217 terms

Latin Phrases

Important Latin phrases from the blog The Art of Manliness
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a posteriori
from the latter -- knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence
a priori
from what comes before -- knowledge or justification is independent of experience
faber est suae quisque fortunae
every man is the artisan of his own fortune -- quote by Appius Claudius Caecus
acta non verba
deeds, not words
ad hoc
to this -- improvised or made up
ad hominem
to the man -- below-the-belt personal attack rather than a reasoned argument
ad honorem
for honor
ad infinitum
to infinity
ad nauseam
used to describe an argument that has been taking place to the point of nausea
ad victoriam
to victory -- more commonly translated into for victory, this was a battle cry of the Romans
alea iacta est
the die has been cast
alias
at another time -- an assumed name or pseudonym
alibi
elsewhere
alma mater
nourishing mother -- used to denote one's college/university
amor patriae
love of one's country
amor vincit omnia
love conquers all
annuit cœptis
He (God) nods at things being begun -- or he approves our undertakings, motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the United States one-dollar bill
ante bellum
before the war -- commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War
ante meridiem
before noon -- A.M., used in timekeeping
aqua vitae
water of life -- used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, and brandy (eau de vie) in France
arte et marte
by skill and valour
astra inclinant, sed non obligant
the stars incline us, they do not bind us -- refers to the strength of free will over astrological determinism
audemus jura nostra defendere
we dare to defend our rights -- state motto of Alabama
audere est facere
to dare is to do
audio
I hear
aurea mediocritas
golden mean -- refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes
auribus teneo lupum
I hold a wolf by the ears -- a common ancient proverb; 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
aut cum scuto aut in scuto
either with shield or on shield -- do or die, no retreat; said by Spartan mothers to their sons as they departed for battle
aut neca aut necare
either kill or be killed
aut viam inveniam aut faciam
I will either find a way or make one -- said by Hannibal, the great ancient military commander
barba non facit philosophum
a beard doesn't make one a philosopher
bellum omnium contra omnes
war of all against all
bis dat qui cito dat
he gives twice, who gives promptly -- a gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts
bona fide
good faith
bono malum superate
overcome evil with good
carpe diem
seize the day
caveat emptor
let the buyer beware -- the purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need
circa
around, or approximately
citius altius fortius
faster, higher, stronger -- modern Olympics motto
cogito ergo sum
I think therefore I am -- famous quote by Rene Descartes
contemptus mundi/saeculi
scorn for the world/times -- despising the secular world, the monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values
corpus christi
body of Christ
corruptissima re publica plurimae leges
when the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous -- said by Tacitus
creatio ex nihilo
creation out of nothing -- a concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context
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
curriculum vitae
the course of one's life -- in business, a lengthened resume
de facto
from the fact -- distinguishing what's supposed to be from what is reality
deo volente
God willing
deus ex machina
God out of a machine -- a term meaning a conflict is resolved in improbable or implausible ways
dictum factum
what is said is done
disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus
learn as if you're always going to live live as if tomorrow you're going to die
discendo discimus
while teaching we learn
docendo disco, scribendo cogito
I learn by teaching, think by writing
ductus exemplo
leadership by example
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt
the fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling -- attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca
dulce bellum inexpertis
war is sweet to the inexperienced
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
it is sweet and fitting to die for your country
dulcius ex asperis
sweeter after difficulties
e pluribus unum
out of many, one -- on the U.S. seal, and was once the country's de facto motto
emeritus
veteran -- retired from office
ergo
therefore
et alii
and others -- abbreviated et al.
et cetera
and the others
et tu, Brute?
last words of Caesar after being murdered by friend Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, used today to convey utter betrayal
ex animo
from the heart -- thus, sincerely
ex libris
from the library of -- to mark books from a library
ex nihilo
out of nothing
ex post facto
from a thing done afterward -- said of a law with retroactive effect
fac fortia et patere
do brave deeds and endure
fac simile
make alike -- origin of the word fax
flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo
if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell -- Virgil's Aeneid
fortes fortuna adiuvat
fortune favors the bold
fortis in arduis
strong in difficulties
gloria in excelsis Deo
glory to God in the highest
habeas corpus
you should have the body -- a legal term from the 14th century or earlier commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to challenge the legality of their detention
habemus papam
we have a pope -- used after a Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope
historia vitae magistra
history, the teacher of life -- from Cicero; also history is the mistress of life
hoc est bellum
this is war
homo unius libri (timeo)
(I fear) a man of one book -- attributed to Thomas Aquinas
honor virtutis praemium
esteem is the reward of virtue
hostis humani generis
enemy of the human race -- Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general
humilitas occidit superbiam
humility conquers pride
igne natura renovatur integra
through fire, nature is reborn whole
ignis aurum probat
fire tests gold -- a phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances
in absentia
in the absence
in aqua sanitas
in water there is health
in flagrante delicto
in flaming crime -- caught red-handed, or in the act
in memoriam
into the memory -- more commonly in memory of
in omnia paratus
ready for anything
in situ
in position -- something that exists in an original or natural state
in toto
in all or entirely
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimus
then we will fight in the shade -- made famous by Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae and by the movie 300
in utero
in the womb
in vitro
in glass -- biological process that occurs in the lab
incepto ne desistam
may I not shrink from my purpose
intelligenti pauca
few words suffice for he who understands
invicta
unconquered
invictus maneo
I remain unvanquished
ipso facto
by the fact itself -- something is true by its very nature
labor omnia vincit
hard work conquers all
laborare pugnare parati sumus
to work, (or) to fight; we are ready
labore et honore
by labor and honor
leges sine moribus vanae
laws without morals [are] vain
lex parsimoniae
law of succinctness -- also known as Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one
lex talionis
the law of retaliation
magna cum laude
with great praise
magna est vis consuetudinis
great is the power of habit
magnum opus
great work -- said 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; opposite of bona fide
malum in se
wrong in itself -- a legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong
malum prohibitum
wrong due to being prohibited -- a legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law
mea culpa
my fault
meliora
better things -- carrying the connotation of always better
memento mori
remember that [you will] die -- was whispered by a servant into the ear of a victorious Roman general to check his pride as he paraded through cheering crowds after a victory a genre of art meant to remind the viewer of the reality of his death
memento vivere
remember to live
memores acti prudentes futuri
mindful of what has been done, aware of what will be
modus operandi
method of operating -- abbreviated M.O.
montani semper liberi
mountaineers [are] always free -- state motto of West Virginia
morior invictus
death before defeat
morituri te salutant
those who are about to die salute you -- popularized as a standard salute from gladiators to the emperor, but only recorded once in Roman history
morte magis metuenda senectus
old age should rather be feared than death
mulgere hircum
to milk a male goat -- to attempt the impossible
multa paucis
say much in few words
nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants -- commonly known by the letters of Isaac Newton: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants
nec aspera terrent
they don't terrify the rough ones -- frightened by no difficulties, less literally difficulties be damned
nec temere nec timide
neither reckless nor timid
nil volentibus arduum
nothing [is] arduous for the willing
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
non ducor, duco
I am not led I lead
non loqui sed facere
not talk but action
non progredi est regredi
to not go forward is to go backward
non scholae, sed vitae discimus
we learn not for school, but for life -- from Seneca
non sequitur
it does not follow -- in general, a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context (rather than due to being inherently nonsensical or internally inconsistent), often used in humor
non sum qualis eram
I am not such as I was -- or I am not the kind of person I once was
nosce te ipsum
know thyself -- from Cicero
novus ordo seclorum
new order of the ages -- from Virgil motto on the Great Seal of the United States
nulla tenaci invia est via
for the tenacious, no road is impassable
obliti privatorum, publica curate
forget private affairs, take care of public ones -- Roman political saying which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters for any person having a responsibility in the State
panem et circenses
bread and circuses -- originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters
para bellum
prepare for war -- if you want peace, prepare for war—if a country is ready for war, its enemies are less likely to attack
parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus
when you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things -- sometimes translated as, once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely
pater familias
father of the family -- the eldest male in a family
pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, domina
if you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don't, money is your master
per angusta ad augusta
through difficulties to greatness
per annum
by the year
per capita
by the person
per diem
by the day
per se
through itself
persona non grata
person not pleasing -- an unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person
pollice verso
with a turned thumb -- used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator
post meridiem
after noon -- P.M., used in timekeeping
post mortem
after death
postscriptum
thing having been written afterward -- in writing, abbreviated P.S.
praemonitus praemunitus
forewarned is forearmed
praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes
lead in order to serve, not in order to rule
primus inter pares
first among equals -- a title of the Roman Emperors
pro bono
for the good -- in business, refers to services rendered at no charge
pro rata
for the rate
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diu
it is how well you live that matters, not how long -- from Seneca
quasi
as if or as though
qui totum vult totum perdit
he who wants everything loses everything -- attributed to Seneca
quid agis
what's going on? -- what's up, what's happening, etc.
quid pro quo
this for that -- an exchange of value
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
quis custodiet ip sos custodes?
who will guard the guards themselves? -- commonly associated with Plato
quorum
of whom -- the number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional
requiescat in pace
let him rest in peace -- abbreviated R.I.P.
rigor mortis
stiffness of death
scientia ac labore
knowledge through hard work
scientia ipsa potentia est
knowledge itself is power
semper anticus
always forward
semper fidelis
always faithful -- U.S. Marines motto
semper fortis
always brave
semper paratus
always prepared
semper virilis
always virile
si vales, valeo
when you are strong, I am strong
si vis pacem, para bellum
if you want peace, prepare for war
sic parvis magna
greatness from small beginnings -- motto of Sir Frances Drake
sic semper tyrannis
thus always to tyrants -- 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 vita est
thus is life -- the ancient version of it is what it is
sola fide
by faith alone
sola nobilitat virtus
virtue alone ennobles
solvitur ambulando
it is solved by walking
spes bona
good hope
statim (stat)
immediately -- medical shorthand
status quo
the situation in which or current condition
subpoena
under penalty
sum quod eris
I am what you will be -- a gravestone inscription to remind the reader of the inevitability of death
summa cum laude
with highest praise
summum bonum
the supreme good
suum cuique
to each his own
tabula rasa
scraped tablet -- blank slate; John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge
tempora heroica
Heroic Age
tempus edax rerum
time, devourer of all things
tempus fugit
time flees -- commonly mistranslated time flies
terra firma
firm ground
terra incognita
unknown land -- used on old maps to show unexplored areas
vae victis
woe to the conquered
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas
vanity of vanities everything [is] vanity -- from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1)
veni vidi vici
I came, I saw, I conquered -- famously said by Julius Caesar
verbatim
repeat exactly
veritas et aequitas
truth and equity
versus
against
veto
I forbid
vice versa
to change or turn around
vincit qui patitur
he conquers who endures
vincit qui se vincit
he conquers who conquers himself
vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
[a] wise man does not urinate [up] against the wind
virile agitur
the manly thing is being done
viriliter agite
act in a manly way
viriliter agite estote fortes
quit ye like men, be strong
virtus tentamine gaudet
strength rejoices in the challenge
virtute et armis
by virtue and arms -- or by manhood and weapons; state motto of Mississippi
vive memor leti
live remembering death
vivere est vincere
to live is to conquer -- Captain John Smith's personal motto
vivere militare est
to live is to fight
vox populi
voice of the people