Latin Phrases

A fortiori

with even stronger reason

A posteriori

From the latter — based on observation

A priori

From the former — presupposed

Ab hinc

From here on.

Ab ovo usque ad mala

from start to finish (from horsd'oeuvre to dessert)

Ab urbe condita (A.U.C.)

From the founding of the city (of Rome)

Ad hoc

improvised, made up on the spot.

Ad infinitum

To infinity

Ad interim

In the meantime

Ad nauseam

To the point of nausea

Ad perpetuam memoriam

To the eternal memory [of]

Advocatus Diaboli

The Devil's Advocate

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God

Alea iacta est

The die has been cast

Alma Mater

Old school (actual translation - nourishing mother)

Alter ego

"Other 'I'" or "Other Self"

Amor vincit omnia

Love conquers all

Anno Domini (A.D.)

In the year of the lord

Annus mirabilis

Year of wonders

Ante bellum

before the war

Ante meridiem (a.m.)

Before noon

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

I'll either find a way or make one.

Aut vincere aut mori

Either conquer or die

Bona fide

well-intentioned, fairly

caeca invidia est

envy is blind

Carpe diem

Seize the day, literally "pluck the day"

Carthago delenda est

Carthage must be destroyed

Causa mortis

Death Cause

Cave canem

Beware of the dog

Cetera desunt

The rest is missing

Ceteris paribus

All other things being equal

Circa (ca.)

Around — in the sense of "approximately, about"

Cogita ante salis.

Think before you leap (or roughly - Look before you leap)

Cogito ergo sum

I think therefore I am

Conditio sine qua non

condition, nexessarily to be fulfilled

Confer (cf.)


Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.)

Helvetian Confederation

Consummatum est

It is completed

Contra Felicem vix deus vires habet.

against a lucky man a god scarcely has power.

Corpus Christi

Body of Christ

cui bono

for whose good (in whose interests)?

Cum grano salis

With a grain of salt

Cur tu me vexas?

Why do you annoy me?

Curriculum vitae

Course of life

Cursum Perficio

My journey is over ("I finish my journey")

De facto

In fact

De jure

By law

delenda est Carthago

Carthage must be destroyed

Deus ex machina

A god from a machine

Diis aliter visum

The Gods decided otherwise.

Divide et impera

Divide and rule.

Docendo discimus

We learn by teaching.

Dramatis personae

People of the play

Dura lex, sed lex

Law is strict/hard, but it is the law

E pluribus unum

From many, one


From merit

Ergo (eg.)


Errare humanum est

mistakes are human

Et alii (et al.)

And others (female?)

Et cetera (etc. or &c.)

And the rest

Et seq., Et sequens

And the following

Et tu, Brute

And thou, Brutus?

Ex aequo

in a tie

Ex ante

before the event, i.e., based on prior assumptions

ex cathedra

with authority

Ex dolo


Ex libris...

From the books (library) of...



Exegi monumentum aere perennius.

I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze

Exempli gratia (e.g.)

for the sake of example


They leave

Exeunt omnes

They all leave


He/she leaves

Exitus acta probat

The outcome justifies the deed

Experimentum crucis

Critical experiment

fabas indulcet fames

hunger makes all taste good ("hunger sweetens beans")


Make a similar one

Fama volat.

Fame has wings.


one who commits suicide

festina lente

hurry slowly

Fiat lux (et facta est lux)

Let there be light (and there was light)

Forsan miseros meliora sequentur. (Virgil)

For those in misery perhaps better things will follow.

Fortes fortuna juvat

Fortune favors the brave

Fronti nulla fides

No reliance can be placed on appearance

Habemus papam

We have a pope

Hic iacet...

Here lies...

Homo praesumitur bonus donec probetur malus

One is innocent until proven guilty.

Honoris causa

For the sake of honor

Id est (i.e.)

That is (to say)

Ignorantia juris neminem excusat

Ignorance of the law excuses no one


(It) may be printed

In absentia

In the absence

In fieri


In fine (i.f.)


In loco parentis

assuming custodial/parental responsibility and authority

In memoriam

In memory of

In personam

Directed towards a particular person ("in rem" – to property)

In vitro

In glass

Incredibile dictu

Incredible to say

Index librorum prohibitorum

List of prohibited books

Infra dignitatem

undignified (beneath (our) dignity).


Current month

Inter arma enim silent leges

In times of war, the law falls silent - Cicero

Inter caetera

Among others. Title of a papal bull

Ipso facto

By the fact itself

Ira Deorum

Wrath of the Gods

Ita vero

Thus indeed

Justitia omnibus

Justice for all

Lapsus linguae

A slip of the tongue

Lex lata

The law as it exists

Lupus in fabula

Speak of the wolf, and he will come

Magno cum gaudio

With great joy

Magnum opus

Great work

Mala fide

In bad faith

Mea (maxima) culpa

By my own (very great) fault

Meliora Cogito

I strive for the best

Memento mori

Remember that you will die!

Meum pactum dictum

My word is my bond

Modus operandi

method of work

Modus ponens

Method of adding

Modus tollens

Method of subtracting

Mors ultima linea rerum est

Death is everything's final limit

Ne humanus crede

Trust no human.

Nemo nisi mors

No one but death (shall part us)

Nihil obstat

Nothing prevents

Nolo contendere

No Contest

Nomen nescio (N. N.)

Name unknown

Non scholae sed vitae discimus

we learn not for school, but for life

Non sequitur

It does not follow

Nota bene (n.b.)

please note, important note

O di immortales!

Good heavens! (uttered by Cicero on the Senate floor.)

O diem praeclarum!

Oh, what a beautiful day!

O tempora, O mores!

Oh the times, oh the morals! (Cicero)

Opere citato (op. cit.)

In work (already) cited

Opus Dei

The Work of God, or God's Work

Pace tua

With your permission

Pater peccavi

Father, I have sinned

Pax tecum

Peace be with you (singular)

Pax vobiscum

Peace be with you (plural)

Per annum

Per year

Per caput or per capita

Per head — i.e., per person

Per definitionem

by definition

Per se

By itself or in itself intrinsically, taken without qualifications

Perpetuum mobile

Thing in perpetual motion

Persona non grata

Person not wanted

Post facto

After the fact

Post meridiem (p.m.)

After noon — in the period from noon to midnight

Post mortem

After death

post proelia praemia.

After the battles come the rewards

Post scriptum (p.s.)

additions to a letter, after the signature

Primus inter pares

First among equals

Pro bono (publico)

For the (public) good (lawyer's work)

Pro rata

For the rate — i.e., proportionately

Propino tibi salutem!



Following month

Qualis pater talis filius.

As is the father, so is the son; like father, like son


as if

Qui tacet consentit

silence implies consent

Qui vult dare parva non debet magna rogare.

He who wishes to give little shouldn't ask for much.

Quidnunc? or Quid nunc?

What now?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who watches the watchers?

Quo vadis

Where are you going?

Quod erat demonstrandum

That which was to be demonstrated

Quod scripsi, scripsi.

What I have written, I have written


(You might) ask...

Reductio ad absurdum

Reduction to absurdity

Requiescat in pace (R.I.P.)

May he rest in peace

Roma locuta est. Causa finita est

Rome has spoken. The cause is finished.

Salvator Mundi

The Saviour of the World

Salvo honoris titulo (SHT)
Excluding the title — in writings to unfamiliar persons
Sapere aude

Dare to be wise


Thus, just so

Sic vita est

Such is life

Sine anno (s.a.)

Without year

Sine loco (s.l.)

Without place

Sine nomine (s.n.)

Without name

Sine qua non


Stante pede

On standing foot — immediately

Summum bonum

The supreme good

Summum malum

The supreme evil

Tabula rasa

A clean slate ("scraped tablet")

Tempus fugit

Time flies

Terra firma

Solid ground

Tu quoque

You too (a logical statement)

Ubi fumus, ibi ignis.

Where there's smoke, there's fire.


Previous month

Ultima ratio

Last argument

Ultra vires

Without authority

Ut infra

As below

Ut retro

As backwards

Ut supra

As above

Vade mecum

Go with me (for: "guide")

Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity

Veni, vidi, vici.

I came, I saw, I conquered. (Caesar)

Venienti occurrite morbo. (Persius, Satires)

Meet the misfortune as it comes.

Verbatim et litteratim

Word by word and letter by letter.

Veritas Lux Mea

The truth enlightens me / The truth is my light

Versus (vs.)



I forbid


By way (of) (lit. road)

Vice versa

In reverse order, conversely

Victoria aut mori!

Victory or Death!

Vide infra (v.i.)

See below

Vide supra (v.s.)

See above

Videre licet (videlicet, viz.)

One may see

Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur.

It is a wise man who speaks little.



Absconde obesito illegitimo

Get outta here you fat bastard (Buddy Hacket)

Aspice, officio fungeris sine spe honoris amplioris.

Face it, you're stuck in a dead end job.

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.

If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar.

Canis meus id comedit.

My dog ate it.

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling
an enormous rock at your head.

Cave canem

Beware of the dog.

Cave ne ante ullas catapultas ambules.

If I were you, I wouldn't walk in front of any catapults.

Coruscantes disci per convexa caeli volantes.

Flying saucers.

Die dulci fruere.

Have a nice day.

Fac ut vivas.

Get a life.

In flagrante delicto


Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europe vincendarum.

Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe.

Magister Mundi sum!

I am the Master of the Universe!

Ne auderis delere orbem rigidum meum!

Don't you dare erase my hard disk!

Ne conjugare nobiscum

Don't fuck with us

Neutiquam erro.

I am not lost.

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.

I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Nihil est--in vita priore ego imperator Romanus fui.

That's nothing--in a previous life I was a Roman Emperor.

Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.

Don't call me, I'll call you.

Nullum Gratuitum Prandium.

There is no free lunch!

Prehende uxorem meam, sis!

Take my wife, please!

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck
could chuck wood?

Quid Novi.

What's New?

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

Anything said in Latin sounds profound.

Raptus regaliter.

Royally screwed.

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.

I think some people in togas are plotting against me.

Stercus accidit

shit happens

Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.

I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

tum podem extulit horridulum

you are talking shit

Utinam coniurati te in foro interficiant!

May conspirators assassinate you in the mall!

Vacca foeda.

Stupid cow.