Appendix:Latin phrases

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*List of Latin phrases
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This appendix lists direct English translations of Latin phrases. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before that of Ancient Rome:



This list is a combination of the three divided pages, for users who have no trouble loading large pages and prefer a single page to scroll or search through. The contents of the list cannot be edited here, and are kept automatically in synch with the divided lists (A-E), (F-O) and (P-Z) through template inclusion.


Latin Translation Notes
a bene placito "from one who has been pleased well" Or "at will", "at one's pleasure". This phrase is synonymous with the more common ad libitum ("at pleasure").
a caelo usque ad centrum "from the sky to the center" Or "from heaven all the way to the center of the earth". In law, can refer to the obsolete cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos maxim of property ownership.
a capite ad calcem "from head to heel" From top to bottom; all the way through. Equally a pedibus usque ad caput.
a contrario "from the opposite" Equivalent to "on the contrary" or "au contraire". An argumentum a contrario is an "argument from the contrary", an argument or proof by contrast or direct opposite.
a Deucalione "since Deucalion" A long time ago. From Gaius Lucilius (Satires, 6, 284)
a fortiori "from the stronger" Loosely, "even more so" or "with even stronger reason". Often used to lead from a less certain proposition to a more evident corollary.
a mari usque ad mare "from sea to sea" From 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.
a pedibus usque ad caput "from feet to head" Completely. Similar to the English expressions "from tip to toe" or "from top to toe". Equally a capite ad calcem. See also ab ovo usque ad mala.
a posse ad esse "from being able to being" "From possibility to actuality" or "from being possible to being actual"
a posteriori "from the latter" Based on observation (i.e. empirical knowledge), the reverse 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 that can be known from empirical experience.
a priori "from the former" Presupposed, 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 that can be known without empirical experience. In everyday speech, it denotes something occurring or being known before the event.
ab absurdo "from the absurd" Said of an argument that seeks to prove a statement's validity by pointing out the absurdity of an opponent's position (cf. appeal to ridicule) or that an assertion is false because of its absurdity. Not to be confused with a reductio ad absurdum, which is usually a valid logical argument.
ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia "a consequence from an abuse to a use is not valid" Inferences regarding something's use from its misuse are invalid. Rights abused are still rights (cf. abusus non tollit usum).
ab aeterno "from the eternal" Literally, "from the everlasting" or "from eternity". Thus, "from time immemorial", "since the beginning of time" or "from an infinitely remote time in the past". In theology, often indicates something, such as the universe, that was created outside of time.
ab antiquo "from the ancient" From ancient times.
ab epistulis "from the letter" Or, having to do with correspondence.
ab extra "from beyond" A legal term meaning "from without". From external sources, rather than from the self or the mind (ab intra).
ab hinc "from here on"
ab imo pectore "from the depths of (my) chest", "from the bottom of my heart" More literally, "from the deepest chest". Attributed to Julius Caesar. Can mean "with deepest affection" or "sincerely".
ab inconvenienti "from an inconvenient thing" New 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; it refers to a rule in law that an argument from inconvenience has great weight.
ab incunabulis "from the cradle" Thus, "from the beginning" or "from infancy".
ab initio "from the beginning" "At the outset", referring to an inquiry or investigation. In literature, refers to a story told from the beginning rather than in medias res (from the middle). In law, refers to something being the case from the start or from the instant of the act, rather than from when the court declared it so. A judicial declaration of the invalidity of a marriage ab initio is a nullity. In science, refers to the first principles. In other contexts, often refers to beginner or training courses.
Ab initio mundi means "from the beginning of the world".
ab intestato "from an intestate" From someone who dies with no legal will (cf. ex testamento).
ab intra "from within" From the inside. The opposite of ab extra.
ab irato "from an angry man" By a person who is angry. Used in law to describe a decision or action that is detrimental to those it affects and was made based on hatred or anger, rather than on reason.
ab origine "from the source", "from the origin" From the origin, beginning, source, or commencement—i.e., "originally".
ab ovo usque ad mala "from the egg to the apples" From Horace, Satire 1.3. Means "from beginning to end", based on the Roman main meal typically beginning with an egg dish and ending with fruit.
Thus, ab ovo means "from the beginning", and can also connote thoroughness.
ab uno disce omnes "from one, learn all" From Virgil's Aeneid. Refers to situations where a single example or observation indicates a general or universal truth.
ab utili "from utility" Used of an argument.
absens haeres non erit "an absent person will not be an heir" In law, refers to the principle that someone who is not present is unlikely to inherit.
absente reo (abs. re.) "with the defendant being absent" In the absence of the accused.
absit iniuria "let injury be absent" Expresses the wish that no insult or wrong be conveyed by the speaker's words, i.e., "no offense". Also rendered absit iniuria verbis "let injury be absent from these words". Contrast with absit invidia.
absit invidia "let ill will/jealousy be absent" Said in the context of a statement of excellence. Unlike the English expression "no offense", absit invidia is intended to ward off jealous deities who might interpret a statement of excellence as hubris. Also extended to absit invidia verbo, meaning "may ill will/jealousy be absent from these words." Contrast with absit iniuria. An explanation of Livy's usage.
absit omen "let an omen be absent" In other words, "let there not be an omen here", "may the presentiment not be realized". Expresses the wish that something seemingly ill-boding does not turn out to be an omen for future events, and calls on divine protection against evil.
absolutum dominium "absolute dominion" Total power or sovereignty.
abundans cautela non nocet "abundant caution does no harm" Thus, one can never be too careful; even excessive precautions don't hurt anyone.
abusus non tollit usum "abuse does not preclude proper use", "misuse does not remove use" An axiom stating that just because something can be, or has been, abused, does not mean that it must be, or always is. Abuse does not, in itself, justify denial of use.
accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo "no one ought to accuse himself except in the Presence of God" A legal maxim denoting that any accused person is entitled to make a plea of not guilty, and also that a witness is not obliged to give a response or submit a document that will incriminate himself. A very similar phrase is nemo tenetur seipsum accusare.
accipe hoc "take that" Motto of 848 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Navy.
acta est fabula, plaudite! "The play is over, applaud!", "The play has been performed; applaud!" A common ending to ancient Roman comedies, also claimed by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars to have been Caesar Augustus' last words.
acta non verba "actions, not words" Motto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
acta sanctorum "Deeds of the Saints" Also used in the singular, acta sancti ("Deeds of the Saint"), preceding a specific Saint's name. A common title of works in hagiography.
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea "The act is not guilty unless the mind is also guilty." A legal term outlining the presumption of mens rea in a crime.
actus reus "guilty act" The actual crime that is committed, rather than the intent or thought process leading up to the crime. Thus, the external elements of a crime, as contrasted with mens rea, the internal elements.
ad absurdum "to the absurd" In logic, to the point of being silly or nonsensical. See also reductio ad absurdum. Not to be confused with ab absurdo ("from the absurd").
adaequatio intellectûs nostri cum re "conformity of our minds to the fact" A phrase used in epistemology regarding the nature of understanding.
ad abundantiam "to abundance" In legal language, used when providing additional evidence to an already sufficient collection. Also used commonly, as an equivalent of "as if this wasn't enough".
ad astra "to the stars" Name or motto (in full or part) of many organizations/publications/etc.
ad astra per aspera "to the stars through difficulty" Motto of Kansas, and other organisations.
ad astra per alia porci "to the stars on the wings of a pig" A favorite saying of John Steinbeck. A professor told him that he would be an author when pigs flew. Every book he wrote is printed with this insignia.
ad captandum vulgus "in order to court the crowd", "to appeal to the crowd" To do something to appeal to the masses. Often used of politicians who make false or insincere promises to appeal to popular interest. An argumentum ad captandum is an argument designed to please the crowd.
ad eundem "to the same" An ad eundem degree, from the Latin ad eundem gradum ("to the same step" or "to the same degree"), is a courtesy degree awarded by one university or college to an alumnus of another. It is not an honorary degree, but a recognition of the formal learning that earned the degree at another college.
ad fontes "to the sources" A motto of Renaissance humanism. Also used in the Protestant Reformation.
ad fundum "to the bottom" Said during a generic toast, equivalent to "bottoms up!" In other contexts, generally means "back to the basics".
ad hoc "to this" Generally means "for this", in the sense of improvised on the spot or designed for only a specific, immediate purpose.
ad hominem "to the man" Connotations of "against the man".
Typically used in argumentum ad hominem, a logical fallacy consisting of criticizing a person when the subject of debate is the person's ideas or argument, on the mistaken assumption that the validity of an argument is to some degree dependent on the qualities of the proponent.
ad honorem "to the honor" Generally means "for the honor", not seeking any material reward.
ad infinitum "to infinity" Going on forever.
Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof.
ad interim "in the meantime", "for the meantime" As in the term "chargé d'affaires ad interim" for a diplomatic officer who acts in place of an ambassador.
ad Kalendas Graecas, ad kalendas graecas "to the Greek Kalends" Attributed by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars to Caesar Augustus.
The phrase means "never" and is similar to phrases like "when pigs fly". The Kalends were specific days of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, and so the "Greek Kalends" would never occur.
ad libitum "toward pleasure" Loosely, "according to what pleases" or "as you wish"; libitum comes from the past participle of libere, "to please". It typically indicates in music partitures and theatrical scripts that the performer has the liberty to change or omit something.
ad litem "to the lawsuit" A legal term 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 lucem "to the light", "towards the light" Motto of Oxford High School (Oxford), the University of Lisbon, Withington Girls' School and St. Bartholomew's School, Newbury, UK
ad maiorem Dei gloriam, ad majorem Dei gloriam (A.M.D.G., AMDG) "to the greater glory of God" Motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated all of his work with the abbreviation "AMDG".
ad meliora "towards better things" the motto of St. Patricks College, Cavan, Ireland
ad mortem "to death" used in medical contexts as a synonym for death.
ad multos annos "to many years!" Expresses a wish for a long life. Similar to the English expression "many happy returns!"
ad nauseam "to the point of nausea", "to the point of disgust" Sometimes used as a humorous alternative to ad infinitum.
An argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy involving basing one's argument on prolonged repetition, i.e., repeating something so much that people are "sick of it".
ad oculos "With your own eyes." Meaning "obvious on sight" or "obvious to anyone that sees it".
ad pedem litterae "to the foot of the letter" Thus, "exactly as it is written". Similar to the English idiom "to the letter", meaning "to the last detail".
ad perpetuam memoriam "to the perpetual memory [of]", "to the eternal memory [of]" Is used to wish for someone to be remembered long after death.
ad pondus omnium "to the weight of all things" More loosely, "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 damnum "to what damage" Meaning "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 injuria).
ad referendum "to that which must be brought back" Loosely "subject to reference", meaning that something has been approved provisionally, but must still receive official approval. Not necessarily related to a referendum.
ad rem "to the matter" Thus, "to the point". Without digression.
ad undas "to the waves" Equivalent to "to hell".
ad usum Delphini "for the use of the Dauphin", "for usage of the Dauphin" Said of a work that has been expurgated of offensive or improper parts. The phrase originates from editions of Greek and Roman classics which Louis XIV (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", "for own usage"
ad utrumque paratus "prepared for either alternative" Also the motto of Lund University, with the implied alternatives being the book (study) and the sword (defending the country in war).
ad valorem "to the value" According to an object's value.
Used in commerce to refer to ad valorem taxes, taxes based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property.
ad victoriam "to victory" More commonly translated into "for victory" this is a battlecry of the Romans.
ad vitam aeternam "to eternal life" Also "to life everlasting". A common Biblical phrase.
ad vitam aut culpam "for life or until fault" Usually used of a term of office.
adequatio intellectus et rei "correspondence of the mind and reality" One of the definitions of the truth. When the mind has the same form as reality, we think truth.
Also found as adequatio rei et intellectus.
adversus solem ne loquitor "don't speak against the sun" I.e., don't argue the obvious
advocatus Diaboli "the devil's advocate" Said about someone who defends an unpopular view for the sake of discussion (without really meaning it).
aegri somnia "a sick man's dreams" From Horace, Ars Poetica, 7. Loosely, "troubled dreams".
aetatis suae "of his own age" Thus, "at the age of". Appeared on portraits, gravestones, etc.
Sometimes extended to anno aetatis suae (AAS), "in the year of his age".
Sometimes shortened to just aetatis (aet.).
age quod agis "Do what you are doing."
Agnus Dei "Lamb of God" Latin translation from John 1:36, where John the Baptist exclaims "Ecce Agnus Dei!" ("Behold the Lamb of God!") upon seeing Jesus, referring both to a lamb's connotations of innocence and to a sacrificial lamb.
alea iacta est

alea jacta est
"the die is cast" Said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon with his troops in 49 BC, according to Suetonius.
(Suetonius actually uses it in the future imperative "Alea iacta esto": "Let the die be cast".)
alenda lux ubi orta libertas "Let learning be cherished where liberty has arisen." The motto of Davidson College.
alis aquilae "on eagles wings" taken from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 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 nil "nothing is heavy to those who have wings" Motto of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro- PUC-RIO).
alis volat propiis "she flies with her own wings" State motto of Oregon.
aliquid stat pro aliquo "something that stands for something else" A foundational definition for semiotics
alma mater "nourishing mother" Term 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.
alter ego "other I", "another I" "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 potest "Let no man belong to another that can belong to himself" Final sentence from Aesop ascribed fable (see also Aesop's Fables) "The Frogs Who Desired a King" as appears in the collection commonly known as the "Anonymus Neveleti" (fable "XXIb. De ranis a Iove querentibus regem"). Motto of Paracelsus. Usually attributed to Cicero.
alterum non laedere "to not wound another" One of Justinian I's three basic legal precepts.
amicus curiae "friend of the court" An adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of powerful people, like Roman Curia.
amiterre legem terrae "to lose the law of the land" An obsolete legal term signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.
amor est vitae essentia "love is the essence of life" As said by Robert B. Mackay, Australian Analyst.
amor et melle et felle est fecundissmismus "love is rich with both honey and venom"
amor omnibus idem "love is the same for all" from Virgil's Georgics III.
amor patriae "love of one's country" patriotism.
amor vincit omnia See also veritas omnia vincit and labor omnia vincit.
animus omnia vincit "courage conquers all" Motto of North Mesquite High School, Mesquite, Texas.
anno Domini (A.D.) "in the year of the Lord" Short for anno Domini nostri Iesus Christi ("in the year of the/our Lord Jesus Christ"). Indicates a year counted from the traditional date birth of Jesus Christ, which is the predominantly used system for dating years across the world.
annus mirabilis "wonderful year" Used particularly to refer to the years 1665–1666, during which Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation. 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 and the special theory of relativity.
annus terribilis "dreadful year" Used to describe 1348, the year the Black Death began to afflict Europe.
ante bellum "before the war" As in "status quo ante bellum", "as it was before the war".
ante cibum (a.c.) "before food" Medical shorthand for "before meals".
ante litteram "before the letter" Said of an expression or term that describes something which existed before the phrase itself was introduced or became common.
ante meridiem (a.m.) "before midday", "before noon" The period from midnight to noon (cf. post meridiem).
ante mortem "before death" See post mortem ("after death").
ante prandium (a.p.) "before lunch" I.e. "before a meal". Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions.
Less common is post prandium, "after lunch".
apparatus criticus "critical apparatus" Textual notes. A list of other readings relating to a document, especially in a scholarly edition of a text.
aqua fortis "strong water" Refers to nitric acid.
aqua pura "pure water" Or "clear water", "clean water".
aqua regia "royal water" refers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.
aqua vitae "water of life" "Spirit of Wine" in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, brandy (eau de vie) in France, and akvavit in Scandinavia.
aquila non capit muscas "an eagle doesn't catch flies" A noble or important person doesn't deal with insignificant issues.
arare litus "to plough the seashore" From Erasmus' (1466-1536) collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Wasted labour.
arbiter elegantiarum "judge of tastes" One who prescribes, rules on, or is a recognized authority on matters of social behavior and taste. Said of Petronius. Also rendered arbiter elegentiae ("judge of a taste").
arcus senilis "senile bow" An opaque circle around the cornea of the eye, often seen in elderly people.
ars celare artem "art [is] to conceal art" An aesthetic ideal that good art should appear natural rather than contrived.
ars longa, vita brevis "art is long, life is short" The Latin translation by Horace of a phrase from Hippocrates, often used out of context. The "art" referred to in the original aphorism was the craft of medicine, which took a lifetime to acquire.
asinus ad lyram "an ass to the lyre" From Erasmus' (1466-1536) collection of annotated Adagia (1508). An awkward or incompetent individual.
asinus asinorum in saecula saeculorum "the jackass of jackasses in the centuries of centuries" I.e. "the greatest jackass in eternity".
asinus asinum fricat "the jackass rubs the jackass" Used to describe two people lavishing excessive praise on one another.
assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sit "the assured does not seek profit but just indemnity for the loss" Refers to the insurance principle that the indemnity cannot be larger than the loss.

ab urbe condita

anno urbis conditae

"from the founding of the city (of Rome)"

"in the year that the city was founded"
Refers to the founding of Rome, which occurred in 753 BC according to Livy's count. Used as a reference point in ancient Rome for establishing dates, before being supplanted by other systems.
audax at fidelis "bold but faithful" Motto of Queensland.
audemus jura nostra defendere "we dare to defend our rights" State motto 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 the poem "What Constitutes a State?" by 18th-century author William Jones.
audentes fortuna iuvat "fortune favors the bold" From Virgil, Aeneid X, 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.
audere est facere "to dare is to do" The motto of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, the famous professional Association Football (soccer) team based in London, England.
audi alteram partem "hear the other side" A legal principle of fairness. Also worded as audiatur et altera pars ("let the other side be heard too").
audio hostem "I hear the enemy" Motto of 845 NACS Royal Navy
aurea mediocritas "golden mean" From Horace's Odes II, 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 fames "accursed hunger for gold" From Virgil, Aeneid 3,57 = Vergil, Aeneis 3,57; later quoted by Seneca as "quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames": "What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!"
auribus teneo lupum "I hold a wolf by the ears" A common ancient proverb, this version from Terence. 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 australis "southern dawn" The Southern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Southern Hemisphere. It is less well-known than the Northern Lights, or aurorea borealis. The Aurora Australis is also the name of an Antarctic icebreaker ship.
aurora borealis "northern dawn" The Northern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Northern Hemisphere.
aut Caesar aut nihil "either Caesar or nothing" Indicates that the only valid possibility is to be emperor, or a similarly prominent position. More generally, "all or nothing". Adopted by Cesare Borgia as a personal motto.
aut concilio aut ense "either by meeting or by the sword" Thus, either through reasoned discussion or through war. A former motto of Chile, post tenebras lux ultimately replaced by Por la Razon o la Fuerza (Spanish) ' by reason or by force '.
aut pax aut bellum "either peace or war" The motto of the Gunn Clan.
aut viam inveniam aut faciam "I will find a way, or I will make one" Hannibal.
aut vincere aut mori "either to conquer or to die" A general pledge of "victory or death" (cf. victoria aut mors).
ave atque vale "Hail and farewell!" From Catullus, carmen 101, addressed to his deceased brother.
Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant "Hail, Caesar! The ones who are about to die salute you!" From Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Claudius 21. The traditional greeting of gladiators prior to battle. morituri is also translated as "we who are about to die" based on the context in which it was spoken, and this translation is sometimes aided by changing the Latin to nos morituri te salutamus. Also rendered with imperator instead of Caesar.
ave, Europa, nostra vera Patria "Hail, Europe, our true Fatherland!" Anthem of Pan-Europeanists.
ave, Maria "hail, Mary" A popular Catholic Church prayer.


Latin Translation Notes
barba tenus sapientes "wise as far as the beard" From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). In appearance wise, but not necessarily so.
Beata Virgo Maria (BVM) "Blessed Virgin Mary" A common name in the Roman Catholic Church for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The genitive, Beatae Mariae Virginis, occurs often as well, appearing with such words as horae ("hours"), litaniae ("litany") and officium ("office").
beatae memoriae "of blessed memory" See in memoriam.
beati pauperes spiritu "Blessed in spirit [are] the poor." Vulgate, Matthew 5:3. The full quote is "beati pauperes spiritu quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum" ("Blessed in spirit [are] the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens" - one of the Beatitudes).
beati possidentes "blessed [are] those who possess", "the happy who possess" Translated from Euripides.
beatus homo qui invenit sapentiam "blessed is the man who finds wisdom" Motto of Gymnasium Apeldoorn
bella gerant alii "let others wage war" Originally from the Habsburg marriages of 1477 and 1496, written as bella gerant alii tu felix Austria nube ("let others wage war; you, fortunate Austria, marry"). Said by King Matthias
bellum omnium contra omnes "war of all against all" A phrase used by Thomas Hobbes to describe the state of nature.
bis dat qui cito dat "he gives twice, who gives promptly" Thus haste is itself a gift.
bis in die (B.I.D.) "twice in a day", "twice a day", "twice daily" Used as an instruction on prescriptions.
bona fide "in good faith" In other words, "well-intentioned", "fairly". In modern contexts, often has connotations of "genuinely" or "sincerely".
Opposite of mala fide.
bona notabilia "considerable goods" In 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 officia "good services" A nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations.
bona vacantia "vacant goods" United Kingdom legal term for ownerless property that passes to The Crown.
boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere "It is of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to flay them." Tiberius reportedly said this to his regional commanders, as a warning against taxing the populace excessively.
bonum commune communitatis "common good of the community" Or "general welfare". Refers to what benefits a society, as opposed to bonum commune hominis, which refers to what is good for an individual.
bonum commune hominis "common good of a man" Refers 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.


Latin Translation Notes
cacoethes scribendi "bad habit of writing" From Satires of Juvenal. An insatiable urge to write, hypergraphia
cadavera vero innumera "truly countless bodies" Used by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields.
cadent arma togae "Let arms yield to the toga" Refers to allowing statemanship and diplomacy to supersede declaration of war. Arms (i.e. weapons) are to yield to the toga, a formal garment symbolizing Rome.
caetera desunt See cetera desunt
caeteris paribus See ceteris paribus
calix meus inebrians "my cup makes me drunk"
camera obscura "dark chamber" An optical device used in drawing, and an ancestor of modern photography. The source of the word camera.
canes pugnaces "war dogs", "fighting dogs"
canis canem edit "dog eats dog" Refers to a situation where nobody is safe from anybody, each man for himself.
capax infiniti "capable of the infinite" a pejorative term refering (at least) to some Christian doctrines of the incarnation of the Son of God when it asserts that humanity is capable of housing full divinity within its finite frame. Related to the Docetic heresy and sometimes a counterpoint to the Reformed 'extracalvinisticum.'
caput inter nubila (condit) "head in the clouds" So 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)
caritas Christi "the love of Christ" It implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Franicis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park (Edmonton).
carpe diem "seize the day" An exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. By far the most common translation is "seize the day", though carpere normally means something more like "pluck", and the allusion here is to picking flowers. The phrase collige virgo rosas has a similar sense.
carpe noctem "seize the night" An 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.
Carthago delenda est "Carthage must be destroyed" From Roman senator Cato the Elder, who ended every speech of his between the second and third Punic Wars with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally "For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed." or "Furthermore, I move for Carthage to be destroyed."
casus belli "event of war" Refers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.
causa mortis "cause of death"
cave canem "beware of the dog"
Pompeii mosaic
Found written on a floor mosaic depicting a dog, at the entrance of a Roman house excavated at Pompei [1]
cave laborem "beware of work"
caveat emptor "let the buyer beware" The purchaser of the goods is responsible for checking whether they suit his need.
caveat lector "let the reader beware" The writer does not vouch for the accuracy of a text. Probably a recent alteration of caveat emptor.
caveat subscriptor "let the signer beware" The person signing a document is responsible for reading the information about the what the document entails before entering into an agreement.
caveat venditor "let the seller beware" The seller of goods is responsible for providing information about the goods to the purchaser.
caveat utilitor "let the user beware" The user is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need.
Cedant arma togae "let arms yield to the gown" "Let military power yield to civilian power," Cicero, De Officiis.
celerius quam asparagi cocuntur "more swiftly than asparagus is cooked" Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus".
A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternate mood and spelling of coquere.
cepi corpus "I got the body" In 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.
certum est quod certum reddi potest "It is certain if it is capable of being 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 lex "When the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceases." A rule of law becomes ineffective when the reason for its application has ceased to exist or does not correspond to the reality anymore.
cetera desunt "the rest is wanting", "the rest is missing"
ceteris paribus "with other things equal" Idiomatically translated as "other things being equal", "all other things being equal". A phrase which rules out outside changes interfering with a situation.
ceterum censeo... "additionally, I think that..." Cato the Elder used to conclude his speeches, on any topic whatsoever, with Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("Additionally, I think that Carthage must be destroyed").
charta pardonationis se defendendo "a paper of pardon to him who defended himself" The form of a pardon for killing another man in self-defence. (see manslaughter)
charta pardonationis utlagariae "a paper of pardon to the outlaw" The 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 doctrinae "For Christ and Learning" The motto of Furman University.
Christus Rex "Christ the King" A Christian title for Jesus.
circulus vitiosus "vicious circle" In 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 fortius "faster, higher, stronger" Motto of the modern Olympics.
clamea admittenda in itinere per atturnatum A writ whereby the king of England could command the justice in eyre to admit one's claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king's service, cannot come in person.
clausum fregit An action of tresspass; 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.
claves Sancti Petri "the keys of Saint Peter", "the keys of St. Peter" A symbol of the Papacy.
clavis aurea "Golden key" The means of discovering hidden or mysterious meanings in texts, particularly applied in theology and alchemy.
clerico admittendo "about to be made a clerk" In 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 mercatorum In 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 deliberando In 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 officium In 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 Canonici "Book of Canon Law" The official code of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Corpus Iuris Canonici).
Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt "Those who hurry cross the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mind" Hexameter by Horace (Epistulae I, 11 v.27). Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum ("You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky") in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1
cogito ergo sum "I think, therefore I am" A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.
coitus interruptus "interrupted congress" Aborting sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation—the only permitted form of birth control in some religions.
coitus more ferarum "congress in the way of beasts" An medical term for the doggy-style sexual position.
collige, virgo, rosas "pick, girl, the roses"
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", 1909, by John William Waterhouse.
Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to carpe diem, from De rosis nascentibus (also titled Idyllium de rosis) attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.
communibus annis "in common years" One year with another; on an average. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary," but "common to every situation"
communibus locis "in common places" A 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 opinio "generally accepted view"
compos mentis "in control of the mind" Describes 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.
concordia cum veritate "in harmony with truth" Motto of the University of Waterloo.
concordia salus "salvation through harmony" Motto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.


condemnant quod non intellegunt "they condemn what they do not understand" or "they condemn because they do not understand" (the quod is ambiguous)
condicio sine qua non "condition without which not" A required, indispensable condition.
Commonly mistakenly rendered with conditio ("seasoning" or "preserving") in place of condicio("arrangement" or "condition").
Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.) "Helvetian Confederation" The official name of Switzerland, which explains the use of "CH" for its ISO country code, ".ch" for its Internet domain, and "CHF" for the ISO three-letter abbreviation of its currency, the Swiss franc.
coniunctis viribus

conjunctis viribus
"with connected strength" Or "with united powers".
consuetudo pro lege servatur "custom is kept before the law" An inconsistently applied maxim.
See also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law)
consummatum est "it is completed" The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.
contemptus saeculi "contempt of the secular (world)" Less literary, "scorn for the times". Despising the secular world. The monk's or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values.
contra spem spero "hope against hope"
contradictio in terminis "contradiction in terms" A word that makes itself impossible
contraria contrariis curantur "the opposite is cured with the opposite" First formulated by Hippocrates to suggest that the diseases are cured with contrary remedies. Antonym of similia similibus curantur (the diseases are recovered with similar remedies. )
contra bonos mores "against good morals" Offensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.
contra legem "against the law"
cor ad cor loquitur "heart speaks to heart" From 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 John Henry Cardinal Newman. A motto of Newman Clubs.
cor meum tibi offero domine prompte et sincere "my heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerely" motto of Calvin College
cor unum "one heart" A popular school motto. Often used as names for religious and other organisations such as the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
coram Deo "in the Presence of God" A 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.
coram populo "in the presence of the people" Thus, openly.
coram nobis, coram vobis "in our presence", "in your presence" Two kinds of writs of error.
Corpus Christi "Body of Christ" The name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the eucharist/Eucharist.
corpus delicti "body of the crime", "body of the offence" The body of facts that prove 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 Canonici "Body of Canon Law" The official compilation of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici).
Corpus Iuris Civilis "Body of Civil Law" The body of Roman or civil law.
corpus vile "vile body", "worthless body" A person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment.
corruptio optimi pessima "the corruption of the best is the worst"
corruptus in extremis "corrupt to the extreme" Motto of the fictional Springfield Mayor Office in The Simpsons TV-Show
corruptissima re publica plurimae leges "When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous" Tacitus
cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet "May he love tomorrow who has never loved before; And may he who has loved, love tomorrow as well" It's the 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.
credat iudaeus Apella, non ego "Let the Jew Apella believe it; I do not" An expression of disbelief, originally from Horace.
credo in unum Deum "I Believe in One God" The first words of the Nicene Creed.
credo quia absurdum est "I believe it because it is absurd" A 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.
crescamus in Illo per omina "May we grow in Him through all things" Motto of Cheverus High School.
crescat scientia vita excolatur "let knowledge grow, let life be enriched" Motto of the University of Chicago.
crescit eundo "it grows as it goes" State motto of New Mexico, adopted in 1887 as the territory's motto, and kept in 1912 when New Mexico received statehood. Originally from Lucretius' On the Nature of Things book VI, where it refers in context to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes.
cruci dum spiro fido "while I live, I trust in the cross", "Whilst I trust in the Cross I have life" Motto of the Sisters of Loreto (IBVM) and its associated schools. A second translation is "Whilst I trust in the Cross I have life"
cucullus non facit monachum "The hood does not make the monk" William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Scene I, Act V 48–50
cui bono? "good 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).
The opposite is cui malo ("Bad for whom?").
cui prodest? "for whom it advances?", "whom does it benefit?" Short for cui prodest scelus, is fecit ("for whom the crime advances, he has done it") in Seneca the Younger's Medea. Thus, the murderer is often the one who gains by the murder (cf. cui bono).
cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos "Whose 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 religio "whose region, his religion" The 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 fault." Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippica XII, ii, 5
cum gladiis et fustibus "with swords and clubs" From the Bible. Occurs in Matthew 26:47 and Luke 22:52.
cum gladio et sale "with sword and salt" Motto of a well-paid soldier.
cum grano salis "with a grain of salt" I.e. not to be taken too seriously or as the literal truth.
cum laude "with praise" The standard formula for academic Latin honors in the United States. Greater honors include magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
cura personalis "care for the whole person"
cura te ipsum "take care of your own self" An exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others.
cur Deus Homo "Why the God Man" The 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?"
curriculum vitae "course of life" A résumé.
custos morum "keeper of morals" A censor.
cygnus inter anates "swan among ducks"
cygnus insignis "distinguished by its swans" Motto of Western Australia.


Latin Translation Notes
damnant quod non intellegunt "they condemn what they do not understand"
damnatio memoriae "damnation of memory" A Roman custom in which disgraced Romans (particularly former Emperors) were pretended to have never existed.
damnum absque injuria "damage without injury" A loss that results from no one's wrongdoing. In Roman law, a man is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another resulting from a lawful act. This protection does not necessarily apply to unintended damage by negligence or folly.
data venia "with due respect" or "given the excuse" Used before disagreeing with someone.
dat deus incrementum "God grants the increase" Motto of Westminster School, a leading British independent school.
de bonis asportatis "carrying goods away" Trespass de bonis asportatis was the traditional name for larceny, or wrongful taking of chattels.
decus et tutamen "an ornament and a safeguard" Inscription on one pound coins. Originally on 17th century coins, it refers to the inscribed edge as a protection against the clipping of precious metal. The phrase originally comes from Virgil's Aeneid.
descensus in cuniculi cavum "The descent into the cave of the rabbit" Down the Rabbit Hole
de dato "of the date"
de facto "in fact" Said of something that actually is the case. Often the implication is that it isn't the case of necessity (de jure) or that it is supposed not to be the case.
de fideli "with faithfulness" A clerk makes the declaration De fideli on when appointed, promising to do his or her tasks faithfully as a servant of the court.
de futuro "regarding the future" Usually used in the context of "at a future time"
de gustibus non est disputandum "there is not to be discussion regarding tastes" Less literally "In matters of taste there is no dispute" or simply "There's no arguing taste". A similar expression in English is "There's no accounting for taste". Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, without attribution, renders the phrase as de gustibus non disputandum; the verb "to be" is often assumed in Latin, and is rarely required.
de integro "again" or "a second time"
de jure "by law" "Official", in contrast with de facto. Analogous to "in principle", whereas de facto is to "in practice". In other contexts, can mean "according to law", "by right" or "legally". Also written de iure, the classical form.
de lege ferenda "from law to be passed"
de lege lata "from law passed" or "by law in force"
de minimis non curat praetor "The commander does not bother with 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 ("the king") or lex ("the law") is used in place of praetor, and de minimis is a legal term referring to things unworthy of the law's attention.
de mortuis aut bene aut nihil "about the dead, either well or nothing" Less literally, "speak well of the dead or not at all" (cf. de mortuis nil nisi bonum).
de mortuis nil nisi bonum "about the dead, nothing unless a good thing" From de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est, "nothing must be said about the dead except the good", attributed by Diogenes Laertius to Chilon (of Sparta). In legal contexts, this quotation is used with the opposite meaning, as defaming a deceased person is not a crime. In other contexts, it refers to taboos against criticizing the recently deceased.
de nobis fabula narratur "about us is the story told" Thus, "their story is our story". Originally referred to the end of Rome's dominance. Now often used when comparing any current situation to a past story or historical event.
de novo "from the new" "anew" or "afresh"
de omnibus dubitandum "be suspicious of everything, doubt everything" Karl Marx's favorite motto. He used this to explain his standpoint: "Critique everything in a capitalist economy".
de omni re scibili et quibusdam aliis "about every knowable thing, and even certain other things" A 15th-century Italian scholar wrote the De omni re scibili portion, and a wag added et quibusdam aliis.
de profundis "from the depths" Out of the depths of misery or dejection. From the Latin translation of Psalm 130.
de re "about the matter" In logic, de dicto statements (about the truth of a proposition) are distinguished from de re statements (about the properties of a thing itself).
de te fabula narratur "about you the tale is told" From Satires (I, 1, 69-70).
Dei sub numine viget "under God's Spirit she flourishes" Motto of Princeton University.
delectatio morosa "peevish delight" In Catholic theology, a pleasure taken in sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images. It is distinct from actual sexual desire, and involves voluntary and complacent erotic fantasizing, without any attempt to suppress such thoughts.
deliriant isti Romani "They are mad, those Romans!" A translation into Latin from René Goscinny's "ils sont fous, ces romains!", frequently issued by Obelix in the Asterix comics.
Deo ac veritati "God and Truth" Motto of Colgate University.
Deo domuique "for God and for home" Motto of Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne.
Deo gratias "thanks [be] to God"
Deo optimo maximo (DOM) "To the Best and Greatest God" Derived from the Pagan Iupiter optimo maximo ("To the best and greatest Jupiter").
Deo vindice "with God as protector" Motto of the Confederate States of America. An alternate translation is "With an avenging God".
Deo volente "with God willing" This 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.
deus ex machina "a god from a machine" A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by machine an actor playing a god or goddess onto the stage — as though he were descending from Olympus — to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot.
Deus vult "God wills it!" The principal slogan of the Crusades.
Deus otiosus "God at leisure"
dicto simpliciter "[From] a maxim, simply" I.e. "From a rule without exception." Short for A dicto simpliciter, the a often being dropped by confusion with the indefinite article. A dicto simpliciter occurs when an acceptable exception is ignored or eliminated. For instance, the appropriateness of using opiates is dependent on the presence of extreme pain. To justify the recreational use of opiates by referring to a cancer patient or to justify arresting said cancer patient by comparing him to the recreational user would be a dicto simpliciter.
dictum meum pactum "my word [is] my bond" Motto of the London Stock Exchange
dictum sapienti sat est "the said is enough for the wise" Understandable for a wise one without the need for explanations (Plautus).
Also as: sat sapienti and sapienti sat.
diem perdidi "I have lost the day" From the Roman Emperor Titus. Passed down in Suetonius's biography of him in Lives of the Twelve Caesars (8)
Dies Irae "Day of Wrath" Refers to the Judgment Day in Christian eschatology. The name of a famous 13th-century Medieval Latin hymn by Tommaso da Celano, used in the Mass for the dead.
differentia specifica "specific differences"
dis aliter visum "it seemed otherwise to the gods" In other words, the gods have different plans than mortals, and so events do not always play out as people wish them to.
dis manibus sacrum (D.M.S.) "Sacred to the ghost-gods" Refers to the Manes, Roman spirits of the dead. Loosely "To the memory of". A conventional inscription preceding the name of the deceased on pagan grave markings, 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 Discede "Learn or Depart" Motto of Royal College, Colombo.
disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus "Learn as if always going to live; live as if tomorrow going to die." Attributed to St. Edmund of Abingdon.
discipuli nostri bardissimi sunt "Our students are the stupidest"
disjecta membra "scattered limbs" That is, "scattered remains". Paraphrased from Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62, where it was written "disiecti membra poetae" ("limbs of a scattered poet"). Also written as disiecta membra.
disjecti membra poetae "members of a dismembered poet", "limbs of a scattered poet" i.e. "the scattered remnants of the poet" (Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62), battered poetry.
ditat Deus "God enriches" State motto of Arizona, adopted in 1911. Probably derived from the Vulgate's translation of Genesis 14:23.
divide et impera "divide and rule" A Roman maxim adopted by Julius Caesar, Louis XI of France and Machiavelli. Commonly rendered "divide and conquer".
dixi "I have spoken" A popular eloquent expression, usually used in the end of a speech. The implied meaning is: "I have said all that I had to say and thus the argument is settled".
["...", ...] dixit "["...", ...] said" Used to attribute a statement or opinion to its author, rather than the speaker.
do ut des "I give that you may give" Often said or written for sacrifices, when one "gives" and expects something back from the gods.
docendo discitur "it is learned by teaching" Also translated "one learns by teaching". Attributed to Seneca the Younger.
docendo disco, scribendo cogito I learn by teaching, think by writing.
Domine, dirige nos "Lord guide us" Motto of the City of London.
Dominus illuminatio mea "the Lord is my light" Motto of the University of Oxford.
Dominus vobiscum "Lord be with you" Phrase used during and at the end of Catholic sermons, and a general greeting form among and towards members of Catholic organisations, such as priests and nuns.
See also pax vobiscum.
dona nobis pacem "give us peace" Often set to music, either by itself or as part of the Agnus Dei prayer of the Mass (see above).
donatio mortis causa "giving in expectation of death" A legal concept where a person in imminent mortal danger need not meet the requisite consideration to create or modify a will.
draco dormiens nunquam titillandus "a sleeping dragon is never to be tickled" Motto of the fictional Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter series; translated more loosely in the books as "never tickle a sleeping dragon".
dramatis personae "the people of the play" More literally, "the masks of the drama"; more figuratively, "cast of characters". The characters represented in a dramatic work.
duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum est "Two minds, not one single thought" Stan Laurel, inscription for the fanclub logo The Sons of the Desert.
ductus exemplo "Leadership by Example" This is the motto for the United States Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School located at Marine Corps Base Quantico; Quantico, Virginia.
dulce bellum inexpertis "war is sweet to the inexperienced" War may seem pleasant to those who have never been involved in it, though the more experienced know better. A phrase from Erasmus in the 16th century.
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori "It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland." From Horace, Odes III, 2, 13.
dulce et utile "sweet and useful" Horace wrote in his Ars Poetica that poetry must be dulce et utile ("pleasant and profitable"), both enjoyable and instructive.
dulce periculum "danger is sweet" Horace, Odes III, 25, 16. Motto of the Scottish clan Clan MacAulay.
dulcissime, totam tibi subdo me "darling, I give myself to you totally" Movement from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
dum laborus prosperous "While we work, we prospering" or more commonly, "As long as we are working, we are prospering" Motto of Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
dum spiro spero "while I breathe, I hope" State motto of South Carolina. From Cicero.
dum Roma deliberat Saguntum perit "while Rome debates, Saguntum is in danger" Used 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 vivimus servimus "While we live, we serve" motto of Presbyterian College.
dura lex sed lex "[the] law [is] harsh, but [it is] the law"
dura mater "tough mother" Outer covering of the brain.
dum vita est, spes est while there is life, there is hope
dux bellorum War leader


Latin Translation Notes
e pluribus unum "from many, one", "from many, (comes) one." Usually translated "out of many, (is) one". Motto of the United States of America. Inscribed on the Capitol and many coins used in the United States of America. The motto of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica Portuguese soccer club.
ecce homo "Behold the man!" in the Latin translation of the Gospel of John these words are spoken by Pilate as he presents Jesus Christ crowned with thorns to the crowd.
Ecce Homo 'Behold the Man' From the Latin Vulgate Gospel according to St. John (XIX.v) (19.5, Douay-Rheims), where Pilate speaks these words as he presents Christ, crowned with thorns, to the crowd. Oscar Wilde opened his defense with this phrase when on trial for sodomy, characteristically using a well-known Biblical reference as a double entendre.
editio princeps 'first edition' The first printed edition of a work.
ego te absolvo 'I absolve you' Part of the absolution-formula spoken by a priest as part of the sacrament of Penance (cf. absolvo).
ego te provoco 'I dare you'
ens causa sui 'existing because of oneself' Or 'being one's own cause'. Traditionally, a being that owes its existence to no other being, hence God or a Supreme Being (cf. Primum Mobile).
ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem 'by the sword she seeks gentle peace under liberty' State motto of Massachusetts, adopted in 1775.
entitas ipsa involvit aptitudinem ad extorquendum certum assensum 'reality involves a power to compel sure assent' A phrase used in modern Western philosophy on the nature of truth.
eo ipso 'by that very act' eo ipso is a technical term used in philosophy. It means 'by that very act' in Latin. Similar to ipso facto. It is also used, with the same meaning, in law.
equo ne credite 'do not trust the horse' Virgil, Aeneid, II. 48-49
eo nomine 'by that name'
erga omnes 'in relation to everyone'
errare humanum est 'to err is human' From Seneca the Younger. The full quote is errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum: 'to err is human; to persist is of the Devil'.
esse est percipi 'to be is to be perceived' George Berkeley's motto for his idealist philosophical position that nothing exists independently of its perception by a mind except minds themselves.
esse quam videri 'to be, rather than to seem' Truly being something, rather than merely seeming to be something. State motto of North Carolina and academic motto of several schools, including North Carolina State University, Berklee College of Music, and Columbia College Chicago as well as Connell's Point Public School and Cranbrook High School in Sydney, Australia. From chapter 26 of Cicero's De amicitia ('On Friendship'). Earlier than Cicero, the phrase had been used by Sallust in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), where he wrote that Cato esse quam videri bonus malebat ('he 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 ('his resolve is not to seem the best, but in fact to be the best').
esto perpetua "may it be perpetual", "let it be everlasting" Said of Venice by the Venetian historian Fra Paolo Sarpi shortly before his death. Also the state motto of Idaho, adopted in 1867.
et alibi (et al.) 'and elsewhere' A less common variant on et cetera used at the end of a list of locations to denote unlisted places.
et alii (et al.) 'and others' Used similarly to et cetera ('and the rest'), to stand for a list of names. alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or groups of men and women (the feminine, et aliae, is appropriate only when the 'others' are all female; et alia is correct for the neuter)
et cetera (etc., &c.) 'and the rest' Also "and others", "and so on", "and more".
et facta est lux 'and light was made' This phrase is used by Morehouse College of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, as the school's motto.
et hoc genus omne 'and all that sort of thing' Abbreviated to e.h.g.o.
et in Arcadia ego 'and in Arcadia [am] I' In other words, "I, too, am in Arcadia", "I, also, am in Arcadia".
Compare memento mori.
et nunc reges intelligite erudimini qui judicati 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 sequentes (et seq.) 'and the following' Pluralised as et sequentia ('and the following things'), abbreviation: et seqq.
et suppositio nil ponit in esse 'a supposition puts nothing in being' More typically translated as "sayin' it don't make it so"
et tu, Brute? 'Even you, Brutus?', 'You too, Brutus?' Used to indicate a betrayal by someone close.
From William Shakespeare's play 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 (which was the language of Rome's elite at the time), kai su, teknon?, in English 'You as well, (my) child?'

Literal quotation from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He renders as Latin in an English play what was originally quoted as Greek supposedly spoken by a Roman. But Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, Kai su, teknon? — Greek for "You too, my child?" (Greek would have been the language of Rome's elite at the time.) However it is unlikely that Caesar actually said these words.

et uxor (et ux.) 'and wife' A legal term.
ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur 'For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.' From the Gospel according to St. Matthew, XII.xxxiv (Vulgate), 12.34 (Douay-Rheims) and the Gospel according to St. Luke, VI.xlv (Vulgate), 6.45 (Douay-Rheims). Sometimes rendered without enim ('for').
ex abundanti cautela 'from abundant caution'
ex aequo 'from the equal' 'On equal footing', i.e. 'in a tie'.
ex animo 'from the heart' Thus, 'sincerely'.
ex ante 'from before' "beforehand", "before the event", i.e. based on prior assumptions.
ex astris scientia 'From the Stars, Knowledge' The motto of the fictional Starfleet Academy on Star Trek. Adapted from ex luna scientia, which in turn was modeled after ex scientia tridens.
ex cathedra 'from the chair' A phrase applied to the declarations or promulgations of the Pope when, preserved from even the possibility of error by the action of the Holy Ghost (see Papal Infallibility), he solemnly declares or promulgates to the Church a dogmatic teaching 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 or with arrogance.
ex Cathedra "from the Chair" a phrase applied to the Pope when he is speaking infallibly and, by extension, to others who speak with supreme authority or arrogance.
ex Deo 'from God'
ex dolo malo 'from fraud' 'From harmful deceit'; dolus malus is the Latin legal term for '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 facie 'from the face' Idiomatically rendered 'on the face of it'. A legal term typically used to note that a document's explicit terms are defective without further investigation.
ex gratia 'from kindness' More literally 'from grace'. Refers to someone voluntarily performing an act purely out of kindness, as opposed to for personal gain or from being forced to do it. In law, an ex gratia payment is one made without recognizing any liability or legal obligation.
ex hypothesi 'from the hypothesis' Thus, 'by hypothesis'.
ex lege 'from the law'
ex libris ... 'from the books (of) ...' Precedes a person's name, with the meaning of 'from the library of ...'
ex luna scientia 'from the moon, knowledge' The motto of the Apollo 13 moon mission, derived from ex scientia tridens.
ex nihilo "from nothing" Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions holds that God created the universe from nothing.
ex nihilo nihil fit 'nothing may come from nothing' From 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' (cf. causality). It is commonly applied to the conservation laws in philosophy and modern science. Ex nihilo often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning 'creation, out of nothing'. It is often used in philosophy or theology in connection with the proposition that God created the universe from nothing.
ex officio 'from the office' By virtue of office or position. Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another.
ex opere operantis 'from the work of the one working' A 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 operato 'from the work that worked' A 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 recipient.
ex oriente lux 'from the East, the light' Superficially refers to the sun rising in the east, but alludes to culture coming from the Eastern world.
ex parte 'from a part' A legal term meaning 'by one party' or 'for one party'. Thus, on behalf of one side or party only.
ex pede Herculem 'from foot, Hercules [acc.]' From the measure of Hercules' foot you shall know his size; from a part, the whole.
ex post 'from after' 'Afterward', 'after the event'. Based on knowledge of the past. Measure of past performance.
ex post facto 'from a thing done afterward', 'from after the fact' Said of a law with retroactive effect.
ex scientia tridens 'from 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 vera 'from knowledge, truth.' The motto of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.
ex silentio 'from silence' In 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 tempore 'from time' 'This instant', 'right away' or 'immediately'. Also written extempore.
ex vi termini 'from the force of the term' Thus, 'by definition'.
ex vivo 'out of or from life' Used in reference to the study or assay of living tissue in an artificial environment outside the living organism.
ex voto 'from the vow' Thus, in accordance with a promise. An ex voto is also an offering made in fulfillment of a vow.
exceptio firmat regulam in casibus non exceptis 'The exception confirms the rule in cases which are not excepted' A juridical motto which means that exception, as for example during a 'state of exception', does not put in danger the legitimity of the rule in its globality. In other words, the exception is strictly limited to a particular sphere (see also: exceptio strictissimi juris est.
excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta 'an excuse that has not been sought is an obvious accusation' More loosely, 'he who excuses himself, accuses himself'—an unprovoked excuse is a sign of guilt. In French, qui s'excuse, s'accuse.
exeat 'may he leave' A formal leave of absence (cf. exit).
exempli gratia (e.g.) 'for the sake of example' Or "for example".
exercitus sine duce corpus est sine spiritu 'an army without leader is like a body without spirit' On a plaque at the former military staff building of the Swedish Armed Forces.
experimentum crucis 'crucial experiment' Literally 'experiment of the cross'. A decisive test of a scientific theory.
experto crede 'trust the expert' Literally 'believe one who has had experience'. An author's aside to the reader.
expressio unius est exclusio alterius 'the 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 domus '(placed) outside of the house' Refers 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 salus 'outside the Church there is no salvation' This expression comes from the writings of 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 omnes 'out, 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 paretur 'he who administers justice outside of his territory is disobeyed with impunity' Refers to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Often cited in law of the sea cases on the high seas.


Latin Translation Notes
fac fortia et patere "do brave deeds and endure" Motto of Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia.
facta, non verba "actions, not words" Motto of United States Navy Destroyer Squadron 22, and the Canadian Fort Garry Horse armoured regiment (Militia).
falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus "false in one thing, false in everything" A 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.
felo de se "felon from himself" An archaic 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 credunt "as a rule, men willingly believe that which they wish to" People believe what they wish to be true, even if it isn't. Attributed to Julius Caesar.
festina lente "hurry slowly" An oxymoronic motto of Emperor Augustus. It encourages proceeding quickly, but with calm and caution. Equivalent to 'More haste, less speed'.
fiat iustitia et pereat mundus "let justice be done, even should the world perish" From Ferdinand I.
fiat justitia ruat caelum "let justice be done should the sky fall" Attributed to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus.
fiat lux "let light be made" Less literally, "let light arise" or "let there be light" (cf. lux sit). From the Latin translation of Genesis, "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux" ("and God said, 'Let light be made', and light was made"). The motto of the University of California, Angelo State University, University of Lethbridge and Rollins College.
fiat lux (et facta est lux) "Let there be light (and there was light)" From the Bible.
Fidei Defensor "Defender of the Faith" A title given to Henry VIII of England by Pope Leo X on 17 October 1521, before Henry became a heresiarch. Still used by the British monarchs, it appears on all British coins, usually abbreviated.
fides qua creditur "the faith by which it is believed" the personal faith which apprehends, contrasted with fides quae creditur
fides quae creditur "the faith which is believed" the content of "the faith," contrasted with fides qua creditur
fides quaerens intellectum "faith seeking understanding" the motto of Saint Anselm, found in his Proslogion
fidus Achates "faithful Achates" A faithful friend. From the name of Aeneas's faithful companion in Virgil's Aeneid.
flagellum dei "scourge of god"
flectere si nequeo superos, Achaeronta movebo "If I cannot move heaven I will raise hell" Virgil's Aeneid - Book 7
floruit "one flourished" Indicates the period when a historical figure whose birth and death dates are unknown was most active.
fluctuat nec mergitur "she wavers and is not immersed" Motto of Paris.
fons et origo "the spring and source", "the wellspring and origin"
fortes fortuna adiuvat "fortune favours the brave"
fortis est veritas "truth is strong" Motto on the coat of arms of Oxford, England.
fortis et liber "strong and free" Motto of Alberta.


Latin Translation Notes
generalia specialibus non derogant "universal things do not detract from specific things" A principle of legal statutory interpretation: If a matter falls under a specific provision and a general provision, it shall be governed by the specific provision.
genius loci "spirit of place", "the spirit of the place" The 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.
gloria in excelsis Deo "glory to God in the highest" Often 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 Patri "Glory to the Father" The beginning of the Lesser Doxology.
gloriosus et liber "glorious and free" Motto of Manitoba
gradibus ascendimus "Ascending by degrees" Motto of Grey College, Durham
graviora manent "heavier things remain" In other words, "more severe things await" or simply "the worst is yet to come".
gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe cadendo "a drop hollows a stone not by force, but by often falling" From Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV, 10, 5.


Latin Translation Notes
habeas corpus "you may have the body" Or "you must have the body", i.e. you must justify an imprisonment. A 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 subjiciendum ("you may have the body to bring up"). Commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to have the charge against them specifically identified.
habemus papam "we have a pope" Used after a Roman Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope.
hac lege "with this law"
haec olim meminisse iuvabit "one day, this will be pleasing to remember" Commonly rendered in English as "One day, we'll look back on this and smile". From Virgil's Aeneid 1.203.
Hannibal ante portas "Hannibal before the gates" Refers to wasting time while the enemy is already here. Attributed to Cicero.
Hannibal ad portas "Hannibal is at the gates" Roman parents would tell their misbehaving children this, invoking their fear of Hannibal.
haud ignota loquor "I speak not of unknown things" Thus, "I say no things that are unknown". From Virgil's Aeneid, 2.91.
hic abundant leones "here lions abound" Written on uncharted territories of old maps.
hic et nunc "here and now"
hic jacet... (HJ) "here lies..." Also 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 manebimus optime "here we'll stay excellently" According to Titus Livius the phrase was pronounced by Marcus Furius Camillus, addressing the senators who intended to abandon the city, invaded by Gauls, in 390 BCE circa. It is used today to express the intent to keep one's position even if the circumstances appear adverse.
hic sepultus... "here is buried..."
hic sunt leones "here there are lions" Written on uncharted territories of old maps.
hinc illae lacrimae "hence those tears" From Terence, Andria, line 125. Originally literal, referring to the tears shed by Pamphilus at the funeral of Chrysis, it came to be used proverbally in the works of later authors, such as Horace (Epistula XIX, 41).
historia vitae magistra "history, the teacher of life" From Cicero, Tusculanas, 2, 16. Also "history is the mistress of life".
homo homini lupus "man [is a] wolf to man" First attested in Plautus' Asinaria ("lupus est homo homini"). The sentence was drawn on by Hobbes in Leviathan as a concise expression of his human nature view.
homo sum humani a mi nihil alienum puto "I am a human being; nothing human is strange to me" From Terence, Heautontimoroumenos. 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 libri (timeo) "(I fear) a man of one book" Attributed to Thomas Aquinas
honeste vivere "to live virtuously" One of Justinian I's three basic legal precepts.
honor virtutis praemium "esteem is the reward of virtue" O'Flynn family motto.
honoris causa "for the sake of honor" Said of a honorary title
hora somni (h.s.) "at the hour of sleep" Medical shorthand for "at bedtime".
horas non numero nisi serenas "I do not count the hours unless they are sunny" "I only count the sunny hours". A common inscription on sundials.
hortus in urbe "A garden in the city" Motto of the Chicago Park District, a playful allusion to the city's motto, urbs in horto, q.v.
horribile dictu "horrible to say" That is, "a horrible thing to relate".
Compare mirabile dictu.
hostis humani generis "enemy of the human race" Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general.
hypotheses non fingo "I do not fabricate hypotheses" Less literally, "I do not assert that any hypotheses are true". From Isaac Newton, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica.


Latin Translation Notes
id est (i.e.) "that is" "that is (to say)", "in other words"
idem quod (i.q.) "the same as"
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI) "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" Based on a Christian belief that "this one is King of the Jews" was written in Latin, Greek and Aramaic at the top of the cross Jesus was crucified on.
igne natura renovatur integra "through fire, nature is reborn whole" An alchemical aphorism invented as an alternate meaning for the acronym INRI.
igni ferroque "with fire and iron" A phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also rendered as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.
ignis fatuus "foolish fire" will o' the wisp.
ignoratio elenchi "ignorance of the issue" The 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 herring. Elenchi is from the Greek elenchos.
ignotum per ignotius "unknown by means of the more unknown" An explanation that is less clear than the thing to be explained. Synonymous with obscurum per obscurius.
imago Dei "image of God" From the religious concept that man was created in "God's image".
imitatio dei "imitation of a god" A principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
imperium in imperio "an order within an order" 1. 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); a fifth column, a group of people within an nation's territory who owe allegiance to some other leader.
imperium sine fine "an empire without an end" In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, neverending empire, the endless (sine fine) empire.
in absentia "in the absence" Used in a number of situations, such as in a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
in actu "in act" "in the very act", "in practice", "in reality"
in articulo mortis "at the point of death"
in camera "in the chamber" Figuratively, "in secret".
See also camera obscura.
in casu "in the event" "in this case"
in cauda venenum "the poison is in the tail" Using 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 speaker's eyes.
in concreto "in the concrete (sense)" Usually as opposed to figurative or metaphysical usage.
in Deo speramus "in God we hope" Motto of Brown University.
in dubio pro reo "in doubt, on behalf of the [alleged] culprit" Expresses 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 duplo "in double" "in duplicate", "in two (copies)"
in effigie "in the likeness" "in (the form of) an image", as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person".
in esse "in existence"
in extenso "in the extended" "in long (form)", "in full", "at full length", "completely", "unabridged"
in extremis "in the furthest reaches" In extremity; in dire straits. Also "at the point of death" (cf. in articulo mortis).
in fidem "into faith" To the verification of faith.
in fieri "in becoming" Thus, "pending".
in fine (i.f.) "in the end" "at the end"
in flagrante delicto "in flaming crime", "in a blazing wrong", "while the crime is blazing" Equivalent to the English idiom "caught red-handed": caught in the act of committing a crime. Sometimes carried the connotation of being caught in a "compromising position".
in flore "in blossom", "in bloom" Blooming.
in foro "in forum" Legal term for "in court".
in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni "We enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire" A palindrome said to describe the behavior of moths.
in hoc signo vinces "by this sign you will conquer" Words Constantine I claimed to have seen in a vision before the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
in illo tempore "in that time" "at that time", found often in Gospel lectures during Masses, used to mark an undetermined time in the past.
in limine "at the outset" Preliminary, in law referring to a motion that is made to the judge before or during trial, often about the admissibility of evidence believed prejudicial
in loco "in the place" That is, "at the place".
in loco parentis "in the place of a parent" A legal term meaning "assuming parental (i.e. custodial) responsibility and authority".
in luce Tua videmus lucem "in Thy light we see light" Motto of Valparaiso University.
in lumine tuo videbimus lumen "in your light we will see the light" Motto of Columbia University and Ohio Wesleyan University.
in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum "in your hands I command my spirit", "into your hands I entrust my spirit" According to Luke 23:46, the last words of Jesus on the cross.
in medias res "into the middle of things" From 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 and the Odyssey.
Compare ab initio.
in memoriam ... "in memory (of) ..." Refers to remembering or honoring a deceased person.
in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas "in 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 nuce "in a nut" "In a nutshell."
"in potentiality". Comparable to "potential", "to be developed".
in omnia paratus "Ready for anything." Motto of the so-called secret society of Yale in the sitcom Gilmore Girls.
in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro "Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book" Quote by Thomas a Kempis.
in partibus infidelium "in the parts of the infidels" That is, "in the land of the infidels". Infidels here refers to non-Christians. After Islam conquered a large part of the Roman Empire, the corresponding bishoprics didn't disappear, but remained as titular sees.
in pectore "in the heart" A Cardinal named in secret by the pope.
See also ab imo pectore.
in personam "into a person" "Directed towards a particular person". In a lawsuit in which the case is against a specific individual, that person must be served with a summons and complaint to give the court jurisdiction to try the case. The court's judgment applies to that person and is called an "in personam judgment." In personam is distinguished from in rem, which applies to property or "all the world" instead of a specific person. This technical distinction is important to determine where to file a lawsuit and how to serve a defendant. In personam means that a judgment can be enforceable against the person, wherever he or she is. On the other hand, if the lawsuit is to determine title to property (in rem), then the action must be filed where the property exists and is only enforceable there.
in propria persona "in one's own person" "personally", "in person".
in rerum natura "in the nature of things" See also Lucretius' De rerum natura ("On the Nature of Things").
in saeculo "in the times" "In the secular world", that is, outside a monastery, or before death.
in salvo "in safety"
in situ "in place", "in the place" In the original place, appropriate position, or natural arrangement. In medical contexts, it implies that the condition is still in the same place and has not worsened, improved, spread, etc.
in spe "in hope" "future"
in specialibus generalia quaerimus "To seek the general in the specifics" That is, to understand the most general rules through the most detailed analysis.
in statu nascendi "in the state of being born" Or "at the moment of birth". Just as something is about to begin.
in toto "in all" "totally", "entirely", "completely"
in triplo "in triple" "in triplicate", "in three (copies)"
in usum Delphini "in the manner of the Dauphin" Rare variant of ad usum Delphini.
in utero "in the womb"
in vacuo "in a vacuum", "in a void" In isolation from other things.
in vino veritas "in wine [there is] truth", "in wine is truth" That is, wine loosens the tongue.

(Referring to alcohol's disinhibitory effects.)

incredibile dictu "incredible to say" A variant on mirabile dictu.
Index Librorum Prohibitorum "Index of Forbidden Books", "List of Prohibited Books" A list of books considered heretic(al) by the Roman Catholic Church.
indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliter "indivisible and inseparable" Motto of Austria-Hungary prior to its separation into independent states in 1918.
infra dignitatem "beneath one's dignity"
instante mense "in the present month" Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the current month.
integer vitae scelerisque purus "unimpaired by life and clean of wickedness", "untouched by life and free of wickedness" From Horace. Used as a funeral hymn.
inter alia "among other things"
inter alios "among others" Often used to compress lists of parties to legal documents.
inter arma enim silent leges "In the face of arms, the law falls mute," more popularly rendered as "during warfare, in fact, the laws are silent" Said 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.
inter spem et metum "between hope and fear"
inter vivos "between the living" Said of property transfers between living persons, as opposed to inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
intra muros "within the walls" Thus, "not public".
intra vires "within the powers" That is, "within the authority".
ipsa scientia potestas est "knowledge itself is power" Famous phrase written by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597.
ipse dixit "he himself said it", "he, himself, has spoken" Commonly said in Medieval debates referring to Aristotle, who was considered the supreme authority on matters of philosophy. Used in general to emphasize that some assertion comes from some authority, i.e., as an appeal to authority; and the term ipsedixitism has come to mean any unsupported rhetorical assertion that lacks a logical argument.
ipsissima verba "the very words themselves" "strictly word for word", "strictly word by word" (cf. verbatim).
ipso facto "by the fact itself" Or "by that very fact".
ira deorum "wrath of the gods" Like 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 est "anger is a brief madness" Horace, Epistulae.
ita vero "thus indeed" A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes", preferring to respond to questions with the affirmative or negative of the question (i.e., "Are you hungry?" was answered by "I am hungry" or "I am not hungry", not "Yes" or "No").
ite, missa est "go, the things have been sent" Meaning "leave, the mass is finished"; the final words of the Roman Missal.
iunctis viribus "by united efforts"
iura novit curia "the court knows the laws" A legal principle in civil law countries of the Roman-German tradition (e.g., in Brazil, Germany and Italy) that says that lawyers need not to argue the law, as that is the office of the court.
ius primae noctis "right of the first night" The droit de seigneur.


Latin Translation Notes
Johannes est nomen ejus "John is his name" [Spanish: "Juan es su Nombre"] Motto of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; taken from the account in the Gospel of Luke (chapter 1, verse 63) describing the naming of St. John the Baptist by his father Zachary: et postulans pugillarem scripsit dicens Iohannes est nomen eius. ("and demanding a writing tablet, he wrote, saying "John is his name.") The original Spanish name given to the island by Columbus was San Juan Bautista, or St. John the Baptist; the name "Puerto Rico" was a later development.
juris ignorantia est cum jus nostrum ignoramus "it is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights"
jus ad bellum "law towards war" Refers to the "laws" that regulate the reasons for going to war. Typically, this would address issues of self-defense or preemptive strikes
jus in bello "law in war" Refers 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.
jus primae noctis "right of the first night" The droit de seigneur.
justitia omnibus "justice for all" Motto of the District of Columbia.


Latin Translation Notes
labor omnia vincit "work conquers all things" State motto of Oklahoma, motto of Instituto Nacional, leading Chilean high school. Derived from a phrase in Virgil's Georgics.
lapsus calami "a slip of the pen"
lapsus linguae "a slip of the tongue"
lapsus memoriae "a slip of memory" "memory lapse".
laus Deo "praise be to God"
legem terrae "the law of the land"
leges humanae nascuntur, vivunt, et moriuntur "laws of man are born, live and die"
leges sine moribus vanae "laws without morals [are] vain" From Horace's Odes: the official motto of the University of Pennsylvania.
lex artis "law of the skill" The rules that regulate a professional duty.
lex ferenda "the law that should be borne" The law as it ought to be.
lex lata "the law that has been borne" The law as it is.
lex loci "law of the place"
lex non scripta "law that has not been written" Unwritten law, or common law.
lex parsimoniae "law of succinctness" also known as Ockhams Razor.
lex rex "the law [is] king" A 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 scripta "written law" Statute law. Contrasted with lex non scripta.
lex talionis "(the) law of retaliation" Retributive justice (cf. an eye for an eye).
liberate me ex infernis "free me from hell" Used in a Hellsystem album cover from 2005.
libera te tutemet "you, free yourself" Used in Event Horizon (1997), where it is translated as "save yourself". It is initially misheard as liberate me ("free me"), but is later corrected. Libera te is often mistakenly merged into liberate, which would necessitate a plural pronoun instead of the singular tutemet (which is an emphatic form of tu, "you").
libertas quæ sera tamen "freedom which [is] however late" Thus, "liberty even when it comes late". Motto of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
loco citato "in the place cited" More fully written in loco citato. See also opere citato.
locus classicus "a classic place" A quotation from a classical text used as an example of something.
luctor et emergo "I struggle and emerge" Motto of the Dutch province of Zeeland to denote its battle against the sea.
lucus a non lucendo "[it is] a grove by not being light" From 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.
lupus in fabula "the wolf in the story" With the meaning "speak of the wolf, and he will come". Occurs in Terence's play Adelphoe.
lupus non mordet lupum "a wolf does not bite a wolf"
lux et lex "light and law" Motto of the prestigious liberal arts school, Franklin & Marshall College. Light in reference to Benjamin Franklin's many innovations and discoveries. Law in reference to John Marshall as one of the most notable Supreme Court Justices.
lux et veritas "light and truth" A translation of the Hebrew Urim and Thummim. Motto of Yale University and Indiana University. An expanded form, lux et veritas floreant ("let light and truth flourish"), is the motto of the University of Winnipeg
lux hominum vita "life the light of men"
lux sit "let there be light" A more literal Latinization of the phrase "let there be light", the most common translation of fiat lux ("let light arise", literally "let light be made"), which in turn is the Latin Vulgate Bible phrase chosen for the Genesis line "ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר" ("And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light"). Motto of the University of Washington.


Latin Translation Notes
magister dixit "the master has said it" Canonical medieval reference to Aristotle, precluding further discussion
magna cum laude "with great praise" A common Latin honor, above cum laude and below summa cum laude.
Magna Europa est patria nostra "Great Europe is Our Fatherland" Political motto of pan-Europeanists (cf. ave Europa nostra vera Patria)
magna est vis consuetudinis "great is the power of habit"
magno cum gaudio "with great joy"
magnum opus "great work" Said (sometimes ironically) of someone's masterpiece.
maiora premunt "greater things are pressing" Used to indicate that it is the moment to address more important, urgent, issues.
mala fide "in bad faith" Said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone.
Opposite of bona fide.
mala tempora currunt "bad times are upon us" Also used ironically, e.g.: New teachers know all tricks used by pupils to copy from classmates? Oh, mala tempora currunt!.
malum discordiae "apple of dischord" Alludes 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 a vowel in Latin and the word for "evil" a short a vowel, but they are normally written the same.
malum quo communius eo peius "the more common an evil is, the worse it is"
malum in se "wrong in itself" A legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong (cf. malum prohibitum).
malum prohibitum "wrong due to being prohibited" A legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law.
manu militari "with a military hand" Using armed forces in order to achieve a goal.
manu propria (m.p.) "with one's own hand" With 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 celer Dei "the swift hand of God" Originally used as the name of a ship in the Marathon videogame series, its usage has spread.
manus manum lavat "one hand washes the other" famous quote from Lucius Annaeus Seneca. It implies that one situation helps the other.
mare clausum "closed sea" In law, a sea under the jurisdiction of one nation and closed to all others.
mare liberum "free sea" In law, a sea open to international shipping navigation.
mare nostrum "our sea" A nickname given to the Mediterranean Sea during the height of the Roman Empire, as it encompassed the entire coastal basin.
mater familias "the mother of the family" The female head of a family. See pater familias.
materia medica "medical matter" The branch of medical science concerned with the study of drugs used in the treatment of disease. Also, the drugs themselves.
me vexat pede "it annoys me at the foot" Less 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.
mea culpa "my fault" Used in Christian prayers and confession to denote the inherently flawed nature of mankind. Can also be extended to mea maxima culpa ("my greatest fault"). Also used similarly to the modern English slang "my bad".
mea (maxima) culpa "by my own (very great) fault" Used in Christian prayers and confession.
media vita in morte sumus "In the midst of our lives we die" A 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.
memento mori "remember that you will die" Figuratively "be mindful of dying" or "remember your mortality".
memento vivere "a reminder of life" Also, "remember that you have to live." Literally rendered as "remember to live."
mens agitat molem "the mind moves the mass" From Virgil. Motto of the University of Oregon, the University of Warwick and the Eindhoven University of Technology.
mens et manus "mind and hand" Motto of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
mens rea "guilty mind" Also "culprit mind". A term used in discussing the mindset of an accused criminal.
mens sana in corpore sano "a sound mind in a sound body" Or "a sensible mind in a healthy body".
meminerunt omnia amantes "lovers remember all"
minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus "he threatens the innocent who spares the guilty"
mirabile dictu "wonderful to tell"
mirabile visu "wonderful by the sight" A Roman phrase used to describe a wonderful event/happening.
miserabile visu "terrible by the sight" A terrible happening or event.
miserere nobis "have mercy upon us" A phrase within the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and the Agnus Dei, to be used at certain points in Christian religious ceremonies.
missit me Dominus "the Lord has sent me" A phrase used by Christ.
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 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.
modus operandi (M. O., M.O.) "way of working", "method of operating" Usually used to describe a criminal's methods.
modus ponens "method of placing" Loosely "method of adding", "method of affirming". A logical rule of inference stating that from propositions P and if P then Q one can conclude Q.
modus tollens "method of removing" Loosely "method of subtracting", "method of denying". A logical rule of inference stating that from propositions not Q and if P then Q one can conclude not P.
modus vivendi "method of living", "way to life" An accommodation between disagreeing parties to allow life to go on. A practical compromise.
montani semper liberi "mountaineers [are] always free" State motto of West Virginia, adopted in 1872.
more ferarum "like beasts" used to describe any sexual act in the manner of beasts
morituri te salutant "those who are about to die salute thee" Used once in Suetonius' Life of the Divine 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.
mors vincit omnia "death conquers all" or "death always wins" An axiom often found on headstones.
motu proprio "on his own initiative" Or "by his own accord." Identifies a class of papal documents, administrative papal bulls.
multis e gentibus vires "from many peoples, strength" Motto of Saskatchewan.
multum in parvo "much in little" Conciseness. The motto of Rutland, a county in central England.
Latin phrases are often multum in parvo, conveying much in few words.
mundus vult decipi "the world wants to be deceived" From James Branch Cabell.
munit haec et altera vincit "this one defends and the other one conquers" Motto of Nova Scotia.
mutatis mutandis "with those things changed which needed to be changed" Thus, "with the appropriate changes".


Latin Translation Notes
natura non contristatur "nature is not saddened" That is, the natural world is not sentimental or compassionate.
natura non facit saltum ita nec lex "nature does not make a leap, thus neither does the law" Shortened 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.
navigare necesse est vivere non est necesse "to sail is necessary; to live is not necessary" Attributed by Plutarch to Gnaeus Pompeius, who, during a severe storm, commanded sailors to bring food from Africa to Rome. Plut. Pomp. 50.1
ne cede malis "do not give in to misfortune" Used as a level name in the Marathon series to reflect the doomed theme of the level, and derived from the family motto of one of the developers.
ne sutor ultra crepidam "Cobbler, 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.
nec dextrorsum, nec sinistrorsum "Neither to the left nor to the right" Do not get distracted. This Latin phrase is also the motto for Bishop Cotton Boys School and the Bishop Cotton Girls High school, both located in Bangalore, India.
nec plus ultra "nothing more beyond" Also ne 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. Charles V's heraldic emblem reversed this idea, using a depiction of this phrase inscribed on the Pillars—as plus ultra, without the negation. This represented Spain's expansion into the New World.
nec temere nec timide "neither reckless nor timid" The motto of the Dutch 11th air manouvre brigade 11 Air Manoeuvre Brigade
nemine contradicente (nem. con.) "with no one speaking against" Less literally, "without contestation", "without dissent". Used especially in committees, where a matter may be passed nem. con., or unanimously.
nemo dat quod non habet "no one gives what he does not have" Thus, "none can pass better title than they have".
nemo iudex in sua causa "no man shall be a judge in his own cause" Legal principle that no individual can preside over a hearing in which he holds a specific interest or bias.
nemo me impune lacessit "no one provokes me with impunity" Motto of the Order of the Thistle, and consequently of Scotland, found stamped on the milled edge of certain British pound sterling coins. It is also the motto of the Montressors in the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The Cask of Amontillado"
nemo nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur "no one learns except by friendship" Used to imply that one must like a subject in order to study it.
nemo tenetur seipsum accusare "no one is bound to accuse himself" 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 seipsum ("no one is bound to betray himself"), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to testify against himself.
nemo turpitudinem suam allegans auditur "no man may reclaim what he has rendered to the other party with knowledge of the illegality of his performance"
nihil dicit "he says nothing" In law, a declination by a defendant to answer charges or put in a plea.
nihil obstat "nothing prevents" A 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.
nihil sub sole novum "(there is) nothing new under the sun" From Ecclesiastes 1:10.
nil admirari "be surprised at nothing"
nil desperandum "nothing must be despaired at" That is, "never despair".
nil nisi bonum "(about the dead say) nothing unless (it is) good" Short for nil nisi bonum de mortuis dicere. That is, "Don't speak ill of anyone who has died".
nil nisi malis terrori "no terror, except to the bad" The motto of King's School, Macclesfield.
nil per os (n.p.o.) "nothing through the mouth" Medical shorthand indicating that oral foods and fluids should be withheld from the patient.
nil satis nisi optimum "nothing [is] enough unless [it is] the best" Motto of Everton Football Club, residents of Goodison Park, Liverpool.
nil sine numine "nothing without the divine will" Or "nothing without providence". State motto of Colorado, adopted in 1861. Probably derived from Virgil's Aeneid Book II, line 777, "non haec sine numine devum eveniunt" ("these things do not come to pass without the will of the gods"). See also numina.
nil volentibus arduum "Nothing [is] arduous for the willing" "Nothing is impossible for the willing"
nisi Dominus frustra "if not the Lord, [it is] in vain" That is, "everything is in vain without God". Summarized from Psalm 127, "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"). The motto of Edinburgh.
nisi prius "unless previously" In 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.
nolens volens "unwilling, willing" That is, "whether unwillingly or willingly". Sometimes rendered volens nolens or aut nolens aut volens. Similar to willy-nilly, though that word is derived from Old English will-he nil-he ("[whether] he will or [whether] he will not").
nolens (aut) volens "willing or not"
noli me tangere "do not touch me" Commonly translated "touch me not". According to the Gospel of John, this was said by Jesus to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.
noli turbare circulos meos "Do 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, Italy. The soldier was executed for his act.
nolle prosequi "to be unwilling to prosecute" A legal motion by a prosecutor or other plaintiff to drop legal charges, usually in exchange for a diversion program or out-of-court settlement.
nolo contendere "I do not wish to contend" That 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 dubium "doubtful name" A scientific name of unknown or doubtful application.
nomen est omen "the name is a sign" Thus, "true to its name".
nomen nescio (N. N., N.N.) "I do not know the name" Less literally, "name unknown". Thus, the name or person in question is unknown.
nomen nudum "naked name" A purported scientific name that does not fulfill the proper formal criteria and therefore cannot be used unless it is subsequently proposed correctly.
non bis in idem "not twice in the same thing" A legal principle forbidding double jeopardy.
non causa pro causa "not the cause for the cause" Also known as the "questionable cause" or "false cause". Refers to any logical fallacy where a cause is incorrectly identified.
non compos mentis "of unsound mind", "not in control of the mind" See compos mentis.
Also: non compos sui ("not in control of himself").
non ducor, duco "I am not led; I lead" Motto]] of [[São Paulo city, Brazil.
See also pro Brasilia fiant eximia.
non facias malum ut inde fiat bonum "you should not make evil in order that good may be made from it" More simply, "don't do wrong to do right". The direct opposite of the phrase "the ends justify the means".
non impediti ratione congitatonis "unencumbered by the thought process" Motto of radio show Car Talk.
non in legendo sed in intelligendo legis consistunt "the laws depend not on being read, but on being understood"
non liquet "it is not proven" Also "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 mihi solum "not for myself alone"
non obstante veredicto "notwithstanding the verdict", "not standing in the way of a 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 olet "it doesn't smell" See pecunia non olet.
non omnis moriar "I shall not all die" "Not all of me will die", a phrase expressing the belief that a part of the speaker will survive beyond death.
non progredi est regredi "to not go forward is to go backward"
non prosequitur "he does not proceed" A 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 discimus "We learn not for school, but for life." from Seneca
non sequitur "it does not follow" A non sequitur statement is the result of faulty logic. As a logical fallacy, a non sequitur conclusion is a conclusion that does not follow from a premise.
non serviam "I will not serve" Possibly 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 sum qualis eram "I am not such as I was" Or "I am not the kind of person I once was". Expresses a change in the speaker.
non vi, sed verbo "not through violence, but through the word alone" Martin Luther on Catholic church reform (see Reformation)
nosce te ipsum "know thyself" From Cicero, based on the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. A non-traditional Latin rendering, temet nosce ("thine own self know"), is translated in The Matrix as "know thyself".
nota bene (N.B.) "mark well" That is, "please note" or "note it well".
nulla dies sine linea "not a day without a line drawn" Pliny the Elder attributes this maxim to Apelles, an ancient Greek artist.
nullam rem natam "no thing born" That 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 secundus "second to none" Motto of the Coldstream Guards.
nullius in verba "On the word of no man" Motto of the Royal Society.
nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege "no crime, no punishment without law" Legal principle meaning that one cannot be penalised for doing something that is not prohibited by law. It also means that penal law cannot be enacted retroactively.
numerus clausus "closed number" A method to limit the number of students who may study at a university.
nunc dimittis "now you are sending away" In the Gospel of Luke, spoken by Simeon while holding the baby Jesus when he felt he was ready to be dismissed into the afterlife ("he had seen the light"). Often used in the same way the phrase Eureka is used, as a jubilant exclamation of revelation.
nunc est bibendum "now is the time to drink" Carpe-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).
nunc pro tunc "now for then" Something that has retroactive effect, is effective from an earlier date.
nunc scio quid sit amor "now I know what love is" From Virgil, Eclogues VIII.
nunquam non paratus "never unprepared" Motto of the Scottish clan Johnston


Latin Translation Notes
o homines ad servitutem paratos "Men fit to be slaves!" Attributed (in Tacitus, Annales, III, 65) to the Emperor Tiberius, in disgust at the servile attitude of Roman senators. Used of those who should be leaders but instead slavishly follow the lead of others.
o tempora, o mores! "O, the times! O, the morals!", "Oh the times! Oh the morals!" Also translated "What times! What customs!". From Marcus Tullius Cicero, Catilina I, 1, 2.
obiit (ob.) "one died" "He died" or "she died", an inscription on gravestones. ob. also sometimes stands for obiter ("in passing" or "incidentally").
obit anus, abit onus "The old woman dies, the burden is lifted" Arthur Schopenhauer.
obiter dictum "a thing said in passing" In 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.
obscuris vera involvens "the truth being enveloped by obscure things" From Virgil.
obscurum per obscurius "the obscure by means of the more obscure" An explanation that is less clear than what it tries to explain. Synonymous with ignotum per ignotius.
oculus dexter (O.D.) "right eye" Ophthalmologist shorthand.
oculus sinister (O.S.) "left eye" Ophthalmologist shorthand.
oderint dum metuant "let them hate, so long as they fear" Attributed by Seneca the Younger to the playwright Lucius Accius, and said to be a favourite saying of Caligula.
odi et amo "I hate and I love", "I hate (her), and I love (her)" The opening 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 and am tormented.").
odi profanum vulgus et arceo "I hate the unholy rabble and keep them away" From Horace.
odium theologicum "theological hatred" A name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes.
omne ignotum pro magnifico "every unknown thing [is taken] for great" Or "everything unknown appears magnificent".
omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina "everything said [is] stronger if said in Latin" Or "everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin". A more common phrase with the same meaning is quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
omnia munda mundis "everything [is] pure to the pure [men]" From The New Testament.
omnia praesumuntur legitime facta donec probetur in contrarium "all things are presumed to be lawfully done, until it is shown [to be] in the reverse" In other words, "innocent until proven guilty".
omnium gatherum "gathering of all" A miscellaneous collection or assortment. Often used facetiously.
onus probandi "burden of proof"
opera omnia "all works" The collected works of an author.
opera posthuma "posthumous works" Works published after the author's death.
opere citato (op. cit.) "in the work (already) cited", "in the work that was cited" Used in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used.
ophidia in herba "a snake in the grass" Any hidden danger or unknown risk.
ora et labora "pray and work" The motto of Order of Saint Benedict as well as the motto of the Dalhousie Law School, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
ora pro nobis "pray for us"
oratio directa "direct speech"
oratio obliqua "indirect speech"
orbis non sufficit "the world does not suffice"
"the world is not enough"
Originates from Juvenal's Tenth Satire, 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.
ordo ab chao "Out of chaos, comes order" The phrase is one of the oldest mottos of Craft Freemasonry.
orta recens quam pura nites "newly risen, how brightly you shine" Motto of New South Wales.


Latin Translation Notes
pace "with peace" Loosely, "be at peace", "with due deference to", "by leave of" or "no offense to". Used to politely acknowledge someone who disagrees with the speaker or writer.
pace tua "with your peace" Thus, "with your permission".
pacta sunt servanda "agreements must be kept" Also "contracts must be honored". Indicates the binding power of treaties.
panem et circenses "bread and circuses", "bread and circus plays" From Juvenal, Satires 10, 81. Originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob, and today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters.
pari passu "with equal step" Thus, "moving together", "simultaneously", etc.
parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus "the mountains are in labour, and a ridiculous mouse shall be born" I.e. "much ado about nothing"; from Horace.
parva sub ingenti "the small under the huge" Implies that the weak are under the protection of the strong, rather than that they are inferior. Motto of Prince Edward Island.
pater familias "father of the family" Or "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.
pater patriae "Father of the Nation"
pater, peccavi "father, I have sinned" The traditional beginning of a Roman Catholic confession.
pauca sed matura "few, but ripe" From The King and I by Rogers and Hammerstein. Said to be one of Carl Gauß's favorite quotations.
pauca sed bona "few, but good"
pax aut bellum "Peace or War" The motto of the Gunn Clan.
pax Dei "peace of God" Used in the Peace and Truce of God movement in 10th-Century France.
pax deorum "Peace of the gods" Like 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 et bonum "peace and the good" Motto of St. Francis of Assisi and, consequently, of his monastery in Assisi, in the Umbria region of Italy. Translated in Italian as pace e bene.
pax et lux "peace and light" Motto of Tufts University.
pax maternum, ergo pax familiarum "peace of mothers, therefore peace of families" If the mother is peaceful, then the family is peaceful.
Pax Romana "Roman Peace" A period of relative prosperity and lack of conflict in the early Roman Empire; the peace forcefully imposed by the Roman Empire
pax tecum

pax vobiscum
"peace [be] with you" (sg./pl.) A common farewell.
pecunia non olet "money doesn't smell", "money has no odor" According to Suetonius, 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, domina "if you can use money, money is your slave; if you can't, money is your master" Written on an old Latin tablet in downtown Verona (Italy).
pendent opera interrupta "the work hangs interrupted" From the Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV.
per annum (p.a.) "through a/the year"; "per year"
per ardua "through adversity" Motto of the British RAF Regiment
per ardua ad astra "through adversity to the stars" Motto of the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The phrase was derived from H. Rider Haggard's famous novel The People of the Mist, and was selected and approved as a motto for the Royal Flying Corps on 15 March 1913. In 1929, the Royal Australian Air Force decided to adopt it as well.
per aspera ad astra "through hardships to the stars" From Seneca the Younger. Motto of NASA and the South African Air Force. A common variant, ad astra per aspera ("to the stars through hardships"), is the state motto of Kansas.
per capsulam "through the small box" That is, "by letter".
per caput

per capita
"through a head"

"through the heads"
"per head", i.e. "per person"
per contra "through the contrary" Or "on the contrary" (cf. a contrario).
per curiam "by [the] court" Legal term meaning "by the court", as in a per curiam decision.
per definitionem "through the definition" Thus, "by definition".
per diem "through a day" Thus, "per day". A specific amount of money an organization allows an individual to spend per day, typically for travel expenses.
per mensem "through a month" Thus, "per month", or "monthly".
per os (p.o.) "through the mouth" Medical shorthand for "by mouth".
per procurationem (p.p.) "through the agency" I.e. "through the agency (of ...)". Used to indicate that a person is signing a document on behalf of another person. Correctly placed before the name of the person signing.
per quod "by reason of which" In 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 "through the rectum" Medical shorthand. See also per os.
per se "through itself" Also "by itself" or "in itself". Without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc.
per stirpes "through the roots" Used in wills to indicate that each "branch" of the testator's family should inherit equally.
Contrasted with per capita.
per veritatem vis "through truth, strength" Motto of Washington University in St. Louis.
perpetuum mobile "thing in perpetual motion" A musical term. Also used to refer to hypothetical perpetual motion machines.
persona non grata "person not pleasing", "person not wanted" An 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.
petitio principii "request of the beginning" 'begging the principle', 'begging the question'; a logical fallacy in which a proposition to be proved is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises.
pia desideria "pious longings" Or "pious desires", "dutiful desires".
pia fraus "pious fraud" Or "pious betrayal", "dutiful deceit". Expression from Ovid. Used to describe deception which serves Church purposes.
pia mater "pious mother" Or "tender mother". Translated into Latin from Arabic. The delicate innermost of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
pinxit "one painted" Thus, "he painted this" or "she painted this". Formerly used on works of art, next to the artist's name.
pluralis majestatis "plural of majesty" The first-person plural pronoun when used by an important personage to refer to himself or herself.
pollice verso "with a turned thumb" Used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator. It is uncertain whether the thumb was turned up, down, or concealed inside one's hand. [2]
pons asinorum "bridge of asses" Any obstacle that stupid people find hard to cross. Originally used of Euclid's Fifth Proposition in geometry.
Pontifex Maximus "Greatest High Priest" Originally an epithet of the Roman Emperors, and later a traditional epithet of the Pope. The pontifices were the most important priestly college of the ancient Roman religion; their name is usually thought to derive from pons facere ("to make a bridge").
posse comitatus "to be able to attend"

"power of the county"
Thus, to be able to be made into part of a retinue or force. In common law, posse comitatus is a sheriff's right to compel people to assist law enforcement in unusual situations.
post aut propter "after it or by means of it" Causality between two phenomena is not established (cf. post hoc, ergo propter hoc).
post cibum (p.c.) "after food" Medical shorthand for "after meals" (cf. ante cibum).
post coitum omne animal triste est sive gallus et mulie "after sexual intercourse every animal is sad, except the cock (rooster) and the woman" Attributed to Galen of Pergamum.
post facto "after the fact"
post hoc ergo propter hoc, post hoc, ergo propter hoc "after this, therefore because of this" A 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 midday", "after noon" The period from noon to midnight (cf. ante meridiem).
post mortem "after death"
post scriptum (p.s.) "after what has been written", "post script" A 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 "after darkness, light" A motto of the Protestant Reformation inscribed on the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland. A former motto of Chile, replaced by the current one, Por la Razón o la Fuerza (Spanish: "By Right or Might"). Another obsolete motto is aut concilio aut ense.
praemonitus praemunitus "forewarned is forearmed."
prima facie "at first sight" Used to designate evidence in a trial which is suggestive, but not conclusive, of something (e.g. a person's guilt).
prima luce "at dawn" Literally "at first light"
primum mobile "first moving thing" Or "first thing able to be moved". See primum movens.
primum movens "prime mover" Or "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 nocere "first, to not harm", "first, do no harm" A medical precept; attributed to Hippocrates, 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 pares "first among equals" A title of the Roman emperors (cf. princeps).
principia probant non probantur "principles prove; they are not proved" Fundamental principles require no proof; they are assumed a priori.
prior tempore potior iure "earlier in time, stronger in law" A legal principle that older laws take precedent over newer ones. Another name for this principle is lex posterior.
pro bono (publico) "for the (public) good" Said of work undertaken voluntarily at no expense, such as public services.
pro Brasilia fiant eximia "let exceptional things be made for Brazil" Motto of São Paulo state, Brazil. See also non ducor duco.
pro Deo et patria "For God and Country" Motto of American University.
pro forma "for form" Or "as a matter of form". Prescribing a set form or procedure, or performed in a set manner.
pro hac vice "for this occasion" Request of a state court to allow an out-of-state lawyer to represent a client.
pro multis "for many" It is part of the Rite of Consecration of the wine in the Western Christian tradition, as part of the Mass.
pro patria "for country"
pro rata "for the rate" i.e. proportionately, e.g. per hour
pro re nata "for a thing that has been born" Medical shorthand for "as the occasion arises" or "as needed".
pro studio et labore "for study and work"
pro se "for oneself" to defend oneself in court without counsel
pro tanto "for so much" Denotes something that has only been partially fulfilled. A philosophical term indicating the acceptance of a theory or idea without fully accepting the explanation
pro tempore "for the time" I.e. "temporarily"; equivalent to English phrase "for the time being". Denotes a temporary current situation.
probatio pennae "testing of the pen" A Medieval Latin term for breaking in a new pen.
profanum vulgus "the uninitiated masses" from Horace
propria manu (p.m.) "by own hand", "by one's own hand"
propter vitam vivendi perdere causas "to destroy the reasons for living for the sake of life" That is, to squander life's purpose just in order to stay alive, and live a meaningless life. From Juvenal, Satyricon VIII, verses 83–84.
provehito in altum "launch forward into the deep" Motto of the band 30 Seconds to Mars..
proxime accessit "he came next" The runner-up.
proximo mense "in the following month" Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the next month.
pulvis et umbra sumus "we are dust and shadow" From Horace, Carmina book IV, 7, 16.
punctum saliens "(the) leaping point" That is, the essential or most notable point.


Latin Translation Notes
qua patet orbis "as far as the world extends" Motto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps.
quaecumque vera "whatever is true" Motto of the University of Alberta. Taken from Phillipians 4:8 of the Bible
quaerite primum regnum Dei "seek ye first the kingdom of God" Motto of Newfoundland and Labrador.
qualis artifex pereo "as what kind of artist do I perish?" Or "what an artist dies with me!". Attributed to Nero by Suetonius.
quamdiu bene gesserit Legal Latin: "as long as he shall have behaved well" I.e. "[while on] good behavior". From which Frank Herbert extracted the name for the sisterhood in the Dune novels.
quantum libet (q.l.) "as much as pleases" Medical shorthand for "as much as you wish".
quantum sufficit "as much as needed", "as much as will suffice" Medical shorthand.
quaque hora "every hour" Medical shorthand.
quare clausum fregit "wherefore he broke the close" An action of tresspass; 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 "four times a day" Medical shorthand.
quem di diligunt adulescens moritur "he whom the gods love dies young" Other 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 iuris "I ask what law?" From the Summoner's section of Chaucer's General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, line 648.
qui tacet consentire videtur "he who is silent is taken to agree" Thus, 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".
qui transtulit sustinet "he who transplanted still sustains" Or "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 suspiciore vacare vellet "because he should wish even his wife to be free from suspicion" Attributed 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 rhetorian 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 est veritas "What is truth?" In the Vulgate translation of John 18:38, Pontius Pilate's question to Jesus.
quid novi ex Africa? "what of the new out of Africa?" Less literally, "what's new out of Africa?", "what's new from Africa?" Derived from an Aristotle quotation.
quid pro quo "what for what" Also translated "this for that" or "a thing for a thing"; i.e. a favor for a favor.

Trivia: The expression "quid pro quo" is not used in Italian. An exchange of favours is indicated by "do ut des", another Latin expression meaning "I give in order that you give".
quid nunc? "what now?"
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur "whatever has been said in Latin seems deep" Or "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.
quis custodiet ipsos custodes? "Who will guard the guards themselves?" From Juvenal's Satire VI: On Women, originally 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?" This translation is a common epigraph, such as of the Tower Commission and Alan Moore's Watchmen comic book series.
quis ut Deus "Who [is] as God?" Usually translated "Who is like unto God?" Questions who would have the audacity to compare himself to a Supreme Being.
quo errat demonstrator "where the prover errs" A pun on quod erat demonstrandum.
quo fata ferunt "where the fates bear us to" Motto of Bermuda.
quo usque tandem "For how much longer?" From Cicero's Ad Catilinam speech 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 vadis? "where are you going?" According to John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, quo vadis ("Lord, where are you going?"; KJV: "Lord, whither goest thou?") on the Appian Way in Rome.
quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.) "which was to be demonstrated" The 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 done" Or "which was to be constructed". Used by Euclid in his Elements when there was nothing to prove, but there was something be constructed, for example a triangle with the same size as a given line.
quod est (q.e.) "which is"
quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur "what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason" If no grounds have been given for an assertion, there is no need to provide grounds for contradicting it.
quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi "what is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an ox" If 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 destruit "what nourishes me destroys me" Thought 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. In this case the phrase is literally describing food.
quod natura non dat, Salmantica non praestat "what nature does not give, Salamanca does not provide" Refers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.
quod vide (q.v.) "which see" Used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book.
For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae vide (qq.v.).
quomodo vales? "how are you?"
quot homines, tot sententiae "how many people, so many opinions" Or "there are as many opinions as there are people".
quousque tandem? "for how much longer?" From Cicero's speech to the Roman senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? i.e. "For how much longer, Catilina, will you abuse our patience?".


Latin Translation Notes
radix malorum est cupiditas "the root of evils is desire" Or "greed is the root of all evil". Theme of the Pardoner's Tale from The Canterbury Tales.
rara avis "rare bird", "a rare bird" An extraodinary or unusual thing. From Juvenal's Satires: rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno ("a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan").
ratio decidendi "reasoning for the decision" The legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose a judgment's rationale.
ratio legis "reasoning of law" A law's foundation or basis.
ratione soli "by account of the ground" Or "according to the soil". Assigning property rights to a thing based on its presence on a landowner's property.
rebus sic stantibus "with matters standing thus" The doctrine that treaty obligations hold only as long as the fundamental conditions and expectations that existed at the time of their creation hold.
reductio ad absurdum "leading back to the absurd", "reduction to absurdity" A 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 "" (hi eis atopon apagogi, "reduction to the impossible").
reductio ad infinitum "leading back to the infinite" An 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.
regnat populus "the people rule" State motto of Arkansas, adopted in 1907; originally rendered in 1864 in the plural, regnant populi ("the peoples rule"), but subsequently changed to the singular.
repetitio est mater studiorum "repetition is the mother of study"
requiescat in pace (R.I.P.) "let him rest in peace", "may he rest in peace" A benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers.
rerum cognoscere causas "to learn the causes of things" Motto of the University of Sheffield, the University of Guelph, and London School of Economics.
res gestae "things done" (1) A 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. (2) In history, a Latin biography
res ipsa loquitur "the thing speaks for itself" A 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 judicata "judged thing" A 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 nullius "nobody's thing" Goods 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 (cf. terra nullius, "no man's land").
respice finem "look back at the end" i.e., "have regard for the end" or "consider the end". Generally a memento mori, a warning to remember one's death.
respiciendum est iudicanti ne quid aut durius aut remissius constituatur quam causa deposcit nec enim aut severitatis aut clementiae gloria affectanda est "the judge must see that no order be made or judgment given or sentence passed either more harshly or more mildly than the case requires; he must not seek renown, either as a severe or as a tender-hearted judge" A maxim on the conduct of judges.
respondeat superior "let the superior respond" Regarded as a legal maxim in agency law, referring to the legal liability of the principal with respect to an employee. Whereas a hired independent contract 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.
rex regum fidelum et "king even of faithful kings" Latin motto that appears on the crest of the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul and Jan Crouch.
rigor mortis "stiffness of death" The 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").
rosa rubicundior, lilio candidior, omnibus formosior, semper in te glorior "redder than the rose, whiter than the lilies, fairer than all things, I do ever glory in thee", "redder than the rose, whiter than the lilies, fairer than everything, I will always glory in thee."
rus in urbe "farm in the city" Generally used to refer to a haven of peace and quiet within an urban setting, often a garden, but can refer to interior decoration.


Latin Translation Notes
saltus in demonstrando "leap in explaining", "leap in demonstration"
salus populi suprema lex esto "the welfare of the people is to be the highest law" From 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 and of Harrow.
salva veritate "with truth preserved", "with truth intact"
Salvator Mundi "Savior of the World" Christian 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 omission" Or, "except for errors and omissions". Used as a reservation on statements of financial accounts, appears on statements of "account currents".
salvo honoris titulo (SHT) "save for title of honor"
sancta sedes
Sancta Sedes
"(the) Holy Chair" More literally, "Sacred Seat". Refers to the Papacy or the Holy See.
Sancta Simplicitas "Holy Innocence" Or "Sacred Simplicity".
sapere aude "dare to know", "dare to be wise" From Horace's Epistularum liber primus, Epistle II, line 40. Popularized by its use in Immanuel Kant's What is Enlightenment? to define the Enlightenment. Frequently used in mottos, such as for some schools.
sapientia et doctrina "Wisdom and Learning" Motto of Fordham University, New York.
sapienti sat "enough for the wise" From 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").
sedes apostolica "apostolic chair", "the Apostolic Chair" The Papacy or the Holy See.
Synonymous with Sancta Sedes.
sedes incertae seat (i.e. location) uncertain Used 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.
sede vacante "with the seat being vacant" The "seat" is the Holy See, and the vacancy refers to the interregnum between two popes.
semper excelsius "always higher" Motto of the K.A.V. Lovania Leuven.
semper fidelis "always faithful" Motto of Exeter and several other cities; more recently has become the motto of United States Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers. Also the motto of the Rot-Weiß Oberhausen and Plymouth Argyle football clubs.
semper paratus "always prepared" Motto of the United States Coast Guard and the United States Cavalry's 12th Regiment.
semper reformanda "always reforming" A shortened form of a motto of the Protestant Reformation, Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est secundu Verbum Dei ("the reformed Church must be always reforming according to the Word of God"), which refers to the Protestant position that the church must continually re-examine itself, reconsider its doctrines, and be prepared to accept change, in order to conform more closely to orthodox Christian belief as revealed in the Bible. The shortened form, semper reformanda, literally means "always about to be reformed", but the usual translation is taken from the full sentence where it is used in a passive periphrastic construction to mean "always reforming."
senatus populusque Romanus (SPQR) "the Senate and the People of Rome" I.e. "the Aristocrats and the Commoners", the official name of the Roman Republic. "SPQR" was carried on battle standards by the Roman legions. In addition to being an ancient Roman motto, it remains the motto of the modern city of Rome.
sensu stricto "in the strict sense" cf. stricto sensu
servus servorum Dei "servant of the servants of God" A title for the Pope.
sesquipedalia verba "words a foot and a half long" Long and complicated words that are used without necessity.
From Horace's Ars Poetica, "proicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba" ("he throws down his high-flown language and his foot-and-a-half-long words").
si monumentum requiris, circumspice
si quaeris monumentum, circumspice
si monumenta quaeris, circumspice
"if you seek a memorial, look around" From the inscription of Christopher Wren's tomb in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral (“Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice.”)
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas "if we refuse to make a mistake, we are deceived, and there's no truth in us" From 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".
si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice "if you seek a delightful peninsula, look around" State motto of Michigan, adopted in 1835, adapted from si monumentum requiris, circumspice.
si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses "If you had kept your silence, you would have stayed a philosopher" This 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" A common beginning for ancient Roman letters. Also extended to si vales bene est ego valeo ("if you are well, that is good; I am well"), abbreviated to SVBEEV. The practice fell out of fashion and into obscurity with the decline in Latin literacy.
si vis pacem para bellum "if you want peace, prepare for war" From Vegetius, Epitoma rei militaris. Origin of the name parabellum for some ammunition and firearms, such as the luger parabellum.
sic et non "thus and not" More simply, "yes and no".
sic infit "so it begins"
sic itur ad astra "thus you shall go to the stars" Meaning "that's how to achieve fame". From Virgil, Aeneid book IX, line 641. Possibly the source of the ad astra phrases.
sic passim "thus here and there", "thus in various places" Used when referencing books; see passim.
sic semper tyrannis "thus always to tyrants" State motto of Virginia, adopted in 1776. Attributed 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.
sic transit gloria mundi "thus passes the glory of the world" From the Bible. A 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 Roman triumphs whispering "memento mori".
sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas "use [what is] yours so as not to harm [what is] of others" Or "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 est "thus is life" Or "such is life". Indicates that a circumstance, whether good or bad, is an inherent aspect of living.
signum fidei "Sign of the Faith" Motto of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, founded by St. John Baptist de la Salle.
silentium est aureum "silence is golden" Latinization of the English expression "silence is golden". Also Latinized as silentium est aurum ("silence is gold").
similia similibus curantur "similar things take care of similar things" Or "like cures like". Said by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy.
sine anno (s.a.) "without (a) year" Used in bibliographies to indicate that the date of publication of a document is unknown.
sine die "without a day", "without a (set) day" Originally from old common law texts, where it indicates that a final, dispositive order has been made in the case: there is nothing left for the court to do, so no date for further proceedings is set.
sine ira et studio "without anger and fondness" Thus, impartially. From Tacitus, Annals 1.1.
sine loco (s.l.) "without (a) place" Used in bibliographies to indicate that the place of publication of a document is unknown.
sine nomine (s.n.) "without (a) name" Used in bibliographies to indicate that the publisher of a document is unknown.
sine qua non "without which not" Used to denote something that is an essential part of the whole. See also condicio sine qua non.
sine scientia ars nihil est "without knowledge, skill is nothing" Motto of The International Diving Society.
sit tibi terra levitas (S.T.T.L.) "may the earth rest lightly on you" A benediction for the dead, often inscribed on tombstones or other gravestones.
sit venia verbo "may there be forgiveness for the word" Or "with apologies for the word"; similar to the English idiom "pardon my French".
sola fide "by faith alone" The 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 gratia "by grace alone" A 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 scriptura "by scripture alone" The 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.
soli Deo gloria (S.D.G.) "glory to God alone" A 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).
solus Christus "Christ alone" A 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 ipse "I alone"
spectemur agendo "let us be judged by our deeds" Motto of the South African College School (SACS) and many other institutions.
spem reduxit "he has restored hope" Motto of New Brunswick.
spes anchora vitae "hope is the anchor of [my] life" Motto of the Doran family.
spiritus mundi "spirit of the world" From 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 spirat "the spirit spreads wherever it wants" From El espiritu donde quiera se infunde by Fernando Porturas ( Refers to The Gospel of Saint John, 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 occasu "brightness without setting" Loosely "splendour without diminishment" or "magnificence without ruin". Motto of British Columbia.
stamus contra malo "we stand against by evil" The 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 pede "with a standing foot" "immediately"
stare decisis "to stand by the decided things" To uphold previous rulings, recognize precedent.
status quo "the state to which" The current condition or situation.
status quo ante "the state to which before", "the state that was before" The state of affairs or situation prior to some upsetting event.
stipendium peccati mors est "the reward of sin is death" From Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.
strenuis ardus cedunt "the heights yield to endeavour" Motto on the coat of arms of the University of Southampton, England.
stricto sensu "in the strict sense" cf. sensu stricto
stupor mundi "the wonder of the world" The title by which Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was known. More literally translated "the bewilderment of the world", or, in its original, pre-Medieval sense, "the stupidity of the world".
sua sponte "by its own accord" Motto of the U.S. Army Rangers. Also a legal term.
sub cruce lumen "The Light Under the Cross" Motto of the University of Adelaide, Australia. Refers to the figurative "light of learning" and the Southern Cross constellation, Crux.
sub judice "under a judge" Said of a case that cannot be publicly discussed until it is finished.
Also sub iudice.
sub poena "under penalty" Said of a request, usually by a court, that must be complied to on pain of punishment.
sub rosa "under the rose" "in secret", "secretly", "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 specie aeternitatis "under the sight of eternity" Thus, "from eternity's point of view". From Baruch Spinoza, Ethics.
sub verbo, sub voce (s.v.) "Under the word" Under the word or heading, as in a dictionary
sui generis "of its (own) kind" In a class of its own.
sui juris
sui iuris
"of one's own right" Capable of responsibility. Has both legal and ecclesiastical use.
sum quod eris "I am what you will be" A 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 eris / fui quod sis "I am what you will be / I was what you are" gravestone incriptions that remind the reader of the inevitability of death.
Also see tu fui, ego eris.
summa cum laude "with highest praise"
summum bonum "the supreme good" Literally "highest good".
Compare summum malum ("the supreme evil").
summum malum "the supreme evil"
sunt lacrimae rerum "there are tears for things" From 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 unum "they are all one"
sunt pueri pueri, pueri puerilia tractant "boys are boys, and boys do boyish things"
suo jure "in one's own right" Used 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.
supero omnia "I surpass everything" A declaration that one succeeds above all others.
suum cuique tribuere "to render to every man his due" One of Justinian I's three basic precepts of law. Also shortened to suum cuique ("to each his own").


Latin Translation Notes
tabula rasa "scraped tablet" Thus, "(a) blank slate". Romans used to write on wax-covered wooden tablets, which were erased by scraping with the flat end of the stylus.
John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge.
tabula gratulatoria "congratulatory tablet" A list of congratulations.
talis qualis "just as such" "such as it is" or "as such".
taliter qualiter "somewhat"
tanquam ex ungue leonem "we know the lion by his claw" We may recognize the whole by looking at a part. Said in 1697 by Johann Bernoulli about Isaac Newton's anonymously submitted solution to Bernoulli's challenge regarding the Brachistochrone curve.
technica impendi nationi "Technology impulses nations" Motto of Technical University of Madrid
temet nosce "know thyself" Recently amalgamated into popular culture by a character, The Oracle, in the Wachowski Brothers' 1999 film The Matrix.
Tempora Heroica "(the) Heroic Age" Literally "Heroic Times". Refers to the period of time between the mythological Titanomachy and the (relatively) historical Trojan War.
tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis "the times are changing, and we change in them" From Lothair I.
tempus edax rerum "time, devourer of all things" Also "time, that devours all things", or more literally, "time, devouring of things". From Ovid.
tempus fugit "time flees" Commonly mistranslated as "time flies" due to the similar phrase tempus volat hora fugit.
tempus rerum imperator "time, commander of all things"
tempus vernum "summer time" Name of song by popular Irish singer Enya
tempus volat hora fugit "time flies, the hour flees" Or "time speeds while the hour escapes".
teneo te Africa "I hold you, Africa!" Suetonius attributes this to Julius Caesar, from when Caesar was on the African coast.
ter in die "thrice in a day" Medical shorthand for "three times a day".
terminus ante quem "limit before which" In archaeology or history, refers to the date before which an artifact or feature must have been deposited. Used with terminus post quem ("limit after which"). Similarly, teminus 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 incognito "unknown southern land" First name used to refer to the Australian continent.
terra firma "solid land" Often used to refer to the ground.
terra incognita "unknown land"
terra nova "new land" Also latin 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 nullius "land of none" That is, no man's land. A neutral or uninhabited area, or a land not under the sovereignty of any recognized political entity.
terras irradient "let them illuminate the lands" Or "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 datur "a third is not given" More loosely, "no third is given". A logical axiom that a claim is either true or false, with no third option.
tertium quid "a third something" 1. 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.
timeo Danaos et dona ferentes "I fear Greeks, even bearing gifts" Danaos 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 ferentis, quidquid id est meaning "whatever it is" and ferentis being an archaic form of ferentes. Commonly mistranslated "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts".
timidi mater non flet "A coward's mother does not weep" A Latin proverb. Occasionally appears on loading screens in the game Rome: Total War.
timor mortis conturbat me "the fear of death confounds me" A Latin refrain 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.
translatio imperii "transfer of rule" Used to express the belief in the transfer of imperial authority from the Roman Empire of antiquity to the Medieval Holy Roman Empire.
treuga Dei
tregua Dei
"Truce of God" A decree by the medieval Church that all feuds should be cancelled during the Sabbath—effectively from Wednesday or Thursday night until Monday.
tu autem "you also" Also "even you" or "yes, you", in response to a person's belief that he will never die. A memento mori epitaph.
Compare memento mori.
tu autem Domine miserere nobis "But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us" Phrase said at the end of biblical readings in the liturgy of the medieval church.
tu fui, ego eris "I was you; you will be me" Thus, "what you are, I was; what I am, you will be". A memento mori gravestone inscription to remind the reader that death is unavoidable.
tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito "you should not give in to evils, but proceed ever more boldly against them" From Virgil, Aeneid, 6, 95.
tu quoque "you too" The logical fallacy of attempting to defend one's position merely by pointing out the same weakness in one's opponent. If a politician is criticized for advocating an inadequately-funded plan, and replies that his or her opponent's plan is equally inadequately funded, this is a 'tu quoque' argument: undermining the counterproposal on the same basis does not make the original plan any more satisfactory. Tu quoque may also refer to a "hypocrisy" argument, a form of ad hominem where a claim is dismissed as untrue on the basis that the claimant has contradicted his own advice. While contradiction may make the claimant's argument unsound, it does necessarily not make his claims untrue. It comes from the supposed last words of Julius Caesaer ("Et tu, Brute?")


Latin Translation Notes
uberrima fides "most abundant faith" Or "utmost good faith" (cf. bona fide). A legal maxim of insurance contracts requiring all parties to deal in good faith.
ubertas et fidelitas Motto of Tasmania.
ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est "where there is charity and love, God is there"
ubi mel, ibi apes "where [there is] honey, there [are] bees"
ubi non accusator, ibi non iudex "where [there is] no accuser, there [is] no judge" Thus, there can be no judgement 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 re vera "when, in a true thing" Or "whereas, in reality..." Also rendered ubi revera ("when, in fact" or "when, actually").
ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant "where they make a wasteland, they call it peace" From Tacitus, Agricola, ch. 30.
una salus victis nullam sperare salutem "the only safety for the conquered is to hope for no safety" Less 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 Clark translates it as "the one hope of the doomed is not to hope for safety".
ultimo mense "in the last month" Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the previous month.
ultima ratio "last method" The last resort.
Louis XIV of France had Ultima Ratio Regum ("(the) last resort of kings") engraved on the cannons of his armies.
ultra vires "beyond powers" "Without authority".
uno flatu "in one breath" Used in criticism of inconsistent pleadings, ie. "one cannot argue uno flatu both that the company does not exist and that it is also responsible for the wrong."
unus multorum "one of many" An average person.
Urbi et Orbi "to 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.
urbi et orbi "to the city (of Rome) and to the globe" Standard opening of Roman proclamations; also a traditional blessing by the Pope.
usus magister est optimus practice makes perfect
ut biberent, quoniam esse nollent

ut biberent, quando esse nollent
"so that they might drink, since they refused to eat"

"so that they might drink, when they refused to eat"
From a story by Suetonius (Vit. Tib. 2.2) and Cicero (De Natura Deorum, 2.3). The phrase was said by Roman admiral Publius Claudius Pulcher right before the battle of Drepana, as he threw overboard the sacred chickens which had refused to eat the grain offered them — an unwelcome omen of bad luck. Thus the sense is, "if they do not perform as expected, they must suffer the consequences".
ut incepit fidelis sic permanet "as she began loyal, so she persists" Thus, the state remains as loyal as ever. Motto of Ontario.
ut desint vires tamen est laudanda voluntas "though the power be lacking, the will is to be praised all the same" From Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto (III, 4, 79).
ut infra "as below"
ut prosim "That I may serve" Motto of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
ut res magis valeat quam pereat "That the matter may have effect rather than fail"
ut retro "as backwards" Or "as on the back side"; thus, "as on the previous page" (cf. ut supra).
ut sit finis litium "So there might be an end of litigation" A 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 supra "as above"


Latin Translation Notes
vade ad formicam "go to the ant" A Biblical phrase from the Book of Proverbs. The full quotation translates as "go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn wisdom".
vade retro! "go back!" I.e. "step back!", "begone!". From Terence, Formio I, 4, 203.
vade retro, Satana! "go back, Satan!" An exhortation for Satan to begone, often used in response to temptation. From a popular Medieval Catholic exorcism formula, (apparently) based on a rebuke by Jesus to Saint Peter in the Vulgate New Testament, Mark 8:33: vade retro me, Satana! ("step back from me, Satan!").
vae victis "Woe to the conquered!" Attributed by Livy to Brennus, the chief of the Gauls, while he demanded more gold from the citizens of the recently-sacked Rome in 390 BC.
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas "vanity of vanities; everything [is] vanity" More simply, "vanity, vanity, everything vanity". From the Vulgate, Ecclesiastes, 1:2.
vaticinium ex eventu "prophecy from the event" A prophecy made to look as though it was written before the events it describes, while in fact being written afterwards.
vel non "or not" Summary of alternatives, i.e. "this action turns upon whether the claimant was the deceased's grandson vel non."
velocius quam asparagi coquantur "more rapidly than asparagus will be cooked" Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". Ascribed to Augustus by Suetonius (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Book 2 (Augustus), para. 87). Can refer to anything done very quickly. A very common variant is celerius quam asparagi cocuntur ("more swiftly than asparagus is cooked").
veni, vidi, vici "I came, I saw, I conquered" The text of a message sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe his battle against King Pharnaces II of Pontus near Zela in 47 BC.
vera causa "true cause", "the true cause (of)"
verba ita sunt intelligenda ut res magis valeat quam pereat "words are to be understood such that the subject matter may be more effective than wasted" A legal maxim.
verba volant, scripta manent "words fly away, writings remain"
verbatim et litteratim "word by word and letter by letter"
verbi divini minister "servant of the divine word" Less literallly, "servant of the word of God". A priest (cf. verbum Dei).
verbum Dei "Word of God"
verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA) "the word of the Lord endures forever" Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.
veritas omnia vincit "truth defeats all things" Motto of Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario.
veritas, unitas, caritas "truth, unity, love" Motto of Villanova University.
veritas vos liberabit "the truth will set you free", "the truth shall set you free" Motto of Johns Hopkins University.
veritate et virtute "with truth and courage" Motto of Sydney Boys High School.
vi veri universum vivus vici "by the power of truth, I, a living man, have conquered the universe" From Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Note that v was originally the consonantal u, and was written the same before the two forms became distinct, and also after in many cases, when u and v were both capitalized as V: thus, Vniversum.
via media "middle path", "middle road" The Anglican Communion or Church of England has claimed to be a via media between the errors of the Roman Catholic Church or Roman Catholicism and the extremes of Protestantism. Can also refer to the radical middle political stance.
via, veritas, vitae "way, truth, life" The motto of the University of Glasgow.
vice versa "with position turned", "with places exchanged" Thus, "the other way around", "conversely", etc.
victoria aut mors "victory or death!" See aut vincere aut mori.
victoria concordia crescit "Victory comes from harmony" The official club motto of Arsenal FC.
victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni "the victorious cause pleased the gods, but the conquered cause pleased Cato" Lucanus, Pharsalia 1, 128. Dedication on the south side of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
vide infra (v.i.) "see below"
vide supra (v.s.) "see above"
video meliora proboque deteriora sequor "I see and approve of the better things, but I follow the inferior things" Choosing to consciously follow the worse of two options.
video et taceo "I see and keep silent" the motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
video sed non credo "I see it, but I don't believe it" Caspar Hofmann after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
vim promovet insitam "promotes one's innate power" Motto of University of Bristol taken from Horace Ode 4.4.
videre licet "one may see" Used to introduce examples or a listing of something just named.
vincere scis Hannibal victoria uti nescis "you know [how] to win, Hannibal; you do not [how] to use victory" According to Livy, a cavalry colonel told Hannibal this after the victory at Cannae in 216 BC, meaning that Hannibal should have marched on Rome directly.
vincit qui se vincit "he conquers who conquers himself" Or "he who prevails over himself is victorious".
virtus unita fortior "virtue united [is] stronger" State motto of Andorra.
virtute et armis "by virtue and arms" Or "by manhood and weapons". State motto of Mississippi. Possibly derived from the motto of Lord Gray De Wilton, virtute non armis fido ("I trust in virtue, not in arms").
vis legis "power of the law"
visio dei "Vision of a god"
vita ante acta "life before the events", "a life done before" Thus, "a previous life", generally due to reincarnation.
viva voce "living voice" An oral, as opposed to a written, examination of a candidate.
vivat, crescat, floreat! "may he/she/it live, grow and flourish!"
vivat Rex! "may the King live!" Usually translated "long live the King!"
vive ut vivas "live so that you may live" The phrase essentially means that one should live life to the fullest and without fear of a possible future consequence.
vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit "called and not called, God will be present", or "called and even not called, God approaches" Attributed to the Oracle at Delphi. Used by Carl Jung as a personal motto adorning his home and grave.
volenti non fit injuria "to one willing, no harm is done" or "to he who consents, no harm is done used in tort law to delineate the principle that one cannot be held liable for injuries inflicted on an individual who has given his consent to the action that gave rise to the injury.
votum separatum "separate vow" An independent, minority voice.
vox clamantis in deserto "the voice of one shouting in the desert" Or, traditionally, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"; thus "unheeded", "in vain". From Isaiah 40, and quoted by John the Baptist in the Gospels.
vox nihili "voice of nothing" Useless or ambiguous phrase or statement.
vox populi "voice of the people" Sometimes extended to vox populi, vox Dei ("the voice of the people [is] the voice of God"). In its original context, the extended version means the opposite of what it's frequently taken to mean: the source is usually given as the monk Alcuin, who advised Charlemagne that nec audiendi qui solent dicere vox populi vox Dei quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit, meaning "And those people should not be listened to who keep saying, 'The voice of the people [is] the voice of God,' since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness." (Works, Letter 164)



  • Adeleye, Gabriel G. (1999). World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. →ISBN
  • Stone, Jon R. (1996). Latin for the Illiterati. London & NY: Routledge, →ISBN.

See also[edit]