Latin Phrases



The English meanings are not necessarily literal translations.

ab extra - from without
ab initio - from the beginning
absit omen - may there be no ill omen
ad absurdum- to the point of absurdity
ad finem - to the end, towards the end
ad hoc - for this purpose
ad infinitum - to infinity
ad nauseam - to the point where one becomes disgusted
ad valorem - according to the value
alma mater - benign mother- applied by old students to their university
alter ego - one's second half
amor vincit omnia - love conquers all
Anno Domini - in the year of our Lord
annus mirabilis - year of wonders
ante bellum - before the war
a priori - based on theory rather than observation
aqua vitae - water of life
ars longa, vita brevis - art is long, life is short
bona fides - in good faith, genuine
carpe diem - seize the day, enjoy the present day
casus belli - an act justifying war
caveat emptor - let the buyer beware
de facto - from the fact, actual or possibility
de jure - in law, by right
dramatis personae - characters of the play
errare est humanum - to err is human
et tu, Brute! - And you, too, Brutus! (said to be Julius Caesar's last words)
exempli gratia - by way of example
ex cathedra - with authority; used especially of those pronouncements of the Pope that are considered infallible.
ex gratia - as an act of grace
ex officio - by virtue of his office
favete linguis - favour me with your tongues, i.e. be silent
fiat justitia, ruat coelum - let justice be done, though the heavens fall
fiat lux - let there be light
honoris causa - for the sake of honour, honorary
in loco parentis - in the place of a parent
in memoriam - in memory, to the memory of
in situ - situated in the original or natural position
ipse dixit - he himself said it
in vino veritas - in wine there is truth
lapsus linguae - a slip of the tongue
magnum opus - a great work
male fide - with bad faith, treacherously
memento mori - remember that you must die
modus operandi - plan of working
persona non grata - unacceptable or unwelcome person
post mortem - after death
prima facie - on the first view
sic transit gloria mundi - so passes away earthly glory
sine die - without a day being appointed
sine qua non - without which not, an indispensable condition
status quo - the state in which things as they are now
sub judice - under consideration
ubique - everywhere
ultra vires - beyond one's powers
veni, vidi, vici - I came, I saw, I conquered
vice versa - the terms being reversed
viva voce - by the living voice, orally
vox populi, vox Dei - the voice of the people is the voice of God