself) is twice victorious”). It is also the motto of the Beast in Disney’s film Beauty and the Beast, as seen inscribed in the castle’s stained glass window near the beginning of the film.
vinculum juristhe chain of the lawThe phrase denotes that a thing is legally binding. “A civil obligation is one which has a binding operation in law, vinculum juris.” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (1856), “Obligation”)
vinum et musica laetificant corwine and music gladden the heartAsterix and Caesar’s Gift; it is a variation of “vinum bonum laetificat cor hominis“.
vinum regum, rex vinorumthe wine of kings, the king of winesThe phrase describes Hungarian Tokaji wine, and is attributed to King Louis XIV of France.
viperam sub ala nutricarea viper nursed at the bosomcaveat regarding trusting someone against his inherent nature; the moral of Aesop’s fable The Farmer and the Viper.
vir quisque virevery man a manMotto of the US collegiate fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha.
Vires acquirit eundoshe gathers strength as she goesA quotation from Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 4, 175, which in the original context refers to Pheme. Motto on the Coat of arms of Melbourne
Viribus Unitiswith united forcesMotto of the house of Habsburg-Lorraine
virile agiturthe manly thing is being doneMotto of Knox Grammar School
viriliter age“act manfully” or “act courageously”Motto of Marist College Ashgrove and other institutions
viriliter agiteact in a manly wayMotto of St Muredach’s College and the PAREF Southridge School for Boys
viriliter agite estote fortesact manfully, be strongMotto of Culford School
virtus et laborvirtue and [hard] work
virtus et scientiavirtue and knowledgeCommon motto
virtus in media statvirtue stands in the middleA principle derived from the ethical theory of Aristotle. Idiomatically, “good practice lies in the middle path” between two extremes. It is disputed whether media or medio is correct.
virtus junxit mors non separabitthat which virtue unites, let not death separate
virtus laudata crescitgreatness increases with praiseMotto of the Berkhamsted School
virtus non stemmavalor, not garlandMotto of the Duke of Westminster, inscribed at his residence in Eaton, and the motto of Grosvenor Rowing Club and Harrow County School for Boys
virtus sola nobilitasvirtue alone [is] nobleMotto of Christian Brothers College, St Kilda; similar to sola nobilitat virtus
virtus tentamine gaudetstrength rejoices in the challengeMotto of Hillsdale College, Michigan, United States
virtus unita fortiorvirtue united [is] strongerState motto of Andorra
virtute duceled by virtue
virtute duce comite fortunaled by virtue, accompanied by [good] fortune
virtute et armisby virtue and armsAlternatively, “by manliness and weapons”. The State motto of Mississippi, United States. The phrase was possibly derived from the motto of Lord Gray de Wilton, virtute non armis fido (“I trust in virtue, not in arms”).
virtute et industriaby virtue and industryMotto of Bristol, United Kingdom
virtute et veritateby virtue and truthMotto of Pocklington School
vis legisthe power of the law
vis majorforce majeure, superior forceVis major is a greater force; an irresistible force. It may be a loss resulting immediately from a natural cause which could not have been avoided by the exercise of prudence, diligence and care. It is also called vis divina or superior force.
visio deivision of a god
vita ante actaa life done beforeThe phrase denotes a previous life, generally believed to be the result of reincarnation.
vita, dulcedo, spesMary, [our] life, sweetness, [and] hopeMotto of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, United States, which is derived from the Roman Catholic hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary titled Salve Regina.
vita incerta, mors certissimalife is uncertain, death is most certainMore simply, “the most certain thing in life is death”.
vita mutatur, non tolliturlife is changed, not taken awayThe phrase is a quotation from the preface of the first Roman Catholic rite of the Mass for the Dead.
vita patrisduring the life of the fatherHence the term “decessit vita patris” (d. v. p) or “died v. p.”, which is seen in genealogical works such as Burke’s Peerage.
vita summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longamthe shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopesThis is a wistful refrain that is sometimes used ironically. It is derived from the first line of Horace’s Ode 1. It was later used as the title of a short poem of Ernest Dowson.
vitae corona fidesfaith is the crown of lifeMotto of Colchester Royal Grammar School.
vitai lampada traduntthey hand on the torch of lifeA quotation from the poem of Lucretius, De rerum natura, Book 2, 77-9. The ordinary spelling “vitae” in two syllables had to be changed to “vitaï” in three syllables to satisfy the requirements of the poem’s dactylic hexameters. Motto of the Sydney Church of England Grammar School and others.
vitam amplificare hominibus hominesque societatimankind [who] extends the life of the communityMotto of East Los Angeles College, California, United States
viva voceliving voiceThe phrase denotes an oral, as opposed to written, examination of a candidate.
vivat crescat floreatmay it live, grow, [and] flourish
vivat rexmay the king liveThe acclamation is ordinary translated as “long live the king!”. In the case of a queen, “vivat regina” (“long live the queen”).
vivat rex, curat lexlong live the king, guardian of the lawA curious translation of the pun on “vivat rex“, found in Westerham parish church in Kent, England.
vive memor letilive remembering deathAuthored by Persius. Cf. “memento mori“.
vive ut vivaslive so that you may liveThe phrase suggests that one should live life to the fullest and without fear of the possible consequences.
vivere est cogitareto live is to thinkAuthored by Cicero. Cf. “cogito ergo sum“.
vivere militare estto live is to fightAuthored by Seneca the Younger in Epistle 96, 5. Cf. the allegory of Miles Christianus based on “militia est vita hominis” from the Vulgate, Book of Job 7:1.
vocare ad regnumcall to fightAlternatively, “call to Kingdom”. Motto of professional wrestler Triple H, and seen in his entrance video.
vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderitcalled and not called, God will be presentAlternatively, “called and even not called, God approaches”. Attributed to the Oracle at Delphi. Motto of Carl Jung, and inscribed in his home and grave.
volenti non fit injuriato one willing, no harm is doneAlternatively, “to him who consents, no harm is done”. The principle is used in the law of torts and denotes that one can not be held liable for injuries inflicted on another who consented to the act that injured him.
volo non fugiaI fly but do not fleeMotto of HMS Venetia
vos estis sal terraeyou are the salt of the earthA famous biblical sentence proclaimed by Jesus Christ.
votum separatumseparate vowThe phrase denotes an independent, minority voice.
vox clamantis in desertothe voice of one clamoring in the desertOr traditionally, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”. A quotation of the Vulgate, Isaiah 40:3, and quoted by St. John the Baptist in Mark 1:3 and John 1:23). Motto of Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, United States.
vox nihilivoice of nothingThe phrase denotes a useless or ambiguous statement.
vox populivoice of the peopleThe phrase denotes a brief interview of a common person that is not previously arranged, e. g., an interview on a street. It is sometimes truncated to “vox pop.
vox populi, vox Deithe voice of the people [is] the voice of GodIn the opinion of the majority of the people.
vulpes pilum mutat, non moresthe fox changes his fur, not his habitsBy extension, and in common morality, humanity can change their attitudes, but they will hardly change their objectives or what they have set themselves to achieve. Ascribed to Titus by Suetonius in the eighth book (chapter 16) of The Twelve Caesars.

Latin Numbers

In ancient times, numbers in Latin were written only with letters. Today, the numbers can be written with the Arabic numbers as well as with Roman numerals. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 and every whole hundred from 200 to 900 are declined as nouns and adjectives, with some differences.

ūnus, ūna, ūnum (masculine, feminine, neuter)Ione
duo, duae, duo (m., f., n.)IItwo
trēs, tria (m./f., n.)IIIthree
quattuorIIII or IVfour
novemVIIII or IXnine
centumCone hundred
quīngentī, quīngentae, quīngenta (m., f., n.)Dfive hundred
mīlleMone thousand

The numbers from 4 to 100 do not change their endings. As in modern descendants such as Spanish, the gender for naming a number in isolation is masculine, so that “1, 2, 3” is counted as ūnus, duo, trēs.

Sources: PinterPandai, Art of ManlinessTransparent

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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