Latin Phrases

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Ab ovo From the egg; from the beginning
A contrario On the contrary
Abusus non tollit usum Wrong use does not preclude proper use
Acerbum sane et luctuosum nuntium Acerbic and sad news
Ad nauseam To the point of disgust
Ad (in) usum delphini For the use of the dauphin (expurgated)
Ad experimentum As an experiment
Ad hoc For this purpose, with respect to this
Ad hominem Appealing to a person's physical and emotional urges, rather than her or his intellect
Ad metalla The condamnation in the minings
Ad multos annos To many years
Ad rem To the point
Advocatus nascitur, non fit A lawyer is born, not made (Cicero)
A fortiori All the more so, with greater reason
Age quod agis Do what you do well, pay attention to what you are doing
Alea jacta est The dice is cast (Julius Caesar)
Alma mater Nourishing mother; one's old school, college, university
Alieno nomine With an other name
Alter idem amicissimus Another self-most friendly
Amat victoria curam Victory favors those who take pains
Amicus certus in re incerta cernitur A true friend is discerned during an uncertain matter
Amor caecus est Love is blind
Amor ordinem nescit Love does not know order (St. Jerome)
Amor platonicus Platonic love
Annus pauca in verba redactus The year summarized in a few words
Arduum sane munus A truly arduous task
Arguendo For the sake of argument
Ars perdita A lost art
Astra inclinant, non necessitant The stars incline; they do not determine
At est bonus, ut melior vir non alius quisquam, at tibi amicus But he is a good man, so that not another man is better, but he is your friend (Horace)
Aut Caesar aut nihil Either Caesar or nothing
Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutamus Hail, Caesar; we who are about to die salute you


Bene legere saecla vincere To read well is to master the ages. (Latin motto inscribed over the north door of Loan Hall, Doe Library, University of California; from Emeritus Professor Isaac Flagg)
Bona fides Good faith
Bonum est faciendum et prosequendum, et malum vitandum The goal of human conduct is to do and pursue good and to avoid evil (St. Thomas Aquinas)


Caelum videre iussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus He bid them look at the sky and lift their faces to the stars (Ovid.)
Caput mundi Head of the world
Caritas amicitia quaedam est hominis ad deum Charity is a kind of love of man for god (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Casus conscientiae A case of conscience
Causa belli Cause of war
Causa celebrationis A cause for celebration
Caveat emptor! Let the buyer be careful!
Cedant arma togae Let generals yield to civilians (let arms yield to the toga)
Ceteris paribus All else being equal
Continuando By way of continuing
Contra bonos mores Against the good morals
Contra formam humani generis Contrary to the human nature (monster)
Cotidiana vilescunt Familiarity breeds contempt
Credite amori vera dicenti Believe love speaking the truth (St. Jerome)
Credo ut intelligam I believe in order that I may understand (St. Augustine)
Cuius regio, eius religio Whose district it is, his religion it is
Cura nihil aliud nisi ut valeas Pay attention to nothing except that you do well (Cicero)
Cura ut valeas Take care
Custos morum Keeper of morals


Damnant quod non intellegunt They condemn what they do not understand
De bene esse It shall be so, as long as it is well
De facto By force
De jure Legally
De lana caprina rixari To argue over goat's wool (over nothing)
De Maria numquam satis About Mary, nothing (is) enough
De more According to custom
Delenda est Carthago Let Carthage be destroyed
Deus qui nobis vitam eodem tempore et libertatem dedit The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time (Thomas Jefferson)
Dies amaritudinis Days of bitterness
Dies nefasti Black letter days
Divine et impera Divide and rule (Niccolo Machiavelli)
Do ut des I give so that you give back
Docendo discitur By teaching, one learns
Domini voluntas fiat The will of the lord be done
Dulce est dissipere in loco It is pleasant to tarry on a topic
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country (Horace)
Dum tempus habemus, operemur bonum While we have the time, let us do good
Dura lex, sed lex The law is tough, but it is law


E pluribus unum One out of many (Motto of the United States)
Ecclesia semper reformada est The church must always be reformed
Esse quam videri To be rather than to seem
Et id omnegenus And that whole type
Est queadam fiere voluptas There is a certain pleasure in weeping
Evinvere malum bono To prevail over evil with good
Ex cearulo Out of the blue
Ex gratia As a favour
Ex nihilo From nothing
Ex umbris ei imaginibus in veritatem From shadows and images to the truth
Ex ungue leonem By the claw the lion is revealed
Exitus acta probat The outcome proves the deeds (the end justifies the means)
Experientia docet Experience teaches
Experto credite Believe the expert
Expressis verbis With expressed words
Extra ecclesiam nulla salus Outside the church, there is no salvation


Facilis descentus averni Easy to descent to the hell
Factus est Deus homo ut homo fieret Deus God was made a man so that a man might become a God
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus Untrue in one thing, untrue in everything
Felix culpa Oh happy mistake
Festina lente Make haste slowly
Fides quaerens intellectum Faith seeking understanding
Fides sola iustificat Faith alone justifies
Finis coronat opus The end crowns the work
Frangar non flectar I am broken, I am not deflected


Grammatici certant et adhuc sub lucide lis est Grammarians dispute and the case is still before the court
Grande nimis Too great


Hoc est in votis This is in my prayers
Hoc est verum et nihili nisi verum This is the truth and nothing but the truth
Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit Man proposes but God disposes
Horas numero, nisi serenas I count the hours, not only the happy ones (inscription on solar clocks)


Ille dolet vere qui sine teste dolet He truly grieves who grieves when none is there
Illegitimis nil carborundum Don't let the bastards grind you down
In angustis In difficulties
In camera In chamers (in secret)
In capite et in membris In root and branch
In casu extremae necessitatis In case of extreme necessity
In Deo speramus In God we trust
In medio futissimus ibis You will go safest in the middle
In necessariis unitas, in dubilis libertas, in omnibus caritas In necessary things, unity; in dubious things, liberty; in all things, charity (St. Augustine)
In pari materia Of like kind
In silvam ne ligna feras Don't carry logs into the forest (Horace)
Indulgentiam quaeso I ask your indulgence
Inquietum est cornostrum, donec requiescat in te Our heart is restless, until it rests in you (St. Augustine)
Intellectum valde amat Love the intellect strongly (St. Augustine)
Intelligo me intelligere I understand that I understand (St. Augustine)
Intelligo me velle I understand that I will (St. Augustine)
Inter vivos Living
Interdico aliqui aqua et igni I forbid someone water and fire - I send someone in exile
Interdiction aquae et igni Exile
Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium It is in the republic interest that there be an end to lawsuits
Interfice errorem, diligere errantem Kill the sin, love the sinner (St. Augustine)
Interna corporis The private matters
Intrinsicus sunt cavi They are hollow inside
Iocandi causa For joke's shake
Ipsa scientia potestas est For knowledge itself is power
Iuris prudentia Law science




Laborum dulce lenimen Sweet solace of labors
Laudatores temporis acti Praisers of time past
Lectio brevior lectio potior The shortest reading is the more probable reading
Lex communis omnium The common law of all
Lex malla, lex nulla A bad law is no law (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Lex naturalis Natural law
Lex terrae Law of the land
Liberum arbitrium Free will
Libris clausis, styllis depositis Books closed, pens put down
Licentia liquendi Liberty of speaking
Locum tenens One holding a place


Magna Dii curant, parva neglegunt Gods are concerned with important things, trifles they ignore
Magnum malum A great evil
Mea culpa My mistake
Melius tarde, quam nunquam Better late than never
Mens legislatoris The intent of the legislator
Minimis optime peractis, maxima bene agentur After the smallest things have been well completed, the greatest things will be done well
Minus habens Absentminded
Mondificatis mondificandis What was to be modified having been modified
Mole sua By its own weight
More Socratico By the Socratic method
Multum in parvo Much in little
Multun, non multa Much, not many (quality not quantity)
Mutatis mutandis What was to be changed having been changed


Natura nihil fit in frustra Nature does nothing in vain
Ne quid nimis Nothing in excess
Ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret Let a cobbler not judge beyond a sandal (Pliny the Elder)
Nemo dat quod non habet No one gives what he does not have
Nemo liber est qui corpori servit No one is free who is a slave to his body
Nemo malus felix No evil man is happy (Juvenal)
Nihil Nothing
Nil desperandum Never despair
Non est ei similis There is no one like him
Non omnes qui habemt citharam sunt citharoedi No one who own harps are harpists
Non omnia possumus omnes Everyone cannot do everything
Non omnis moriar I shall not completely die (Horace)
Norma loquendi The standard of speech
Novus ordo seclorum A new order of the ages is born (inscription on the reverse of the great seal of USA)
Nullius in verba (Rely) on the words on no one (Horace)
Nullus est instar domus There is no place like home


Omne initium est difficile Every beginning is difficult
Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat All (hours) wound, the last kills (inscription on solar clocks)
Omne trium perfectum Everything that comes in threes is perfect
Optimus magister, bonus liber The best teacher is a good book
Optimus status rerum The best state of things


Pacta sunt servanda Treaties should be respected
Pars pro toto Part of the whole
Pax et bonum! Peace and sanvation!
Peccatum tacituritatis Sin of silence
Pecunia in arbotis non crescit Money does not grow on trees
Per angusta in augusta Through difficulties to great things
Plusque minusque More or less
Post tenebras lux After the darkness, light
Praetio prudentia praestat Prudence supplies a reward
Primum non nocere The first thing is to do no harm (Hippocratic oath)
Pro opportunitate As circumstances allow
Pro tanto To a certain extent
Puris omnia pura To the pure all things are pure


Quam terribilis est haec hora How fearful is this hour
Qui bene cantat, bis orat He who sings well, prays twice
Qui tacet consentire videtur He that is silent is thought to consent
Qui vivat atque floreat ad plurimos annos May he live and flourish for many years
Quid nunc? What now?
Quid pro quo Something for something
Quieta non movere Not to move (things lying) quiet
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who shall keep watch over the guardians?
Quis separabit? Who shall separate us?
Quo ad hoc As much as this (to this extent)
Quo animo? With what spirit? (or intent?)
Quod erat demonstrandum Which was to be shown or demonstrated
Quod erat faciendum Which was to be done


Repetitio est mater memoriae/ studiorum/ Repetition is the mother of memory/studies
Res firma mitescere nescit A firm resolve does not know how to weaken
Res publica The public object (Roman State)


Salvo pudore Decence being observed
Scito te ipsum Know yourself
Scribere est agere To write is to act
Seniores priores Elders first
Se vis pacem para bellum If you want peace, prepare a war
Sic me deus adjuvat So help me God
Sic passim Thus everywhere
Sic transit gloria mundi Thus passes the glory of the world
Sine nobilitatis Without nobility (SNOB)
Sobria inebrietas Sober intoxication
Sol omnibus lucet The sun shines upon us all (Petronius)
Spectaculorum procedere debet The show must go on
Status quo ante The state in which it was before
Sub secreto In secret
Sub silentio In silence
Suggestio veri, suggestio falsi An intimation of truth, an intimation of falcity
Suo jure In one's rightful place
Suum cuique pulchrum est To each his own is beautiful (Cicero)


Tabula rasa Clean state
Tempus fugit Time is fugitive
Tempus neminem manet Time waits fo no one
Timor mortis conturbat me The fear of death confounds me
Tolerabiles ineptiae Bearable absurdities
Totus mundus agit historiem The whole world plays the actor (is a play)


Ubi amor, ibi oculus Where love is, there is insight
Ubi supra Where mentioned above
Ubique Everywhere
Ultima ratio regum The final argument of kings
Unitas mirabile vinculum The wonderful bond of unity
Unum necessarium The one necessary
Urbanus et instructus A gentleman and a scholar
Urbi et orbi In the city and the World
Utile et dulce Useful and pleasant


Verba de futuro Words about the future
Verbum sapienti A word to the wise
Vere jus summum, summa malitiae Oh, truly the greatest justice is height of injustice
Vide et credere See and believe
Vincit omnia amor Love conquers all
Vincit omnia veritas Truth conquers all
Vinculum unitatis The bond of unity
Virtus in medio stat Virtue stands in the middle
Vis medicatrix naturae The healing power of nature
Vita brevis, ars lunga Life is short, art is long
Vita sine libris mors est Life without books is death
Vivat rex Long live the King
Vivos voco, mortuos plango I call the living, I mourn the dead (on a church bell)

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