Latin Phrases

A sortable, searchable table of Latin phrases in common English use.

PhraseMeaning
A Mari Usque Ad MareFrom sea to sea (Motto of Canada)
A PosterioriReasoning from effects to causes
A PrioriReasoning from causes to effects
Ad AstraTo the stars
Ad EundemOf admission to the same degree at a different university
Ad HocFor this purpose
Ad HominemTo the individual. Relating to the principles or preferences of a particular person, rather than to abstract truth. Often used to describe a personal attack on a person.
Ad LibitumAt one's pleasure, usually abbreviated ad lib
Ad LitemFor a lawsuit or action
Ad NauseumTo a sickening extent
Ad ReferendumSubject to reference
Ad RemTo the point
Ad VitamFor life
Ad Vitam AeternamFor all time
Ad Vitam ParamusWe are preparing for life
Agnus DeiLamb of God
Anno DomineIn the year of our Lord. Usually abbreviated A.D.
Annuit CoeptisHe (God) has favoured our undertakings (part of the great seal of the United States, usually seen on the back of a U.S one dollar bill)
Annus BisextusLeap year
Ante BellumBefore the war. Usually used to describe the United States before the U.S. Civil War (1861-65). Typically spelled antebellum in English.
Ante MeridiemBefore noon. Usually abbreviated A.M.
Armis Exposcere PacemThey demanded peace by force of arms. An inscription seen on medals.
Ars Gratia ArtisArt for art's sake. The motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Audere Est FacereTo dare is to do. Motto of the British football team, Tottenham Hotspur
Bona FideIn good faith, sincerely
Carpe DiemEnjoy the day; pluck the day when it is ripe. Seize the day.
Caveat EmptorLet the buyer beware
Ceteris ParibusAll things being equal
Cogito Ergo SumI think, therefore I am (Rene Descartes)
Corpus DelictiLiterally the body of the crime. The substance or fundamental facts of crime.
De Mortuis Nil Nisi BonumOf the dead say nothing but good.
Dei GratiaBy the grace of God. This appears on all British, Canadian, and other British Commonwealth coins and is usually abbreviated D.G. (see Fidei Defensor and Indiae Imperator)
Deus Ex MachinaLiterally God from a machine. Describes a miraculous or fortuitous turn of events in a work of fiction.
Deus VobiscumGod be with you.
Dies IraeDay of wrath; Day of judgement
Dies natalisBirthday
Discere DocendoTo learn through teaching
Draco Dormiens Nunquam TitillandusNever Tickle a Sleeping Dragon. This is the motto of Harry Potter’s alma mater, Hogwart’s school of witchcraft and wizardry
Dum spiramus tuebimurWhile we breathe, we shall defend. Motto of the U.S 133rd Field Artillery Regiment.
E Pluribus UnumFrom many, one (Motto of United States of America)
Errare Humanum EstTo err is human
Et AliaAnd others
Et CeteraAnd the rest. Often abbreviated etc. or &c.
Ex CathedraFrom the chair, i.e. Speaking from a Bishop's seat or professional chair, speaking with authority. A Cathedra is the seat reserved for a Bishop in a cathedral.
Ex GratiaDone or given as a favour and not under any compulsion
Ex LibrisFrom the Library (of).
Ex OfficioAccording to Office
Ex Post FactoAfter the fact
Ex TemporeOff the cuff, without preparation
Exampli GratiaFor the sake of example, for instance. Usually abbreviated e.g.
Exeunt OmnesAll go out. A common stage direction in plays
Facta Non VerbaDeeds not words
Fide Suorum Regnat"He reigns by the faith of his people" Inscription on the 1939 Canadian silver dollar, minted to commemorate the 1939 Royal tour.
Fidei DefensorDefender of the Faith. This is usually abreviated F.D. or Fid. Def. and appears on the obverse of British coins. (see Dei Gratia)
Flagrante DelictoLiterally while the crime is blazing. Caught red-handed, in the very act of a crime.
Floreat ReginaRegina, may it flourish. The motto of the City of Regina, Saskatchewan Canada.
Gloria In Exelsis DeoLiterally, Glory to God in the highest. Highest in this phrase means heaven, i.e. Glory to God in Heaven
Habeas CorpusLiterally that you have a body. A writ requiring that a detained individual be brought before a court to decide the legality of that individual's detention.
Habemus PapamWe have a father. The cheer raised by the waiting crowds when a pope is elected.
Homo nudus cum nuda iacebatNaked they lay together, man and woman. Quoted in The Name of the Rose, First day, Sext.
Ibid.In the same place (in a book). Abbreviation for ibidem.
IbidemSee ibid.
Id EstThat is to say. Usually abbreviated i.e.
IesusJesus. There is no 'J' in classic Latin.
Iesus Hominum SalvatorUsually abbreviated IHS this means Jesus is the saviour of all people.
Iesus Nazerenus Rex IudaeorumUsually abbreviated INRI. The title card placed on Christ's cross by Pontius Pilate (John 19:19), it means Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
In AbsentiaIn their absence
In ActuIn practice
In CameraIn secret or private session; not in public
In CapiteIn chief
In ExtensoAt full length
In ExtremisIn the last agonies
In Forma PauperisIn the form of a poor person; in a humble or abject manner
In InfinitumTo infinity; without end
In LimineOn the threshold, at the very outset
In LocoIn the place of
In Loco ParentisIn the place of a parent
In Medias ResInto the midst of affairs
In MemoriamTo the memory of
In NubibusIn the clouds; not yet settled
In Partibus InfideliumIn parts inhabited by unbelievers
In PerpetuumTo all time
In PontificalibusIn the proper vestments of a pope or cardinal
In Propria PersonaIn his or her own person
In SituIn its original place; in position
In Statu QuoIn the same state
In TerroremAs a warning; in order to terrify others
In TotoAs a whole, absolutely, Completely
In TransituIn passing, on the way
In UteroIn the uterus
In VacuoIn a vacuum or empty space
In Vino VeritasTruth comes out under the influence of alcohol.
In VitroIn a test tube (literally glass)
In VivoWithin the living organism
Indiae ImperatorEmperor of India. Usually abbreviated Ind. Imp. Appeared on the obverse of British and British Empirecoins before 1948.
Integer Vitae Scelerisque PurusBlameless of life and free from crime
Inter AliaAmongst other things
Inter AliosAmongst other persons
Inter Caesa et PorrectaThere's many a slip twixt cup and lip
Inter NosBetween ourselves
Inter PartesMade between two parties
Inter SeBetween or among themselves
Inter VivosBetween living persons
Ipse DixitUnproven assertion resting on the speaker's authority (literally He himself said)
Lapsus LinguaeA slip of the tongue
Lingua FrancaA common language
Lupus in FabulaSpeak of the devil
Lux Mea ChristusChrist is my light
Manus in ManoHand in hand
Manus Manum LavatLiterally Hand washes Hand. Taken to mean One hand washes the other or scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
Margaritas ante PorcosPearls before swine
Mea CulpaThrough my own fault
Mea Maxima CulpaThrough my very great fault
Melitae AmorLove of Malta
Membrum VirileThe virile member; penis.
Memento MoriA reminder of death, such as a skull (literally remember that you have to die)
Memento VivereA reminder of life (literally remember that you have to live)
Missa SolemnisLiterally, Solemn Mass. The High Mass.
Mitto tibi navem prora puppiquecarentemI send you a ship without a bow or a stern. This is a rebus puzzle by Cicero. A ship, navem, without it’s first and last letter spells ave, which means greetings in Latin.
Mollia Tempora FandiTimes favourable for speaking
Mutatis MutandisWith the necessary changes
Nihil Sub Sole NovumNothing new under the sun
Nolite te Bastardes CarborundorumDon't let the bastards grind you down. Not true Latin, as the word Carborundorum is not true Latin, like copacetic.
Non Compos MentisNot of sound mind.
Non SequiturAn inference or conclusion which doesn't follow from its premises (literally It Does Not Follow)
Non Timetis MessorDon't Fear the Reaper
Nosce te ipsumKnow thyself
Novus Ordo SeclorumA new order for the ages (appears on the U.S. one-dollar bill)
Nunc DimittisLiterally Now you send forth. Abbreviation of Luke 2:29.
Omnia Mihi Lingua Graeca SuntIt's all Greek to me.
Optimus ParentibusTo my excellent parents. A common dedication in a book.
Pater NosterOur Father. The first words of the Lord's Prayer in Latin.
Per AccidensBy Accident
Per AnnumBy the Year
Per Ardua Ad AstraThrough Difficulty To The Stars. Motto of the RCAF, RAF and RAAF.
Per CapitaBy heads
Per ConsequensBy Consequence
Per ContraOn the other side
Per DiemBy the day
Per Fas et NefasBy right and wrong
Per IncuriumThrough carelessness
Per MensemEvery Month
Per ParesBy his peers
Per ProcurationemBy Proxy or Deputy
Per SaltumBy a leap or all at once
Per SeBy or in itself
Per StirpesBy stocks or families
Persona non GrataUnacceptable Person
Post CoitemAfter sexual intercourse
Post MortemAfter death
Post PartumAfter childbirth
Post ScriptumWritten later. A postscript, usually abbreviated P.S.
Post Tenebras, LuxAfter darkness, light
Praemonitus, PraemunitusForewarned is Forearmed
Prima FacieAt first sight; on the face of it.
Primus Inter ParesFirst Among Equals
Pro Bono PublicoFor the public good
Pro FormaFor form's sake
Pro Hac ViceFor this occasion only
Pro RataProportionally
Pro Re NataFor an occasion as it arises
Pro TantoSo far
Pro TemporeTemporarily
Quid Pro QuoOne thing for another; something for something
Quis Custodiet ipsos custodesWho shall guard the guards?
Quo Vadis, DomineWhere are you going, Lord?
Quod VideWhich See, usually abbreviated q.v.
Quod Erat DemonstrandumWhich was to be demonstrated. Usually abbreviated Q.E.D.
Quod Erat FaciendumWhich was to be done.
Quod Erat in VeniendumWhich was to be found.
Requiscat in PaceMay he rest in peace. Usually abbreviated R.I.P.
Romani Ite DomumRomans go home!
Semper FidelisAlways Faithful. Motto of the United StatesMarine Corps and H.M.S. Exeter
Senatus Populusque RomanusFor the senate and people of Rome. Often abbreviated SPQR. Seen as a tattoo on Russell Crowe's left arm in the movie, Gladiator.
Sic Semper TyrannisThus ever to tyrants. The motto of the State ofVirginia. John Wilkes Booth is supposed to have shouted this phrase as he jumped to stage of Ford's Theater after shooting Abraham Lincoln.
Sic Transit Gloria MundiThus passes away the glory of the world.
Sine DieWithout a day being specified
Sine Qua NonIndispensable
Sperate Miseri Caveat FelicesWhen miserable, hope; When happy beware
Sub PoenaUnder penalty of …. The source of the English word subpoena which is a writ issued by a court requiring one's attendance at that court.
Sub RosaSecretly or in confidence. Literally means under the rose.
Tempus FugitTime flies
Ultima RatioFinal sanction
Ultra ViresBeyond the powers or legal authority
Ut humiliter opinorIn my humble opinion
Veni, Vidi, ViciI came, I saw, I conquered
Ventis SecundisLiterally with winds aft. With a favourablewind. The motto of H.M.S. Hood. These words were supposedly spoken by Admiral Sir Samuel Hood during the battle of Martinique.
Via DolorosaThe way of sorrow. The route in Jerusalemfollowed by Jesus Christ to his crucifixion.
Vice VersaThe positions being reversed
VidelicetThat is to say; To wit; Namely
Vita mutatur, non tolliturLife is changed, not taken away
Vivat ReginaLong live the queen
Vivat RexLong live the king
Viz.Abbreviation of Videlicet

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