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List of Latin phrases

From Academic Kids

(Redirected from Annus mirabilis)

This page lists English translations of several Latin phrases and abbreviations, such as "i.e." and "e.g.". Some of these are themselves translations of Greek phrases.

A related list is that of Latin proverbs; the difference between phrases and proverbs being often subjective. Use this test to see whether a Latin sentence is a phrase or proverb: If the sentence is an old yet common saying that expresses some practical truth, then it is probably a proverb. Proverbs often give advice as well, such as the well-known proverb "an apple a day keeps the doctor away". On the other hand, if it is in the form of an incomplete sentence or does not contain some practical truth, then it is probably a phrase.

For Latin abbreviations in medical prescriptions see Medical prescription (Appendix 1) or Eyeglass prescription. For help with Latin and Greek words used in the scientific classification of biological species check the list of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names. Finally, be aware that the Latin letter I can be used as a vowel or as a consonant. When used as a consonant it is often replaced by the letter J. Hence phrases like de iure are often spelled de jure.

A

A capella
in the church manner, without instruments
A contrario
Contrariwise
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. For example, "It is unwise to invest in pyramid schemes, and, a fortiori, in e-mail pyramid schemes."
A pedibus usque ad caput
"From feet to head." Equally, A capite ad calcem, "From head to heel"
A posteriori
"From the latter" — based on observation, the reverse of a priori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known after a proof has been carried out.
A priori
"From the former" — presupposed, the reverse of a posteriori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known before a proof has been carried out.
Ab hinc
"From here on."
Ab imo pectore
"From the depths of (my) chest" — i.e., "from my heart". Attributed to Julius Caesar.
Ab initio
"From the beginning" or "from the start" — compare in medias res; see also List of legal terms
Ab origine
"From the origin."
Ab ovo
"From the egg; from the very beginning"
Ab ovo usque ad mala
"From the eggs to the apples," i.e., from beginning to end (the Roman main meal traditionally began with an egg dish and ended with fruit). From Horace, Satire 1.3.
Ab urbe condita (A.U.C.)
"From the founding of the city (of Rome)" — i.e., from 753 B.C., according to Livy's count; used as a reference point by the Romans for establishing dates, as we use A.D. today.
Absit omen
"May the presentiment not be realized."
Abusus non tollit usum

""The abuse does not preclude the right usage" (an axiom)

Acta est fabula, plaudite!
"The play is over (literally, story is done), applaud!" common ending phrase of ancient Roman comedies, applied by [[Sibelius to the 3rd, but final movement of his String Quartet no. 2 (a fourth movement being the conventional expectation)
Acta Sanctorum; Acta Sancti X
Deeds of the saints; Deeds of Saint X, a common title of a hagiography.
Ad absurdum
Taken to an absurd extreme (in logic)
Ad captandum vulgus
"To appeal to the crowd (literally, to the "taking" of the common folk" — often used of politicians who make false or insincere promises appealing to popular interest.
Ad fontes
"To the sources" — a motto of Renaissance humanism.
Ad fundum
"To the bottom" or "To the end" — said during a generic toast, like "bottoms up!"
Ad hoc
"For this" — i.e., improvised, made up on the spot.
Ad hominem
"To the man" — usually, an argument criticizing the opponent's person rather than his ideas; or also an argument designed to appeal to personal interest rather than objective fact, thus also "argumentum ad hominem
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" — as in the term "chargé d'affaires ad interim" for a diplomatic officer who acts in place of an ambassador.
Ad Kalendas Graecas
"To the Greek Kalends" — said by Emperor Augustus, in Suetonius, with the sense of "never". Kalends were part of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, so the "Greek kalends" are "a date that will never happen".
Ad libitum (ad lib)
"At ease" — means "do as you please", "improvise", "just ramble on"; especially in music, theatrical scripts, etc..
Ad lucem
"Towards the light" — the motto of the University of Lisbon.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (A.M.D.G.)
"To the greater glory of God" — motto of the Jesuits.
Ad multos annos
"To many years!" — i.e., "Many happy returns!"
Ad nauseam
"To the point of nausea". Often used as a quasi-humorus alternative to Ad Infinitum in mathematical proof.
Ad pedem litterae
"At the foot of the letter" — i.e., "exactly as it is written".
Ad perpetuam memoriam
"To the eternal memory [of]"
Ad referendum
Subject to Reference.
Ad usum Delphini
"For usage of the Dauphin" — said of a work that has been expurgated of offensive or improper parts. The phrase originates from editions of Greek and Roman classics which Louis XIV had printed for his heir apparent, the Dauphin.
Ad usum proprium (ad us. propr.)
"For own usage"
Ad valorem
"By the value" — e.g., ad valorem tax.
Addendum
(an item) "to be added"
Adsum
"Here! present!"
Advocatus Diaboli
"The Devil's Advocate" — said about someone who defends an unpopular view for the sake of discussion (and implying a lack of personal belief in the validity of the argument).
Aegri somnia
"A sick man's dreams" — from Horace, Ars Poetica, 7.
Aetatis suae
"At the age of"... as on portraits
Affidavit
"He asserted" (of a sworn statement: fides meaning "faith")
Agenda
"Things to be done; to-do list"
Agnus Dei
"Lamb of God"
Alea iacta est
"The die has been cast" — said by Julius Caesar, in Suetonius, after his decision to defy Roman law by crossing the Rubicon with his troops. (Suetonius actually uses it in the future imperative "Alea iacta esto": "Be sure to cast the die").
Alias
"Otherwise"
Alibi
"Elsewhere"
Alis volat propiis
"She flies with her own wings" - the Oregon state motto.
Alma mater
"Nourishing mother" — term used for the university one attends/has attended. The word "matriculation" is derived from "mater". The term suggests that the students are "fed" knowledge and taken care of by the university. The term is also used for a university's traditional school anthem.
Alter ego
"Another I" — a pseudonym or a close associate who always acts on one's behalf. Similarly, Alter ipse amicus, "A friend is another self."
Alumnus/Alumna
Male/female "pupil" (pl. alumni/alumnae), from alere, "to nourish" — a graduate or former student of a school, college, or university.
Amicus curiae
"Friend of the court" — an adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of powerful people (like Romana curia). In current U.S. legal usage, a third party allowed to submit a brief (an amicus brief) to the court.
Amor vincit omnia
"Love conquers all" — misquoting Vergil, Eclogue X: Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori.
Anno Domini (A.D.)
"In the year of the lord" — indicates a year counted from the traditional date of birth of Jesus; also called the Common Era (C.E.) to remove religious implications.
Anno urbis conditae (A.U.C.)
"In the year from the founding of the city (Rome)" — see Ab urbe condita.
Annuit Cœptis
"He [God] has approved our undertaking" - motto of the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the US one dollar bill
Annus horribilis
"A horrible year" — a pun on Annus mirabilis, first used by Queen Elizabeth II to describe what a bad year 1992 had been for her, and subsequently occasionally used by others to refer to other years.
Annus mirabilis
"Year of wonders" — used particularly to refer to 1665-1666 during which Sir Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation, and the title of a poem by John Dryden written in the same year; and also to 1905 when Albert Einstein made equally revolutionary discoveries of the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion and the special theory of relativity.
Ante bellum
"before the war", as in "Status quo ante bellum, "As it was before the war"
Ante cibum (a.c.)
"Before meals" (medical shorthand)
Ante litteram
"Before the letter" — said after an expression that described something that existed before the expression itself was introduced or became common. For example, one could say that Alan Turing was a computer scientist ante litteram, since the profession of "computer scientist" was not recognised in Turing's day.
Ante meridiem (a.m.)
"Before noon" — in the period from midnight to noon.
Ante prandium (a.p.)
"Before lunch" — i.e., before a meal. Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions.
Aqua fortis
"Nitric acid" ("strong water")
Aqua vitæ
"Water of life" (spirits of wine, brandy)
Arbiter elegantiarum
"Judge of elegances" said of Petronius
Ars gratia artis
"Art for art's sake"
Asinus asinorum in saecula saeculorum.
"The jackass of jackasses in the centuries of centuries", or "the greatest jackass in eternity".
Audentis fortuna iuvat
"Fortune favors the bold"—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 CE; originally from Vergil, Aeneid X, 284. Sometimes quoted as audaces fortuna iuvat.
Audiatur et altera pars
"Let's hear also the other party"
Audio, video, disco
"I hear, I see, I learn"
Aurea mediocritas
"Golden Mean" — in Horace's Odes II, 10, an ethical goal.
Auri sacra fames
"Accursed hunger for gold" — from Vergil, Aeneis 3,57; later quoted by Seneca: quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames ("What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!")
Auribus tenere lupum
"To have a wolf by the ears"
Aut Caesar aut nihil
"Caesar or nothing" — i.e., all or nothing. (Caesar is here used in the meaning emperor.) Adopted as his personal motto by Cesare Borgia.
Aut vincere aut mori
"Either conquer or die".
Ave atque vale
"Hail and farewell!" — from Catullus, carmen 101, addressed to his deceased brother.
Ave Europa, nostra vera Patria
"Hail Europe, our true Fatherland" — Anthem [song] of pan-Europeanists

B

Beatae Mariae Virgine Honore (B.V.M.H.)
"to the honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary"
Beati possidentes
"The happy who possess", translation of a quote from Euripides
Bis in die (bid)
"Twice a day" (medical shorthand)
Bona fide
"In good faith." — i. e. "well-intentioned", "fairly".
Bona officia
"Good services", a nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations
Bonum commune communitatis
"General welfare". Literally, "common good of the community".
Bonum commune hominis
"Common good of man."
Busillis
Pseudo-Latin meaning "baffling puzzle" or "difficult point". John of Cornwall (ca. 1170) was once asked by a scribe what the word meant. It turns out that the original text said in diebus illis magnis plenæ ("in those days plenty of great things"), which the scribe misread as indie busillis magnis plenæ ("in India there were plenty of large busillis")... [1] (http://digilander.libero.it/summagallicana/Volume1/A.VIIII.8.01.htm).

C

Cacoethes scribendi
"Bad habit of writing" — i.e., an insatiable urge to write. From Juvenal.
Carpe diem
"Seize the day", literally "pluck the day".
Carthago delenda est
"Carthage must be destroyed." Cato the Elder often ended his speeches with "ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" (see below for "ceterum censeo"). "Carthago delenda est" is the same phrase in the nominative case; "Carthaginem delendam esse" is an accusative infinitive.
Casus belli
"Event (that is the justification for, or the cause) of war."
Causa mortis
"Fact the forced a individous Dead", literally "Death Cause".
Cave canem
"Beware of the dog" — found written on a floor mosaic depicting a dog, at the entrance of a Roman house excavated at Pompei [2] (http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/pompeii/imagesHTM/Canem.html).
Caveat emptor
"Let the buyer beware" — i.e., the purchaser of the goods is responsible for checking whether they suit his need.
Caveat lector
"Let the reader beware" — i.e., the writer does not vouch for the accuracy of a text. Probably a recent calque on caveat emptor.
Caveat venditor
"Let the seller beware" — the seller of goods is responsible for providing information about the goods to the purchaser.
Cetera desunt
"The rest is missing."
Ceteris paribus
"All other things being equal."
Ceterum censeo
"In conclusion, I think that..." — Cato the Elder used to conclude his speeches, on any topic whatsoever, with Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("In conclusion, I think that Carthage must be destroyed").
Christus Rex
"Christ the King."
Citius altius fortius
"Faster, higher, stronger" — Motto of the modern Olympics.
Circa (ca.)
"Around" — in the sense of "approximately, about"; usually of a date, eg. "Jesus was actually born circa 6 BC"
Circulus vitiosus
"Vicious circle" — in logic, a fallacy involving the presupposition of a proposition in one of the premises (see petitio principii); in science, a positive feedback out of control.
Claves Sancti Petri
"The keys of St. Peter" — symbol of the Papacy.
Cogito ergo sum
"I think therefore I am" — (French philosopher Rene Descartes) Through this ultimate rationalistic view, Descartes attempts to prove the existence of one's self not through one's sense experience but through reasoning.
Coito ergo sum
"I have sex, therefore I am" (a pun on "Cogito ergo sum")
Coitus_interruptus
"Interrupted sex" — aborting the sexual act prior to ejaculation... the only allowable form of birth control for some religions
Compos mentis
"Of sound mind" — sometimes used rather humorously.
Concordia cum veritate
"In harmony with truth" — Motto of the University of Waterloo
Condemnant quod non intellegunt
"They condemn because they do not understand” — This phrase can be used for defense in various situations.
Conditio sine qua non
"Condition without which not" — i.e., "indispensable".
Confer (cf.)
"Compare" — used as an abbreviation in text to recommend a comparison with another thing. Literally, "bring together". See: citation signal.
Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.)
"Helvetian Confederation" — the official name of Switzerland, which explains the use of "ch" for its ISO country code and Internet domain.
Consummatum est
"It is completed" — In the Latin translation of John 19:30, the last words of Jesus on the Cross.
Contemptus saeculi
"Contempt for the secular (world)" — the monk's or philosopher's rejection of mundane life and values.
Coram Deo
"Before the face of God" — A phrase from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of of Christians living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.
Corpus Christi
"Body of Christ."
Corpus delicti
"Body of the crime" — the body of facts that prove a crime.
Corpus vile
"Vile body" — a person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment.
Cui bono
"Good for whom?" — a maxim which suggests that considering who will benefit is likely to reveal who is responsible for an unwelcome happening.
Cui prodest
"Whom does it benefit?" — short form for cui prodest scelus, is fecit in Seneca's Medea; the murderer is the one who gains by the murder.
Cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos
"To whomsoever that owns the land, he owns what is above and below it"
Cuius regio, eius religio
"Whose rule, his religion" — The religion of the king is the religion of people
Cum gladiis et fustibus
"With sword and staff" — from the Bible.
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.
Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc
"With this, therefore because of this" — the logical fallacy that the fact that one thing happens after another means that the first thing caused the second.
Cum laude
"With honors."
Curriculum vitae
"Course of life" — a résumé.
Cur tu me vexas?
"Why do you annoy me?"

D

Damnum absque injuria
Damage without injury
Decus et Tutamen
"An ornament and a safeguard" — enscribed on the edge of the British £1 coin
De facto
"In fact" — Said of something that actually is the case, in contrast to a legal or official rule or status or version, which is described as de jure. In some contexts de facto refers to the "way things really are" rather than what is "officially" presented as the fact. For example, "Although the emperor held the title and trappings of head of state, the Shogun was the de facto ruler of Japan."
De gustibus non est disputandum
"There is no arguing tastes."
De jure
"By law."
De minimis
"About minimal things."
De mortuis nil nisi bene (dicere)
(Say) nothing about the dead but goodness.
De novo
"Anew."
De Oppresso Liber
"To Liberate the Oppressed" - US Army Special Forces Motto.
De re
"About the matter" or "about reality" — in logic, de dicto statements (about the truth of a proposition) are distinguished from de re statements (about the properties of a thing itself).
Deus ex machina
"A god from a machine" — a contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by machine an actor playing Zeus onto the stage — as though he were descending from Olympus — to resolve an awkward plot.
Deus vult!
"God wills it" — this slogan was the principal one of the Crusades.
Dis aliter visum
"The gods decided differently."
Dies irae
"Day of wrath."
Disiecti membra poetae
"Members of a dismembered poet" i.e., "the scattered remnants of the poet" (Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62), battered poetry.
Dis manibus
Literally "To the gods of the Manes", loosely "To the memory of"—an inscription commonly preceding the name of the deceased on grave markings.
Divide et impera
"Divide and rule" (sometimes translated "divide and conquer") - a Roman maxim used by Julius Caesar, Louis XI, and Machiavelli.
Dominus illuminatio mea
"The Lord is my light." - motto of the University of Oxford
Dominus Vobiscum
"The Lord be with you" — phrase used during and at the end of Catholic sermons; greeting form among and towards members of Catholic organizations (i.e., priests, nuns etc.)
Do ut des
"I give that you may give" — Often said or written by sacrifices. I "give" and I expect something back from the gods.
Dramatis personae
"People of the play" — the characters represented in a dramatic work; cast.
Duces Tecum
"Bring with You" — see subpoena duces tecum.
Dulce bellum inexpertis
"War may seem sweet to those who have never been involved". A phrase from Erasmus (16th century).
Dulce et decorum est
"It is sweet and honourable" — the beginning of a phrase from an ode by Horace: "dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori", "it is sweet and honourable to die for one's country". Used by Wilfred Owen as the title of a poem about World War I; see Dulce Et Decorum Est.
Dulce et Utile
"Sweet and useful."
Dum spiro spero
"While I breathe, I hope" - motto of South Carolina.
Dura lex, sed lex
"Law is strict/hard, but it is the law"

E

E pluribus unum
"From many, one" - one of the national mottoes of the United States of America.
Ecce homo
"Behold the man!" — in the Latin translation of the Gospel of John these words are spoken by Pilate as he presents Jesus crowned with thorns to the crowd. It is also the title of Friedrich Nietzsche's autobiography.
Editio princeps
"First edition."
Emeritus
"From merit" — often used to refer to a retired professor.
Ergo (eg.)
"Therefore" — used to show a logical conclusion. 'Therefore, Hence' See Cogito ergo sum.
Esse quam videri
"To be, rather than to seem" — motto of the U.S. state of North Carolina.
Esto perpetua
"Let it be everlasting" — used by the historian Fra Paolo Sarpi of his native Venice.
Et alii (et al.)
"And others" — used to abbreviate a list of names (Alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or groups of men and women; the feminine et aliae is appropriate when the "others" are all female.)
Et cetera (etc. or &c.)
"And the rest" — nowadays also "and others", "and so on", "and more".
Et in Arcadia ego
"I, also, am in Arcadia" — see memento mori.
Et seq., Et sequens
And the following
Et tu, Brute
"And thou, Brutus?" — literal quotation from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He renders as Latin in an English play what was originally quoted as Greek supposedly spoken by a Roman. But Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, και συ τεκνον Kai su, teknon?Greek for "You too, my child?" (Greek would have been the language of Rome's elite at the time.) However it is unlikely that Caesar actually said these words.
Ex aequo
"On equal footing" — i.e., "in a tie".
Ex animo
"From the heart" — i.e., "sincerely".
Ex ante
"From before" — "beforehand", "before the event", i.e., based on prior assumptions.
Ex astris scientia
"From the stars, knowledge", or "From the stars come knowledge." Used as the motto for Starfleet Academy on Star Trek. Adapted from the motto of the United States Naval Academy.
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
"Intentionally"
Ex gratia
"From kindness" or "from grace" — referring to someone performing an act out of kindness as opposed to being forced to do it.
Ex hypothesi
"From the hypothesis" — i.e., by hypothesis.
Ex libris...
"From the books (library) of..."
Ex luna, scientia
"From the moon, knowledge". The motto of the Apollo 13 moon mission, derived from the motto of the US Naval Academy.
Ex nihilo
"Out of nothing" — Some Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions hold that God created the universe from nothing.
Ex nihilo nihil fit
"Nothing comes from nothing" - a phrase used in philosophy to indicate that everything has its origin in something else and in physics to summarize the laws of conservation of energy and mass, which postulate that energy and mass are neither created nor destroyed but rather conserved.
Ex officio
"From the office" — when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another, e.g., the U.S. vice president is ex officio president of the Senate.
Ex opere operato
"By the work having been worked" — a theological phrase that refers to the idea that the act of receiving a sacrament actually confers the promised benefit (for instance, that the sacred act of baptism actually cleanses one's sins).
Ex parte
"By (or for) one party" — a legal term.
Ex post facto
"From a thing done afterward" — of a law with retroactive effect.
Ex silentio
"From silence" — arguing that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition.
Ex tempore
"This instance" or "Right away" or "Immediately"
Ex vi termini
"By definition."
Excelsior
"Higher" — i.e., "ever upward!" — state motto of New York
Exempli gratia (e.g.)
Literally "for the sake of example", usually rendered in English as "for example." See: citation signal. (An alternative interpretation of this abbreviation: "example given".)
Exeunt
"They leave" — see exit.
Exeunt omnes
"They all leave" — see exit.
Exit
"He/she leaves" — used e.g., in theatrical stage directions.
Experimentum crucis
"Critical experiment" — a decisive test of a scientific theory.
Expressio unius est exclusio alterius
"The mention of one thing may exclude others" — A principle of legal statutory interpretation: the explicit presence of a thing implies intention to exclude others.
Extra territorium jus dicenti impune non paretur
"the judgment (or the authority) of one who is exceeding his territorial jurisdiction is disobeyed with impunity" — referring to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Often cited in law of the sea cases on the high seas.
Extra ecclesiam nulla salus
"Outside the Church there is no salvation" — Reffering to the Catholic Church's "law" concerning absolution

F

Facsimile
"Make a similar one" — origin of the word fax.
Felo-de-se
"Evildoer upon himself" — that is, one who commits suicide.
Fiat lux (et facta est lux)
"Let there be light (and there was light)" — from Genesis, also the motto of the University of California.
Fidei Defensor (Fid Def or fd)
"Defender of the Faith" — a title given to Henry VIII of England by Pope Leo X on October 17, 1521 before Henry became an heresiarch. Appears on all British coins, usually abbreviated.
Fluctuat nec mergiture
"Float but never sink."
Fons et origo
"The wellspring and origin."

G

Genius loci
"The spirit of the place."
Gloria in excelsis Deo
"Glory to God in the highest."
Generalia specialibus non derogant
"General things not derogating from special things" — a principle of legal statutory interpretation: If a matter falls under a specific provision and a general provision, it shall be goverened by the specific provision.
Graviora manent
"Greater dangers awaits"

H

Habeas corpus
"You must have the body" — i.e., you must justify an imprisonment. First two words of the Writ to bring a prisoner to court (Charles II of England, Habeas Corpus Act - 1679) and commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to have the charge against specifically identified.
Habemus papam
"We have a pope" — used after a Catholic Church conclave to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope.
Hac lege
"With this law"
Haec olim meminisse iuvabit
"Perhaps, we'll look back at this and smile." Virgil's Aeneid
Haud ignota loquor
"I say things that are known"
Hic et nunc
"Here and now"
Hic iacet...
"Here lies..." — written on gravestones or tombs.
Hic sepultus...
"Here is buried..."
Hic sunt leones
"Here there are lions" — written on uncharted territories of old maps
Hinc illae lacrimae
"Hence these tears" — from Horace, Epistula XIX, 41
Homo homini lupus
"Man is the wolf of mankind"
Homo sum (humani a me nihil alienum puto)
"I am a man" (I consider nothing human alien to me) — from Terence
Honor virtutis praemium
"Honour is the reward of virtue"
Honoris causa
"For the sake of honor" — said of an honorary title, e.g., Doctor of Science honoris causa.
Horas non numero nisi serenas
"I only count the sunny hours" — common inscription on sundials.
Hora somni (h.s.)
"At bedtime", literally "at the hour of sleep" (medical shorthand)
Horribile dictu
"Horrible to say" — i.e., "a horrible thing to relate".
Hostis humani generis
"enemy of humanity" — for example, pirates.

I

Ibidem (ibid.)
"In the same place" — usually in bibliographic citations.
Id est (i.e.)
"That is (to say)", abbreviated as "i.e." — sometimes "in this case," depending on the context. When celebrating this holiday (i.e., Christmas), hang a wreath on your door. It is never equivalent to "e.g.".
Igni ferroque
"By fire and iron" — a phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also seen as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.
Imago dei
"Image of God" — a religious concept.
Imitatio dei
"Imitation of God" — a principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
Imperium in imperio
"An empire within an empire" — i.e., a group of people within an nation's territory who are beginning to look as if they most of the members owe primary allegiance to the upper member(s) of the group, so that the allegiance of the group depends more than it should on the relationship of the leader(s) with the larger empire.
Imperium sine fine
"Empire without end". In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, neverending empire, the empire-without-end.
Imprimatur
"(It) may be printed" — an authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).
In absentia
"In the absence" — e.g., of a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
In camera
"In secret" (literally "in the chamber")
In duplo
"In two (copies)"
In effigie
"In (the form of) an image" — as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person".
In esse
"In existence"
In extenso
"In long (form)" — i.e., "in full", "completely", "unabridged."
In fidem
"To faith" — to the verification of
In fieri
"Pending"
In fine (i.f.)
"Finally."
In flagrante delicto
"In flaming crime" — i.e., "caught red-handed."
In flore
"In bloom."
In foro
"In forum" — in court.
In illo tempore
"At that time", found often in the Gospel lecture during the Mass. It is used to mark a time in an indetermined past.
In loco
"At the place" — as e.g., "the water samples were analyzed in loco."
In loco parentis
"In place of the parents" — Legal term, "assuming custodial/parental responsibility and authority".
In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum
"In your hands I commend (i.e., entrust) my spirit", according to Luke 23:46 the last words of Jesus on the Cross.
In medias res
"Into the middle of things" — by Horace, refers to the literary technique of beginning a narrative in the middle of, or at a late point in, the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
In memoriam
"In memory of" — i.e., to remember or honor a deceased person.
In nuce
"In a nutshell."
In partibus infidelium
"In the land of the infidels" — infidels here refers to non-Christians. After Islam conquered a big part of the Roman Empire, the corresponding bishoprics didn't disappear, but remained as honorific titles.
In pectore
"In (my) heart". — a Cardinal named in secret by the pope.
In personam
"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, and the 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/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 rerum natura
"In the nature of things."
In saeculo
"In the (secular) world" — i.e., outside a monastery, or before death.
In salvo
"In safety."
In silico
"In silicon", an experiment or process performed as a computer simulation. Compare with in vitro and in vivo. This is pseudo-latin. The "on" ending of silicon matches no latin noun declension, though there are Greek neuter nouns that end in "-on"; the ablative case ending is simply taken by analogy from in vivo and in vitro.
In statu nascendi
"In the state of being born" — just as something is about to begin.
In situ
"In place" — in the original place, position, or arrangement. In medical contexts it implies that the condition is "still" in its original place and has not spread.
Insolitos docuere nisus
"showed unusual efforts" (Horace, Odes 4.4 (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Hor.+Carm.+4.4))
In toto
"In all" — "totally", "completely".
In triplo
"In three (copies)."
In vitro
"In glass" — an experiment or process performed in a non-natural laboratory setting, for example in a test tube.
In vivo
"In life" — an experiment or process performed in a living specimen, as opposed to in vitro.
Incredibile dictu
"Incredible to say."
Index librorum prohibitorum
"List of prohibited books" — a list of books considered heretical by the Catholic Church.
inst.
abbreviation for instant, formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the current month, as opposed to last or next month. An example of usage would be "Thank-you for your letter of the 17th inst." See also ult. and prox.
Inter alia
"Among other things."
Inter arma enim silent leges
"In times of war, the law falls silent." —Cicero
Inter caetera
"Among others". Title of a papal bull.
Inter spem et metum
"Between hope and fear."
Inter vivos
"Between the living" — said of property transfers between living persons, as opposed to inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
Integer vitae scelerisque purus
"Untouched by life and free of wickedness" — by Horace, used as a funeral hymn.
Intra muros
"Within the walls" — i.e., "not public"; intramural.
Intra Vires
"Within the authority", literally, the "strengths" or powers.
In usum Delphini
"In the manner of the Dauphin" — rare variant of ad usum Delphini.
Ipse dixit
"He, himself, said it" — emphasizes that some assertion comes from some authority. See appeal to authority.
Ipsissima verba
"The very words themselves" — i.e., "strictly word for word." see verbatim.
Ipso facto
"By the fact itself."
Ira Deorum
"Wrath 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). Earthquakes, floods, famine, etc..
Ita vero
"Thus indeed". A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes".
Ite, missa est
"Leave, the mass is finished" — the final words of the Roman Missal (literally "go, it is dismissed", i.e., the congregation is dismissed, or "go, this is the mass", i.e., there is no more mass to be said)
Iunctis viribus
"By united efforts."
Ius primae noctis
"Right of the first night" — the droit de seigneur.

L

Lapsus calami
"A slip of the pen."
Lapsus linguae
"A slip of the tongue."
Lapsus memoriae
"Memory lapse."
Laus deo
"Praise be to God."
Legitime
"Forced share" — a legal term describing the portion of a deceased person's estate from which the immediate family cannot be disinherited.
Lex ferenda
"The law as it ought to be"
Lex lata
"The law as it exists"
Lex rex
"The Law is King" - a principle of government advocating a rule by law rather than rule 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 talionis
"Law of retaliation" — cf. Retributive justice, an eye for an eye.
Locus classicus
"A classic place" — a quote from a classical text used as an example of something.
Lorem ipsum
A mangled fragment from Cicero's De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum ("On the Ends (Limits) of Good and Evil", 45 BC), used as typographer's filler to show fonts (a.k.a. greeked text).
Lucus a non lucendo
"The word for 'grove' is lucus (=light) because it is not light in a grove" ? etymology by opposites. Or possibly: The light shineth not into the grove.
Lupus in fabula
"Wolf from the fable." — i.e., "Speak of the wolf, and he will come". Occurs in Terence's play Adelphoe.
Lux et veritas
"Light and Truth" - motto of Yale University

M

Magna cum laude
"With great honor."
Magno cum gaudio
"With great joy."
Magna Europa est Patria Nostra
"Greater Europe is our [common] Fatherland" — Political motto of pan-Europeanists
Magna est vis consuetudinis
"Great is the power of habit"
Magnum opus
"Great work" — said (sometimes ironically) of someone's masterpiece.
Mala fide
"In bad faith" — said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone.
Malum discordiae
"[The] evil of discord"
Malum in se
"Wrong in itself" — a crime that is inherently wrong; cf. malum prohibitum.
Malum prohibitum
"Prohibited wrong" — something that society decided to forbid, but is not inherently evil.
Manu propria (m.p.)
"Done with one's own hand"
Mea (maxima) culpa
"By my own (very great) fault" — used in Christian prayers and confession.
Melita, domi adsum.
"Honey, I'm home." (from the joke phrasebook, Latin Language for All Occasions; grammatically correct, but the phrase would be anachronistic in ancient Rome)
Memento mori
"Remember that you will die!"
Mens et Manus
"Mind and Hand" - motto of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mens sana in corpore sano
"A healthy mind in a healthy body", or "A healthy mind requires a healthy body".
Mens rea
"Guilty mind." A term used in discussing the mindset of an accused criminal.
Mirabile dictu
"Wonderful to tell."
Miserere nobis
"Have mercy upon us" - a phrase within the Gloria and the Agnus Dei, to be used at certain points in Christian religious ceremonies.
Modus operandi (M. O.)
"Way of working" — usually used to describe a criminal's methods.
Modus ponens
"Method of adding" — loosely "method of affirming", a logical rule of inference, saying that from proposition P and if P then Q one can conclude Q.
Modus tollens
"Method of subtracting" — loosely "method of denying", a logical rule of inference, saying that from propositions not Q and if P then Q one can conclude not P.
Modus morons
Not actually Latin, but a wordplay on the above two, referring to the oft-made logical fallacy that from if P then Q and not P, one would conclude not Q.
Modus vivendi
"Way of living" — i.e., an accommodation between disagreeing parties to allow life to go on.
Montis Insignia Calpe
"Badge of the Rock of Gibraltar"
Morituri te salutant
"They who are about to die salute you!"
Multum in parvo
"Much in little" — e.g., "Latin phrases are often multum in parvo, because they convey much in few words."
Mutatis mutandis
"With those things changed which needed to be changed" — i.e., "with the appropriate changes".

N

Natura non contristatur
"Nature isn't sentimental"
Nemine contradicente (nem. con.)
"Without contestation" — literally, "with no one speaking against;" used especially in committees, where a matter may be passed nem. con..
Nemo dat quod non habet
"No one can pass better title than they have"; literally, "no one gives what he doesn't possess."
Nemo me impune lacessit
"No-one provokes me with impunity" — Motto of The Order of the Thistle, found stamped on the milled edge of certain UK Pound coins. It is also the motto of the Montressors from the ] short story The Cask of Amontillado.
Ne plus ultra (also nec plus ultra, non plus ultra)
"nothing more beyond" literally, but figuratively it is a descriptive phrase meaning the best or most extreme example of something. The Pillars of Hercules, for example, were the ne plus ultra (in the literal sense) of the ancient Mediterranean world. Charles V's heraldic emblem reversed this idea, using a depiction of this phrase inscribed on the Pillars—without the negation. This represented Spain's expansion into the New World.
Nihil obstat
"Nothing prevents" — a notation, usually on a title page, indicating that a Catholic censor has reviewed the book and found nothing objectionable to faith or morals in its content. See also imprimatur.
Nihil per os (n.p.o.)
"Nothing by mouth" (medical shorthand)
Nolens (aut) volens
"Willing or not", comparable with "willy-nilly", though that is derived from Old English will-he nil-he (i.e., [whether] he will or [whether] he will not).
Noli me tangere
"Touch me not" — according to the Gospel of John, this was said by Christ to Mary Magdalene after his Resurrection.
Nolle prosequi
"Not willing to prosecute" — a legal motion by a prosecutor or other plaintiff to drop legal charges, usually in exchange for a diversion program or out-of-court settlement.
Nolo contendere
"No Contest" a plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states 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 nescio (N. N.)
"Name unknown" — literally, "I do not know the name", implying an unknown person.
Non causa pro causa
"Non-cause for cause" — a logical fallacy.
Non compos mentis or Non compos sui
"Of unsound mind."
Non liquet
"it is not clear" — 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" — a legal motion asking the court to reverse the jury's verdict on the grounds that the jury could not reasonably have reached such a verdict.
Non omnis moriar
"I shall not wholly die" — A part of me will survive death.
Non sequitur
"It does not follow" — a statement that is the result of faulty logic.
Non serviam
"I will not serve."
Non sum qualis eram
"I am not what I once was" — I have changed.
Nota bene (n.b.)
"Note it well" — i.e., "please note", "important note".
Novus Ordo Seclorum
"New Order of the Ages" — motto on the Great Seal of the United States; from Vergil.
Nulla salus sine The Hives
Slogan for the band "the hives" meaning "No salvation without the hives".
Nullam rem natam
"No thing born" — i.e., "nothing". It has been claimed that this expression is the origin of Italian nulla, French rien, and Spanish/Portuguese nada, all with the same meaning.
Numerus clausus
"Closed number."
Nunc dimittis
"Now you are dismissing" — Spoken by Simeon when 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; from the Gospel of Luke (New testament)
Nunc pro tunc
"Now for then" — has retroactive effect, effective from an earlier date
Nunc scio quid sit amor
"Now I know what love is" — Virgil, Eclogues VII

O

O tempora, O mores!
"Oh the times! Oh the morals!" (Marcus Tullius Cicero, Catilina I, 1, 2) also translated "Oh the times! Oh the customs!".
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"
Odi et amo
"I hate (her), and I love (her)" — from Catullus.
Odium theologicum
"Theological hatred" — a name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes.
Opera omnia
"All works" — the collected works of some author.
Opera posthuma
"Posthumous works" — i.e., published after the author's death.
Opere citato (op. cit.)
"In work (already) cited" — used in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used.
Ophidia in herba
"A snake in the grass" — any hidden danger or unknown risk.
Opus Dei
"The Work of God" or "God's Work".

P

Pace
"With peace" — used to indicate that the speaker contradicts someone else: "...but acquired characteristics are not inherited, pace Jean-Baptiste Lamarck..."
Pace tua
"With your permission."
Panem et circenses
"Bread and circus plays" — Juvenal, Satires 10, 81, describing all that was needed for the emperors to placate the Roman mob, and today used to describe any public entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters.
Parens patriae
"Parent of the country."
Pari passu
"With equal step" — moving together, simultaneously, etc..
Passim
"Throughout", "here and there", "frequently" — of a word that occurs several times in a cited texts; also, in proof reading, of a change that is to be repeated everywhere needed.
Pater familias
"Father of the family."
Pater peccavi
"Father, I have sinned" — the traditional beginning of a Catholic confession.
Pax Americana
"The Peace of America" — a euphemism for the United States of America and its sphere of influence, adapted from Pax Romana (q.v.)
Pax Britannica
"The Peace of Britain" — a euphemism for the British Empire, adapted from Pax Romana (q.v.)
Pax Dei
"Peace of God", Peace and Truce of God movement, 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). Earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.
Pax et bonum
"Peace and goodness". The motto of St. Francis of Assisi and, consequently, the motto of his monastery in Assisi, in the Tuscany region of Italy. Italian translation: pace e bene.
Pax Romana
"The Peace of Rome" — the peace forcefully imposed by the Roman Empire.
Pax Sinica
"The Peace of China" — a euphemism for periods of peace in East Asia during times of a strong Chinese empire, adapted from Pax Romana (q.v.)
Pax tecum
"Peace be with you (singular)."
Pax vobiscum
"Peace be with you (plural)."
Pendent opera interrupta
"The work hangs interrupted" — from the Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV
Per annum
"Per year."
Per ardua ad astra
"Through adversity to the stars." — Motto of the British Royal Air Force
Per aspera ad astra
"The hard way towards the stars", or "through hardship to the stars."
Per capsulam
"By letter."
Per caput or per capita
"Per head" — i.e., "per person".
Per curiam
"by [the] court."
Per definitionem
"by definition."
Per os (p.o.)
"By mouth" (medical shorthand)
Per procurationem (p.p.)
Through the agency (of) — used to indicate that a person is signing a document on behalf of another person (correctly placed before the name of the person signing, but often placed before the name of the person on whose behalf the document is signed, sometimes through incorrect translation of the alternative abbreviation "per pro." as "for and on behalf of").
Per se
"By itself" or "in itself" — i.e., without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc.; for instance, negligence per se.
Per stirpes
"Per branch" — used in wills to indicate that each branch of the testator's family should inherit equally; contrast per capita.
Perpetuum mobile
"Thing in perpetual motion."
Persona non grata
"Person not wanted" — an unwanted or undesirable person. In diplomatic contexts, a person rejected by the host government. (Unwelcome, banned)
Petitio principii
"Begging the principle" — i.e., "begging the question"; a logical fallacy.
Pia desideria
"Pious desires."
Pia fraus
"Pious betrayal" — expression from Ovid used to describe betrayal which serves Church purposes.
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
"The greatest high priest" — a traditional epithet of the pope and previously of the Roman emperors. 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', which in turn is usually linked to their religious authority over the bridges of Rome, especially the Pons Sublicius.
Posse comitatus
"Power of the county".
Post cibum (p.c.)
"After meals" (medical shorthand)
Post facto
"After the fact." (see ex post facto)
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
"After this, therefore because of this" — a logical fallacy in which sequence and cause are confused.
Post meridiem (p.m.)
"After noon" — in the period from noon to midnight.
Post mortem
"After death."
Post scriptum (p.s.)
"Post script" used to mark additions to a letter, after the signature.
Post tenebras lux
"After darkness, light" - a motto of the Protestant Reformation inscribed on the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland.
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).
Primum non nocere
"First, do no harm." — A medical precept, attributed to Hippocrates.
Primus inter pares
"First among equals" — a title of the Roman emperors.
Pro bono (publico)
"For the (public) good" — said of a lawyer's work that is not charged for.
Pro forma
"As a matter of form"
Pro hac vice
"for this occasion" — request of a state court to allow an out-of-state lawyer to represent a client. (see List of legal terms)
Pro patria
"For (the) country"
Pro rata
"For the rate" — i.e., proportionately.
Pro re nata (prn)
"As needed" (medical shorthand)
Pro studio et labore
"For hard work and labor."
Pro tanto
"for so much", "partially fulfilled", a philosophical term meaning: the acceptance of a theory or idea without fully accepting the explanation
Pro tempore
"For the time (being)" — i.e., "temporary."
Profanum vulgus
"The uninitiated masses" — from Horace.
Propria manu (p.m.)
"By own hand."
prox.
abbreviation for proximo. Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the following month. See also ult. and inst.
Punctum saliens
"The outstanding point" — i.e., the essential or most notable point.

Q

Quære
"(You might) ask..." — used to introduce questions, usually rhetorical or tangential questions.
Qualis artifex pereo!
"What a great artist dies with me!" — attributed to Nero by Suetonius.
Qua patet orbis
"As far as the world extends" — motto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
Quaque die (qd)
"Every day" (medical shorthand)
Quaque hora (qh)
"Every hour" (medical shorthand)
Quater in die (qid)
"Four times a day" (medical shorthand)
Qui tacet consentire videtur
"Silence gives consent." — sometimes accompanied by the proviso "ubi loqui debuit (ac potuit)", that is, "when he ought to have spoken (and could do so)".
Quid est veritas
"What is truth?" - Pilate's question to Jesus (John 18:38 - Vulgate)
Quid novi ex Africa?
"What's new out of Africa?" — derived from an Aristotle quote.
Quid pro quo
"A thing for a thing" — i.e., a favor for a favor.
Quidnunc? or Quid nunc?
"What now?" — as a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
"Who watches the watchers?"
Quo vadis
"Where are you going?" — according to Christian legend, asked by St. Peter meeting Jesus on the Appian way in Rome.
Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi
"What is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to the ox"
Quod vide (q.v.)
"Which see" — used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book.
Quae vide (qq.v.)
"Which things see" — plural of "quod vide".
Quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.)
"That which was to be demonstrated" — often written (abbreviated) at the bottom of a mathematical proof.
Quo errat demonstrator
"Where the prover errs" — a pun on Quod erat demonstrandum.
Quo usque tandem?
"For how much longer?" — from Cicero's speech to the Roman senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? i.e., "For how much longer, Catilina, will you abuse our patience?".

R

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

S

Saltus in demonstrando
"Leap in demonstration."
Salva veritate
"With truth preserved", or "saved by the truth".
Salvator Mundi
"The Saviour of the World" - usually refers to Christ, and is the title of paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci
Salvo errore et omissione (s.e.e.o.)
"Except for errors and omissions" — appears on statements of "account currents".
Salvo honoris titulo (SHT)
"Excluding the title" — used in writings to unfamiliar persons, as an excuse for not using the correct title.
Sancta sedes
"the Holy Chair" — i.e., the Papacy or the Holy See.
Sancta Simplicitas
"Blessed Simplicity" or "Holy Simplicity"
Sapere aude
"Dare to be wise" — motto of the Manchester Grammar School and other institutions; originally from Horace, Epistle II; quoted by Immanuel Kant to define Enlightenment.
Sapienti sat (est), also dictum sapienti sat est or sat sapienti.
"Enough for the wise" — understandable for a wise one without the need for explanations. Source: Plautus.
Sedes apostolica
"the Apostolic Chair" — i.e., the Papacy or the Holy See.
Sede vacante
"The seat (i.e., the Holy See) being vacant" — the interregnum between two popes.
Servus servorum Dei
"Servant of the servants of God" — a title for the Pope.
Semper Coca-Cola
"Always Coca-Cola" — a Latin translation joke. Nonsensical in Latin, but the English translation is a pun of "Always Coca-Cola", an advertising slogan of the Coca-Cola Company.
Semper fidelis
"Always faithful" — motto of the United States Marine Corps, often abbreviated Semper Fi.
Semper paratus
"Always prepared" — the motto of the United States Coast Guard.
Semper reformanda
"Always reforming" - a shortened form of a motto of the Protestant Reformation: Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est ("The reformed church must always be reforming"), which refers to the Protestant argument that the church must continually re-examine itself, reconsider its doctrines, and be prepared to accept change. (The shortened form, semper reformanda, literally means "always about to be reformed", and the usual translation, "always reforming", is taken from sentence where it is used in a passive periphrastic construction.)
Semper ubi sub ubi
"Always where under where" — a Latin translation joke. Nonsensical, but the English translation is a pun of "Always wear underwear"
Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR)
"The Senate and the People of Rome" — i.e., "The Aristocrats and the Commoners", the official name of the Roman Republic. "SPQR" was carried on battle standards by the Roman Legions.
Sesquipedalia verba
"Words a foot and a half long" — long and complicated words that are used without
Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice
"If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you" -- the motto of the U.S. state of Michigan.
Sic
"Thus", "just so" — states that the preceding quoted material appears exactly that way in the source, usually despite errors of spelling, grammar, usage, or fact.
Sic itur ad astra
"Thus to the stars" — that's how to achieve fame.
Sic passim
"thus in various places" — used when referencing books; see passim.
Sic semper tyrannis
"Thus always to tyrants." — state motto of Virginia.
Sic transit gloria mundi
"So passes the glory of the world" — meaning nothing on Earth lasts forever.
Sic vita est
"Such is life" — That's how life is.
Signetur (sig)
"Let it be labeled" (medical shorthand)
Signum Fidei
"Sign of our faith"
Sine anno (s.a.)
"Without year" — used in bibliographies to indicate that the date of publication of a document is unknown.
Sine die
"Without a (set) day" — originally from old common law texts, where it indicates that a final, dispositive order has been made in the case: there is nothing left for the court to do, so no date for further proceedings is set.
Sine ira et studio
"Without anger or bias" — impartially. From Tacitus, Annals 1.1
Sine loco (s.l.)
"Without place" — used in bibliographies to indicate that the place of publication of a document is unknown.
Sine nomine (s.n.)
"Without name" — used in bibliographies to indicate that the publisher of a document is unknown.
Sine qua non
"Without which not" — used to denote something that is an essential part of the whole.
Sine scientia ars nihil est
"Art without knowledge is nothing". A skill (ars) and knowledge (scientia) are tigthly intervowen and could not exist one without the other.
Sit venia verbo
"With apologies for the word" — i.e., "pardon my French."
Si vis pacem, para bellum
"If you wish for peace, prepare for war."
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 apart from works.
Sola Gratia
"By Grace Alone" - a motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the Five solas, referring to the Protestant claim that the Bible teaches salvation is unearned.
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 ultimately authoritative, not the Pope or Tradition.
Soli Deo Gloria
"To God Alone [be] the Glory" - a motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the Five solas, referring to the idea that God is the author 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.)
Solus Christus (or Solo Christo)
"Christ Alone" (or "By 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.
Stamus Contra Malo
Supposed to be "We fight against the evil" — the motto of the Jungle Parol in The Phantom where there actually is a mistranslation to the Latin — it should be "Stamus Contra Malum".
Stante pede
"On standing foot" — immediately.
Stare decisis
"To stand by things decided" — uphold previous rulings, recognize precedence
Statim (stat)
"Immediately" (medical shorthand)
Status quo (ante)
"The state that was (before)" — the status of affairs or situation prior to some upsetting event.
Stet
"Let it stand" — marginal mark in proofreading to indicate that something previously deleted or marked for deletion should be retained.
Stricto sensu
"In the strict sense."
Stupor mundi
"Wonder of the world", the title by which Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was known.
Sua sponte
"Of own accord." — motto of the U.S. Army Rangers. Also a legal term
Sub Cruce Lumen
"Under the Cross is the Light." — motto of the University of Adelaide, Australia.
Sub iudice or sub judice
"Under a judge" — said of a case that cannot be publicly discussed until it is finished.
Sub poena duces tecum
"Bring with you under penalty" — legal writ requiring appearance with documents, etc..
Sub poena (subpoena)
"Under penalty" — of a request (usually by a court) that must be complied to on pain of punishment.
Sub rosa
"Under the rose" — secretly (a rose was placed above a door to indicate that what was said in the room beyond was not to be repeated outside).
Sub specie æternitatis
"From eternity's point of view." (Spinoza, Ethics)
Sui generis
Of its (own) kind — in a class of its own.
Sui juris
Of one's own right — capable of (legal) responsiblity; legal and ecclesiastical use.
Sum quod eris / Fui quod sis
"I am what you will be / I was what you are" — gravestone incriptions that remind the reader of the inevitability of death. Also see Tu fui, ego eris.
Summa cum laude
"With the highest honor."
Summum bonum
"The supreme good."
Summum malum
"The supreme evil."
Sunt lacrimae rerum
"There are tears to things." (Virgil, Aeneid)
Sunt omnes unum
"They are all one."

T

Tabula rasa
"Scraped tablet" — i.e., "a blank slate". Romans used to write on wax-covered wooden tablets, which were erased by scraping with the flat end of the stylus. John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth before it had acquired any knowledge.
Tabula gratulatoria
"List of congratulations."
Talis qualis
"As such"
Taliter qualiter
"Somewhat"
Tempora Heroica
"The Heroic Age."
Tempus fugit
"Time flies."
Ter in die (tid)
"Thrice a day" (medical shorthand)
Terminus ante quem
"Date before which" — in archaelogy or history refers to the date before which an artifact or feature must have been deposited.
Terminus post quem
"Date after which" — in archaelogy or history refers to the date after which an artifact or feature must have been deposited.
Terra firma
"Solid ground."
Terra incognita
"Unknown land."
Terra nullius
"Empty land."
Tertium non datur
"No third is given" — logical axiom that a claim is either true or false, with no third option.
Timeo Danaos, et dona ferentes
"I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts." — in Vergils Aeneid, II, 49, said by Laocoon with reference to the Trojan Horse. The complete qoute is quidquid id est, timeo Danaos, et dona ferentis ("Whatever it is, I fear...").
Translatio imperii
"Transfer of rule" — belief in the transfer of the Empire from the Roman Empire of antiquity to the medieval Holy Roman Empire.
Treuga Dei
"Truce of God" — a decree by the medieval Church that all feuds should be cancelled during the Sabbath (effectively from Wednesday or Thursday night until Monday).
Tu autem
"You, also" — see memento mori.
Tu fui, ego eris
"I was you, you will be me" — i.e., "What you are, I was; what I am, you will be."; a gravestone inscription to remind the reader that death is unavoidable.
Tu quoque
"You too" - logical fallacy where one attempts to defend her position by pointing out the same weakness in her opponent. For example, if a politician was criticized of advocating a plan that is not adequately funded, and she replies that her opponent's plan also is not adequately funded. Pointing out the weakness in the opposing plan does not make her plan any more fundable.
Tu quoque fili
"You too, son" — attributed to Julius Caesar; see Et tu, Brute.

U

Ubi re vera ... or ubi revera ...
"Where(as), in reality ..."
Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant
"Where they make a wasteland, they call it peace" — Tacitus, Agricola, ch. 30.
ult.
abbreviation for ultimo. Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the previous month. Compare with inst. and prox.
Ultima ratio
"Last argument" — the last resort. Louis XIV, King of France, had Ultima Ratio Regum ("The last resort of kings") engraved on the cannons of his armies.
Ultra vires
"Without authority"
Unus multorum
"One of many" — an average person.
Urbi et Orbi
"To the city (of Rome) and to the globe" — standard opening of Roman proclamations; also a traditional blessing by the Pope.
Ut biberent, quando (or quoniam) esse nollent
"So that they might drink, since they refused to eat" — from a story by Suetonius (Vit. Tib. 2.2) and Cicero (De Natura Deorum, 2.3). The phrase was said by Roman admiral Publius Claudius Pulcher, right before the battle of Drepana, as he threw overboard the sacred chickens which had refused to eat the grain offered them — an unwelcome omen of bad luck. So the sense is "if they do not perform as expected, they must suffer the consequences".
Ut infra
"As below."
Ut retro
"As backwards" or "as on the back side" — i.e., "as above" or "as on the previous page".
Ut supra
"As above."

V

Vade mecum
"Go with me" — a vade-mecum or vademecum is an item one carries around, especially a handbook.
Vade retro!
"Go back!" — i.e., "step back!", "begone!" Publius Terent, Formio I, 4, 203.
Vade retro Satana!
"Go back, Satan!" or "Go back, Lucifer!"— implied meaning "go away, do not dare to tempt me!". From a popular Medieval Catholic exorcism formula, apparently based on a rebuke by Jesus to Peter in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33: vade retro me, Satana. ("step back from me, Satan!").
Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas
"Vanity, vanity, all is vanity" (Bible, Ecclesiastes, 1:2)
Vaticinium ex eventu
"Prophecy from the event" - prophecy made to look as written before the events it describes, while in fact being written afterwards.
Vae victis
"Woe to the conquered"
Veni, vidi, vici
"I came, I saw, I conquered" — the full text of a message sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate, to describe his battle against King Pharnakles of Pontus near Zela in 47 BC.
Vera causa
"The true cause (of)"
Verba ita sunt intelligenda, ut res magis valeat quam pereat
Legal phrase meaning "Words are to be so understood that the subject-matter may be preserved rather than destroyed".
Verbatim et litteratim
"Word by word and letter by letter."
Verbi divini minister
"Servant of the word of God" — i.e., a priest.
Veritas
"Truth" - the current motto of Harvard University. Also the British political party Veritas.
Veritas, Christo et Ecclesiae
"Truth for Christ and the Church" - the founding motto of Harvard University
Versus (vs.)
"Against" — as in "Good versus Evil".
Veto
"I forbid" — a right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation.
Via
"By way (of)" (lit. road). — "I will contact you via e-mail"
Via media
"Middle path" — the Church of England was said to be a via media between the errors of Roman Catholicism and the extremes of Protestantism.
Vice versa
"With places exchanged" — i.e., "in reverse order", "conversely".
Victoria aut mori! (Victoria aut mors)
"Victory or Death!"
Vide infra (v.i.)
"See below."
Vide supra (v.s.)
"See above."
Videre licet (videlicet, viz.)
"one may see" — used to introduce examples or a listing of something just named.
Vis legis
"Force of the law"
Visio dei
"God's vision."
Vita ante acta
"Life lived before" — i.e., a previous life
Vivat, crescat, floreat!
"May he/she/it live, grow, and flourish!"
Vivat Regina!
"Long live the Queen!"
Vivat Rex!
"Long live the King!"
Votum separatum
An independent, minority voice
Vox clamantis in deserto
"The voice of one shouting in the desert" — thus "unheeded", "in vain."

See also

External links

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