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Archive of Latin Terms and Phrases 



Latin Translation Notes
a bene placito from one well pleased Or "at will", "at one's pleasure". This phrase, and its Italian (beneplacito) and Spanish (beneplácito) derivatives, are synonymous with the more common ad libitum (at pleasure).
a caelo usque ad centrum from the sky to the center Or "from heaven all the way to the center of the earth". In law, can refer to the obsolete cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos maxim of property ownership ("for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths").
a capite ad calcem from head to heel From top to bottom; all the way through (colloquially "from head to toe"). Equally a pedibus usque ad caput.
a contrario from the opposite Equivalent to "on the contrary" or "au contraire". An argumentum a contrario is an "argument from the contrary", an argument or proof by contrast or direct opposite.
a Deucalione from or since Deucalion A long time ago. From Gaius Lucilius (Satires, 6, 284)
a falsis principiis proficisci to set forth from false principles Legal term from Cicero's De Finibus 4.53.
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.
a mari usque ad mare from sea to sea From Psalm 72:8, "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae" (KJV: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth"). National motto of Canada.
a pedibus usque ad caput from feet to head Completely. Similar to the English expressions "from tip to toe" or "from top to toe". Equally a capite ad calcem. See also ab ovo usque ad mala.
a posse ad esse from being able to being "From possibility to actuality" or "from being possible to being actual"
a posteriori from the latter Based on observation (i.e., empirical knowledge), the reverse of a priori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known after a proof has been carried out. In philosophy, used to denote something known from experience.
a priori from the former Presupposed independent of experience, the reverse of a posteriori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known or postulated before a proof has been carried out. In philosophy, used to denote something is supposed without empirical evidence. In everyday speech, it denotes something occurring or being known before the event.
ab absurdo from the absurd Said of an argument that seeks to prove a statement's validity by pointing out the absurdity of an opponent's position (cf. appeal to ridicule) or that an assertion is false because of its absurdity. Not to be confused with a reductio ad absurdum, which is usually a valid logical argument.
ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia an inference from an abuse to a use is not valid Rights abused are still rights (cf. abusus non tollit usum).
ab aeterno from the eternal Literally, "from the everlasting" or "from eternity". Thus, "from time immemorial", "since the beginning of time" or "from an infinitely remote time in the past". In theology, often indicates something, such as the universe, that was created outside of time.
ab antiquo from the ancient From ancient times.
ab epistulis from the letters Or, having to do with correspondence.
ab extra from beyond A legal term meaning "from without". From external sources, rather than from the self or the mind (ab intra).
ab hinc or abhinc from here on  
ab imo pectore from the deepest chest Or "from the bottom of my heart", "with deepest affection", "sincerely".. Attributed to Julius Caesar.
ab inconvenienti from an inconvenient thing New Latin for "based on unsuitability", "from inconvenience" or "from hardship". An argumentum ab inconvenienti is one based on the difficulties involved in pursuing a line of reasoning, and is thus a form of appeal to consequences; it refers to a rule in law that an argument from inconvenience has great weight.
ab incunabulis from the cradle Thus, "from the beginning" or "from infancy". Incunabula is commonly used in English to refer to the earliest stage or origin of something, and especially to copies of books that predate the spread of the printing press around AD 1500.
ab initio from the beginning "At the outset", referring to an inquiry or investigation. In literature, refers to a story told from the beginning rather than in medias res (from the middle). In law, refers to something being the case from the start or from the instant of the act, rather than from when the court declared it so. A judicial declaration of the invalidity of a marriage ab initio is a nullity. In science, refers to the first principles. In other contexts, often refers to beginner or training courses. Ab initio mundi means "from the beginning of the world".
ab intestato from an intestate From someone who dies with no legal will (cf. ex testamento).
ab intra from within From the inside. The opposite of ab extra.
ab irato from an angry man By a person who is angry. Used in law to describe a decision or action that is detrimental to those it affects and was made based on hatred or anger, rather than on reason. The form irato is masculine; however, this does not mean it applies only to men, rather 'person' is meant, as the phrase probably elides "homo," not "vir."
ab origine from the source From the origin, beginning, source, or commencement—i.e., "originally". The source of the word aboriginal.
ab ovo usque ad mala from the egg to the apples From Horace, Satire 1.3. Means "from beginning to end", based on the Roman main meal typically beginning with an egg dish and ending with fruit (cf. the English phrase soup to nuts). Thus, ab ovo means "from the beginning", and can also connote thoroughness.
ab uno disce omnes from one, learn all From Virgil's Aeneid. Refers to situations where a single example or observation indicates a general or universal truth. Visible in the court of King Silas in the TV series Kings.
ab urbe condita (a.u.c.) from the city having been founded Or "from the founding of Rome", which occurred in 753 BC according to Livy's count. Used as a reference point in ancient Rome for establishing dates, before being supplanted by other systems. Also anno urbis conditae (a.u.c.) (literally "in the year of the founded city").
ab utili from utility Used of an argument.
absens haeres non erit an absent person will not be an heir In law, refers to the principle that someone who is not present is unlikely to inherit.
absente reo (abs. re.) [with] the defendant being absent In the absence of the accused.
absit iniuria verbis (or injuria) let injury be absent from [these] words Expresses the wish that no insult or wrong be conveyed by the speaker's words, i.e., "no offence". See also absit invidia.
absit invidia let ill will be absent Although similar to the English expression "no offence", absit invidia is not a mere social gesture to avoid causing offense, but also a way to ward off the harm that some people superstitiously believe animosity can cause others. Also extended to absit invidia verbo, meaning "may ill will be absent from the word" (cf. absit iniuria verbis).
absit omen let an omen be absent Or "let this not be a bad omen". Expresses the wish that something seemingly ill-boding does not turn out to be an omen for future events, and calls on divine protection against evil.
absolutum dominium absolute dominion Total power or sovereignty.
absolvo I acquit A legal term said by a judge acquitting a defendant following a trial. Te absolvo or absolvo te, translated, "I forgive you," said by Roman Catholic priests during the Sacrament of Confession, in Latin prior to the Second Vatican Council and in vernacular thereafter.
abundans cautela non nocet abundant caution does no harm Frequently phrased as "one can never be too careful".
abusus non tollit usum misuse does not remove use Just because something is misused doesn't mean it can't be used correctly.
abyssus abyssum invocat deep calleth unto deep From Psalms 42:7; some translations have 'Sea calls to sea'.
accipe hoc Take this Motto of 848 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Navy.
accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo no one ought to accuse himself except in the Presence of God A legal maxim denoting that any accused person is entitled to make a plea of not guilty, and also that a witness is not obliged to give a response or submit a document that will incriminate himself. A very similar phrase is nemo tenetur se ipsum accusare "no one is bound to accuse himself". See right to silence.
acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt mortal actions never deceive the gods Ovid's Tristia 1.2.97: si tamen acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt, / a culpa facinus scitis abesse mea. "Yet if mortal actions never deceive the gods, / you know that crime was absent from my fault."
acta est fabula plaudite The play has been performed; applaud! A common ending to ancient Roman comedies, also claimed by Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars to have been Augustus' last words. Applied by Sibelius to the third movement of his String Quartet no. 2 so that his audience would realize it was the last one, as a fourth would normally be expected.
acta non verba Deeds, not Words Motto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
acta sanctorum Deeds of the Saints Also used in the singular, Acta Sancti (Deeds of the Saint), preceding a specific Saint's name. A common title of works in hagiography.
actus me invito factus non est meus actus the act done by me against my will is not my act  
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea The act does not make [a person] guilty unless the mind should be guilty. A legal term outlining the presumption of mens rea in a crime.
actus reus guilty act The actual crime that is committed, rather than the intent or thought process leading up to the crime. Thus, the external elements of a crime, as contrasted with mens rea, the internal elements.
ad absurdum to the absurd In logic, to the point of being silly or nonsensical. See also reductio ad absurdum. Not to be confused with ab absurdo (from the absurd).
ad abundantiam to abundance In legal language, used when providing additional evidence to an already sufficient collection. Also used commonly, as an equivalent of "as if this wasn't enough".
ad arbitrium at will, at pleasure  
ad astra to the stars Name or motto (in full or part) of many organizations, publications, etc.
ad astra per alas porci to the stars on the wings of a pig A favorite saying of John Steinbeck. A professor told him that he would be an author when pigs flew. Every book he wrote is printed with this insignia.
ad astra per aspera to the stars through difficulty Motto of Kansas, and other organisations. The phrase is also translated as "A rough road leads to the stars", as on the Launch Complex 34 memorial plaque for the astronauts of Apollo 1.
ad augusta per angusta to rise to a high position overcoming hardships.  
ad captandum vulgus in order to capture the crowd To appeal to the masses. Often used of politicians. An argumentum ad captandum is an argument designed to please the crowd.
ad eundem to the same An ad eundem degree, from the Latin ad eundem gradum (to the same step" or "to the same degree), is a courtesy degree awarded by one university or college to an alumnus of another. It is not an honorary degree, but a recognition of the formal learning that earned the degree at another college.
ad fontes to the sources A motto of Renaissance humanism. Also used in the Protestant Reformation.
ad fundum to the bottom Said during a generic toast, equivalent to "bottoms up!" In other contexts, generally means "back to the basics".
ad hoc to this Generally means "for this", in the sense of improvised on the spot or designed for only a specific, immediate purpose.
ad hominem to the man Or "at the man". Typically used in argumentum ad hominem, a logical fallacy consisting of criticizing a person when the subject of debate is the person's ideas or argument, on the mistaken assumption that the soundness of an argument is dependent on the qualities of the proponent.
ad honorem to the honour Generally means "for the honour", not seeking any material reward.
ad infinitum to infinity Going on forever. Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof.
ad interim (ad int) for 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 at the Greek Calends Attributed by Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars to Augustus. The Calends were specific days of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, and so the "Greek Kalends" would never occur. Similar to "when pigs fly".
ad libitum (ad lib) toward pleasure Loosely, "according to what pleases" or "as you wish"; libitum comes from the past participle of libere, "to please". It typically indicates in music and theatrical scripts that the performer has the liberty to change or omit something. Ad lib is specifically often used when someone improvises or ignores limitations.
ad litem to the lawsuit A legal term referring to a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party who is deemed incapable of representing himself. An individual who acts in this capacity is called a guardian ad litem.
ad lucem to the light Motto of Oxford High School (Oxford), the University of Lisbon, Withington Girls' School and St. Bartholomew's School, Newbury, UK
ad maiorem Dei gloriam or ad majorem Dei gloriam (AMDG) to the greater glory of God Motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Edward Elgar dedicated his oratorio The Dream of Gerontius "A.M.D.G."
ad meliora Towards better things motto of St. Patrick's College, Cavan, Ireland
ad mortem To death used in medical contexts as a synonym for death
ad multos annos to many years! A wish for a long life. Similar to "Many happy returns!"
ad nauseam to seasickness Or "to the point of disgust". Sometimes used as a humorous alternative to ad infinitum. An argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy involving basing one's argument on prolonged repetition, i.e., repeating something so much that people are "sick of it".
ad oculos to the eyes Meaning "obvious on sight" or "obvious to anyone that sees it".
ad pedem litterae to the foot of the letter Thus, "exactly as it is written". Similar to the phrase "to the letter", meaning "to the last detail".
ad perpetuam memoriam to the perpetual memory Generally precedes "of" and a person's name, and is used to wish for someone to be remembered long after death.
ad pondus omnium (ad pond om) to the weight of all things More loosely, "considering everything's weight". The abbreviation was historically used by physicians and others to signify that the last prescribed ingredient is to weigh as much as all of the previously mentioned ones.
ad quod damnum to whatever damage Meaning "according to the harm" or "in proportion to the harm". The phrase is used in tort law as a measure of damages inflicted, implying that a remedy, if one exists, ought to correspond specifically and only to the damage suffered (cf. damnum absque iniuria).
ad referendum
(ad ref)
to be proposed [before the Senate] Loosely "subject to reference": provisionally approved, but still needing official approval. Not the same as a referendum.
ad rem to the matter Thus, "to the point", without digression.
ad terminum qui praeteriit for the term which has passed A legal term for a writ of entry ad terminum qui praeteriit [for the term which has passed].[1]
ad undas to the waves Equivalent to "to hell".
ad usum Delphini for the use 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 censored for his heir apparent, the Dauphin. Also rarely in usum Delphini (into the use of the Dauphin).
ad usum proprium (ad us. propr.) for one's own use  
ad utrumque paratus prepared for either [alternative] The motto of Lund University, with the implied alternatives being the book (study) and the sword (defending the country in war).
ad valorem according to value Used in commerce to refer to ad valorem taxes, taxes based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property.
ad victoriam to victory More commonly translated into "for victory" this is a battlecry of the Romans.
ad vitam aeternam to eternal life Also "to life everlasting". A common Biblical phrase.
ad vitam aut culpam for life or until fault Usually used of a term of office.
addendum thing to be added An item to be added, especially a supplement to a book. The plural is addenda.
adaequatio intellectus et rei correspondence of the mind and reality One of the definitions of the truth. When the mind has the same form as reality, we think truth. Also found as adaequatio rei et intellectus.
adaequatio intellectus nostri cum re conformity of our minds to the fact A phrase used in Epistemology regarding the nature of understanding.
adsum I am here Equivalent to "Present!" or "Here!" The opposite of absum "I am absent".
adversus solem ne loquitor don't speak against the sun Or don't argue what's obviously wrong.
aegri somnia a sick man's dreams From Horace, Ars Poetica, 7. Loosely, "troubled dreams".
aetat. "of age" / "aged" (in the sense of: "age: ...) Abbreviation of "aetatis"; further abbreviated (and more common): "aet." – e.g.: "aetat" or "aet. 36" = "36 years old".
aetatis suae of one's own age Thus, "at the age of". Appeared on portraits, gravestones, etc. Sometimes extended to anno aetatis suae (AAS), "in the year of his age". Sometimes shortened to just aetatis or aetat (aet.).
The tomb reads Anno 1629 Aetatis Suae 46 because she died in 1629 at age 46.
affidavit he asserted A legal term from Medieval Latin referring to a sworn statement. From fides, "faith".
age quod agis Do what you are doing. More often translated as "Do well whatever you do", this phrase is used as the motto of several Catholic schools. Literally translated, it means "Drive, because you are driven"; figuratively it means "keep going, because you are inspired or dedicated to do so".
agenda things to be done Originally comparable to a to-do list, an ordered list of things to be done. Now generalized to include any planned course of action. The singular, agendum (thing that must be done), is rarely used.
agere sequitur credere action follows belief "We act according to what we believe (ourselves to be)".[2]
agere sequitur (esse) action follows being Metaphysical and moral principle that indicates the connection among ontology, obligation and ethics.[2]
Agnus Dei Lamb of God Latin translation from John 1:36, where John the Baptist exclaims Ecce Agnus Dei! "Behold the Lamb of God!" upon seeing Jesus, referring both to a lamb's connotations of innocence and to a sacrificial lamb.
alea iacta est the die has been cast Or in Greek, ἀνεῤῥίφθω κύβος anerrhíphthō kýbos; said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC, according to Suetonius. The original meaning was similar to "the game is afoot", but its modern meaning, like that of the phrase "crossing the Rubicon", denotes passing the point of no return on a momentous decision and entering into a risky endeavor where the outcome is left to chance.
alenda lux ubi orta libertas Light [is] to be nourished where liberty [has] arisen. Or "let learning be cherished..." The motto of Davidson College.
alias at another time, otherwise An assumed name or pseudonym. Similar to alter ego, but more specifically referring to a name, not to a "second self".
alibi elsewhere A legal defense where a defendant attempts to show that he was elsewhere at the time a crime was committed.
His alibi is sound; he gave evidence that he was in another city on the night of the murder.
aliquid stat pro aliquo something stands for something else A foundational definition for semiotics.
alis aquilae on an eagle's wings taken from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40. "But those who wait for the Lord shall find their strength renewed, they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not grow faint."
alis grave nil nothing [is] heavy with wings Or "nothing is heavy to those who have wings". Motto of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro.
alis volat propriis she flies with her own wings State motto of Oregon; adopted in 1987, it replaced "The Union", which was the previous state motto adopted in 1957.
alma mater nourishing mother Term used for the university one attends or has attended. Another university term, matriculation, is also 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 Another self, a second persona or alias. Can be used to describe different facets or identities of a single character, or different characters who seem representations of the same personality. Often used of a fictional character's secret identity.
alterius non sit qui suus esse potest Let no man be another's who can be his own Final sentence from Aesop ascribed fable (see also Aesop's Fables) "The Frogs Who Desired a King" as appears in the collection commonly known as the "Anonymus Neveleti" (fable XXIb. De ranis a Iove querentibus regem). Motto of Paracelsus. Usually attributed to Cicero.
alterum non laedere to not wound another One of Justinian I's three basic legal precepts.
alumnus or
pupil 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 group, like a Roman Curia. In current U.S. legal usage, an amicus curiae is a third party allowed to submit a legal opinion (in the form of an amicus brief) to the court.
Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. Plato is my friend, but truth is a better friend. to value truth higher than friendship; attributed to Aristotle (Ethics, 1096a15) and Roger Bacon (Opus Majus, P. I, ch. v)
amittere legem terrae to lose the law of the land An obsolete legal term signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.
Amat victoria curam Victory favors care Motto of Baylor School - Chattanooga, Tennesee; Wellesley College Primary School - Eastbourne, New Zealand; Victoria College- St. Helier Parish, Jersey, the Channel Islands.
amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus love is rich with both honey and venom  
amor fati love of fate Nietzscheian alternative world view to memento mori [remember you must die]. Nietzsche believed amor fati to be more life affirming.
amor omnibus idem love is the same for all from Virgil's Georgics III.
amor patriae love of one's country Patriotism.
amor vincit omnia love conquers all written on bracelet worn by the Prioress in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales
anglice in English Used before the anglicized version of a word or name. For example, "Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland".
anno (an.) in the year Also used in such phrases as anno urbis conditae (see ab urbe condita), Anno Domini, and anno regni.
Anno Domini (A.D.) in the Year of the Lord Short for Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi (in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ), the predominantly used system for dating years across the world, used with the Gregorian calendar, and based on the perceived year of the birth of Jesus Christ. The years before Jesus' birth were once marked with a.C.n (Ante Christum Natum, Before Christ was Born), but now use the English abbreviation BC (Before Christ). Example: Augustus Caesar was born in the year 63 BC, and died AD 14.
anno regni In the year of the reign Precedes "of" and the current ruler.
annuit cœptis He 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.
annus horribilis horrible year A recent 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 to refer to many other years perceived as "horrible". In Classical Latin, this phrase would actually mean "terrifying year". See also annus terribilis.
annus mirabilis wonderful year Used particularly to refer to the years 1665–1666, during which Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation. Annus Mirabilis is also the title of a poem by John Dryden written in the same year. It has since been used to refer to other years, especially to 1905, when Albert Einstein made equally revolutionary discoveries concerning the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion and the special theory of relativity. (See Annus Mirabilis papers)
annus terribilis dreadful year Used to describe 1348, the year the Black Death began to afflict Europe.
ante bellum before the war As in "status quo ante bellum", "as it was before the war". Commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War.
ante cibum (a.c.) before food Medical shorthand for "before meals".
ante litteram before the letter Said of an expression or term that describes something which existed before the phrase itself was introduced or became common. Example: Alan Turing was a computer scientist ante litteram, since the field of "computer science" was not yet recognized in Turing's day.
ante meridiem (a.m.) before midday From midnight to noon (cf. post meridiem).
ante mortem before death See post mortem (after death).
ante prandium (a.p.) before lunch Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions to denote "before a meal". Less common is post prandium, "after lunch".
apparatus criticus tools of a critic Textual notes. A list of other readings relating to a document, especially in a scholarly edition of a text.
aqua (aq.) water  
aqua fortis strong water Refers to nitric acid.
aqua pura pure water Or "clear water", "clean water".
aqua regia royal water refers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.
aqua vitae water of life "Spirit of Wine" in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, brandy (eau de vie) in France, and akvavit in Scandinavia.
aquila non capit muscas an eagle doesn't catch flies A noble or important person doesn't deal with insignificant issues.
arare litus to plough the seashore From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Wasted labour.
arbiter elegantiarum judge of tastes One who prescribes, rules on, or is a recognized authority on matters of social behavior and taste. Said of Petronius. Sometimes found in the singular, arbiter elegantiae (judge of taste).
Arcana imperii Invisible power .
Arcanum boni tenoris animae The secret behind a good mood Motto of the Starobrno Brewery in Brno.
arcus senilis bow of an old person An opaque circle around the cornea of the eye, often seen in elderly people.
Arduus ad solem Striving towards the sun Motto of the Victoria University of Manchester.
argentum album white silver Also "silver coin". Mentioned in the Domesday Book, signifies bullion, or silver uncoined.
arguendo for arguing For the sake of argument. Said when something is done purely in order to discuss a matter or illustrate a point. Example: Let us assume, arguendo, that your claim is correct.
argumentum argument Or "reasoning", "inference", "appeal", "proof". The plural is argumenta. Commonly used in the names of logical arguments and fallacies, preceding phrases such as a silentio (by silence), ad antiquitatem (to antiquity), ad baculum (to the stick), ad captandum (to capturing), ad consequentiam (to the consequence), ad crumenam (to the purse), ad feminam (to the woman), ad hominem (to the person), ad ignorantiam (to ignorance), ad judicium (to judgment), ad lazarum (to poverty), ad logicam (to logic), ad metum (to fear), ad misericordiam (to pity), ad nauseam (to nausea), ad novitatem (to novelty), ad personam (to the character), ad numerum (to the number), ad odium (to spite), ad populum (to the people), ad temperantiam (to moderation), ad verecundiam (to reverence), ex silentio (from silence), in terrorem (into terror), and e contrario (from/to the opposite).
ars [est] celare artem art [is] to conceal art An aesthetic ideal that good art should appear natural rather than contrived. Of medieval origin, but often incorrectly attributed to Ovid.[3]
ars gratia artis art for art's sake Translated into Latin from Baudelaire's "L'art pour l'art". Motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This phrasing is a direct translation of 'art for the sake of art.' While very symmetrical for the MGM logo, the better Latin word order is 'Ars artis gratia.'
ars longa, vita brevis art is long, life is short The Latin translation by Seneca (De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1) of a phrase from Hippocrates, often used out of context. The "art" referred to in the original aphorism was the craft of medicine, which took a lifetime to acquire.
arte et labore by art and by labour motto of Blackburn Rovers F.C.
Artis Bohemiae Amicis Friends of Czech Arts Award of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic for the promotion of the positive reputation of Czech culture abroad.
asinus ad lyram an ass to the lyre From Erasmus's collection of Adages. An awkward or incompetent individual.
asinus asinum fricat the jackass rubs the jackass Used to describe two people lavishing excessive praise on one another.
assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sit the assured does not seek profit but makes [it his profit] that he not be in loss Refers to the insurance principle that the indemnity cannot be larger than the loss.
Astra inclinant, sed non obligant The stars incline us, they do not bind us Refers to the Free will over the astrological determinism.
auctoritas authority The level of prestige a person had in Roman society.
audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret slander boldly, something always sticks from Francis Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum (1623)
audax at fidelis bold but faithful Motto of Queensland.
audeamus let us dare Motto of Otago University Students' Association, a direct response to the university's motto of sapere aude "dare to be wise". Also Motto of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
audemus jura nostra defendere we dare to defend our rights State motto of Alabama, adopted in 1923. Translated into Latin from a paraphrase of the stanza "Men who their duties know / But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain" from the poem "What Constitutes a State?" by 18th-century author William Jones.
audentes fortuna iuvat fortune favors the bold From Virgil, Aeneid X, 284 (where the first word is in the archaic form audentis). 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. Often quoted as audaces fortuna iuvat. Also the motto of the Portuguese Army Commandos, and the USS Montpelier (SSN-765) in the latter form.
audere est facere to dare is to do motto of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
audi alteram partem hear the other side A legal principle of fairness. Also worded as audiatur et altera pars (let the other side be heard too).
audio hostem I hear the enemy Motto of 845 NAS Royal Navy
audi, vide, tace hear, see, be silent Motto of Security Information Service of the Czech Republic
aurea mediocritas golden mean From Horace's Odes II, 10. Refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes. The golden mean concept is common to many philosophers, chiefly Aristotle.
auri sacra fames accursed hunger for gold From Virgil, Aeneid 3,57. Later quoted by Seneca as quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames "What don't you force mortal hearts [to do], accursed hunger for gold!"
auribus teneo lupum I hold a wolf by the ears A common ancient proverb, this version from Terence. 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."
aurora australis southern dawn The Southern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Southern Hemisphere. It is less well-known than the Northern Lights, or aurorea borealis. The Aurora Australis is also the name of an Antarctic icebreaker ship.
aurora borealis northern lights The Northern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Northern Hemisphere.
aurum potestas est gold is power Motto of the fictional Fowl family in the Artemis Fowl series, written by Eoin Colfer
auspicium melioris aevi hope/token of a better age Motto of the Order of St Michael and St George and motto of Raffles Institution, a secondary school in Singapore.
aut Caesar aut nihil either Caesar or nothing Indicates that the only valid possibility is to be emperor, or a similarly prominent position. More generally, "all or nothing". Adopted by Cesare Borgia as a personal motto.
aut concilio aut ense either by meeting or the sword Thus, either through reasoned discussion or through war. A former motto of Chile, replaced by post tenebras lux.
aut neca aut neceris  
aut pax aut bellum either peace or war The motto of the Gunn Clan.
aut viam inveniam aut faciam I will either find a way or make one Hannibal.
aut vincere aut mori either to conquer or to die A general pledge of victoria aut mors "victory or death". Motto of the Higgenbotham, and Higginbottom families of Cheshire England; participants in the War of the Roses.
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 of Imperium Europa.
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant Hail, Emperor! Those who are about to die salute you! From Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars, Claudius 21. A salute and plea for mercy recorded on one occasion by naumachiarii–captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters. Later versions included a variant of "We who are about to die", and this translation is sometimes aided by changing the Latin to nos morituri te salutamus.
Ave Maria Hail, Mary Catholic prayer of intercession asking Mary, the mother of Jesus to pray for the petitioner.

[edit] B

Latin Translation Notes
barba tenus sapientes wise as far as the beard Or wise only in appearance. From Erasmus's collection of Adages.
Beata Virgo Maria (BVM) Blessed Virgin Mary A common name in the Roman Catholic Church for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The genitive, Beatae Mariae Virginis (BMV), occurs often as well, appearing with such words as horae "hours", litaniae "litanies" and officium "office".
beatae memoriae of blessed memory See in memoriam.
beati pauperes spiritu Blessed in spirit [are] the poor. A Beatitude from Matthew 5:3 in the Vulgate: beati pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum "Blessed in spirit [are] the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens".
beati possidentes blessed [are] those who possess Translated from Euripides.
beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam blessed is the man who finds wisdom from Proverbs 3:13; set to music in a 1577 motet of the same name by Orlando di Lasso.
bella gerant alii
Protesilaus amet!
let others wage war
Protesilaus should love!
Originally from Ovid, Heroides 13.84,[4] where Laodamia is writing to her husband Protesilaus who is at the Trojan War. She begs him to stay out of danger, but he was in fact the first Greek to die at Troy. Also used of the Habsburg marriages of 1477 and 1496, written as bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube (let others wage war; you, fortunate Austria, marry). Said by King Matthias.
bellum omnium contra omnes war of all against all A phrase used by Thomas Hobbes to describe the state of nature.
bellum se ipsum alet‎ war feeds itself  
bibo ergo sum I drink, therefore I am A play on "cogito ergo sum", "I think therefore I am".
bis dat qui cito dat he gives twice, who gives promptly A gift given without hesitation is as good as two gifts.
bis in die (bid) twice in a day Medical shorthand for "twice a day".
bona fide in good faith In other words, "well-intentioned", "fairly". In modern contexts, often has connotations of "genuinely" or "sincerely". Bona fides is not the plural (which would be bonis fidebus), but the nominative, and means simply "good faith". Opposite of mala fide.
bona notabilia note-worthy goods In law, if a person dying has goods, or good debts, in another diocese or jurisdiction within that province, besides his goods in the diocese where he dies, amounting to a certain minimum value, he is said to have bona notabilia; in which case, the probat of his will belongs to the archbishop of that province.
bona officia good services A nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations.
bona patria goods of a country A jury or assize of countrymen, or good neighbors.
bona vacantia vacant goods United Kingdom legal term for ownerless property that passes to The Crown.
boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere it is a good shepherd's [job] to shear his flock, not to flay them Tiberius reportedly said this to his regional commanders, as a warning against taxing the populace excessively.
bono malum superate Overcome evil with good Motto of Westonbirt School.
bonum commune communitatis common good of the community Or "general welfare". Refers to what benefits a society, as opposed to bonum commune hominis, which refers to what is good for an individual.
bonum commune hominis common good of a man Refers to an individual's happiness, which is not "common" in that it serves everyone, but in that individuals tend to be able to find happiness in similar things.
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 plenae (in those days there were plenty of great things), which the scribe misread as indie busillis magnis plenae (in India there were plenty of large busillis).

[edit] C

Latin Translation Notes
cacoethes scribendi insatiable desire to write Cacoēthes[5] "bad habit", or medically, "malignant disease" is a borrowing of Greek kakóēthes.[6] The phrase is derived from a line in the Satires of Juvenal: Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes, or "the incurable desire (or itch) for writing affects many". See hypergraphia.
cadavera vero innumera truly countless bodies Used by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.
Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. Kill them. For the Lord knows those who are his. Supposed statement by Abbot Arnaud Amalric before the massacre of Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade, recorded 30 years later, according to Caesar of Heisterbach.
Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt Those who hurry cross the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mind Hexameter by Horace (Epistulae I, 11 v.27). Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum (You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky) in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1
Caesar non supra grammaticos Caesar has no authority over the grammarians  
caetera desunt the rest is missing Caetera is Medieval Latin spelling for cētera.
calix meus inebrians my cup making me drunk  
camera obscura dark chamber An optical device used in drawing, and an ancestor of modern photography. The source of the word camera.
canes pugnaces war dogs or fighting dogs  
canis canem edit dog eats dog Refers to a situation where nobody is safe from anybody, each man for himself.
capax infiniti holding the infinite a term referring (at least) to some Christian doctrines of the incarnation of the Son of God when it asserts that humanity is capable of housing full divinity within its finite frame. Related to the Docetic heresy and sometimes a counterpoint to the Reformed 'extracalvinisticum.'
caput inter nubila (condit) (he plunges) [his] head in the clouds So aggrandized as to be beyond practical (earthly) reach or understanding (from Virgil's Aeneid and the shorter form appears in John Locke's Two Treatises of Government)
caput mortuum dead head Originally an alchemical reference to the dead head or worthless residue left over from a reaction. Also used to refer to a freeloader or worthless element.
Caritas Christi The love of Christ It implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Francis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park, Edmonton.
Caritas in Veritate Charity in Truth Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical.
carpe diem seize the day An exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. Carpere refers to plucking of flowers or fruit. The phrase collige virgo rosas has a similar sense.
carpe noctem seize the night An exhortation to make good use of the night, often used when carpe diem, q.v., would seem absurd, e.g., when observing a deep-sky object or conducting a Messier marathon or engaging in social activities after sunset.
carpe vinum seize the wine  
Carthago delenda est Carthage must be destroyed The Roman senator Cato the Elder ended every speech after second Punic Wars with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally "For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed." Before the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon in the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan ended all his speeches in a similar way with Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est "The Treaty of Lisbon must be put to a referendum".
castigat ridendo mores One corrects customs by laughing at them Or, "[Comedy/Satire] criticises customs through humour", is a phrase coined by French New Latin poet Jean de Santeul, but sometimes wrongly attributed to his contemporary Molière or to Roman lyric poet Horace.
casus belli event of war Refers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.
causa latet, vis est notissima The cause is hidden, but the result is well known. Ovid: Metamorphoses IV, 287; motto of Alpha Sigma Phi.
causa mortis cause of death  
cave beware! especially used by Doctors of Medicine, when they want to warn each other (e.g.: "cave nephrolithiases" in order to warn about side effects of an uricosuric). Spoken aloud in some British public schools by pupils to warn each other of impending authority.
cave canem Beware of the dog  
caveat emptor let the buyer beware The purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need. Phrases modeled on this one replace emptor with lector, subscriptor, venditor, utilitor: "reader", "signer", "seller", "user".
cedant arma togae let arms yield to the gown "Let military power yield to civilian power", Cicero, De Officiis I:77. See also Toga
celerius quam asparagi cocuntur more swiftly than asparagus [stem]s are cooked Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternative mood and spelling of coquere.
cepi corpus I got the body In law, it is a return made by the sheriff, upon a capias, or other process to the like purpose; signifying, that he has taken the body of the party. See also habeas corpus.
certum est quod certum reddi potest it is certain, whatever can be rendered certain Or "... if it can be rendered certain." Often used in law when something is not known, but can be ascertained (e.g. the purchase price on a sale which is to be determined by a third-party valuer)
cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex when the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceases A rule of law becomes ineffective when the reason for its application has ceased to exist or does not correspond to the reality anymore. By Gratian.
cetera desunt the rest are missing Also spelled "caetera desunt".
ceteris paribus all other things being equal That is, disregarding or eliminating extraneous factors in a situation.
charta pardonationis se defendendo a paper of pardon to defend oneself The form of a pardon for killing another man in self-defence (see manslaughter).
charta pardonationis utlagariae a paper of pardon to the outlaw The form of a pardon of a man who is outlawed. Also called perdonatio utlagariae.
Christianos ad leones [Throw the] Christians to the lions!  
Christo et Doctrinae For Christ and Learning The motto of Furman University.
Christus nos liberavit Christ has freed us title of volume I, book 5, chapter XI of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
Christus Rex Christ the King A Christian title for Jesus.
circa (c.) or (ca.) around In the sense of "approximately" or "about". Usually used of a date.
circulus in probando circle made in testing [a premise] Circular reasoning. Similar term to circulus vitiosus.
circulus vitiosus vicious circle In logic, begging the question, a fallacy involving the presupposition of a proposition in one of the premises (see petitio principii). In science, a positive feedback loop. In economics, a counterpart to the virtuous circle.
citius altius fortius faster, higher, stronger Motto of the modern Olympics.
clamea admittenda in itinere per atturnatum   A writ whereby the king of England could command the justice to admit one's claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king's service, cannot come in person.
clarere audere gaudere [be] bright, daring, joyful Motto of the Geal family.
clausum fregit   A legal action for trespass to land; so called, because the writ demands the person summoned to answer wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e., why he entered the plaintiff's land.
claves Sancti Petri the keys of Saint Peter A symbol of the Papacy.
clavis aurea golden key The means of discovering hidden or mysterious meanings in texts, particularly applied in theology and alchemy.
clerico admittendo for being made a clerk In law, a writ directed to the bishop, for the admitting a clerk to a benefice upon a ne admittas, tried, and found for the party who procures the writ.
clerico capto per statutum mercatorum   In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk out of prison, who is imprisoned upon the breach of statute merchant.
clerico convicto commisso gaolae in defectu ordinarii deliberando   In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk to his ordinary, that was formerly convicted of felony; by reason that his ordinary did not challenge him according to the privilege of clerks.
clerico intra sacros ordines constituto non eligendo in officium   In law, a writ directed to the bailiffs, etc., that have thrust a bailiwick or beadleship upon one in holy orders; charging them to release him.
Codex Iuris Canonici Book of Canon Law The official code of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Corpus Iuris Canonici).
Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur "No one suffers punishment for mere intent." A Latin legal phrase. See, State v Taylor, 47 Or 455, 84 P 82.
cogito ergo sum I think, therefore I am. A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.
coitus interruptus interrupted congress Aborting sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation—the only permitted form of birth control in some religions.
coitus more ferarum congress in the way of beasts A medical euphemism for the doggy-style sexual position.
collige virgo rosas pick, girl, the roses
Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to Carpe diem, from De rosis nascentibus (also titled Idyllium de rosis) attributed to Ausonius or Virgil. Waterhouse-gather ye rosebuds-1909.jpg "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", 1909, by John William Waterhouse
combinatio nova new combination It is frequently abbreviated comb. nov.. It is used in the life sciences literature when a new name is introduced, e.g. Klebsiella granulomatis comb. nov..
communibus annis in common years One year with another; on an average. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary", but "common to every situation"
communibus locis in common places A term frequently used among philosophical and other writers, implying some medium, or mean relation between several places; one place with another; on a medium. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary", but "common to every situation"
communis opinio common opinion prevailing doctrine, generally accepted view (in an academic field), scientific consensus; originally communis opinio doctorum, "common opinion of the doctors"
compos mentis in control of the mind Describes someone of sound mind. Sometimes used ironically. Also a legal principle, non compos mentis (not in control of one's faculties), used to describe an insane person.
concordia cum veritate in harmony with truth Motto of the University of Waterloo.
concordia salus well-being through harmony Motto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.
condemnant quod non intellegunt They condemn what they do not understand or
They condemn because they do not understand
The quod here is ambiguous: it may be the relative pronoun or a conjunction.
condicio sine qua non condition without which not A required, indispensable condition. Commonly mistakenly rendered with conditio ("seasoning" or "preserving") in place of condicio ("arrangement" or "condition").
confer (cf.) confer[7][8] "compare". Used as an abbreviation in text to recommend a comparison with another thing (cf. citation signal).
Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.) Helvetian Confederation The official name of Switzerland, hence the use of "CH" for its ISO country code, ".ch" for its Internet domain, and "CHF" for the ISO three-letter abbreviation of its currency, the Swiss franc.
coniunctis viribus with connected strength Or "with united powers". Sometimes rendered conjunctis viribus. Motto of Queen Mary, University of London.
consuetudo pro lege servatur Custom is held as law. Where there are no specific laws, the matter should be decided by custom;[9] established customs have the force of laws.[10] Also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law); see also: Consuetudinary.
consummatum est It is completed. The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.
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.
contra bonos mores against good morals Offensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.
contra legem against the law Especially in civil law jurisdictions, said of an understanding of a statute that directly contradicts its wording and thus is neither valid by interpretation nor by analogy.
contra spem spero hope against hope Title of a poem by Lesya Ukrainka; also used in the Pentateuch with reference to Abraham the Patriarch.
contra vim mortis non crescit herba (or salvia) in hortis No herb (or sage) grows in the gardens against the power of death there is no medicine against death; from various medieval medicinal texts
contradictio in terminis contradiction in terms A thing or idea that would embody a contradiction, for example, payment for a gift, or a circle with corners. The fallacy of proposing such a thing.
contra principia negantem non est disputandum there can be no debate with those who deny the foundations Debate is fruitless when you don't agree on common rules, facts, presuppositions.
contraria contrariis curantur the opposite is cured with the opposite First formulated by Hippocrates to suggest that the diseases are cured with contrary remedies. Antonym of similia similibus curantur (the diseases are recovered with similar remedies.)
cor ad cor loquitur heart speaks to heart From Augustine's Confessions, referring to a prescribed method of prayer: having a "heart to heart" with God. Commonly used in reference to a later quote by Cardinal John Henry Newman. A motto of Newman Clubs.
cor aut mors Heart or Death (Your choice is between) The Heart (Moral Values, Duty, Loyalty) or Death (to no longer matter, to no longer be respected as person of integrity.)
cor meum tibi offero domine prompte et sincere my heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerely motto of Calvin College
cor unum one heart A popular school motto. Often used as names for religious and other organisations such as the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
coram Deo in the Presence of God A phrase from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the Presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.
coram nobis, coram vobis in our presence, in your presence Two kinds of writs of error.
coram populo in the presence of the people Thus, openly.
coram publico in view of the public  
Corpus Christi Body of Christ The name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the Eucharist. It is also the name of a city in Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, the name of Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge universities, and a controversial play.
corpus delicti body of the offence The fact that a crime has been committed, a necessary factor in convicting someone of having committed that crime; if there was no crime, there can not have been a criminal.
Corpus Iuris Canonici Body of Canon Law The official compilation of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici).
Corpus Iuris Civilis Body of Civil Law The body of Roman or civil law.
corpus vile worthless body A person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment, as in the phrase 'Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.'
corrigenda things to be corrected  
corruptio optimi pessima the corruption of the best is the worst  
corruptissima re publica plurimae leges When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous Tacitus
corruptus in extremis corrupt to the extreme Motto of the fictional Springfield Mayor Office in The Simpsons TV-Show
cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet May he love tomorrow who has never loved before; And may he who has loved, love tomorrow as well It's the refrain from the 'Pervigilium Veneris', a poem which describes a three day holiday in the cult of Venus, located somewhere in Sicily, involving the whole town in religious festivities joined with a deep sense of nature and Venus as the "procreatrix", the life-giving force behind the natural world.
Credo in Unum Deum I Believe in One God The first words of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed.
credo quia absurdum est I believe it because it is absurd A very common misquote of Tertullian's et mortuus est Dei Filius prorsus credibile quia ineptum est (and the Son of God is dead: in short, it is credible because it is unfitting), meaning that it is so absurd to say that God's son has died that it would have to be a matter of belief, rather than reason. The misquoted phrase, however, is commonly used to mock the dogmatic beliefs of the religious (see fideism). This phrase is commonly shortened to credo quia absurdum, and is also sometimes rendered credo quia impossibile est (I believe it because it is impossible) or, as Darwin used it in his autobiography, credo quia incredibile.
crescamus in Illo per omnia May we grow in Him through all things Motto of Cheverus High School.
crescat scientia vita excolatur let knowledge grow, let life be enriched Motto of the University of Chicago.
crescente luce Light ever increasing Motto of James Cook University.
crescit cum commercio civitas Civilization prospers with commerce Motto of Claremont McKenna College.
crescit eundo it grows as it goes State motto of New Mexico, adopted in 1887 as the territory's motto, and kept in 1912 when New Mexico received statehood. Originally from Lucretius' De rerum natura book VI, where it refers in context to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes.
cruci dum spiro fido while I live, I trust in the cross, Whilst I trust in the Cross I have life Motto of the Sisters of Loreto (IBVM) and its associated schools.
cucullus non facit monachum The hood does not make the monk William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Scene I, Act V 48–50
cui bono Good for whom? "Who benefits?" An adage in criminal investigation which suggests that considering who would benefit from an unwelcome event is likely to reveal who is responsible for that event (cf. cui prodest). Also the motto of the Crime Syndicate of America, a fictional supervillain group. The opposite is cui malo (Bad for whom?).
cui prodest for whom it advances Short for cui prodest scelus is fecit (for whom the crime advances, he has done it) in Seneca's Medea. Thus, the murderer is often the one who gains by the murder (cf. cui bono).
cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos Whose the land is, all the way to the sky and to the underworld is his. First coined by Accursius of Bologna in the 13th century. A Roman legal principle of property law that is no longer observed in most situations today. Less literally, "For whosoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths."
cuius regio, eius religio whose region, his religion The privilege of a ruler to choose the religion of his subjects. A regional prince's ability to choose his people's religion was established at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.
cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare. Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his fault Cicero, Philippica XII, 5.
culpa fault Also "blame" or "guilt". In law, an act of neglect. In general, guilt, sin, or a fault. See also mea culpa.
cum gladiis et fustibus with swords and clubs From the Bible. Occurs in Matthew 26:47 and Luke 22:52.
cum gladio et sale with sword and salt Motto of a well-paid soldier. See salary.
cum grano salis with a grain of salt Not to be taken too seriously or as the literal truth.
cum hoc ergo propter hoc with this, therefore on account of this fallacy of assuming that correlation implies causation.
cum laude with praise The standard formula for academic Latin honors in the United States. Greater honors include magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
cum mortuis in lingua mortua with the dead in a dead language Movement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
cuncti adsint meritaeque expectent praemia palmae let all come who by merit deserve the most reward Motto of University College London.
cur Deus Homo Why the God-Man The question attributed to Anselm in his work of by this name, wherein he reflects on why the Christ of Christianity must be both fully Divine and fully Human. Often translated "why did God become Man?"
cura personalis care for the whole person Motto of Georgetown University School of Medicine and University of Scranton.
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 course of life An overview of a person's life and qualifications, similar to a résumé.
custos morum keeper of morals A censor.
cygnis insignis distinguished by its swans Motto of Western Australia.
cygnus inter anates swan among ducks  

[edit] D

Latin Translation Notes
Da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius Give me the fact(s), I'll give you the law also: Da mihi facta, dabo tibi ius; legal principle based on Roman law; parties should present the facts of a case while the judge rules on the law. Related to iura novit curia (the court knows the law).
damnant quod non intelligunt They condemn what they do not understand Used to describe ignorant people.
damnatio ad bestias condemnation to [the] beasts Colloquially "thrown to the lions".
damnatio memoriae damnation of memory A Roman custom in which disgraced Romans (particularly former Emperors) were pretended to have never existed.
damnum absque injuria damage without injury A loss that results from no one's wrongdoing. In Roman law, a man is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another resulting from a lawful act. This protection does not necessarily apply to unintended damage by negligence or folly.
dat deus incrementum God grants the increase Motto of Westminster School, a leading British independent school.
data venia "with due respect" or "given the excuse" Used before disagreeing with someone.
datum perficiemus munus Mission given, mission accomplished Motto of Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE), the elite special forces unit of the military police of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
de bene esse as well done A de bene esse deposition is used to preserve the testimony of a witness who is expected not to be available to appear at trial and be cross-examined.
de bonis asportatis carrying goods away Trespass de bonis asportatis was the traditional name for larceny (wrongful taking of chattels).
de dato of the date Used in the context of "As we agreed in the meeting d.d. 26th Mai 2006.
de facto by deed Said of something that is the actual state of affairs, in contrast to something's legal or official standing, which is described as de jure. De facto refers to the "way things really are" rather than what is "officially" presented as the fact.
de fideli with faithfulness A clerk makes the declaration De fideli on when appointed, promising to do his or her tasks faithfully as a servant of the court.
de futuro regarding the future Usually used in the context of "at a future time"
de gustibus non est disputandum there is no disputing about tastes Less literally "there's no accounting for taste". Likely of Scholastic origin (see Wiktionary).
de integro again, a second time  
de jure by law "Official", in contrast with de facto. Analogous to "in principle", whereas de facto is to "in practice". In other contexts, can mean "according to law", "by right" or "legally". Also commonly written de iure, the classical form.
de lege ferenda from law to be passed  
de lege lata "from law passed" or "by law in force"  
de minimis non curat lex The law does not bother with the smallest things. The court does not want to bother with small, trivial things. A case must have importance for the court to hear it. See "de minimis not curat praetor".
de minimis non curat praetor The commander does not bother with the smallest things. Also "The chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles." Trivial matters are no concern of a high official (cf. aquila non capit muscas, the eagle does not catch flies). Sometimes rex (the king) or lex (the law) is used in place of praetor, and de minimis is a legal term referring to things unworthy of the law's attention.
de mortuis aut bene aut nihil about the dead, either well or nothing Less literally, "speak well of the dead or not at all" (cf. de mortuis nil nisi bonum).
de mortuis nil nisi bonum about the dead, nothing unless a good thing From de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est, "nothing must be said about the dead except the good", attributed by Diogenes Laërtius to Chilon. In legal contexts, this quotation is used with the opposite meaning, as defaming a deceased person is not a crime. In other contexts, it refers to taboos against criticizing the recently deceased.
de nobis fabula narratur about us is the story told Thus, "their story is our story". Originally referred to the end of Rome's dominance. Now often used when comparing any current situation to a past story or historical event.
de novo from the new "Anew" or "afresh". In law, a trial de novo is a retrial. In biology, de novo means newly synthesized, and a de novo mutation is a mutation that neither parent possessed or transmitted. In economics, de novo refers to newly founded companies, and de novo banks are state banks that have been in operation for five years or less.
de omni re scibili et quibusdam aliis about every knowable thing, and even certain other things A 15th-century Italian scholar wrote the De omni re scibili portion (about every knowable thing), and a wag added et quibusdam aliis (and even certain other things).
de omnibus dubitandum be suspicious of everything, doubt everything Karl Marx's favorite motto and a title of one of Søren Kierkegaard's works De Omnibus Dubitandum Est
de oppresso liber Free From Having Been Oppressed Commonly mistranslated as "To Liberate the Oppressed". The motto of the United States Army Special Forces.
de profundis from the depths Out of the depths of misery or dejection. From the Latin translation of Psalm 130.
de re about the matter In logic, de dicto statements (about the truth of a proposition) are distinguished from de re statements (about the properties of a thing itself).
decus et tutamen An ornament and a safeguard Inscription on British one-pound coins. Originally on 17th-century coins, it refers to the inscribed edge as a protection against the clipping of precious metal. The phrase originally comes from Virgil's Aeneid.
Dei Gratia Regina By the Grace of God, Queen Also Dei Gratia Rex (By the Grace of God, King). Abbreviated as D G REG preceding Fidei Defensor (F D) on British pounds, and as D G Regina on Canadian coins.
Dei sub numine viget under God's Spirit she flourishes Motto of Princeton University.
delectatio morosa peevish delight In Catholic theology, a pleasure taken in sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images. It is distinct from actual sexual desire, and involves voluntary and complacent erotic fantasizing, without any attempt to suppress such thoughts.
deliriant isti Romani They are mad, those Romans! A translation into Latin from René Goscinny's ils sont fous, ces romains!, frequently issued by Obelix in the Asterix comics.
Deo ac veritati For God and for truth Motto of Colgate University.
Deo Confidimus In God we trust Motto of Somerset College.
Deo domuique for God and for home Motto of Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne.
Deo et patriae for God and Country Motto of Regis High School (New York City).
Deo gratias thanks [be] to God The semi-Hispanicized form Deogracias is a Philippine first name.
Deo juvante with God's help The motto of Monaco and its monarch which appears on the royal arms.
Deo Optimo Maximo (DOM) To the Best and Greatest God Derived from the Pagan Iupiter Optimo Maximo (To the best and greatest Jupiter). Printed on bottles of Bénédictine liqueur.
Deo vindice with God as protector Motto of the Confederate States of America. An alternate translation is "With an avenging God".
Deo volente God willing This was often used in conjunction with a signature at the end of letters. It was used in order to signify that "God willing" this letter will get to you safely, "God willing" the contents of this letter come true. The motto of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. See also: Insha'Allah.
descensus in cuniculi cavum The descent into the cave of the rabbit Down the Rabbit Hole (see: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland#Famous lines and expressions.
Deus Caritas Est God is Love The first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI; for other meanings, see Deus Caritas Est (disambiguation)
deus ex machina a god from a machine From the Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēchanēs theós). A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by crane (the mechanê) an actor playing a god or goddess onto the stage to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot. The device is most commonly associated with Euripides.
Deus Lux Mea Est God is my Light The motto of The Catholic University of America.
Deus meumque jus God and my right The principal motto of Scottish Rite Freemasonry; see also Dieu et mon droit.
deus otiosus God at leisure  
Deus spes nostra God is our hope The motto of Sir Thomas de Boteler, founder of Boteler Grammar School Warrington in 1526
Deus vult God wills it! The principal slogan of the Crusades.Motto of Bergen Catholic High School, NJ
dictatum erat (dict) as previously stated Recent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient "As previously stated, ...". Literally, has been stated; also translated as "dicta prius" (literally, said previously).
dicto simpliciter [From] a maxim, simply I.e. "From a rule without exception." Short for a dicto simpliciter, the a often being dropped by confusion with the English indefinite article. A dicto simpliciter occurs when an acceptable exception is ignored or eliminated. For instance, the appropriateness of using opiates is dependent on the presence of extreme pain. To justify the recreational use of opiates by referring to a cancer patient or to justify arresting said cancer patient by comparing him to the recreational user would be a dicto simpliciter.
dictum meum pactum my word [is] my bond Motto of the London Stock Exchange
diem perdidi I have lost the day From the Roman Emperor Titus. Passed down in Suetonius's biography of him in Lives of the Twelve Caesars
Dies Irae Day of Wrath Refers to the Judgment Day in Christian eschatology. The name of a famous 13th-century Medieval Latin hymn by Tommaso da Celano, used in the Mass for the dead.
dies non juridicum Day without judiciary Days under common law (traditionally Sunday) in which no legal process can be served and any judgment is void. This concept was first codified by the English Parliament in the reign of Charles II.
dirigo I direct In Classical Latin, "I arrange". State motto of Maine. Based on a comparison of the state of Maine to the star Polaris.
dis aliter visum it seemed otherwise to the gods In other words, the gods have different plans than mortals, and so events do not always play out as people wish them to.
dis manibus sacrum (D.M.S.) Sacred to the ghost-gods Refers to the Manes, Roman spirits of the dead. Loosely "To the memory of". A conventional inscription preceding the name of the deceased on pagan grave markings, often shortened to dis manibus (D.M.), "for the ghost-gods". Preceded in some earlier monuments by hic situs est (H. S. E.), "he lies here".
disce aut discede Learn or Depart Motto of Royal College Colombo.
disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus Learn as if always going to live; live as if tomorrow going to die. Attributed to St Edmund of Abingdon.
disiecta membra scattered limbs That is, "scattered remains". Paraphrased from Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62, where it was written "disiecti membra poetae" (limbs of a scattered poet). Also written as disjecta membra.
ditat Deus God enriches State motto of Arizona, adopted in 1911. Probably derived from the Vulgate's translation of Genesis 14:23.
divide et impera divide and rule A Roman maxim adopted by Julius Caesar, Louis XI and Machiavelli. Commonly rendered "divide and conquer".
dixi I have spoken A popular eloquent expression, usually used in the end of a speech. The implied meaning is: "I have said all that I had to say and thus the argument is settled".
["...", ...] dixit ["...", ...] said Used to attribute a statement or opinion to its author, rather than the speaker.
do ut des I give that you may give Often said or written for sacrifices, when one "gives" and expects something back from the gods.
docendo discitur It is learned by teaching Also translated "One learns by teaching." Attributed to Seneca the Younger.
docendo disco, scribendo cogito I learn by teaching, think by writing.  
dolus specialis special intent "The ... concept is particular to a few civil law systems and cannot sweepingly be equated with the notions of ‘special’ or ‘specific intent’ in common law systems. Of course, the same might equally be said of the concept of ‘specific intent,’ a notion used in the common law almost exclusively within the context of the defense of voluntary intoxication."—Genocide scholar William Schabas[11]
Domine dirige nos Lord guide us Motto of the City of London
Dominus Illuminatio Mea the Lord is my light Motto of the University of Oxford.
Dominus fortitudo nostra The Lord is our Strength Motto of the Southland College, Philippines
Dominus vobiscum Lord be with you Phrase used during and at the end of Catholic sermons, and a general greeting form among and towards members of Catholic organizations, such as priests and nuns. See also pax vobiscum.
dona nobis pacem give us peace Often set to music, either by itself or as part of the Agnus Dei prayer of the Mass. Also an ending in the video game Haunting Ground.
donatio mortis causa giving in expectation of death A legal concept where a person in imminent mortal danger need not meet the requisite consideration to create or modify a will.
draco dormiens nunquam titillandus a sleeping dragon is never to be tickled Motto of the fictional Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter series; translated more loosely in the books as "never tickle a sleeping dragon".
dramatis personæ the parts of the play More literally, "the masks of the drama"; more figuratively, "cast of characters". The characters represented in a dramatic work.
duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum est Two blank slates with nothing written upon them Stan Laurel, inscription for the fanclub logo of The Sons of the Desert.
ducimus We lead Motto of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps.
Ducit amor patriae Love of country leads me Motto of the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment.
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt The fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling Attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca.
ductus exemplo leadership by example This is the motto for the United States Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School located at Marine Corps Base Quantico; Quantico, Virginia.
dulce bellum inexpertis war is sweet to the inexperienced War may seem pleasant to those who have never been involved in it, though the more experienced know better. A phrase from Erasmus in the 16th century.
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland. From Horace, Odes III, 2, 13. Used by Wilfred Owen for the title of a poem about World War I, Dulce et Decorum est.
dulce et utile a sweet and useful thing Horace wrote in his Ars Poetica that poetry must be dulce et utile (pleasant and profitable), both enjoyable and instructive.
dulce periculum danger is sweet Horace, Odes III, 25, 16. Motto of the Scottish clan MacAulay.
dulcius ex asperis sweeter after difficulties Motto of the Scottish clan Fergusson.[12]
dum Roma deliberat Saguntum perit while Rome debates, Saguntum is in danger Used when someone has been asked for urgent help, but responds with no immediate action. Similar to Hannibal ante portas, but referring to a less personal danger.
dum spiro spero while I breathe, I hope State motto of South Carolina. From Cicero.
dum vita est, spes est while there is life, there is hope  
dum vivimus servimus While we live, we serve motto of Presbyterian College.
dum vivimus, vivamus While we live, let us live! An encouragement to embrace life. Motto inscribed on the sword of the main character in the novel Glory Road.
dura lex sed lex [the] law [is] harsh, but [it is the] law  
dura mater tough mother outer covering of the brain
durante munere while in office For example, the Governor General of Canada is durante munere the Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada.
dux bellorum war leader  


[edit] E

Latin Translation Notes
e pluribus unum out of many, one Motto of the United States of America. Used on many U.S. coins and inscribed on the Capitol. Also used as the motto of S.L. Benfica. Less commonly written as ex pluribus unum.
e unibus pluram pluram out of ones
(not being Latin, this has no proper translation)
Mock Latin. Notably heard by Giles Goat Boy in John Barth's novel Giles Goat-Boy and the title of an essay ("E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction") by David Foster Wallace concerning U.S. meta-fiction and the interrelations with U.S. television, published in A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. (Proper Latin for "many out of one" would have been ex uno plura.)
Ecce Homo Behold the Man From the Latin Vulgate Gospel according to St. John (XIX.v) (19.5, Douay-Rheims), where Pontius Pilate speaks these words as he presents Christ, crowned with thorns, to the crowd. It is also the title of Nietzsche's autobiography and of the theme music by Howard Goodall for the ITV comedy Mr. Bean, in which the full sung lyric is Ecce homo qui est faba ("Behold the man who is a bean").
ecce panis angelorum behold the bread of angels A phrase occasionally inscribed near the altar in Catholic churches; it makes reference to the Host; the Eucharist; the bread of Heaven; the Body of Christ. See also: Panis Angelicus.
editio princeps first edition The first printed edition of a work.
ego non not I short for "Even if all others... I will not."
ego te absolvo I absolve you Part of the absolution-formula spoken by a priest as part of the sacrament of Penance (cf. absolvo).
ego te provoco I provoke you Used as a challenge, "I dare you".
eheu fugaces labuntur anni Alas, the fleeting years slip by From Horace's Odes II, 14.
emeritus veteran Also "worn-out". Retired from office. Often used to denote a position held at the point of retirement, as an honor, such as professor emeritus or provost emeritus. This does not necessarily mean that the honoree is no longer active.
ens causa sui existing because of oneself Or "being one's own cause". Traditionally, a being that owes its existence to no other being, hence God or a Supreme Being (cf. Primum Mobile).
ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem by the sword she seeks a serene repose under liberty State motto of Massachusetts, adopted in 1775.
entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity Occam's Razor or law of parsimony; that is, that arguments which do not introduce extraneous variables are to be preferred in logical argumentation.
entitas ipsa involvit aptitudinem ad extorquendum certum assensum reality involves a power to compel sure assent A phrase used in modern Western philosophy on the nature of truth.
eo ipso by that very (act) Technical term used in philosophy and the law. Similar to ipso facto. Example: "The fact that I am does not eo ipso mean that I think." From Latin eo ipso, ablative form of id ipsum, "that (thing) itself".
eo nomine by that name  
equo ne credite do not trust the horse Virgil, Aeneid, II. 48–49 (Latin)
erga omnes in relation to everyone  
ergo therefore Denotes a logical conclusion (cf. cogito ergo sum).
errare humanum est to err is human From Augustine of Hippo, Sermones (164, 14): "Humanum fuit errare, diabolicum est per animositatem in errore manere."[13]
erratum error Or "mistake". Lists of errors in a previous edition of a work are often marked with the plural, errata ("errors").
errantis voluntas nulla est the will of a mistaken party is void Roman legal principle formulated by Pomponius in the Digest of the Corpus Juris Civilis, stating that legal actions undertaken by man under the influence of error are ineffective.
eruditio et religio scholarship and religion Motto of Duke University
esse est percipi to be is to be perceived George Berkeley's motto for his idealist philosophical position that nothing exists independently of its perception by a mind except minds themselves.
esse quam videri to be, rather than to seem Truly being something, rather than merely seeming to be something. Motto of many institutions. From chapter 26 of Cicero's De amicitia ('On Friendship'). Earlier than Cicero, the phrase had been used by Sallust in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), where he wrote that Cato esse quam videri bonus malebat ("he preferred to be good, rather than to seem so"). Earlier still, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes, line 592, ou gar dokein aristos, all' enai thelei; "he wishes not to seem the best, but to be the best".
esto perpetua may it be perpetual Said of Venice by the Venetian historian Fra Paolo Sarpi shortly before his death. Also the state motto of Idaho, adopted in 1867, and of S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka. It is also used as the open motto of Sigma Phi Society, a collegiate Greek Letter Fraternity.
esto quod es be what you are Motto of Wells Cathedral School.
et alibi (et al.) and elsewhere A less common variant on et cetera used at the end of a list of locations to denote unlisted places.
et alii (et al.) and others Used similarly to et cetera ("and the rest"), to stand for 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 (or et aliæ), is appropriate when the "others" are all female. Et alia is neuter plural and thus properly used only for inanimate, genderless objects, but some use it as a gender-neutral alternative.[14] APA style uses et al. if the work cited was written by more than six authors; MLA style uses et al. for more than three authors.
et cetera (etc.) or (&c.) And the rest In modern usage, used to mean "and so on" or "and more".
et facta est lux And light came to be or was made From Genesis 1:3 "and there was light". Motto of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
et hoc genus omne And all that sort of thing Abbreviated to e.h.g.o. or ehgo
et in Arcadia ego and in Arcadia [am] I In other words, "I, too, am in Arcadia". See memento mori.
et lux in tenebris lucet And light shines in the darkness See also Lux in Tenebris; motto for the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
et nunc reges intelligite erudimini qui judicatis terram And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth. From the Book of Psalms, II.x. (Vulgate), 2.10 (Douay-Rheims).
et sequentes (et seq.) and the following (masc./fem. plural) Also et sequentia ('and the following things': neut.), abbreviations: et seqq., et seq.., or sqq.
et suppositio nil ponit in esse and a supposition puts nothing in being More typically translated as "Sayin' it don't make it so".
et tu, Brute? And you, Brutus? Also "Even you, Brutus?" or "You too, Brutus?" Used to indicate a betrayal by someone close. From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, based on the traditional dying words of Julius Caesar. However, these were almost certainly not Caesar's true last words; Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, in Greek, the language of Rome's elite at the time, καὶ σὺ τέκνον; (Kaì sù téknon?), in English "You too, (my) child?", quoting from Menander.
et uxor (et ux.) and wife A legal term.
et vir and husband A legal term.
Etiamsi omnes, ego non Even if all others... I will not Peter to Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:33)
ex abundanti cautela from excessive caution In law, describes someone preparing for a remote possibility. In banking, a loan in which the collateral is more than the loan itself. Also the basis for the term "an abundance of caution" employed by United States President Barack Obama to explain why his oath of office had to be re-administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts and again in reference to terrorist threats.
ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. From the Gospel according to St. Matthew, XII.xxxiv (Vulgate), 12.34 (Douay-Rheims) and the Gospel according to St. Luke, VI.xlv (Vulgate), 6.45 (Douay-Rheims). Sometimes rendered without enim ('for').
ex aequo from the equal "On equal footing", i.e., "in a tie". Used for those two (seldom more) participants of a competition, that showed exactly the same performance.
ex Africa semper aliquid novi Always something new from Africa (literally something of new) Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, VIII/42: unde etiam vulgare Graeciae dictum semper aliquid novi Africam adferre.[15]
ex animo from the heart Thus, "sincerely".
ex ante from before "Beforehand", "before the event". Based on prior assumptions. A forecast.
ex astris scientia From the Stars, Knowledge The motto of the fictional Starfleet Academy on Star Trek. Adapted from ex luna scientia, which in turn was modeled after ex scientia tridens.
ex cathedra from the chair A phrase applied to the declarations or promulgations of the Pope when, in communion with the college of cardinals, preserved from the possibility of error by the action of the Holy Spirit (see Papal infallibility), he solemnly declares or promulgates ("from the chair" that was the ancient symbol of the teacher and of the governor, in this case of the church) a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. Used, by extension, of anyone who is perceived as speaking as though with supreme authority.
ex Deo from God  
ex dolo malo from fraud "From harmful deceit"; dolus malus is the Latin legal term for "fraud". The full legal phrase is ex dolo malo non oritur actio ("an action does not arise from fraud"). When an action has its origin in fraud or deceit, it cannot be supported; thus, a court of law will not assist a man who bases his course of action on an immoral or illegal act.
ex facie from the face Idiomatically rendered "on the face of it". A legal term typically used to note that a document's explicit terms are defective without further investigation.
ex fide fiducia from faith [comes] confidence A motto of St George's College, Harare.
ex fide fortis from faith [comes] stength A motto of Loyola School, New York City.
ex glande quercus from acorn to oak The motto of the Municipal Borough of Southgate, London.
ex gratia from kindness More literally "from grace". Refers to someone voluntarily performing an act purely out of kindness, as opposed to for personal gain or from being forced to do it. In law, an ex gratia payment is one made without recognizing any liability or legal obligation.
ex hypothesi from the hypothesis Thus, "by hypothesis".
ex infra (e.i.) cf. ex supra "from below" Recent academic notation for "from below in this writing"
ex juvantibus from that which helps The medical pitfall in which response to a therapeutic regimen substitutes proper diagnosis.
ex lege from the law  
ex libris from the books Precedes a person's name, with the meaning of "from the library of..."; also a bookplate.
ex luna scientia from the moon, knowledge The motto of the Apollo 13 moon mission, derived from ex scientia tridens, the motto of Jim Lovell's Alma Mater, the United States Naval Academy.
ex malo bonum good out of evil From St. Augustine's "Sermon LXI" where he contradicts Seneca's dictum in Epistulae 87:22: bonum ex malo non fit (good does not come from evil). Also the alias of the Anberlin song, "Miserabile Visu" from their album New Surrender.
ex mea sententia in my opinion  
ex mero motu out of mere impulse, or of one's own accord.  
ex nihilo nihil fit nothing comes from nothing From Lucretius, and said earlier by Empedocles. Its original meaning is "work is required to succeed", but its modern meaning is a more general "everything has its origins in something" (cf. causality). It is commonly applied to the conservation laws in philosophy and modern science. Ex nihilo often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning "creation out of nothing". It is often used in philosophy or theology in connection with the proposition that God created the universe from nothing. It is also mentioned in the final ad-lib of the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.
ex novo from new Said of something that has been built from scratch.
Ex Oblivione from oblivion The title of a short story by H. P. Lovecraft.
ex officio from the office By virtue of office or position; "by right of office". Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another: for example, the President of France is an ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. A common misconception is that all ex officio members of a committee or congress may not vote – this may be the case, but it is not guaranteed by that title. In legal terms, ex officio refers to an administrative or judicial office taking action of its own accord, for example to invalidate a patent or prosecute copyright infringers.
ex opere operantis from the work of the one working A theological phrase contrasted with ex opere operato, referring to the notion that the validity or promised benefit of a sacrament depends on the person administering it.
ex opere operato from the work worked A theological phrase meaning that the act of receiving a sacrament actually confers the promised benefit, such as a baptism actually and literally cleansing one's sins. The Catholic Church affirms that the source of grace is God, not just the actions or disposition of the minister or the recipient of the sacrament.
ex oriente lux light from the east Originally refers to the sun rising in the east, but alludes to culture coming from the Eastern world. Motto of several institutions.
ex parte from a part A legal term meaning "by one party" or "for one party". Thus, on behalf of one side or party only.
ex pede Herculem from Hercules' foot From the measure of Hercules' foot you shall know his size; from a part, the whole.
ex post from after "Afterward", "after the event". Based on knowledge of the past. Measure of past performance.
ex post facto from a thing done afterward Said of a law with retroactive effect.
ex professo from one declaring [an art or science] Or 'with due competence'. Said of the person who perfectly knows his art or science.
ex scientia tridens from knowledge, sea power. The United States Naval Academy motto. Refers to knowledge bringing men power over the sea comparable to that of the trident-bearing Greek god Poseidon.
ex scientia vera from knowledge, truth The motto of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.
ex silentio from silence In general, the claim that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition. An argumentum ex silentio ("argument from silence") is an argument based on the assumption that someone's silence on a matter suggests ("proves" when a logical fallacy) that person's ignorance of the matter or their inability to counterargue validly.
ex situ out of position opposite of "in situ"
ex supra (e.s.) cf. ex infra "from above" Recent academic notation for "from above in this writing".
ex tempore from [this moment of] time "This instant", "right away" or "immediately". Also written extempore.
Ex turpi causa non oritur actio From a dishonorable cause an action does not arise A legal doctrine which states that a claimant will be unable to pursue a cause of action, if it arises in connection with his own illegal act. Particularly relevant in the law of contract, tort and trusts.
ex umbra in solem from the shadow into the light Motto of Federico Santa María Technical University.
ex vi termini from the force of the term Thus, "by definition".
ex vivo out of or from life Used in reference to the study or assay of living tissue in an artificial environment outside the living organism.
ex voto from the vow Thus, in accordance with a promise. An ex voto is also an offering made in fulfillment of a vow.
ex vulgus scientia from crowd, knowledge used to describe social computing, The Wisdom of Crowds
excelsior higher "Ever upward!" The state motto of New York. Also a catch phrase used by Marvel Comics head Stan Lee.
exceptio firmat (or probat) regulam in casibus non exceptis The exception confirms the rule in cases which are not excepted A juridical principle which means that the statement of a rule's exception (e.g., "no parking on Sundays") implicitly confirms the rule (i.e., that parking is allowed Monday through Saturday). Often mistranslated as "the exception that proves the rule".
excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta an excuse that has not been sought [is] an obvious accusation More loosely, "he who excuses himself, accuses himself"—an unprovoked excuse is a sign of guilt. In French, qui s'excuse, s'accuse.
exeat may he/she leave A formal leave of absence.
exempli gratia (e.g.) for the sake of example Usually shortened in English to "for example" (see citation signal). Often confused with id est (i.e.).[16]
Exempli gratia, "for example", is commonly abbreviated "e.g."; in this usage it is sometimes followed by a comma, depending on style.[17]
exercitus sine duce corpus est sine spiritu an army without a leader is a body without a spirit On a plaque at the former military staff building of the Swedish Armed Forces.
exeunt they leave Third-person plural present active indicative of the Latin verb exire; also extended to exeunt omnes, "all leave"; singular: exit.
experientia docet experience teaches This term has been used in dermatopathology to express that there is no substitute for experience in dealing with all the numerous variations that may occur with skin conditions.[18] The term has also been used in gastroenterology.[19]
experimentum crucis experiment of the cross Or "crucial experiment". A decisive test of a scientific theory.
experto crede trust the expert Literally "believe one who has had experience". An author's aside to the reader.
expressio unius est exclusio alterius the expression of the one is the exclusion of the other "Mentioning one thing may exclude another thing". A principle of legal statutory interpretation: the explicit presence of a thing implies intention to exclude others; e.g., a reference in the Poor Relief Act 1601 to "lands, houses, tithes and coal mines" was held to exclude mines other than coal mines. Sometimes expressed as expressum facit cessare tacitum (broadly, "the expression of one thing excludes the implication of something else").
extra domum [placed] outside of the house Refers to a possible result of Catholic ecclesiastical legal proceedings when the culprit is removed from being part of a group like a monastery.
extra Ecclesiam nulla salus outside the Church [there is] no salvation This expression comes from the writings of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the third century. It is often used to summarise the doctrine that the Catholic Church is absolutely necessary for salvation.
extra omnes outside, all [of you] It is issued by the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations before a session of the Papal conclave which will elect a new Pope. When spoken, all those who are not Cardinals, or those otherwise mandated to be present at the Conclave, must leave the Sistine Chapel.
extra territorium jus dicenti impune non paretur he who administers justice outside of his territory is disobeyed with impunity Refers to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Often cited in law of the sea cases on the high seas.

[edit] F

Latin Translation Notes
faber est suae quisque fortunae every man is the artisan of his own fortune Appius Claudius Caecus. Motto of Fort Street High School in Petersham, Sydney , Australia.
fac fortia et patere do brave deeds and endure Motto of Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia.
fac simile make a similar thing Origin of the word facsimile, and, through it, of fax.
faciam ut mei memineris I'll make you remember me from Plautus, Persa IV.3-24; used by Russian hooligans as tattoo inscription.
facile princeps easily the first Said of the acknowledged leader in some field, especially in the arts and humanities.
facio liberos ex liberis libris libraque "I make free adults out of children by means of books and a balance." Motto of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico
facta, non verba deeds, not words Frequently used as motto.
falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus false in one, false in all A Roman legal principle indicating that a witness who willfully falsifies one matter is not credible on any matter. The underlying motive for attorneys to impeach opposing witnesses in court: the principle discredits the rest of their testimony if it is without corroboration.
feci quod potui, faciant meliora potentes I have done what I could; let those who can do better. from Henry Baerlein's introduction to his translation of The Diwan of Abul ʿAla by Abul ʿAla Al-Maʿarri (973–1057);[20] also in Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, act I.
fecisti patriam diversis de gentibus unam "From differing peoples you have made one native land" Verse 63 from the poem De reditu suo by Rutilius Claudius Namatianus praising emperor Augustus.[21]
felix culpa fortunate fault from "Exsultet" of the Catholic liturgy
felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas happy is he who can discover the causes of things Virgil. "Rerum cognoscere causas" is the motto of the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield.
felo de se felon from himself An archaic legal term for one who commits suicide, referring to early English common law punishments, such as land seizure, inflicted on those who killed themselves.
fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt men generally believe what they want to People's beliefs are shaped largely by their desires. Julius Caesar, The Gallic War 3.18
festina lente hurry slowly An oxymoronic motto of Augustus. It encourages proceeding quickly, but with calm and caution. Equivalent to 'More haste, less speed'. Motto of The Madeira School, McLean, Virginia.
fiat iustitia et pereat mundus let justice be done, though the world shall perish Motto of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor.
fiat justitia ruat caelum let justice be done should the sky fall Attributed to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus.
fiat lux let light be made Less literally, "let light arise" or "let there be light" (cf. lux sit). From the Latin translation of Genesis, "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux" ("and God said, 'Let light be made', and light was made."); frequently used as motto for educational institutions.
fiat panis let there be bread Motto of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
fiat voluntas Dei May God's will be done The motto of Robert May's School
fiat voluntas tua Thy will be done The motto of Archbishop Richard Smith of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.
ficta voluptatis causa sint proxima veris fictions meant to please should approximate the truth Horace Ars Poetica (338) , advice presumably discounted by the magical realists
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 a heresiarch. Still used by the British monarchs, it appears on all British coins, usually abbreviated.
fidem scit He knows the faith Sometimes mistranslated to "Keep the faith", when used in contemporary English-language writings of all kinds to convey a light-hearted wish for the reader's well-being. The humor comes from the phrase's similarity in pronunciation to the words "Feed 'em shit", and in Jesuit seminaries, it was sometimes written above the door to the refectory or dining room.[citation needed]
fides qua creditur the faith by which it is believed the personal faith which apprehends, contrasted with fides quae creditur
fides quae creditur the faith which is believed the content of "the faith," contrasted with fides qua creditur
fides quaerens intellectum faith seeking understanding the motto of Saint Anselm, found in his Proslogion
fidus Achates faithful Achates A faithful friend. From the name of Aeneas's faithful companion in Virgil's Aeneid.
filae nostrae sicvt angvli incisi similitvdine templi may our daughters be as polished as the corners' of the temple Motto of Francis Holland School
finis coronat opus the end crowns the work the end justifies the means.
finis vitae sed non amoris the end of life, but not of love  
flagellum dei scourge of god referred to Attila the Hun, when he led his armies to invade the Western Roman Empire.
flectere si nequeo superos, Achaeronta movebo if I cannot move heaven I will raise hell Virgil's Aeneid, book 7
floreat etona may Eton flourish Motto of Eton College
floreat nostra schola may our school flourish Common school motto
floruit (fl.) one flourished Indicates the period when a historical figure whose birth and death dates are unknown was most active.
fluctuat nec mergitur she wavers and is not immersed Motto of Paris.
fons et origo the spring and source "The fountainhead and beginning". The source and origin.
fons sapientiae, verbum Dei the fount of knowledge is the word of God. The motto of Bishop Blanchet High School.
forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit perhaps even these things will be good to remember one day From Virgil's Aeneid, book I, line 203.
fortes fortuna adiuvat Fortune favours the bold The motto of the 3rd Marine Regiment
fortes in fide strong in faith Frequently used as motto.
fortis cadere, cedere non potest The brave may fall, but cannot yield Motto of Fahnestock Family Arms.
fortis est veritas truth is strong Motto on the coat of arms of Oxford, England.
fortis et liber strong and free Motto of Alberta.
fortis in arduis strong in difficulties Motto of Municipal Borough of Middleton from the Earl of Middleton.
fortiter et fideliter bravely and faithfully Frequently used as motto. Used by The King's School, Sydney.
fortunae meae, multorum faber artisan of my fate and that of several others Motto of Gatineau.
Fui quod es, eris quod sum I once was what you are, you will be what I am An Epitaph, made to remind the reader of the inevitability of death, saying "Once I was alive like you are, and you will be dead as I am now." As believed, it's was carved on a gravestone of some Roman military officer.
fumus boni iuris presumption of sufficient legal basis  
fundamenta inconcussa unshakable foundation  

[edit] G

Latin Translation Notes
gaudeamus hodie let us rejoice today  
gaudeamus igitur therefore let us rejoice First words of a famous academic anthem used, among other places, in The Student Prince.
gaudete in domino rejoice in the lord Motto of Bishop Allen Academy
gaudium in veritate joy in truth  
generalia specialibus non derogant universal things do not detract from specific things A principle of statutory interpretation: If a matter falls under a specific provision and a general provision, it shall be governed by the specific provision.
genius loci spirit of place The unique, distinctive aspects or atmosphere of a place, such as those celebrated in art, stories, folk tales, and festivals. Originally, the genius loci was literally the protective spirit of a place, a creature usually depicted as a snake.
generatim discite cultus Learn each field of study according to its kind. (Virgil, Georgics II.) Motto of the University of Bath.
gesta non verba deeds, not words Motto of James Ruse Agricultural High School.
Gloria in excelsis Deo Glory to God in the Highest Often translated "Glory to God on High". The title and beginning of an ancient Roman Catholic doxology, the Greater Doxology. See also ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
Gloria filiorum patres The glory of sons is their fathers (Proverbs17:6) Motto of Eltham College.
Gloria Patri Glory to the Father The beginning of the Lesser Doxology.
gloriosus et liber glorious and free Motto of Manitoba
gradatim ferociter by degrees, ferociously Motto of private spaceflight company Blue Origin
gradibus ascendimus ascending by degrees Motto of Grey College, Durham
Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit Conquered Greece in turn defeated its savage conqueror Horace Epistles 2.1
Grandescunt Aucta Labore By hard work, all things increase and grow Motto of McGill University
gratiae veritas naturae truth through God's mercy and nature Motto of Uppsala University
graviora manent heavier things remain more severe things await, the worst is yet to come
Gravis Dulcis Immutabilis serious sweet immutable Title of a poem by James Elroy Flecker [22]
gutta cavat lapidem [non vi sed saepe cadendo] a water drop hollows a stone [not by force, but by falling often] main phrase is from Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV, 10, 5.[23]; expanded in the Middle Ages

[edit] H

Latin Translation Notes
habeas corpus You should have the body A legal term from the 14th century or earlier. Refers to a number of legal writs to bring a person before a court or judge, most commonly habeas corpus ad subjiciendum (you may have the body to bring up). 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 Roman Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope.
Habent sua fata libelli Books have their destiny [according to the capabilities of the reader]  
hac lege with this law  
haec olim meminisse iuvabit one day, this will be pleasing to remember Commonly rendered in English as "One day, we'll look back on this and smile". From Virgil's Aeneid 1.203. Also, motto of the Jefferson Society.
Hannibal ad portas Hannibal is at the gates Roman parents would tell their misbehaving children this, invoking their fear of Hannibal.
Hannibal ante portas Hannibal before the gates Refers to wasting time while the enemy is already here. Attributed to Cicero.
haud ignota loquor I speak not of unknown things Thus, "I say no things that are unknown". From Virgil's Aeneid, 2.91.
hic abundant leones here lions abound Written on uncharted territories of old maps.
hic et nunc here and now The imperative motto for the desire for satisfaction. "I need it, Here and Now"
hic jacet (HJ) here lies Also rendered hic iacet. Written on gravestones or tombs, preceding the name of the deceased. Equivalent to hic sepultus (here is buried), and sometimes combined into hic jacet sepultus (HJS), "here lies buried".
hic manebimus optime here we'll stay excellently According to Titus Livius the phrase was pronounced by Marcus Furius Camillus, addressing the senators who intended to abandon the city, invaded by Gauls, circa 390 BC. It is used today to express the intent to keep one's position even if the circumstances appear adverse.
hic sunt dracones here there are dragons Written on uncharted territories of old maps.
hic sunt leones here there are lions Written on uncharted territories of old maps.
hinc et inde from both sides  
hinc illae lacrimae hence those tears From Terence, Andria, line 125. Originally literal, referring to the tears shed by Pamphilus at the funeral of Chrysis, it came to be used proverbially in the works of later authors, such as Horace (Epistula XIX, 41).
hinc robur et securitas herefore strength and safety Motto of the Central Bank of Sweden.
historia vitae magistra history, the teacher of life From Cicero, Tusculanas, 2, 16. Also "history is the mistress of life".
hoc age do this Motto of Bradford Grammar School, often purposefully mistranslated by pupils as "Just do it!".
hoc est bellum This is war  
hoc est Christum cognoscere, beneficia eius cognoscere To know Christ is to know his benefits Famous dictum by the Reformer Melanchthon in his Loci Communes of 1521
hoc est enim corpus meum This is my Body The words of Jesus reiterated in Latin during the Roman Catholic Eucharist: "Hoc est corpus"
hodie mihi, cras tibi Today it's me, tomorrow it will be you  
hominem non morbum cura Treat the Man, not the Disease Motto of the Far Eastern University – Institute of Nursing
homo bulla man is a bubble Latin expression- Varro (116 BC – 27 BC) In the opening line of the first book of De Re Rustica wrote "quod, ut dicitur, si est homo bulla, eo magis senex" (for if, as they say, man is a bubble, all the more so is an old man) later reintroduced by Erasmus in his “Adagia”, a collection of sayings published in 1572.
homo homini lupus man [is a] wolf to man First attested in Plautus' Asinaria (lupus est homo homini). The sentence was drawn on by Hobbes in Leviathan as a concise expression of his human nature view.
homo praesumitur bonus donec probetur malus One is innocent until proven guilty See also presumption of innocence.
homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto I am a human being; nothing human is strange to me From Terence, Heautontimoroumenos. Originally "strange" or "foreign" (alienum) was used in the sense of "irrelevant", as this line was a response to the speaker being told to mind his own business, but it is now commonly used to advocate respecting different cultures and being humane in general. Puto (I consider) is not translated because it is meaningless outside of the line's context within the play.
homo unius libri (timeo) (I fear) a man of one book Attributed to Thomas Aquinas
honestes ante honores honesty before glory Motto of King George V school, Hong Kong, China
honor virtutis praemium esteem is the reward of virtue Motto of Arnold School, Blackpool, England
honoris causa for the sake of honor Said of an honorary title, such as "Doctor of Science honoris causa".
hora fugit the hour flees See tempus fugit.
hora somni (h.s.) at the hour of sleep Medical shorthand for "at bedtime".
horas non numero nisi serenas I do not count the hours unless they are sunny A common inscription on sundials.
horribile dictu horrible to say That is, "a horrible thing to relate". Cf. mirabile dictu.
hortus in urbe A garden in the city Motto of the Chicago Park District, a playful allusion to the city's motto, urbs in horto, q.v.
hortus siccus A dry garden A collection of dry, preserved plants.
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  
hypotheses non fingo I do not fabricate hypotheses From Newton, Principia. Less literally, "I do not assert that any hypotheses are true".

[edit] I

Latin Translation Notes
ibidem (ibid.) in the same place Usually used in bibliographic citations to refer to the last source previously referenced.
id est (i.e.) that is "That is (to say)" in the sense of "that means" and "which means", or "in other words", or sometimes "in this case", depending on the context; may be followed by a comma, or not, depending on style (American English and British English respectively)[24]. It is often misinterpreted as "in example." In this situation, e.g. should be used instead. There should be a period (.) after both letters, since it is an abbreviation of two words.[25]
id quod plerumque accidit that which generally happens A phrase used in legal language to indicate the most probable outcome from an act, fact, event or cause.
idem (dito) (id.) the same Used to refer to something that has already been cited. See also ibidem.
idem quod (i.q.) the same as Not to be confused with an intelligence quotient.
Idus Martiae the Ides of March In the Roman calendar, the Ides of March refers to the 15th day of March. In modern times, the term is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC; the term has come to be used as a metaphor for impending doom.
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI) Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews
John 19:20 states that this inscription was written in three languages—Aramaic, Latin and Greek—at the top of the cross during the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazereth. Brochenzell Heiligkreuzkapelle Kruzifix detail.jpg
igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum Therefore whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De Re Militari; similar to si vis pacem, para bellum.
igne natura renovatur integra through fire, nature is reborn whole An alchemical aphorism invented as an alternate meaning for the acronym INRI.
igni ferroque with fire and iron A phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also rendered as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.
ignis aurum probat fire tests gold A phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances, it is also the motto of the Prometheus Society.
ignis fatuus foolish fire Will-o'-the-wisp.
ignorantia iuris non excusat (or ignorantia legis non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat) ignorance of the law is no excuse A legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability.
ignoratio elenchi ignorance of the issue The logical fallacy of irrelevant conclusion: making an argument that, while possibly valid, doesn't prove or support the proposition it claims to. An ignoratio elenchi that is an intentional attempt to mislead or confuse the opposing party is known as a red herring. Elenchi is from the Greek elenchos.
ignotum per ignotius unknown by means of the more unknown An explanation that is less clear than the thing to be explained. Synonymous with obscurum per obscurius.
ignotus (ign.) unknown  
imago Dei image of God From the religious concept that man was created in "God's image".
imitatio dei imitation of a god A principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
imperium in imperio an order within an order 1. A group of people who owe utmost fealty to their leader(s), subordinating the interests of the larger group to the authority of the internal group's leader(s).
2. A "fifth column" organization operating against the organization within which they seemingly reside.
3. "State within a state"
imperium sine fine an empire without an end In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, neverending empire, the endless (sine fine) empire.
imprimatur let it be printed An authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).
in absentia in the absence Used in a number of situations, such as in a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
in actu in act In the very act; in reality.
in articulo mortis at the point of death  
in camera in the chamber In secret. See also camera obscura.
in casu (i.c.) in the event In this case.
in cauda venenum the poison is in the tail Using the metaphor of a scorpion, this can be said of an account that proceeds gently, but turns vicious towards the end — or more generally waits till the end to reveal an intention or statement that is undesirable in the listener's ears.
in com. Ebor. In the county of Yorkshire Eboracum was the Roman name for York and this phrase is used in some Georgian and Victorian books on the genealogy of prominent Yorkshire families.
in Deo speramus in God we hope Motto of Brown University.
in dubio pro reo in doubt, on behalf of the [alleged] culprit Expresses the judicial principle that in case of doubt the decision must be in favor of the accused (in that anyone is innocent until there is proof to the contrary).
in duplo in double In duplicate
in effigie in the likeness In (the form of) an image; in effigy (as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person").
in esse in existence In actual existence; as opposed to in posse.
in extenso in the extended In full; at full length; complete or unabridged
in extremis in the furthest reaches In extremity; in dire straits; also "at the point of death" (cf. in articulo mortis).
in fide scientiam To our faith add knowledge Motto of Newington College.
in fidem into faith To the verification of faith.
in fieri in becoming In process; pending.
in fine (i.f.) in the end At the end. The footnote says "p. 157 in fine": "the end of page 157".
in flagrante delicto in a blazing wrong, while the crime is blazing Caught in the act (esp. a crime or in a "compromising position"); equivalent to "caught red-handed" in English idiom.
in flore in blossom Blooming.
in foro in forum In court (legal term).
in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni We enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire A palindrome said to describe the behavior of moths. Also the title of a film by Guy Debord.
in harmonia progressio progress in harmony Motto of Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.
in hoc sensu or in sensu hoc (s.h.) in this sense Recent academic abbreviation for the spatious and inconvenient "in this sense".
in hoc signo vinces by this sign you will conquer Words Constantine the Great claimed to have seen in a vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Motto of Sigma Chi fraternity, the Norwegian Army 2nd Battalion and the House of Di Santis.
in hunc effectum for this purpose Describes a meeting called for a particular stated purpose only.
in illo ordine (i.o.) in that order Recent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient "..., respectively."
in illo tempore in that time At that time, found often in Gospel lectures during Masses, used to mark an undetermined time in the past.
in inceptum finis est lit.: in the beginning is the end or: the beginning foreshadows the end
in limine at the outset/threshold Preliminary, in law, a motion in limine is a motion that is made to the judge before or during trial, often about the admissibility of evidence believed prejudicial.
in loco in the place, on the spot That is, "on site".
The nearby labs were closed for the weekend, so the water samples were analyzed in loco.
in loco parentis in the place of a parent Assuming parental or custodial responsibility and authority (e.g., schoolteachers over students); a legal term.
in luce Tua videmus lucem in Thy light we see light Motto of Valparaiso University.
in lumine tuo videbimus lumen in your light we will see the light Motto of Columbia University, Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School and Ohio Wesleyan University.
in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum into your hands I entrust my spirit According to Luke 23:46, the last words of Jesus on the cross.
in medias res into the middle of things From 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, Os Lusíadas, Othello, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
in memoriam into the memory Equivalent to "in the memory of". Refers to remembering or honoring a deceased person.
in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas in necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity "Charity" (caritas) is being used in the classical sense of "compassion" (cf. agape). Motto of the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. Often misattributed to Augustine of Hippo.[citation needed]
in nocte consilium advice comes over night I.e., "Tomorrow is a new day." Motto of Birkbeck College, University of London.
in nomine Domini in the name of the Lord Motto of Trinity College, Perth, Australia; the name of a 1050 papal bull.
in nuce in a nut in a nutshell; briefly stated; potential; in the embryonic phase
in omnia paratus Ready for anything. Motto of the United States Army's 18th Infantry Regiment
in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book Quote by Thomas à Kempis
in pace requiescat in peace may he rest Alternate form of requiescat in pace ("let him rest in peace"). Found in this form at the end of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe.
in partibus infidelium in the parts of the infidels "In the land of the infidels"; used to refer to bishoprics that remains as titular sees even after the corresponding territory was conquered by Muslim empires.
in pectore in the heart A cardinal named in secret by the pope. See also ab imo pectore.
in personam into a person Directed towards a particular person
in posse in potential In the state of being possible; as opposed to in esse.
in propria persona in one's own person Abbreviated pro per; For one's self; acting on one's own behalf, especially a person representing himself in a legal proceeding; see also litigant in person, pro se legal representation in the United States.
in principio erat Verbum in the beginning was the Word (Logos) Beginning of the Gospel of John
in re in the matter [of] A legal term used to indicate that a judicial proceeding may not have formally designated adverse parties or is otherwise uncontested. The term is commonly used in case citations of probate proceedings, for example, In re Smith's Estate; it is also used in juvenile courts, as, for instance, In re Gault.
in regione caecorum rex est luscus In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. A quote of Desiderius Erasmus from Adagia (first published 1500, with numerous expanded editions through 1536), III, IV, 96.
in rem to the thing Legal term indicating a court's jurisdiction over a piece of property rather than a legal person; contrast with personal (ad personam) jurisdiction. See In rem jurisdiction; Quasi in rem jurisdiction
in rerum natura in the nature of things See also Lucretius' De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).
in retentis among things held back Used to describe documents kept separately from the regular records of a court for special reasons.
in saeculo in the times In the secular world, esp. outside a monastery, or before death.
in salvo in safety  
in scientia opportunitas In Knowledge, there is Opportunity Motto of Edge Hill University.
in silico
(Dog Latin)
in silicon Coined in the late 1980s for scientific papers. Refers to an experiment or process performed virtually, as a computer simulation. The term is Dog Latin modeled after terms such as in vitro and in vivo. The Latin word for silicon is silicium, so the correct Latinization of "in silicon" would be in silicio, but this form has little usage.
in situ in the place In the original place, appropriate position, or natural arrangement.
in somnis veritas In dreams there is truth  
in spe in hope "future" (My mother-in-law in spe", i.e., "My future mother-in-law), or "in embryonic form", as in "Locke's theory of government resembles, in spe, Montesquieu's theory of the separation of powers."
in specialibus generalia quaerimus To seek the general in the specifics That is, to understand the most general rules through the most detailed analysis.
in statu nascendi in the state of being born Just as something is about to begin.
in toto in all Totally; entirely; completely.
in triplo in triple In triplicate.
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimus Then we will fight in the shade  
in utero in the womb  
in utrumque paratus Prepared for either (event)  
in vacuo in a void In a vacuum; isolated from other things.
in varietate concordia united in diversity The motto of the European Union and the Council of Europe
in vino veritas in wine [there is] truth That is, wine loosens the tongue(Referring to alcohol's disinhibitory effects).
in vitro in glass An experimental or process methodology performed in a "non-natural" setting (e.g. in a laboratory using a glass test tube or Petri dish), and thus outside of a living organism or cell. Alternative experimental or process methodologies include in vitro, in silico, ex vivo and in vivo.
in vivo in life" or "in a living thing An experiment or process performed on a living specimen.
in vivo veritas in a living thing [there is] truth An expression used by biologists to express the fact that laboratory findings from testing an organism in vitro are not always reflected when applied to an organism in vivo. A pun on in vino veritas.
incepto ne desistam May I not shrink from my purpose! Westville Boys' High School and Westville Girls' High School's motto is taken directly from Virgil. These words, found in Aeneid, Book 1, are used by Juno, queen of heaven who hated the Trojans led by Aeneas. When she saw the fleet of Aeneas on its way to Italy, after the sack of Troy by the Greeks, she planned to scatter it by means of strong winds. In her determination to accomplish her task she cried out "Incepto Ne Desistam!"
incertae sedis of uncertain position (seat) A term used to classify a taxonomic group when its broader relationships are unknown or undefined.
incredibile dictu incredible to say A variant on mirabile dictu.
Index Librorum Prohibitorum Index of Prohibited (or, Forbidden) Books A list of books considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.
indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliter indivisible and inseparable Motto of Austria-Hungary prior to its separation into independent states in 1918.
Infinitus est numerus stultorum. Infinite is the number of fools.  
infirma mundi elegit Deus God chooses the weak of the world The motto of Venerable Vital-Justin Grandin, the bishop of the St. Albert Diocese, which is now the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton
infra dignitatem (infra dig) beneath one's dignity  
innocens non timidus innocent but not afraid Motto on Rowe family coat of arms.
instante mense (inst.) in the present month Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the current month, sometimes abbreviated as instant; e.g.: "Thank you for your letter of the 17th inst." — ult. mense = last month, prox. mense = next month.
intaminatis fulget honoribus Untarnished, she shines with honor From Horace's Odes (III.2.18). Motto of Wofford College.
integer vitae scelerisque purus unimpaired by life and clean of wickedness From Horace. Used as a funeral hymn.
inter alia (i.a.) among other things A term used in formal extract minutes to indicate that the minute quoted has been taken from a fuller record of other matters, or when alluding to the parent group after quoting a particular example.
inter alios among others Often used to compress lists of parties to legal documents.
inter arma enim silent leges in a time of war, the law falls silent Said by Cicero in Pro Milone as a protest against unchecked political mobs that had virtually seized control of Rome in the 60s and 50s BC. Famously quoted in the essay Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau as "The clatter of arms drowns out the voice of the law". This phrase has also been jokingly translated as "In a time of arms, the legs are silent."
inter caetera among others Title of a papal bull
inter spem et metum between hope and fear  
inter urinas et faeces nascimur we are born between urine and feces Attributed to St Augustine.
inter vivos between the living Refers to property transfers between living persons, as opposed to a testamentary transfer upon death such as an inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
intra muros within the walls Not public; source of the word intramural. See also Intramuros, Manila.
intra vires within the powers Within one's authority
invicta Unconquered Motto of the English county of Kent.
invictus maneo I remain unvanquished Motto of the Armstrong Clan.
Iohannes est nomen eius John is his name / Juan es su Nombre Motto of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
ipsa scientia potestas est knowledge itself is power Famous phrase written by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597.
ipse dixit he himself said it Commonly said in Medieval debates referring to Aristotle. Used in general to emphasize that some assertion comes from some authority, i.e., as an argument from authority, and the term ipse-dixitism has come to mean any unsupported rhetorical assertion that lacks a logical argument. Originally coined by Cicero in his De Natura Deorum (I, 10) to describe the behavior of the students of Pythagoras.
ipsissima verba the very words themselves "Strictly word for word" (cf. verbatim). Often used in Biblical Studies to describe the record of Jesus' teaching found in the New Testament (specifically, the four Gospels).
ipsissima voce the very 'voice' itself To approximate the main thrust or message without using the exact words.
ipso facto by the fact itself By that very fact
ira deorum wrath of the gods Like the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the ancient Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of pax deorum (peace of the gods) instead of ira deorum (wrath of the gods): earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.
ira furor brevis est Wrath (anger) is but a brief madness
ita vero thus indeed A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes", preferring to respond to questions with the affirmative or negative of the question (e.g., "Are you hungry?" was answered by "I am hungry" or "I am not hungry", not "Yes" or "No).
ite missa est Go, it is the dismissal Loosely: "You have been dismissed". Concluding words addressed to the people in the Mass of the Roman Rite.[26]
iter legis The path of the law The path a law takes from its conception to its implementation.
iugulare mortuos to cut the throat of corpses From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). It can mean attacking the work or personality of deceased person. Alternatively, it can be used to describe criticism of an individual already heavily criticised by others.
iuncta iuvant together they strive also spelled juncta juvant; from the legal principle quae non valeant singula, iuncta iuvant ("What is without value on its own, helps when joined")
iura novit curia the court knows the law A legal principle in civil law countries of the Roman-German tradition that says that lawyers need not to argue the law, as that is the office of the court. Sometimes miswritten as iura novat curia (the court renews the laws).
iure matris in right of his mother Indicates a right exercised by a son on behalf of his mother.
iure uxoris in right of his wife Indicates a right exercised by a husband on behalf of his wife.
iuris ignorantia est cum ius nostrum ignoramus it is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights  
ius accrescendi right of accrual Commonly referred to as "right of survivorship": a rule in property law that surviving joint tenants have rights in equal shares to a decedent's property.
ius ad bellum law towards war Refers to the laws that regulate the reasons for going to war. Typically, this would address issues of self-defense or preemptive strikes.
ius cogens compelling law Refers to a fundamental principle of international law considered to have acceptance among the international community of states as a whole. Typically, this would address issues not listed or defined by any authoritative body, but arise out of case law and changing social and political attitudes. Generally included are prohibitions on waging aggressive war, crimes against humanity, war crimes, piracy, genocide, slavery, and torture.
ius in bello law in war Refers to the "laws" that regulate the conduct of combatants during a conflict. Typically, this would address issues of who or what is a valid target, how to treat prisoners, and what sorts of weapons can be used. The word jus is also commonly spelled ius.
ius primae noctis law of the first night The droit de seigneur.
iustitia fundamentum regni justice - fundamental of kingdom Motto of the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office of the Czech Republic.
iustitia omnibus justice for all The motto of Washington, D.C.
iuventuti nil arduum to the young nothing is difficult Motto of Canberra Girls' Grammar School.
iuventutis veho fortunas I bear the fortunes of youth Motto of Dollar Academy.

[edit] L

Latin Translation Notes
Labor omnia vincit Hard work conquers all Popular as a motto; derived from a phrase in Virgil's Eclogue (X.69: omnia vincit Amor – "Love conquers all"); a similar phrase also occurs in his Georgics I.145. Motto of St. Xavier's Institution, Penang.
Laborare pugnare parati sumus To work, (or) to fight; we are ready Motto of the California Maritime Academy
Labore et honore By labour and honour Motto of several schools
Laboremus pro patria Let us work for the fatherland Motto of the Carlsberg breweries
Laboris gloria Ludi Work hard, Play hard Motto of the Camborne School of Mines, Cornwall, UK
lapsus linguae slip of the tongue; inadvertent remark A linguistic error or language mistake; its written-word variant, lapsus calami (slip of the pen) refers to typographical error as well.
lapsus memoriae slip of memory Source of the term memory lapse.
Laudator temporis acti praiser of time past One who is discontent with the present and instead prefers things of the past ("the good old days").
Laudetur Jesus Christus Praise (Be) Jesus Christ Often used as a salutation, but also used after prayers or the reading of the gospel.
laus Deo praise be to God This is written on the East side at the peak of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Also is the motto of the Viscount of Arbuthnott and Sydney Grammar School.
lectori salutem greetings reader Often abbreviated to L.S., used as opening words for a letter.
lege artis according to the law of the art Describes how something should be performed, conducted or carried out in a correct way. Used especially in a medical context. The 'art' referred to in the phrase is medicine.
legem terrae the law of the land  
leges humanae nascuntur, vivunt, et moriuntur laws of man are born, live and die  
leges sine moribus vanae laws without morals [are] vain From Horace's Odes: the official motto of the University of Pennsylvania.
legio patria nostra The Legion is our fatherland Motto of the French Foreign Legion
legi, intellexi, et condemnavi I read, understood, and condemned.  
legitime lawfully In Roman and civil law, a forced share in an estate; the portion of the decedent's estate from which the immediate family cannot be disinherited. From the French héritier legitime (rightful heir).
lex artis law of the skill The rules that regulate a professional duty.
lex dei vitae lampas the law of God is the lamp of life Motto of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne
lex ferenda the law that should be borne The law as it ought to be.
lex hac edictali the law here proclaims The rule whereby a spouse cannot by deed inter vivos or bequeath by testament to his or her second spouse more than the amount of the smallest portion given or bequeathed to any child.
lex in casu law in the event A law that only concerns one particular case. See law of the case.
lex lata the law that has been borne The law as it is.
lex loci law of the place  
lex non scripta law that has not been written Unwritten law, or common law.
lex orandi, lex credendi the law of prayer is the law of faith  
Lex Paciferat   Motto of the European Gendarmerie Force.
lex parsimoniae law of succinctness also known as Occam's Razor.
lex rex the law [is] king A principle of government advocating a rule by law rather than 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 scripta written law Statutory law. Contrasted with lex non scripta.
lex talionis the law of retaliation Retributive justice (cf. an eye for an eye).
lex tempus time is the law Name of musical composition by popular Maltese electronic music artist Ray Buttigieg
libera te tutemet (ex inferis) Free yourself (from hell) Used in the movie Event Horizon (1997), where it is translated as "save yourself (from hell)". It is initially misheard as liberate me (free me), but is later corrected. Libera te is often mistakenly merged into liberate, which would necessitate a plural pronoun instead of the singular tutemet (which is an emphatic form of tu, you).
Libertas Justitia Veritas Liberty Justice Truth Motto of the Korea University.
Libertas Quae Sera Tamen freedom which [is] however late Liberty even when it comes late; Motto of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Libertas Securitas Justitia Liberty Security Justice Motto of the Frontex.
libra (lb) balance; scales Its abbreviation lb is used as a unit of weight, the pound.
loco citato (lc) in the place cited More fully written in loco citato. See also opere citato.
locus classicus a classic place The most typical or classic case of something; quotation which most typifies its use.
locus minoris resistentiae place of less resistance A medical term to describe a location on or in a body that offers little resistance to infection, damage, or injury. For example, a weakened place that tends to be reinjured.
locus standi A right to stand Standing in law (the right to have one's case in court).
lorem ipsum sorrow itself; pain for its own sake A mangled fragment from Cicero's De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Limits of Good and Evil, 45 BC), used as typographer's filler to show fonts (a.k.a. greeking).
luceat lux vestra Let your light shine May be found in Matthew Ch. 5 V. 16. Popular as a school motto.
lucem sequimur We follow the light Motto of the University of Exeter
luctor et emergo I struggle and emerge Motto of the Dutch province of Zeeland to denote its battle against the sea, and the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame.
lucus a non lucendo [it is] a grove by not being light From late 4th-century grammarian Honoratus Maurus, who sought to mock implausible word origins such as those proposed by Priscian. A pun based on the word lucus (dark grove) having a similar appearance to the verb lucere (to shine), arguing that the former word is derived from the latter word because of a lack of light in wooded groves. Often used as an example of absurd etymology.
lupus in fabula the wolf in the story With the meaning "speak of the wolf, and he will come"; from Terence's play Adelphoe.
lupus non mordet lupum a wolf does not bite a wolf  
lux et lex light and law Motto of the Franklin & Marshall College
lux et veritas light and truth A translation of the Hebrew Urim and Thummim. Motto of several institutions.
lux ex tenebris light from darkness Motto of the 67th Network Warfare Wing.
lux hominum vita light the life of man Motto of the University of New Mexico
lux in Domino light in the Lord Motto of the Ateneo de Manila University
lux libertas light, liberty Motto of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
lux mentis lux orbis Light of the mind, light of the world Motto of Sonoma State University
lux sit let there be light A more literal Latinization of the phrase; the most common translation is fiat lux, from Latin Vulgate Bible phrase chosen for the Genesis line "וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר" (And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light). Motto of the University of Washington.
lux tua nos ducat Your Light Guides Us Motto of St. Julian's School, Carcavelos, Portugal[27]
lux, veritas, virtus light, truth, courage Motto of Northeastern University

[edit] M

Latin Translation Notes
Macte animo! Generose puer sic itur ad astra Young, cheer up! This is the way to the skies. Motto of Academia da Força Aérea(Air Force Academy) of the Brazilian Air Force
magister dixit the teacher has said it Canonical medieval reference to Aristotle, precluding further discussion
Magna Carta Great Charter Set of documents from 1215 between Pope Innocent III, King John of England, and English barons.
magna cum laude with great praise Common Latin honor, above cum laude and below summa cum laude
magna est vis consuetudinis great is the power of habit  
Magna Europa est Patria Nostra Great Europe is Our Fatherland Political motto of pan-Europeanists (cf. Ave Europa nostra vera Patria)
magno cum gaudio with great joy  
magnum opus great work Said of someone's masterpiece
maiora premunt greater things are pressing Used to indicate that it is the moment to address more important, urgent, issues.
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.
mala tempora currunt bad times are upon us Also used ironically, e.g.: New teachers know all tricks used by pupils to copy from classmates? Oh, mala tempora currunt!.
male captus bene detentus wrongly captured, properly detained An illegal arrest will not prejudice the subsequent detention/trial.
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery  
malum discordiae apple of discord Alludes to the apple of Eris in the Judgement of Paris, the mythological cause of the Trojan War. It is also a pun based on the near-homonymous word malum (evil). The word for "apple" has a long ā vowel in Latin and the word for "evil" a short a vowel, but they are normally written the same.
malum in se wrong in itself A legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong (cf. malum prohibitum).
malum prohibitum wrong due to being prohibited A legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law.
malum quo communius eo peius the more common an evil is, the worse it is  
manibus date lilia plenis give lilies with full hands A phrase from Virgil's Aeneid, VI.883, mourning the death of Marcellus, Augustus' nephew. Quoted by Dante as he leaves Virgil in Purgatory, XXX.21, echoed by Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass III, 6.
manu militari with a military hand Using armed forces in order to achieve a goal
manu propria (m.p.) with one's own hand With the implication of "signed by one's hand". Its abbreviated form is sometimes used at the end of typewritten or printed documents or official notices, directly following the name of the person(s) who "signed" the document exactly in those cases where there isn't an actual handwritten signature.
manus celer Dei the swift hand of God Originally used as the name of a ship in the Marathon game series, its usage has spread. In the PlayStation game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the phrase was written in blood on the walls of a vampire's feeding room. It is assumed that one of the dying victims wrote it with his fingers. After the game's main character surveys the bloody room, associative logic dictates that the phrase was to deify both the vampire's wrath on shackled, powerless humans and the boundless slaughter of his victims.
manus manum lavat one hand washes the other famous quote from The Pumpkinification of Claudius, ascribed to Seneca the Younger.[28] It implies that one situation helps the other.
mare clausum closed sea In law, a sea under the jurisdiction of one nation and closed to all others.
mare liberum free sea In law, a sea open to international shipping navigation.
mare nostrum our sea A nickname given to the Mediterranean Sea during the height of the Roman Empire, as it encompassed the entire coastal basin.
Mater Dei Mother of God A name given to describe Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, who is also called the "Son of God."
mater facit Mother Does It Used as a joke to say Mother Fuck It, though it really means "mother does it"
mater familias the mother of the family The female head of a family. See pater familias.
Mater semper certa est The mother is always certain a Roman-law principle which has the power of praesumptio iuris et de iure, meaning that no counter-evidence can be made against this principle (literally: Presumed there is no counter evidence and by the law). Its meaning is that the mother of the child is always known.
materia medica medical matter The branch of medical science concerned with the study of drugs used in the treatment of disease. Also, the drugs themselves.
me vexat pede it annoys me at the foot Less literally, "my foot itches". Refers to a trivial situation or person that is being a bother, possibly in the sense of wishing to kick that thing away or, such as the commonly-used expressions, a "pebble in one's shoe" or "nipping at one's heels".
mea culpa my fault Used in Christian prayers and confession to denote the inherently flawed nature of mankind; can also be extended to mea maxima culpa (my greatest fault).
mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundat My hovercraft is full of eels A relatively common recent Latinization inspired by the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch by Monty Python.
media vita in morte sumus In the midst of our lives we die A well-known sequence, falsely attributed to Notker during the Middle Ages. It was translated by Cranmer and became a part of the burial service in the funeral rites of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
Mediolanum captum est Milan has been captured Used erroneously as Mediolanum Capta Est by the black metal band Mayhem as an album title. Mediolanum was an ancient city in present-day Milan, Italy.
meliora better things Carrying the connotation of "always better". The motto of the University of Rochester.
Melita, domi adsum Honey, I'm home! A relatively common recent Latinization from the joke phrasebook Latin for All Occasions. Grammatically correct, but the phrase would be anachronistic in ancient Rome.
memento mori remember that [you will] die remember your mortality
memento vivere remember to live  
meminerunt omnia amantes lovers remember all  
memores acti prudentes futuri mindful of what has been done, aware of what will be Thus, both remembering the past and foreseeing the future. From the North Hertfordshire District Council coat of arms.
mens agitat molem the mind moves the mass From Virgil. Motto of Rossall School, the University of Oregon, the University of Warwick and the Eindhoven University of Technology.
mens et manus mind and hand Motto of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and also of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
mens rea guilty mind Also "culprit mind". A term used in discussing the mindset of an accused criminal.
mens sana in corpore sano a sound mind in a sound body Or "a sensible mind in a healthy body".
metri causa for the sake of the meter Excusing flaws in poetry "for the sake of the meter"
Miles Gloriosus Glorious Soldier Or "Boastful Soldier". Miles Gloriosus is the title of a play of Plautus. A stock character in comedy, the braggart soldier. (It is said that at Salamanca, there is a wall, on which graduates inscribe their names, where Francisco Franco had a plaque installed reading "Franciscus Francus Miles Gloriosus".)
minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus he threatens the innocent who spares the guilty  
mirabile dictu wonderful to tell  
mirabile visu wonderful to see A Roman phrase used to describe a wonderful event/happening.
miscerique probat populos et foedera jungi He approves of the mingling of the peoples and their bonds of union Latin Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV, line 112, "he" referring to the great Roman god, who approved of the settlement of Romans in Africa. Old Motto of Trinidad and Tobago, and used in the novel A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul.
misera est servitus ubi jus est aut incognitum aut vagum miserable is that state of slavery in which the law is unknown or uncertain Quoted by Samuel Johnson in his paper for James Boswell on Vicious intromission.
miserabile visu terrible by the sight A terrible happening or event.
miserere nobis have mercy upon us A phrase within the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and the Agnus Dei, to be used at certain points in Christian religious ceremonies.
missit me Dominus the Lord has sent me A phrase used by Jesus.
mittimus we send A warrant of commitment to prison, or an instruction for a jailer to hold someone in prison.
mobilis in mobili "moving in a moving thing" or, poetically, "changing through the changing medium" The motto of the Nautilus from the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
modus morons
(Dog Latin)
Dog Latin based on wordplay with modus ponens and modus tollens, referring to the common logical fallacy that if P then Q and not P, then one can conclude not Q (cf. denying the antecedent and contraposition).
modus operandi (M.O.) method of operating Usually used to describe a criminal's methods.
modus ponens method of placing Loosely "method of affirming", a logical rule of inference stating that from propositions if P then Q and P, then one can conclude Q.
modus tollens method of removing Loosely "method of denying", a logical rule of inference stating that from propositions if P then Q and not Q, then one can conclude not P.
modus vivendi method of living An accommodation between disagreeing parties to allow life to go on. A practical compromise.
montaini semper liberi mountaineers [are] always free State motto of West Virginia, adopted in 1872.
Montis Insignia Calpe Badge of the Rock of Gibraltar  
more ferarum like beasts used to describe any sexual act in the manner of beasts
morior invictus death before defeat  
morituri nolumus mori we who are about to die don't want to From Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero
morituri te salutant those who are about to die salute you Used once in Suetonius' De Vita Caesarum 5, (Divus Claudius), chapter 21[29], by the condemned prisoners manning galleys about to take part in a mock naval battle on Lake Fucinus in AD 52. Popular misconception ascribes it as a gladiator's salute. See also: Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant and Naumachia.
mors certa, hora incerta death is certain, its hour is uncertain  
mors omnibus death to all Signifies anger and depression.
mors tua, vita mea your death, my life From medieval Latin, it indicates that battle for survival, where your defeat is necessary for my victory, survival.
mors vincit omnia death conquers all" or "death always wins An axiom often found on headstones.
morte magis metuenda senectus old age should rather be feared than death from Juvenal in his 'Satires'
mortui vivos docent The dead teach the living Used to justify dissections of human cadavers in order to understand the cause of death.
mortuum flagellas you are flogging a dead From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Criticising one who will not be affected in any way by the criticism.
mos maiorum the custom of our ancestors an unwritten code of laws and conduct, of the Romans. It institutionalized cultural traditions, societal mores, and general policies, as distinct from specific laws.
motu proprio on his own initiative Or "by his own accord." Identifies a class of papal documents, administrative papal bulls.
mulgere hircum to milk a male goat From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Attempting the impossible.
Mulier est hominis confusio. Woman is man's ruin. "Part of a comic definition of woman" from the Altercatio Hadriani Augusti et Secundi.[30] Famously quoted by Chauntecleer in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
multa paucis Say much in few words  
multis e gentibus vires from many peoples, strength Motto of Saskatchewan.
multitudo sapientium sanitas orbis a multitude of the wise is the health of the world From the Vulgate, Wisdom of Solomon 6:24. Motto of the University of Victoria.
multum in parvo much in little Conciseness. The motto of Rutland, a county in central England.
Latin phrases are often multum in parvo, conveying much in few words.
mundus senescit the world grows old  
mundus vult decipi the world wants to be deceived From James Branch Cabell.
munit haec et altera vincit this one defends and the other one conquers Motto of Nova Scotia.
mutatis mutandis after changing what needed to be changed Thus, "with the appropriate changes".

[edit] N

Latin Translation Notes
nasciturus pro iam nato habetur, quotiens de commodis eius agitur The unborn is deemed to have been born to the extent that his own inheritance is concerned Refers to a situation where an unborn child is deemed to be entitled to certain inheritance rights.
natura abhorret a vacuo nature abhors a vacuum Pseudo-explanation for why a liquid will climb up a tube to fill a vacuum, often given before the discovery of atmospheric pressure.
Natura Artis Magistra Nature is the teacher of art The name of the zoo in the centre of Amsterdam; short: Artis.
natura nihil frustra facit nature does nothing in vain Cf. Leucippus: "Everything that happens does so for a reason and of necessity."
natura non contristatur nature is not saddened That is, the natural world is not sentimental or compassionate.
natura non facit saltum ita nec lex nature does not make a leap, thus neither does the law Shortened form of "sicut natura nil facit per saltum ita nec lex" (just as nature does nothing by a leap, so neither does the law), referring to both nature and the legal system moving gradually.
natura non facit saltus nature makes no leaps A famous aphorism of Carl Linnaeus stating that all organisms bear relationships on all sides, their forms changing gradually from one species to the next. From Philosophia Botanica (1751).
Natura valde simplex est et sibi consona Nature is exceedingly simple and harmonious with itself. Sir Isaac Newton's famous quote, defining foundation of all modern sciences. Can be found in his Unpublished Scientific Papers of Isaac Newton: A selection from the Portsmouth Collection in the University Library, Cambridge, 1978 edition.
naturalia non sunt turpia What is natural is not dirty. Based on Servius' commentary on Virgil's Georgics (3:96): "turpis non est quia per naturam venit."
naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret. You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back. You must take the basic nature of something into account.
- Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle iv, line 24.
navigare necesse est vivere non est necesse to sail is necessary; to live is not necessary Attributed by Plutarch to Gnaeus Pompeius, who, during a severe storm, commanded sailors to bring food from Africa to Rome.
ne plus ultra nothing more beyond Also nec plus ultra or non plus ultra. A descriptive phrase meaning the best or most extreme example of something. The Pillars of Hercules, for example, were literally the nec plus ultra of the ancient Mediterranean world. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's heraldic emblem reversed this idea, using a depiction of this phrase inscribed on the Pillars—as plus ultra, without the negation. This represented Spain's expansion into the New World.The Boston Musical Instrument Company engraved ne plus ultra on its instruments from 1869 to 1928 to signify that none were better.
nec dextrorsum, nec sinistrorsum Neither to the right nor to the left Do not get distracted. Motto for Bishop Cotton Boys' School and the Bishop Cotton Girls' School, both located in Bangalore, India.
nec spe, nec metu without hope, without fear  
nec tamen consumebatur and yet it was not consumed Refers to the Burning Bush of Exodus 3:2. Motto of many Presbyterian churches throughout the world, including Australia.
nec temere nec timide neither reckless nor timid The motto of the Dutch 11th Air Manoeuvre Brigade
neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet kill them all, God will know his own. alternate rendition of Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. by Arnaud Amalric.
nemine contradicente (nem. con.) with no one speaking against Less literally, "without dissent". Used especially in committees, where a matter may be passed nem. con., or unanimously.
nemo dat quod non habet no one gives what he does not have Thus, "none can pass better title than they have".
nemo est supra legis nobody is above the law  
Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino umquam fuit No great man ever existed who did not enjoy some portion of divine inspiration From Cicero's De Natura Deorum, Book 2, 167
nemo iudex in causa sua no man shall be a judge in his own cause Legal principle that no individual can preside over a hearing in which he holds a specific interest or bias.
nemo malus felix peace visits not the guilty mind Also translated to "no peace for the wicked." Refers to the inherent psychological issues that plague bad/guilty people.
nemo me impune lacessit no one provokes me with impunity Motto of the Order of the Thistle, and consequently of Scotland, found stamped on the milled edge of certain British pound sterling coins. It is the motto of the Montressors in the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The Cask of Amontillado". Motto of the San Beda College Beta Sigma Fraternity.
nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit No mortal is wise at all times The wisest may make mistakes.
nemo nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur No one learns except by friendship Used to imply that one must like a subject in order to study it.
nemo saltat sobrius Nobody dances sober The short and more common form of "Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit", "Nobody dances sober, unless he is completely insane."
nemo tenetur seipsum accusare no one is bound to accuse himself A maxim banning mandatory self-incrimination. Near-synonymous with accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo. Similar phrases include: nemo tenetur armare adversarium contra se (no one is bound to arm an opponent against himself), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to in any way assist the prosecutor to his own detriment; nemo tenetur edere instrumenta contra se (no one is bound to produce documents against himself, meaning that a defendant is not obligated to provide materials to be used against himself (this is true in Roman law and has survived in modern criminal law, but no longer applies in modern civil law); and nemo tenere prodere seipsum (no one is bound to betray himself), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to testify against himself.
nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam Endless money forms the sinews of war In war, it is essential to be able to purchase supplies and to pay troops (as Napoleon put it, "An army marches on its stomach").
nihil ad rem nothing to do with the point That is, in law, irrelevant and/or inconsequential.
nihil boni sine labore nothing achieved without hard work Motto of Palmerston North Boys' High School
nihil dicit he says nothing In law, a declination by a defendant to answer charges or put in a plea.
nihil novi nothing of the new Or just "nothing new". The phrase exists in two versions: as nihil novi sub sole (nothing new under the sun), from the Vulgate, and as nihil novi nisi commune consensu (nothing new unless by the common consensus), a 1505 law of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and one of the cornerstones of its Golden Liberty.
nihil obstat nothing prevents A notation, usually on a title page, indicating that a Roman Catholic censor has reviewed the book and found nothing objectionable to faith or morals in its content. See also imprimatur.
Nihil sine Deo Nothing without God The motto of the Kingdom of Romania, while ruled by the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty (1878–1947).
Nihil Ultra Nothing Beyond The motto of St. Xavier's College, Calcutta.
nil admirari be surprised at nothing Motto of the Fitzgibbon family. See John FitzGibbon, 1st Earl of Clare
nil desperandum nothing must be despaired at That is, "never despair".
Nil igitur est mors ad nos Death, therefore, is nothing to us. Written in Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (Concerning the nature of things)
nil mortalibus ardui est nothing is impossible for humankind From Horace's Odes. Motto of Rathkeale College, New Zealand and Brunts School, England.
nil nisi bonum (about the dead say) nothing unless (it is) good Short for nil nisi bonum de mortuis dicere. That is, "Don't speak ill of anyone who has died". Also "Nil magnum nisi bonum" (nothing is great unless good), motto of St Catherine's School, Toorak, Pennant Hills High School and Petit Seminaire Higher Secondary School.
nil nisi malis terrori no terror, except to the bad The motto of The King's School, Macclesfield.
nil per os, rarely non per os (n.p.o.) nothing through the mouth Medical shorthand indicating that oral foods and fluids should be withheld from the patient.
nil satis nisi optimum nothing [is] enough unless [it is] the best Motto of Everton F.C., residents of Goodison Park, Liverpool.
nil sine labore nothing without labour Motto of Brisbane Grammar School, Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Greenwich Public School, and Victoria School
nil sine numine nothing without the divine will Or "nothing without providence". State motto of Colorado, adopted in 1861. Probably derived from Virgil's Aeneid Book II, line 777, "non haec sine numine divum eveniunt" (these things do not come to pass without the will of Heaven). See also numen.
nil volentibus arduum Nothing [is] arduous for the willing Nothing is impossible for the willing
nisi Dominus frustra if not the Lord, [it is] in vain That is, "everything is in vain without God". Summarized from Psalm 127, "nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustra vigilavit qui custodit" (unless the Lord builds the house, they work on a useless thing who build it; unless the Lord guards the community, he keeps watch in vain who guards it). The motto of Edinburgh.
nisi prius unless previously In England, a direction that a case be brought up to Westminster for trial before a single judge and jury. In the United States, a court where civil actions are tried by a single judge sitting with a jury, as distinguished from an appellate court.
nitimur in vetitum We strive for the forbidden From Ovid's Amores, III.4:17. It means that when we are denied of something, we will eagerly pursue the denied thing. Used by Friedrich Nietzsche in his Ecce Homo to indicate that his philosophy pursues what is forbidden to other philosophers.
nolens volens unwilling, willing That is, "whether unwillingly or willingly". Sometimes rendered volens nolens, aut nolens aut volens or nolentis volentis. Similar to willy-nilly, though that word is derived from Old English will-he nil-he ([whether] he will or [whether] he will not).
noli me tangere do not touch me Commonly translated "touch me not". According to the Gospel of John, this was said by Jesus to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.
noli turbare circulos meos Do not disturb my circles! That is, "Don't upset my calculations!" Said by Archimedes to a Roman soldier who, despite having been given orders not to, killed Archimedes at the conquest of Syracuse, Sicily. The soldier was executed for his act.
"nolite te bastardes carborundorum"
(Dog Latin)
"Don't let the bastards grind you down From The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood — the protagonist (Offred) finds the phrase inscribed on the inside of her wardrobe. One of many variants of Illegitimi non carborundum.
nolle prosequi to be unwilling 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 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. Nolo contendere pleas cannot be used as evidence in another trial.
nomen dubium doubtful name A scientific name of unknown or doubtful application.
nomen est omen the name is a sign Thus, "true to its name".
nomen nescio (N.N.) I do not know the name Thus, the name or person in question is unknown.
nomen nudum naked name A purported scientific name that does not fulfill the proper formal criteria and therefore cannot be used unless it is subsequently proposed correctly.
non bis in idem not twice in the same thing A legal principle forbidding double jeopardy.
non causa pro causa not the cause for the cause Also known as the "questionable cause" or "false cause". Refers to any logical fallacy where a cause is incorrectly identified.
non compos mentis not in control of the mind See compos mentis. Also rendered non compos sui (not in control of himself). Samuel Johnson, author of the first English dictionary, theorized that the word nincompoop may derive from this phrase.
non constat it is not certain Used to explain scientific phenomena and religious advocations, for example in medieval history, for rulers to issue a 'Non Constat' decree, banning the worship of a holy figure. In legal context, occasionally a backing for nulling information that was presented by an attorney. Without any tangible proof, Non constat information is difficult to argue for.
non ducor, duco I am not led; I lead Motto of São Paulo city, Brazil. See also pro Brasilia fiant eximia.
non facias malum ut inde fiat bonum you should not make evil in order that good may be made from it More simply, "don't do wrong to do right". The direct opposite of the phrase "the ends justify the means".
non impediti ratione cogitationis unencumbered by the thought process motto of radio show Car Talk
non in legendo sed in intelligendo legis consistunt the laws depend not on being read, but on being understood  
non liquet it is not proven Also "it is not clear" or "it is not evident". A sometimes controversial decision handed down by a judge when they feel that the law is not complete.
non loqui sed facere not talk but action Motto of the University of Western Australia's Engineering faculty student society.
non mihi solum not for myself alone Motto of Anderson Junior College, Singapore.
Non nobis Domine 'Not to us (oh) Lord' The title of a Christian hymn and theme-song of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, C.E.C. - Protestant denomination, not related to the high Episcopal Church of the ordinary Anglican Communion of Christianity. The main theme of the hymn is: 'Non nobis Domine, tuo da glorium.' This is translated as: 'Not to us, (oh) Lord... unto thy name (be) glory.'
non nobis solum not for ourselves alone Appears in Cicero's De Officiis Book 1:22 in the form non nobis solum nati sumus (we are not born for ourselves alone). Motto of Lower Canada College, Montreal and University College, Durham University.
non obstante veredicto not standing in the way of a verdict A judgment notwithstanding verdict, a legal motion asking the court to reverse the jury's verdict on the grounds that the jury could not have reached such a verdict reasonably.
non olet it doesn't smell See pecunia non olet.
non omnis moriar I shall not all die "Not all of me will die", a phrase expressing the belief that a part of the speaker will survive beyond death.
non plus ultra nothing further beyond the ultimate
non possumus not possible  
non progredi est regredi to not go forward is to go backward  
non prosequitur he does not proceed A judgment in favor of a defendant when the plaintiff failed to take the necessary steps in an action within the time allowed.
non scholae, sed vitae discimus We learn not for school, but for life. from Seneca; sometimes abbreviated "non scholae, sed vitae"; motto of many schools.
non quis sed quid not who but what Used in the sense "what matters is not who says it but what he says" – a warning against ad hominem arguments; frequently used as motto.
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. As a logical fallacy, a conclusion that does not follow from a premise.
non serviam I will not serve Possibly derived from a Vulgate mistranslation of the Book of Jeremiah. Commonly used in literature as Satan's statement of disobedience to God, though in the original context the quote is attributed to Israel, not Satan.
non sibi Not for self. A slogan used by many schools and universities.
non sibi, sed patriae Not for self, but for Country. Engraved on the doors of the United States Naval Academy chapel. Motto of the USS Halyburton (FFG-40)
non sibi, sed suis Not for one's self but for one's own. A slogan used by many schools and universities. Including Tulane University.
non sibi, sed omnibus Not for one's self but for all. A slogan used by many schools and universities. Including Wilson's School.
non sic dormit, sed vigilat Sleeps not but is awake Martin Luther on mortality of the soul.
non silba, sed anthar; Deo vindice Not for self, but for others; God will vindicate. A slogan used by the Ku Klux Klan.
non sum qualis eram I am not such as I was Or "I am not the kind of person I once was". Expresses a change in the speaker.
non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum Do not hold as gold all that shines as gold. Also, "All that glitters is not gold." Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice.
non timebo mala I will fear no evils This is the phrase printed on the Colt, in Supernatural.
non vestra sed vos Not yours but you Motto of St Chad's College, Durham.
non vi, sed verbo Not through violence, but through the word alone Martin Luther on Catholic church reform. (see Protestant Reformation)
nosce te ipsum know thyself From Cicero, based on the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. A non-traditional Latin rendering, temet nosce (thine own self know), is translated in The Matrix as "know thyself".
noster nostri Literally "Our ours" Approximately "Our hearts beat as one."
nosus decipio we cheat As translated in Amazing Grace (2006 film), "we cheat." From verb decipere: to ensnare, trap, beguile, deceive, cheat.
nota bene (n.b.) mark well That is, "please note" or "note it well".
novus ordo seclorum new order of the ages From Virgil. Motto on the Great Seal of the United States. Similar to Novus Ordo Mundi (New World Order).
nulla dies sine linea Not a day without a line drawn. Pliny the Elder attributes this maxim to Apelles, an ancient Greek artist.
nulla poena sine lege no penalty without a law Refers to the legal principle that one cannot be punished for doing something that is not prohibited by law, and is related to Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.
nulla tenaci invia est via For the tenacious, no road is impassable. Motto of the Dutch car builder Spyker.
nullam rem natam no thing born That is, "nothing". It has been theorized that this expression is the origin of Italian nulla, French rien, and Spanish and Portuguese nada, all with the same meaning.
nulli secundus second to none Motto of the Coldstream Guards and Nine Squadron Royal Australian Corps of Transport and the Pretoria Regiment.
nullius in verba On the word of no man Motto of the Royal Society.
nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali no crime, no punishment without a previous penal law Legal principle meaning that one cannot be penalised for doing something that is not prohibited by law; penal law cannot be enacted retroactively.
nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit There has been no great wisdom without an element of madness  
nullus funus sine fidula No Funeral Without a Fiddle Motto of the Guild of Funerary Violinists.
numen lumen God our light The motto of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The motto of Elon University.
numerus clausus closed number A method to limit the number of students who may study at a university.
nunc aut nunquam now or never Motto of the Korps Commandotroepen, Dutch elite special forces.
nunc dimittis now you send beginning of the Song of Simeon, from the Gospel of Luke.
nunc est bibendum now is the time to drink Carpe-Diem-type phrase from the Odes of Horace, Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus (Now is the time to drink, now the time to dance footloose upon the earth).
nunc pro tunc now for then Something that has retroactive effect, is effective from an earlier date.
nunc scio quid sit amor now I know what love is From Virgil, Eclogues VIII.
nunquam minus solus quam cum solus never less alone than when alone.  
nunquam non paratus never unprepared frequently used as motto

[edit] O

Latin Translation Notes
O Deus Ego Amo Te O God I Love You attributed to Saint Francis Xavier
o homines ad servitutem paratos men fit to be slaves! attributed (in Tacitus, Annales, III, 65) to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, in disgust at the servile attitude of Roman senators; said of those who should be leaders but instead slavishly follow the lead of others
O tempora, o mores! Oh, the times! Oh, the morals! also translated "What times! What customs!"; from Cicero, Catilina I, 2
obiit (ob.) one died "He/she died", inscription on gravestones; ob. also sometimes stands for obiter (in passing or incidentally)
obit anus, abit onus The old woman dies, the burden is lifted Arthur Schopenhauer
obiter dictum a thing said in passing in law, an observation by a judge on some point of law not directly relevant to the case before him, and thus neither requiring his decision nor serving as a precedent, but nevertheless of persuasive authority. In general, any comment, remark or observation made in passing
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
obscuris vera involvens the truth being enveloped by obscure things from Virgil
obscurum per obscurius the obscure by means of the more obscure An explanation that is less clear than what it tries to explain; synonymous with ignotum per ignotius
obtorto collo with a twisted neck unwillingly
oculus dexter (O.D.) right eye Ophthalmologist shorthand
oculus sinister (O.S.) left eye
oderint dum metuant let them hate, so long as they fear favorite saying of Caligula, attributed originally to Lucius Accius, Roman tragic poet (170 BC); Motto of the Russian Noble Family Krasnitsky
odi et amo I hate and I love opening of Catullus 85; the entire poem reads, "odi et amo quare id faciam fortasse requiris / nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior" (I hate and I love. Why do I do this, you perhaps ask. / I do not know, but I feel it happening and am tormented)
odi profanum vulgus et arceo I hate the unholy rabble and keep them away from Horace
odium theologicum theological hatred name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes
oleum camino (pour) oil on the fire from Erasmus' (1466–1536) collection of annotated Adagia
omne ignotum pro magnifico every unknown thing [is taken] for great or "everything unknown appears magnificent"
Omnes homines sunt asini vel homines et asini sunt asini All men are donkeys or men and donkeys are donkeys a sophismata proposed and solved by Albert of Saxony (philosopher)
omnes vulnerant, postuma necat or omnes feriunt, ultima necat all [the hours] wound, last one kills usual in clocks, reminding the reader of death
omnia cum deo all with God motto for Mount Lilydale Mercy College, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia
omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina everything said [is] stronger if said in Latin or "everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin"; a more common phrase with the same meaning is quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur (whatever said in Latin, seems profound)
omnia extares! Let it all hang out! motto for The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, USA[31]
omnia mutantur, nihil interit everything changes, nothing perishes Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD), Metamorphoses, book XV, line 165
omnia omnibus all things to all men 1 Corinthians 9:22
si omnia ficta if all (the words of poets) is fiction Ovid
omnia vincit amor love conquers all Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC), Eclogue X, line 69
omne vivum ex ovo every living thing is from an egg foundational concept of modern biology, opposing the theory of spontaneous generation
omnia munda mundis everything [is] pure to the pure [men] from The New Testament
omnia praesumuntur legitime facta donec probetur in contrarium all things are presumed to be lawfully done, until it is shown [to be] in the reverse in other words, "innocent until proven guilty"
omnibus idem the same to all motto of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, usually accompanied by a sun, which shines for (almost) everyone
omnibus locis fit caedes Let there be slaughter everywhere Julius Caesar's The Gallic War, 7.67
omnis traductor traditor every translator is a traitor every translation is a corruption of the original; the reader should take heed of unavoidable imperfections
omnis vir tigris everyone a tiger motto of the 102d Intelligence Wing
omnium gatherum gathering of all miscellaneous collection or assortment; often used facetiously
onus probandi burden of proof  
onus procedendi burden of procedure burden of a party to adduce evidence that a case is an exception to the rule
opera omnia all works collected works of an author
opera posthuma posthumous works works published after the author's death
operari sequitur esse act of doing something follows the act of being scholastic phrase, used to explain that there is no possible act if there is not being: being is absolutely necessary for any other act
opere citato (op. cit.) in the work that was cited used in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used
opere et viritate in action and truth doing what you believe is morally right through everyday actions
opere laudato (op. laud.)   See opere citato
operibus anteire leading the way with deeds to speak with actions instead of words
ophidia in herba a snake in the grass any hidden danger or unknown risk
opus anglicanum English work fine embroidery, especially used to describe church vestments
Opus Dei The Work of God Catholic organisation
ora et labora pray and work Completely this principle of the Benedictine monasteries reads: "Ora et labora (et put), Deus adest sine mora." "Pray and work (and reads), God is (or: God helps) without delay."
ora pro nobis pray for us "Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis pecatoribus"
oratio directa direct speech expressions from Latin grammar
oratio obliqua indirect speech
orbis non sufficit the world does not suffice or the world is not enough from Satires of Juvenal (Book IV/10), referring to Alexander the Great; James Bond's adopted family motto in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service; it made a brief appearance in the film adaptation of the same name and was later used as the title of the nineteenth James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough.
orbis unum one world seen in The Legend of Zorro
ordo ab chao out of chaos, comes order one of the oldest mottos of Craft Freemasonry.[32]
oremus pro invicem Let us pray, one for the other; let us pray for each other Popular salutation for Roman Catholic clergy at the beginning or ending of a letter or note. Usually abbreviated OPI.
orta recens quam pura nites newly risen, how brightly you shine Motto of New South Wales

[edit] P

Latin Translation Notes
pace in peace "With all due respect to", "with due deference to", "by leave of", or "no offense to". Used to politely acknowledge someone with whom the speaker or writer disagrees.
pace tua with your peace Thus, "with your permission".
pacta sunt servanda agreements must be kept Also "contracts must be honoured". Indicates the binding power of treaties.
palma non sine pulvere no reward without effort Also "dare to try"; motto of numerous schools.
palmam qui meruit ferat let whoever wins the palm bear it Achievement should be rewarded – motto of the University of Southern California.
panem et circenses bread and circuses From Juvenal, Satire X, line 81. 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 From "Si vis pacem para bellum" if you want peace prepare for war since if a country is ready for war its enemies will not attack. Can be used to denote support or approval for a war or conflict.
parens patriae parent of the nation A public policy requiring courts to protect the best interests of any child involved in a lawsuit. See also Pater Patriae.
Pari passu with equal step Thus, "moving together", "simultaneously", etc.
parva sub ingenti the small under the huge Implies that the weak are under the protection of the strong, rather than that they are inferior. Motto of Prince Edward Island.
parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus When you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things. Motto of Barnard Castle School, sometimes translated as "Once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely".
passim here and there, everywhere Less literally, "throughout" or "frequently". Said of a word, fact or notion that occurs several times in a cited text. Also used in proofreading, where it refers to a change that is to be repeated everywhere needed.
pater familias father of the family Or "master of the house". The eldest male in a family, who held patria potestas ("paternal power"). In Roman law, a father had enormous power over his children, wife, and slaves, though these rights dwindled over time. Derived from the phrase pater familias, an Old Latin expression preserving the archaic -as ending for the genitive case.
Pater Omnipotens Father Almighty A more direct translation would be "omnipotent father".
Pater Patriae father of the nation Also rendered with the gender-neutral parens patriae ("parent of the nation").
pater peccavi father, I have sinned The traditional beginning of a Roman Catholic confession.
pauca sed bona few, but good Similar to "quality over quantity"; though there may be few of something, at least they are of good quality.
pauca sed matura few, but ripe Said to be one of Carl Gauss's favorite quotations. Used in The King and I by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
pax aeterna eternal peace A common epitaph.
Pax Americana American Peace A euphemism for the United States of America and its sphere of influence. Adapted from Pax Romana.
Pax Britannica British Peace A euphemism for the British Empire. Adapted from Pax Romana.
Pax Christi Peace of Christ Used as a wish before the Holy Communion in the Catholic Mass, also the name of the peace movement Pax Christi.
pax Dei peace of God Used in the Peace and Truce of God movement in 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).
Pax Domine peace, lord lord or master; used as a form of address when speaking to clergy or educated professionals.
pax et bonum peace and the good Motto of St. Francis of Assisi and, consequently, of his monastery in Assisi; translated in Italian as pace e bene.
pax et justitia peace and justice Motto of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
pax et lux peace and light Motto of Tufts University and various schools. Also written as "Pax et Lvx".
Pax Europaea European peace A euphemism for Europe after World War II.
Pax Hispanica Spanish Peace A euphemism for the Spanish Empire. Specifically can mean the twenty-three years of supreme Spanish dominance in Europe (approximately 1598–1621). Adapted from Pax Romana.
pax in terra peace on earth Used to exemplify the desired state of peace on earth.
pax maternum, ergo pax familiarum peace of mothers, therefore peace of families If the mother is peaceful, then the family is peaceful. The opposite of the Southern United States saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
Pax Mongolica Mongolian Peace A period of peace and prosperity in Asia during the Mongol Empire.
Pax Romana Roman Peace A period of relative prosperity and lack of conflict in the early Roman Empire.
Pax Sinica Chinese Peace A period of peace in East Asia during times of strong Chinese hegemony.
pax tecum peace be with you (singular).
Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum. Peace to you, Mark, my Evangelist. Here will rest your body.
Legend states that when the evangelist went to the lagoon where Venice would later be founded, an angel came and said so.[33] The first part is depicted as the note in the book shown opened by the lion of St Mark's Basilica, Venice; registered trademark of the Assicurazioni Generali, Trieste.[34] Part of Venice's coat of arms: a winged lion holding a sword upright and showing an opened book with the words: "Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus."
pax vobiscum peace [be] with you A common farewell. The "you" is plural ("you all"), so the phrase must be used when speaking to more than one person; pax tecum is the form used when speaking to only one person.
peccavi I have sinned Telegraph message and pun from Charles Napier, British general, upon completely subjugating the Indian province of Sindh in 1842. This is, arguably, the most terse military despatch ever sent. The story is apocryphal.
pecunia non olet money doesn't smell According to Suetonius' De vita Caesarum, when Emperor Vespasian was challenged by his son Titus for taxing the public lavatories, the emperor held up a coin before his son and asked whether it smelled or simply said non olet ("it doesn't smell"). From this, the phrase was expanded to pecunia non olet, or rarely aes non olet ("copper doesn't smell").
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 Written on an old Latin tablet in downtown Verona (Italy).
pede poena claudo punishment comes limping That is, retribution comes slowly but surely. From Horace, Odes, 3, 2, 32.
pendent opera interrupta the work hangs interrupted From the Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV.
per By, through, by means of See specific phrases below.
per angusta ad augusta through difficulties to greatness Joining sentence of the conspirators in the drama Hernani by Victor Hugo (1830). The motto of numerous educational establishments.
per annum (pa.) per year Thus, "yearly"—occurring every year.
per ardua through adversity Motto of the British RAF Regiment.
per ardua ad alta through hard work, great heights are achieved Motto of University of Birmingham, Methodist Ladies' College, Perth. Also the motto of Clan Hannay.
per ardua ad astra through adversity to the stars Motto of the air force of several nations (including the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom) and of several schools. The phrase is used by Latin Poet Virgil in the Aeneid; also used in H. Rider Haggard's novel The People of the Mist.
per aspera ad astra through hardships to the stars From Seneca the Younger. Motto of NASA and the South African Air Force. A common variant, ad astra per aspera ("to the stars through hardships"), is the state motto of Kansas. Ad Astra ("To the Stars") is the title of a magazine published by the National Space Society. De Profundis Ad Astra ("From the depths to the stars.") is the motto of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.
per capita by heads "Per head", i.e., "per person", a ratio by the number of persons. The singular is per caput.
per capsulam through the small box That is, "by letter".
per contra through the contrary Or "on the contrary" (cf. a contrario).
per crucem vincemus through the cross we shall conquer Motto of St John Fisher Catholic High SchoolC, Dewsbury.
Per Crucem Crescens through the cross, growth Motto of Lambda Chi Alpha.
per curiam through the senate Legal term meaning "by the court", as in a per curiam decision.
per definitionem through the definition Thus, "by definition".
per diem (pd.) by day Thus, "per day". A specific amount of money an organization allows an individual to spend per day, typically for travel expenses.
Per fidem intrepidus Fearless through Faith.
per mare per terram By Sea and by Land Motto of the Royal Marines and (with small difference) of Clan Donald and the Compagnies Franches de la Marine.
per mensem (pm.) by month Thus, "per month", or "monthly".
per os (p.o.) through the mouth Medical shorthand for "by mouth".
per pedes by feet Used of a certain place can be traversed or reached by foot, or to indicate that one is travelling by foot as opposed to by a vehicle.
per procura (p.p.) or (per pro) through the agency Also rendered per procurationem. 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 quod by reason of which In a UK legal context: "by reason of which" (as opposed to per se which requires no reasoning). In American jurisprudence often refers to a spouse's claim for loss of consortium.
per rectum (pr) through the rectum Medical shorthand. See also per os.
per se through itself Also "by itself" or "in itself". Without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc. A common example is negligence per se. See also malum in se.
per stirpes through the roots Used in wills to indicate that each "branch" of the testator's family should inherit equally. Contrasted with per capita.
per unitatem vis through unity, strength Motto of Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets.
per veritatem vis through truth, strength Motto of Washington University in St. Louis.
per volar sunata[sic] born to soar Motto of St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School and St Margaret's Anglican Girls' School The phrase is not from Latin but from Dante's Purgatorio, Canto XII, 95, the Italian phrase "per volar sù nata".
periculum in mora danger in delay  
perge sequar advance, I follow from Virgil's Aeneid IV 114; in Vergil's context: "proceed with your plan, I will do my part."
perpetuum mobile thing in perpetual motion A musical term. Also used to refer to hypothetical perpetual motion machines.
persona non grata person not pleasing An unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person. In diplomatic contexts, a person rejected by the host government. The reverse, persona grata ("pleasing person"), is less common, and refers to a diplomat acceptable to the government of the country to which he is sent.
petitio principii request of the beginning Begging the question, a logical fallacy in which a proposition to be proved is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises.
pia desideria pious longings Or "dutiful desires".
pia fraus pious fraud Or "dutiful deceit". Expression from Ovid. Used to describe deception which serves Church purposes.
pia mater pious mother Or "tender mother". Translated into Latin from Arabic. The delicate innermost of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
pinxit one painted Thus, "he painted this" or "she painted this". Formerly used on works of art, next to the artist's name.
piscem natare docem teach fish to swim Latin proverb, attributed by Erasmus to Greek origin (Ἰχθὺν νηχέσθαι διδάσκεις); corollary Chinese idiom (班門弄斧)
placet it pleases expression of assent.
pluralis majestatis plural of majesty The first-person plural pronoun when used by an important personage to refer to himself or herself; also known as the "royal we".
plus minusve (p.m.v.) more or less Frequently found on Roman funerary inscriptions to denote that the age of a decedent is approximate.
plus ultra further beyond The national motto of Spain and a number of other institutions. Motto of the Colombian National Armada.
pollice compresso favor iudicabatur goodwill decided by compressed thumb Life was spared with a thumb tucked inside a closed fist, simulating a sheathed weapon. Conversely, a thumb up meant to unsheath your sword.
pollice verso with a turned thumb Used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator. The type of gesture used is uncertain. Also the name of a famous painting depicting gladiators by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Polonia Restituta Rebirth of Poland  
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 Greatest High Priest Or "Supreme Pontiff". Originally an office in the Roman Republic, later a title held by Roman Emperors, and later a traditional epithet of the pope. The pontifices were the most important priestly college of the religion in ancient Rome; 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 to have the right to an armed retinue Thus, to be able to be made into part of a retinue or force. In common law, a sheriff's right to compel people to assist law enforcement in unusual situations.
post aut propter after it or by means of it Causality between two phenomena is not established (cf. post hoc, ergo propter hoc).
post cibum (p.c.) after food Medical shorthand for "after meals" (cf. ante cibum).
post coitum After sex After sexual intercourse.
post coitum omne animal triste est sive gallus et mulier After sexual intercourse every animal is sad, except the cock (rooster) and the woman Or: triste est omne animal post coitum, praeter mulierem gallumque. Attributed to Galen of Pergamum.[35]
post hoc ergo propter hoc after this, therefore because of this A logical fallacy where one assumes that one thing happening after another thing means that the first thing caused the second. The title of a West Wing episode.
post festum after the feast Too late, or after the fact.
post meridiem (p.m.) after midday The period from noon to midnight (cf. ante meridiem).
post mortem (pm) after death Usually rendered postmortem. Not to be confused with post meridiem.
Post mortem auctoris (p.m.a.) after the author's death The phrase is used in legal terminology in the context of intellectual property rights, especially copyright, which commonly lasts until a certain number of years after the author's death.
post nubila phoebus after the clouds, the sun Motto of the University of Zulia, Venezuela.
post prandial after the time before midday Refers to the time after any meal. Usually rendered postprandial.
post scriptum (p.s.) after what has been written A postscript. Used to mark additions to a letter, after the signature. Can be extended to post post scriptum (p.p.s.), etc.
post tenebras lux, or post tenebras spero lucem after darkness, [I hope for] light Motto of the Protestant Reformation inscribed on the Reformation Wall in Geneva from Vulgata, Job 17:12. Former motto of Chile; motto of Robert College of Istanbul.
postera crescam laude we grow in the esteem of future generations Motto of the University of Melbourne.
potest solum unum There can be only one Highlander.
praemonitus praemunitus forewarned is forearmed  
praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes Lead in order to serve, not in order to rule. Motto of Lancaster Royal Grammar School.
praeter legem after the law Legal terminology, international law.
Praga Caput Regni Prague, Head of the Kingdom Motto of Praha from Middle Ages.
Praga Caput Rei publicae Prague, Head of the Republic Motto of Praha from 1991.
Praga mater urbium Prague, Mother of Cities Motto of Praha from 1927.
Praga totius Bohemiae domina Prague, the mistress of the whole of Bohemia Former motto of Praha.
pretiumque et causa laboris The prize and the cause of our labour Motto of Burnley Football Club; from Ovid's Metamorphoses, 4.739 (Latin/English): "The Tale of Perseus and Andromeda": resoluta catenis incedit virgo, pretiumque et causa laboris. ("freed of her chains the virgin approaches, cause and reward of the enterprise.")
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).
prima luce at dawn Literally "at first light".
primas sum: primatum nil a me alienum puto I am a primate; nothing about primates is outside of my bailiwick A sentence by the American anthropologist Earnest Hooton and the slogan of primatologists and lovers of the primates.
primum mobile first moving thing Or "first thing able to be moved". See primum movens.
primum movens prime mover Or "first moving one". A common theological term, such as in the cosmological argument, based on the assumption that God was the first entity to "move" or "cause" anything. Aristotle was one of the first philosophers to discuss the "uncaused cause", a hypothetical originator—and violator—of causality.
primum non nocere first, to not harm A medical precept. Often falsely attributed to the Hippocratic Oath, though its true source is probably a paraphrase from Hippocrates' Epidemics, where he wrote, "Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things: to help, or at least to do no harm."
primus inter pares first among equals A title of the Roman Emperors (cf. princeps).
principia probant non probantur principles prove; they are not proved Fundamental principles require no proof; they are assumed a priori.
principiis obsta (et respice finem) resist the beginnings (and consider the end) Ovid, Remedia Amoris, 91
prior tempore potior iure earlier in time, stronger in law A legal principle that older laws take precedent over newer ones. Another name for this principle is lex posterior.
pro aris et focis For God and country The motto of the Royal Queensland Regiment, and many other regiments.
pro bono publico for the public good Often abbreviated pro bono. Work undertaken voluntarily at no expense, such as public services. Often used of a lawyer's work that is not charged for.
pro Brasilia fiant eximia let exceptional things be made for Brazil Motto of São Paulo state, Brazil.
pro Deo et Patria For God and Country One of the mottos of Lyceum of the Philippines University and many other institutions.
pro domo for (one’s own) home or house serving the interests of a given perspective or for the benefit of a given group.
pro Ecclesia, pro Texana For Church, For Texas Motto of Baylor University, a private Christian Baptist university in Waco, Texas.
pro fide et patria for faith and fatherland Motto of the originally Irish Muldoon family and of several schools, such as the Diocesan College (Bishops) in in Cape Town, South Africa, and All Hallows High School in the Bronx, New York.
pro forma for form Or "as a matter of form". Prescribing a set form or procedure, or performed in a set manner.
pro gloria et patria for glory and fatherland Motto of Prussia
pro hac vice for this occasion Request of a state court to allow an out-of-state lawyer to represent a client.
pro multis for many It is part of the Rite of Consecration of the wine in Western Christianity tradition, as part of the Mass.
pro patria for country Pro Patria Medal: for operational service (minimum 55 days) in defence of the Republic South Africa or in the prevention or suppression of terrorism; issued for the Border War (counter-insurgency operations in South West Africa 1966–89) and for campaigns in Angola (1975–76 and 1987–88). Motto of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Royal South Australia Regiment and Hurlstone Agricultural High School.
pro patria vigilans watchful for the country Motto of the United States Army Signal Corps.
pro per for self to defend oneself in court without counsel; abbreviation of propria persona. See also: pro se.
pro rata for the rate i.e., proportionately.
pro re nata (PRN, prn) for a thing that has been born Medical shorthand for "as the occasion arises" or "as needed". Also "concerning a matter having come into being". Used to describe a meeting of a special Presbytery or Assembly called to discuss something new, and which was previously unforeseen (literally: "concerning a matter having been born").
pro rege et lege for king and the law Found on the Leeds coat of arms.
pro se for oneself to defend oneself in court without counsel. Some jurisdictions prefer, "pro per".
pro studio et labore for study and work  
pro tanto for so much Denotes something that has only been partially fulfilled. A philosophical term indicating the acceptance of a theory or idea without fully accepting the explanation.
pro tempore for the time Equivalent to English phrase "for the time being". Denotes a temporary current situation.
probatio pennae testing of the pen A Medieval Latin term for breaking in a new pen.
probis pateo I am open for honest people Traditionally inscribed above a city gate or above the front entrance of a dwelling or place of learning.
prodesse quam conspici To Accomplish Rather Than To Be Conspicuous Motto of Miami University.
propria manu (p.m.) "by one's own hand".
propter vitam vivendi perdere causas to destroy the reasons for living for the sake of life That is, to squander life's purpose just in order to stay alive, and live a meaningless life. From Juvenal, Satyricon VIII, verses 83–84.
provehito in altum launch forward into the deep Motto of Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as of the band 30 Seconds to Mars..
proxime accessit he came next The runner-up.
proximo mense (prox.) in the following month Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the next month. Used with ult. ("last month") and inst. ("this month").
pulchrum est paucorum hominum Beauty is for the few From Friedrich Nietzsche's 1895 book The Antichrist, translated by H. L. Mencken as "Few men are noble".
pulvis et umbra sumus we are dust and shadow From Horace, Carmina book IV, 7, 16.
punctum saliens leaping point Thus, the essential or most notable point. The salient point.

[edit] Q

Latin Translation Notes
qua definitione by virtue of definition Thus: "by definition"; variant of per definitionem; sometimes used in German-speaking countries. Occasionally misrendered as "qua definitionem".
qua patet orbis as far as the world extends Motto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
quae non prosunt singula multa iuvant what alone is not useful helps when accumulated Ovid, Remedia amoris
quaecumque sunt vera whatsoever is true Mottos of Northwestern University and St. Francis Xavier University. Also motto of the University of Alberta as "quaecumque vera". Taken from Phillipians 4:8 of the Bible
quaecumque vera doce me Teach me whatsoever is true Motto of St. Joseph's College, Edmonton at the University of Alberta.
quaere to seek Or "you might ask..." Used to suggest doubt or to ask one to consider whether something is correct. Often introduces rhetorical or tangential questions.
quaerite primum regnum Dei seek ye first the kingdom of God Also quaerite primo regnum dei. Motto of Newfoundland and Labrador. Motto of Shelford Girls' Grammar, St Columb's College, and Philharmonic Academy of Bologna.
qualis artifex pereo As what kind of artist do I perish? Or "What a craftsman dies in me!" Attributed to Nero in Suetonius' De vita Caesarum.
quam bene non quantum how well, not how much. Motto of Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada
quam bene vivas referre (or refert), non quam diu it is how well you live that matters, not how long Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium CI (101)
quamdiu (se) bene gesserit as long as he shall have behaved well (legal Latin) I.e., "[while on] good behavior." So for example the Act of Settlement 1701 stipulated that judges' commissions are valid quamdiu se bene gesserint (during good behaviour). (Notice the different singular, "gesserit", and plural, "gesserint", forms.) It was from this phrase that Frank Herbert extracted the name for the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the Dune novels.
quantum libet (q.l.) as much as pleases Medical shorthand for "as much as you wish".
quantum sufficit (qs) as much as is enough Medical shorthand for "as much as needed" or "as much as will suffice".
quaque hora (qh) every hour Medical shorthand. Also quaque die (qd), "every day", quaque mane (qm), "every morning", and quaque nocte (qn), "every night".
quare clausum fregit wherefore he broke the close An action of trespass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.
quater in die (qid) four times a day Medical shorthand.
quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane  
quem di diligunt adulescens moritur he whom the gods love dies young Other translations of diligunt include "prize especially" or "esteem". From Plautus, Bacchides, IV, 7, 18. In this comic play, a sarcastic servant says this to his aging master. The rest of the sentence reads: dum valet sentit sapit ("while he is healthy, perceptive and wise").
questio quid iuris I ask what law? From the Summoner's section of Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, line 648.
qui bene cantat bis orat he who sings well praises twice From St. Augustine of Hippo's commentary on Psalm 74, 1: Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat ("He who sings praises, not only praises, but praises joyfully").
qui bono who with good Common nonsensical Dog Latin misrendering of the Latin phrase cui bono ("who benefits?").
qui doecet in doctrina "He that teacheth, on teaching" Motto of the University of Chester. The more literal translation is "Let those who teach, teach" or "Let the teacher teach".
qui tacet consentire videtur he who is silent is taken to agree Thus, silence gives consent. Sometimes accompanied by the proviso "ubi loqui debuit ac potuit", that is, "when he ought to have spoken and was able to".
qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself Generally known as 'qui tam,' it is the technical legal term for the unique mechanism in the federal False Claims Act that allows persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the Government.
qui totum vult totum perdit he who wants everything loses everything Attributed to Seneca.
qui transtulit sustinet he who transplanted still sustains Or "he who brought us across still supports us", meaning God. State motto of Connecticut. Originally written as sustinet qui transtulit in 1639.
quia suam uxorem etiam suspiciore vacare vellet because he should wish even his wife to be free from suspicion Attributed to Julius Caesar by Plutarch, Caesar 10. Translated loosely as "because even the wife of Caesar may not be suspected". At the feast of Bona Dea, a sacred festival for females only, which was being held at the Domus Publica, the home of the Pontifex Maximus, Caesar, and hosted by his second wife, Pompeia, the notorious politician Clodius arrived in disguise. Caught by the outraged noblewomen, Clodius fled before they could kill him on the spot for sacrilege. In the ensuing trial, allegations arose that Pompeia and Clodius were having an affair, and while Caesar asserted that this was not the case and no substantial evidence arose suggesting otherwise, he nevertheless divorced, with this quotation as explanation.
quid abundat non obstat what is abundant doesn't hinder It is no problem to have too much of something.
quid agis What's going on? What's happening? What's going on? What's the news? What's up?
quid est veritas What is truth? In the Vulgate translation of John 18:38, Pilate's question to Jesus (Greek: Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;). A possible answer is an anagram of the phrase: est vir qui adest, "it is the man who is here."
quid infantes sumus What are we, a bunch of babies? Commonly used by Nocera Clan. synonym - "to throw down ones gauntlet."
quid novi ex Africa What of the new out of Africa? Less literally, "What's new from Africa?" Derived from an Aristotle quotation.
quid nunc What now? Commonly shortened to quidnunc. As a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip. Patrick Campbell worked for The Irish Times under the pseudonym "Quidnunc".
quid pro quo what for what Commonly used in English, it is also translated as "this for that" or "a thing for a thing". Signifies a favor exchanged for a favor. The traditional Latin expression for this meaning was do ut des ("I give, so that you may give").
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". Similar to the less common omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.
Quieta non movere don't move settled things  
quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Commonly associated with Plato who in the Republic poses this question; and from Juvenal's On Women, referring to the practice of having eunuchs guard women and beginning with the word sed ("but"). Usually translated less literally, as "Who watches the watchmen?" This translation is a common epigraph, such as of the Tower Commission and Alan Moore's Watchmen comic book series.
quis leget haec? Who will read this?  
quis separabit? who will separate us? Motto of the Order of St. Patrick. Motto of Northern Ireland.
quis ut Deus Who [is] as God? Usually translated "Who is like unto God?" Questions who would have the audacity to compare himself to a Supreme Being.
quo amplius eo amplius Something more beyond plenty Apocryphally credited to Borges, House on Nob Hill (unauthorized Morgenstern translation, c. 1962)
quo errat demonstrator where the prover errs A pun on ''quod erat demonstrandum''.
quo fata ferunt where the fates bear us to Motto of Bermuda.
quousque tandem? For how much longer? From Cicero's first speech In Catilinam to the Roman Senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? ("For how much longer, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?").
quo vadis? Where are you going? According to Vulgate translation of John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, quo vadis ("Lord, where are you going?"). The King James Version has the translation "Lord, whither goest thou?"
quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.) what was to be demonstrated The abbreviation is often written at the bottom of a mathematical proof. Sometimes translated loosely into English as "The Five Ws", W.W.W.W.W., which stands for "Which Was What We Wanted".
quod erat faciendum (Q.E.F) which was to be done Or "which was to be constructed". Used in translations of Euclid's Elements when there was nothing to prove, but there was something being constructed, for example a triangle with the same size as a given line.
quod est (q.e.) which is  
quod est necessarium est licitum what is necessary is lawful  
quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason If no grounds have been given for an assertion, then there are no grounds needed to reject it.
quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi what is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an ox If an important person does something, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can do it (cf. double standard). Iovi (also commonly rendered Jovi) is the dative form of Iuppiter ("Jupiter" or "Jove"), the chief god of the Romans.
quod me nutrit me destruit what nourishes me destroys me Thought to have originated with Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Generally interpreted to mean that that which motivates or drives a person can consume him or her from within. This phrase has become a popular slogan or motto for pro-ana websites, anorexics and bulimics.
quod natura non dat Salmantica non praestat what nature does not give, Salamanca does not provide Refers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.
Quod scripsi, scripsi. What I have written I have written. Pilate to the chief priests (John 19:22).
quod vide (q.v.) which see Used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book. For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae vide (qq.v.).
Quodcumque dixerit vobis, facite Whatever He tells you, that you shall do. More colloquially: "Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you to do." Instructions of Mary to the servants at the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:5).
quomodo vales how are you?  
quorum of whom The number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional.
quos amor verus tenuit tenebit Those whom true love has held, it will go on holding Seneca.
Quot capita tot sensus As many heads, so many opinions "There are as many opinions as there are heads." – Terence
quot homines tot sententiae how many people, so many opinions Or "there are as many opinions as there are people".

[edit] R

Latin Translation Notes
radix malorum est cupiditas the root of evils is desire Or "greed is the root of all evil". Theme of the Pardoner's Tale from The Canterbury Tales.
rara avis (Rarissima avis) rare bird (very rare bird) An extraordinary or unusual thing. From Juvenal's Satires: rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno ("a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan").
rari nantes in gurgite vasto Rare survivors in the immense sea Virgil, Aeneid, I, 118
ratio decidendi reasoning for the decision The legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose a judgment's rationale.
ratio legis reasoning of law A law's foundation or basis.
ratione personae because of the person involved Also "Jurisdiction Ratione Personae" the personal reach of the courts jurisdiction.[36]
ratione soli by account of the ground Or "according to the soil". Assigning property rights to a thing based on its presence on a landowner's property.
re [in] the matter of More literally, "by the thing". From the ablative of res ("thing" or "circumstance"). It is a common misconception that the "Re:" in correspondence is an abbreviation for regarding or reply; this is not the case for traditional letters. However, when used in an e-mail subject, there is evidence that it functions as an abbreviation of regarding rather than the Latin word for thing. The use of Latin re, in the sense of "about, concerning", is English usage.
rebus sic stantibus with matters standing thus The doctrine that treaty obligations hold only as long as the fundamental conditions and expectations that existed at the time of their creation hold.
recte et fideliter Upright and Faithful Also "just and faithful" and "accurately and faithfully". Motto of Ruyton Girls' School
reductio ad absurdum leading back to the absurd A common debate technique, and a method of proof in mathematics and philosophy, that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. In general usage outside mathematics and philosophy, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. Translated from Aristotle's "ἡ εις άτοπον απαγωγη" (hi eis atopon apagogi, "reduction to the impossible").
reductio ad infinitum leading back to the infinite An argument that creates an infinite series of causes that does not seem to have a beginning. As a fallacy, it rests upon Aristotle's notion that all things must have a cause, but that all series of causes must have a sufficient cause, that is, an unmoved mover. An argument which does not seem to have such a beginning becomes difficult to imagine.
regnat populus the people rule State motto of Arkansas, adopted in 1907. Originally rendered in 1864 in the plural, regnant populi ("the peoples rule"), but subsequently changed to the singular.
Regnum Mariae Patrona Hungariae Kingdom of Mary, the Patron of Hungary Former motto of Hungary.
rem acu tetigisti You have touched the point with a needle i.e., "You have hit the nail on the head"
repetita juvant repeating does good Usually said as a jocular remark to defend the speaker's (or writer's) choice to repeat some important piece of information to ensure reception by the audience.
repetitio est mater studiorum repetition is the mother of study  
requiescat in pace (R.I.P.) let him rest in peace Or "may he rest in peace". A benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers. "RIP" is commonly mistranslated as "Rest In Peace", though the two mean essentially the same thing.
rerum cognoscere causas to learn the causes of things Motto of the University of Sheffield, the University of Guelph, and London School of Economics.
res gestae things done A phrase used in law representing the belief that certain statements are made naturally, spontaneously and without deliberation during the course of an event, they leave little room for misunderstanding/misinterpretation upon hearing by someone else ( i.e. by the witness who will later repeat the statement to the court) and thus the courts believe that such statements carry a high degree of credibility.
res ipsa loquitur the thing speaks for itself A phrase from the common law of torts meaning that negligence can be inferred from the fact that such an accident happened, without proof of exactly how. A clause sometimes (informally) added on to the end of this phrase is sed quid in infernos dicit ("but what the hell does it say?"), which serves as a reminder that one must still interpret the significance of events that "speak for themselves".
res judicata judged thing A matter which has been decided by a court. Often refers to the legal concept that once a matter has been finally decided by the courts, it cannot be litigated again (cf. non bis in idem and double jeopardy).
res, non verba "actions speak louder than words", or "deeds, not words" From rēs ("things, facts") the plural of rēs ("a thing, a fact") + nōn ("not") + verba ("words") the plural of verbum ("a word"). Literally meaning "things, not words" or "facts instead of words" but referring to that "actions be used instead of words".
res nullius nobody's property Goods without an owner. Used for things or beings which belong to nobody and are up for grabs, e.g., uninhabited and uncolonized lands, wandering wild animals, etc. (cf. terra nullius, "no man's land").
respice adspice prospice look behind, look here, look ahead i.e., "examine the past, the present and future". Motto of CCNY.
respice finem look back at the end i.e., "have regard for the end" or "consider the end". Generally a memento mori, a warning to remember one's death. Motto of Homerton College, Cambridge
respondeat superior let the superior respond Regarded as a legal maxim in agency law, referring to the legal liability of the principal with respect to an employee. Whereas a hired independent contractor acting tortiously may not cause the principal to be legally liable, a hired employee acting tortiously will cause the principal (the employer) to be legally liable, even if the employer did nothing wrong.
restitutio in integrum restoration to original condition Principle behind the awarding of damages in common law negligence claims
resurgam I shall arise ‘I shall rise again’, expressing Christian faith in resurrection at the Last Day. It appears, inter alia, in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, as the epitaph written on Helen Burns's grave; in a poem of Emily Dickinson: Poems (1955) I. 56 ("Arcturus" is his other name), I slew a worm the other day — A ‘Savant’ passing by Murmured ‘Resurgam’ — ‘Centipede’! ‘Oh Lord—how frail are we’!; and in a letter of Vincent van Gogh. The OED gives "1662 J. Trapp Annotations Old & New Testament I. 142 Howbeit he had hope in his death, and might write Resurgam on his grave" as its earliest attribution in the English corpus.
rex regum fidelum et king even of faithful kings Latin motto that appears on the crest of the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul and Jan Crouch.
rigor mortis stiffness of death The rigidity of corpses when chemical reactions cause the limbs to stiffen about 3–4 hours after death. Other signs of death include drop in body temperature (algor mortis, "cold of death") and discoloration (livor mortis, "bluish color of death").
risum teneatis, amici? Can you help laughing, friends? An ironic or rueful commentary, appended following a fanciful or unbelievable tale.
Roma invicta Unconquerable Rome Inspirational motto inscribed on the Statue of Rome.
Romanes eunt domus Romanes go the house An intentionally garbled Latin phrase from Monty Python's Life of Brian. Its intended meaning is "Romans, go home!", but is actually closer to "'People called Romanes they go the house'", according to a centurion in the movie. When Brian is caught vandalizing the palace walls with this phrase, rather than punish him, the centurion corrects his Latin grammar, explaining that Romanus is a second declension noun and has its plural in -i rather than -es; that ire or eo ("to go") must be in the imperative mood to denote a command; and that domus takes the accusative case without a preposition as the object. The final result of this lesson is the correct Latin phrase Romani ite domum.
rosa rubicundior, lilio candidior, omnibus formosior, semper in te glorior redder than the rose, whiter than the lilies, fairer than all things, I do ever glory in thee From the Carmina Burana's song "Si puer cum puellula".
rus in urbe A countryside in the city Generally used to refer to a haven of peace and quiet within an urban setting, often a garden, but can refer to interior decoration.

[edit] S

Latin Translation Notes
saltus in demonstrando leap in explaining a leap in logic, by which a necessary part of an equation is omitted.
salus in arduis a stronghold (or refuge) in difficulties a Roman Silver Age maxim, also the school motto of Wellingborough School.
salus populi suprema lex esto the welfare of the people is to be the highest law From Cicero's De Legibus, book III, part III, sub. VIII. Quoted by John Locke in his Second Treatise, On Civil Government, to describe the proper organization of government. Also the state motto of Missouri.
salva veritate with truth intact Refers to two expressions that can be interchanged without changing the truth value of the statements in which they occur.
Salvator Mundi Savior of the World Christian epithet, usually referring to Jesus. The title of paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci.
salvo errore et omissione (s.e.e.o.) save for error and omission Appears on statements of "account currents".
salvo honoris titulo (SHT) save for title of honor  
Sancta Sedes Holy Chair literally, "holy seat". Refers to the Papacy or the Holy See.
sancta simplicitas holy innocence Or "sacred simplicity".
sancte et sapienter with holiness and with wisdom Also sancte sapienter (holiness, wisdom), motto of several institutions.
sanctum sanctorum Holy of Holies referring to a more sacred and/or guarded place, within a lesser guarded, yet also holy location.
sapere aude dare to be wise From Horace's Epistularum liber primus, Epistle II, line 40. Popularized by its use in Kant's What is Enlightenment? to define the Enlightenment. Frequently used in mottos; also the name of an Australian Heavy Metal band.
sapienti sat enough for the wise From Plautus. Indicates that something can be understood without any need for explanation, as long as the listener has enough wisdom or common sense. Often extended to dictum sapienti sat est ("enough has been said for the wise", commonly translated as "a word to the wise is enough").
sapientia et doctrina wisdom and learning Motto of Fordham University, New York.
sapientia et eloquentia wisdom and eloquence One of the mottos of the Ateneo schools in the Philippines.[37]

Motto of the Minerva Society

sapientia et veritas wisdom and truth Motto of Christchurch Girls' High School, New Zealand.
sapientia et virtus wisdom and virtue Motto of University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
sapientia, pax, fraternitas Wisdom, Peace, Fraternity Motto of Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Cholula, México.
scientiae cedit mare The sea yields to knowledge Motto of the United States Coast Guard Academy.
scientia ac labore knowledge through [hard] work, or: by means of knowledge and hard work, or: through knowledge and [hard] work Motto of several institutions
scientia, aere perennius knowledge, more lasting than bronze unknown origin, probably adapted from Horace's ode III (Exegi monumentum aere perennius).
scientia cum religione religion and knowledge united Motto of St Vincent's College, Potts Point
scientia et sapientia knowledge and wisdom motto of Illinois Wesleyan University
scientia imperii decus et tutamen knowledge is the adornment and protection of the Empire Motto of Imperial College London
scientia ipsa potentia est knowledge itself is power Stated originally by Sir Francis Bacon in Meditationes Sacrae (1597), which in modern times is often paraphrased as scientia potentia est or "knowledge is power."
scientia vincere tenebras conquering darkness by science motto of several institutions
scio I know  
scire quod sciendum knowledge which is worth having motto of now defunct publisher Small, Maynard & Company
scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim Each desperate blockhead dares to write as translated by Philip Francis. From Horace, Epistularum liber secundus (1, 117)[38] and quoted in Fielding's Tom Jones; lit: "Learned or not, we shall write poems without distinction"
scuto amoris divini by the shield of God's love The motto of Skidmore College
seculo seculorum forever and ever  
sedet, aeternumque sedebit seat, be seated forever a Virgi's verse, means when you stop trying, then you lose
sed ipse spiritus postulat pro nobis, gemitibus inenarrabilibus But the same Spirit intercedes incessantly for us, with inexpressible groans Romans 8:26
sede vacante with the seat being vacant The "seat" is the Holy See, and the vacancy refers to the interregnum between two popes.
sedes apostolica apostolic chair Synonymous with Sancta Sedes.
sedes incertae seat (i.e. location) uncertain Used in biological classification to indicate that there is no agreement as to which higher order grouping a taxon should be placed into. Abbreviated sed. incert.
semel in anno licet insanire once in a year one is allowed to go crazy Concept expressed by various authors, such as Seneca, Saint Augustine and Horace. It became proverbial during the Middle ages.
semper ad meliora always towards better things Motto of several institutions.
semper anticus always forward Motto of the 45th Infantry Division (United States) and its successor, the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (United States).
semper ardens always burning Motto of Carl Jacobsen and name of a line of beers by Danish brewery Carlsberg.
semper eadem always the same personal motto of Elizabeth I, appears above her royal coat of arms. Used as motto of Elizabeth College, Guernsey, Channel Islands, which was founded by Elizabeth I, and of Ipswich School, to whom Elizabeth granted a royal charter.
semper excelsius always higher Motto of the K.A.V. Lovania Leuven.
semper fidelis always faithful Motto of several institutions. One of the most well known institutions that uses this as a motto is the United States Marine Corps.
semper fortis always brave The motto of the United States Navy.
semper idem always the same Motto of Underberg.
semper in excretia sumus solim profundum variat We're always in the manure; only the depth varies. Lord de Ramsey, House of Lords, 21 January 1998[39]
semper instans always threatening Motto of 846 NAS Royal Navy.
semper invicta always invincible Motto of Warsaw.
semper liber always free Motto of the city of Victoria, British Columbia.
semper paratus always prepared Motto of several institutions. One of the most well known institutions that uses this as a motto is the United States Coast Guard.
semper primus always first  
semper reformanda always in need of being reformed A phrase deriving from the Nadere Reformatie movement in the seventeenth century Dutch Reformed Church and widely but informally used in Reformed and Presbyterian churches today. It refers to the conviction of certain Reformed Protestant theologians that the church must continually re-examine itself in order to maintain its purity of doctrine and practice. The term first appeared in print in Jodocus van Lodenstein, Beschouwinge van Zion (Contemplation of Zion), Amsterdam, 1674.[40]
semper ubi sub ubi always where under where A common English-New Latin translation joke. The phrase is nonsensical in Latin, but the English translation is a pun on "always wear underwear".
semper vigilans always vigilant Motto of several institutions (Such as the US Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol). Also the motto of the city of San Diego, California.
semper vigilo always vigilant The motto of Scottish Police Forces, Scotland.
Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Senate and the People of Rome The official name of the Roman Republic. "SPQR" was carried on battle standards by the Roman legions. In addition to being an ancient Roman motto, it remains the motto of the modern city of Rome.
sensu lato with the broad, or general, meaning Less literally, "in the wide sense".
sensu stricto cf. stricto sensu "with the tight meaning" Less literally, "in the strict sense".
sensus plenior in the fuller meaning In biblical exegesis, the deeper meaning intended by God, not intended by the human author.
sequere pecuniam follow the money In an effort to understand why things may be happening contrary to expectations, or even in alignment with them, this idiom suggests that keeping track of where money is going may show the basis for the observed behavior. Similar in spirit to the phrase cui bono (who gains?) or cui prodest (who advances?), but outside those phrases' historically legal context.
servabo fidem Keeper of the faith I will keep the faith.
serviam I will serve The answer of St. Michael the Archangel to the non serviam, "I will not serve" of Satan, when the angels were tested by God on whether they will serve an inferior being, a man, Jesus, as their Lord.
servus servorum Dei servant of the servants of God A title for the pope.
sesquipedalia verba words a foot and a half long From Horace's Ars Poetica, "proicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba" ("he throws down his high-flown language and his foot-and-a-half-long words"). A self-referential jab at long words and needlessly elaborate language in general.
Si hoc legere potes nimium eruditionis habes If you can read this, you have too much education.  
Si monumentum requiris, circumspice If you seek a monument, look around you from the epitaph on Christopher Wren's tomb in St Paul's Cathedral; also the similarly named 2004 album Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice by Deathspell Omega.
si omnes... ego non if all ones... not I
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas if we deny having made a mistake, we are deceived, and there's no truth in us From Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, where the phrase is translated "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there's no truth in us". (cf. 1 John 1:8 in the New Testament)
si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice if you seek a delightful peninsula, look around Said to have been based on the tribute to architect Christopher Wren in St Paul's Cathedral, London: si monumentum requiris, circumspice (see above). State motto of Michigan, adopted in 1835.
si quid novisti rectius istis, candidus imperti; si nil, his utere mecum. if you can better these principles, tell me; if not, join me in following them Horace, Epistles I:6, 67–68
si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses If you had kept your silence, you would have stayed a philosopher This quote is often attributed to the Latin philosopher Boethius of the late fifth and early sixth centuries. It translates literally as, "If you had been silent, you would have remained a philosopher." The phrase illustrates a common use of the subjunctive verb mood. Among other functions it expresses actions contrary to fact. Sir Humphrey Appleby translated it to the PM as: "If you'd kept your mouth shut we might have thought you were clever".
si vales valeo (SVV) if you are well, I am well A common beginning for ancient Roman letters. Also extended to si vales bene est ego valeo ("if you are well, that is good; I am well"), abbreviated to SVBEEV. The practice fell out of fashion and into obscurity with the decline in Latin literacy.
si vis amari ama If you want to be loved, love This quote is often attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca.
si vis pacem, para bellum if you want peace, prepare for war From Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De Re Militari. Origin of the name parabellum for some ammunition and firearms, such as the Luger Parabellum. (Similar to igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
sic thus Or "just so". States that the preceding quoted material appears exactly that way in the source, despite any errors of spelling, grammar, usage, or fact that may be present. Used only for previous quoted text; ita or similar must be used to mean "thus" when referring to something about to be stated.
sic et non thus and not More simply, "yes and no".
sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc we gladly feast on those who would subdue us Mock-Latin motto of The Addams Family.
sic infit so it begins  
sic itur ad astra thus you shall go to the stars From Virgil, Aeneid book IX, line 641. Possibly the source of the ad astra phrases. Motto of several institutions.
sic passim Thus here and there Used when referencing books; see passim.
sic semper erat, et sic semper erit Thus has it always been, and thus shall it ever be  
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. Shorter version from original sic semper evello mortem tyrannis ("thus always death will come to tyrants"). State motto of Virginia, adopted in 1776.
sic transit gloria mundi thus passes the glory of the world A reminder that all things are fleeting. During Papal Coronations, a monk reminds the pope of his mortality by saying this phrase, preceded by pater sancte ("holy father") while holding before his eyes a burning paper illustrating the passing nature of earthly glories. This is similar to the tradition of a slave in Roman triumphs whispering memento mori.
sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas use [what is] yours so as not to harm [what is] of others Or "use your property in such a way that you do not damage others'". A legal maxim related to property ownership laws, often shortened to simply sic utere ("use it thus").
sic vita est thus is life Or "such is life". Indicates that a circumstance, whether good or bad, is an inherent aspect of living.
sidere mens eadem mutato Though the constellations change, the mind is universal Latin motto of the University of Sydney.
signetur (sig) or (S/) let it be labeled Medical shorthand
signum fidei Sign of the Faith Motto of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.
silentium est aureum silence is golden Latinization of the English expression "silence is golden". Also Latinized as silentium est aurum ("silence is gold").
similia similibus curantur

similia similibus curentur
similar things take care of similar things"

let similar things take care of similar things
"like cures like" and "let like be cured by like"; the first form ("curantur") is indicative, while the second form ("curentur") is subjunctive. The indicative form is found in Paracelsus (16th century), while the subjunctive form is said by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, and is known as the law of similars.
similia similibus solvuntur similar substances will dissolve similar substances Used as a general rule in chemistry; "like dissolves like" refers to the ability of polar or non polar solvents to dissolve polar or non polar solutes respectively.[41]
simplex sigillum veri simplicity is the sign of truth expresses a sentiment akin to Keep It Simple, Stupid
sine anno (s.a.) without a year Used in bibliographies to indicate that the date of publication of a document is unknown.
sine die without a day Originally from old common law texts, where it indicates that a final, dispositive order has been made in the case. In modern legal context, it means there is nothing left for the court to do, so no date for further proceedings is set.
sine ira et studio without anger and fondness Thus, impartially. From Tacitus, Annals 1.1.
sine loco (s.l.) without a place Used in bibliographies to indicate that the place of publication of a document is unknown.
sine metu "without fear" Motto of Jameson Irish Whiskey
sine nomine (s.n.) "without a name" Used in bibliographies to indicate that the publisher of a document is unknown.
sine poena nulla lex Without penalty, there is no law Refers to the ineffectiveness of a law without the means of enforcement
sine prole Without offspring Frequently abbreviated to "s.p." or "d.s.p." (decessit sine prole – "died without offspring") in genealogical works.
sine prole superstite Without surviving issue Without surviving offspring (children)
sine timore aut favore Without Fear or Favor St.George's School, Vancouver, Canada motto
sine qua non without which not Used to denote something that is an essential part of the whole. See also condicio sine qua non.
sine remediis medicina debilis est without remedies medicine is powerless Inscription on the stained-glass in the conference hall of pharmaceutical mill in Kaunas
sine scientia ars nihil est without knowledge, skill is nothing Motto of The International Diving Society
sisto activitatem I cease the activity Phrase, used to cease the activities of the Sejm upon the liberum veto principle
sit nomine digna may it be worthy of the name Motto of Rhodesia
sit sine labe decus let honour stainless be Motto of the Brisbane Boys' College (Brisbane, Australia).
sit tibi terra levis may the earth be light to you Commonly used on gravestones, often contracted as S.T.T.L., the same way as today's R.I.P.
sit venia verbo may there be forgiveness for the word Similar to the English idiom "pardon my French".
sol iustitiae illustra nos Sun of Justice, shine upon us Motto of Utrecht University
sol lucet omnibus the sun shines on everyone Petronius, Satyricon Lybri 100
sol omnia regit the sun rules over everything Inscription near the entrance to Frombork Museum
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 even without works.
sola gratia by grace alone A motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the Protestant claim that salvation is an unearned gift (cf. ex gratia), not a direct result of merit.
sola lingua bona est lingua mortua the only good language is a dead language Example of dog Latin humor.
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 the ultimate authority, not the pope or tradition.
sola nobilitat virtus Virtue alone ennobles  
soli Deo gloria (S.D.G.) glory to God alone A motto of the Protestant Reformation and one of the five solas, referring to the idea that God is the creator 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, as well as with AMDG (ad maiorem Dei gloriam).
solus Christus 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. Also rendered solo Christo ("by Christ alone").
solus ipse I alone  
solvitur ambulando It is solved by walking The problem is solved by taking a walk, or by simple experiment.
Spartam nactus es; hanc exorna your lot is cast in Sparta, be a credit to it from Euripides's Telephus, Agamemnon to Menelaus.[42]
specialia generalibus derogant special departs from general  
speculum speculorum mirror of mirrors  
spem reduxit he has restored hope Motto of New Brunswick.
spes bona good hope Motto of University of Cape Town.
spes vincit thronum hope conquers (overcomes) the throne Refers to Revelation 3:21, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." On the John Winthrop family tombstone, Boston, Massachusetts.
spiritus mundi spirit of the world From The Second Coming (poem) by William Butler Yeats. Refers to Yeats' belief that each human mind is linked to a single vast intelligence, and that this intelligence causes certain universal symbols to appear in individual minds. The idea is similar to Carl Jung's concept of the collective unconscious.
spiritus ubi vult spirat the spirit spreads wherever it wants Refers to The Gospel of Saint John 3:8, where he mentions how Jesus told Nicodemus "The wind blows wherever it wants, and even though you can hear its noise, you don't know where it comes from or where it goes. The same thing happens to whomever has been born of the Spirit". It is the motto of Cayetano Heredia University[43]
splendor sine occasu brightness without setting Loosely "splendour without diminishment" or "magnificence without ruin". Motto of British Columbia.
stamus contra malo we stand against by evil The motto of the Jungle Patrol in The Phantom. The phrase actually violates Latin grammar because of a mistranslation from English, as the preposition contra takes the accusative case. The correct Latin rendering of "we stand against evil" would be "stamus contra malum".
stante pede with a standing foot "Immediately".
stare decisis to stand by the decided things To uphold previous rulings, recognize precedent.
stat sua cuique dies There is a day [turn] for everybody Virgil, Aeneid, X 467
statim (stat) "immediately" Medical shorthand used following an urgent request.
status quo the situation in which The current condition or situation. Also status quo ante ("the situation in which [things were] before"), referring to the state of affairs prior to some upsetting event (cf. reset button technique).
status quo ante bellum the state before the war A common term in peace treaties.
stercus accidit shit happens Attributed to David Hume.
stet let it stand Marginal mark in proofreading to indicate that something previously deleted or marked for deletion should be retained.
stet fortuna domus let the fortune of the house stand First part of the motto of Harrow School, England.
stipendium peccati mors est the reward of sin is death From Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. (See Rom 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.")
strenuis ardus cedunt the heights yield to endeavour Motto on the coat of arms of the University of Southampton, England.
stricto sensucf. sensu stricto with the tight meaning Less literally, "in the strict sense".
stupor mundi the wonder of the world The title by which Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, was known. More literally translated "the bewilderment of the world", or, in its original, pre-Medieval sense, "the stupidity of the world".
sua sponte by its own accord Legal term when a court takes up a motion on its own initiative, not because any of the parties to the case has made the motion.
sub anno under the year Commonly abbreviated sa, it is used in citing annals, which record events by year.
sub cruce lumen The Light Under the Cross Motto of the University of Adelaide, Australia. Refers to the figurative "light of learning" and the Southern Cross constellation, Crux.
sub divo under the wide open sky Also, "under the sky", "in the open air", "out in the open" or "outdoors". Ablative "divo" does not distinguish divus, divi, a god, from divum, divi, the sky.
sub finem toward the end Used in citations to refer to the end of a book, page, etc., and abbreviated 's.f.' Used after the page number or title. E.g., 'p. 20 s.f. '
sub Iove frigido under cold Jupiter At night; from Horace's Odes 1.1:25
sub judice under a judge Said of a case that cannot be publicly discussed until it is finished. Also sub iudice.
sub poena under penalty Commonly rendered subpoena. Said of a request, usually by a court, that must be complied with on pain of punishment. Examples include subpoena duces tecum ("take with you under penalty"), a court summons to appear and produce tangible evidence, and subpoena ad testificandum ("under penalty to testify"), a summons to appear and give oral testimony.
sub rosa under the rose "In secret", "privately", "confidentially" or "covertly". In the Middle Ages, a rose was suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber to indicate that what was said in the "under the rose" was not to be repeated outside. This practice originates in Greek mythology, where Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros, and he, in turn, gave it to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to ensure that his mother's indiscretions—or those of the gods in general, in other accounts—were kept under wraps.
sub silentio under silence implied but not expressly stated.
sub specie aeternitatis under the sight of eternity Thus, "from eternity's point of view". From Spinoza, Ethics.
sub specie Dei under the sight of God "from God's point of view or perspective".
sub tuum praesidium Beneath thy compassion Name of the oldest extant hymn to the Theotokos (Blessed Virgin Mary). Also "under your protection". A popular school motto.
Sub umbra floreo Under the shade I flourish National Motto of Belize, referring to the shade of the mahogany tree.
sub verbo; sub voce   Under the word or heading, as in a dictionary; abbreviated s.v.
sublimis ab unda Raised from the waves Motto of King Edward VII and Queen Mary School, Lytham
subsiste sermonem statim stop speaking immediately  
Sudetia non cantat One doesn't sing on the Sudeten Mountains Saying from Haná region
sui generis Of its own kind In a class of its own.
sui iuris Of one's own right Capable of responsibility. Has both legal and ecclesiastical use. Commonly rendered sui juris.
sum quod eris I am what you will be A gravestone inscription to remind the reader of the inevitability of death (cf. memento mori). Also rendered fui quod sis ("I have been what you are") and tu fui ego eris ("I have been you, you will be I").
sum quod sum I am what I am from Augustine's Sermon No. 76;[44] also a 2-part episode in the webcomic Heroes.
summa cum laude with highest praise  
summa summarum all in all Literally "sum of sums". When a short conclusion is rounded up at the end of some elaboration.
summum bonum the supreme good Literally "highest good". Also summum malum ("the supreme evil").
summum ius, summa iniuria supreme justice, supreme injustice From Cicero (De officiis, I, 10, 33). An acritical application of law, without understanding and respect of laws's purposes and without considering the overall circumstances, is often a means of supreme injustice. A similar sentence appears in Terence (Heautontimorumenos, IV, 5): Ius summum saepe summa est malitia ("supreme justice is often out of supreme malice (or wickedness)").
sunt lacrimae rerum there are tears for things From Virgil, Aeneid. Followed by et mentem mortalia tangunt ("and mortal things touch my mind"). Aeneas cries as he sees Carthaginian temple murals depicting the deaths of the Trojan War. See also hinc illae lacrimae.
sunt omnes unum they are all one  
sunt pueri pueri, pueri puerilia tractant Children are children, and children do childish things anonymous proverb
suo jure in one's own right Used in the context of titles of nobility, for instance where a wife may hold a title in her own right rather than through her marriage.
suo motu upon one's own initiative Also rendered suo moto. Usually used when a court of law, upon its own initiative, (i.e., no petition has been filed) proceeds against a person or authority that it deems has committed an illegal act. It is used chiefly in South Asia.[citation needed]
suos cultores scientia coronat Knowledge crowns those who seek Her The motto of Syracuse University, New York.
super fornicam on the lavatory Where Thomas More accused the reformer, Martin Luther, of going to celebrate Mass.
superbia in proelia pride in battle Motto of Manchester City F.C.
supero omnia I surpass everything A declaration that one succeeds above all others.
surdo oppedere to belch before the deaf From Erasmus' collection of annotated Adagia (1508): a useless action.
surgam I shall rise Motto of Columbia University's Philolexian Society.
sursum corda Lift up your hearts  
sutor, ne ultra crepidam Cobbler, no further than the sandal! Thus, don't offer your opinion on things that are outside your competence. It is said that the Greek painter Apelles once asked the advice of a cobbler on how to render the sandals of a soldier he was painting. When the cobbler started offering advice on other parts of the painting, Apelles rebuked him with this phrase in Greek, and it subsequently became a popular Latin expression.
suum cuique tribuere to render to every man his due One of Justinian I's three basic precepts of law. Also shortened to suum cuique ("to each his own").
s.v.   Abbreviation for sub verbo or sub voce (see above).

[edit] T

Latin Translation Notes
tabula gratulatoria congratulatory tablet A list of congratulations.
tabula rasa scraped tablet Thus, "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.
talis qualis just as such "Such as it is" or "as such".
taliter qualiter somewhat  
talium Dei regnum for of such (little children) is the kingdom of God from St Mark's gospel 10:14 "talium (parvuli) est enim regnum Dei"; similar in St Matthew's gospel 19:14 "talium est enim regnum caelorum" ("for of such is the kingdom of heaven"); motto of The Cathedral School, Townsville.
tanquam ex ungue leonem we know the lion by his claw Said in 1697 by Johann Bernoulli about Isaac Newton's anonymously submitted solution to Bernoulli's challenge regarding the Brachistochrone curve.
tarde venientibus ossa To the late are left the bones  
Te occidere possunt sed te edere non possunt nefas est They can kill you, but they cannot eat you, it is against the law. The motto of the fictional Enfield Tennis Academy in the David Foster Wallace novel Infinite Jest. Translated in the novel as "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier".
technica impendi nationi Technology impulses nations Motto of Technical University of Madrid
temet nosce know thyself A reference to γνῶθι σεαυτόν, which was inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, according to the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias (10.24.1).
tempora heroica Heroic Age Literally "Heroic Times"; refers to the period between the mythological Titanomachy and the (relatively) historical Trojan War.
tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis the times are changing, and we change in them Variant of omnia mutantur et nos mutamur in illis, attributed to Lothair I. See entry for details.
tempus edax rerum time, devourer of all things Also "time, that devours all things", or more literally, "time, devouring of things". From Ovid.
tempus fugit time flees Commonly mistranslated as "time flies" due to the similar phrase tempus volat hora fugit ("time flies, the hour flees").
tempus rerum imperator time, commander of all things  
tempus vernum spring time Name of song by popular Irish singer Enya
tempus volat hora fugit time flies, the hour flees Or "time speeds while the hour escapes".
teneo te Africa I hold you, Africa! Suetonius attributes this to Julius Caesar, from when Caesar was on the African coast.
tentanda via The way must be tried motto for York University
ter in die (t.i.d.) thrice in a day Medical shorthand for "three times a day".
terminat hora diem; terminat auctor opus. The hour finishes the day; the author finishes his work. Phrase concluding Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus.[45]
terminus ante quem limit before which In archaeology or history, refers to the date before which an artifact or feature must have been deposited. Used with terminus post quem ("limit after which"). Similarly, terminus ad quem ("limit to which") may also refer to the latest possible date of a non-punctual event (period, era, etc.), while terminus a quo ("limit from which") may refer to the earliest such date.
terra australis incognita unknown southern land First name used to refer to the Australian continent.
terra firma solid land Often used to refer to the ground.
terra incognita unknown land  
terra nova new land Latin name of Newfoundland (island portion of Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, capital- St. John's), also root of French name of same, Terre-Neuve
terra nullius land of none That is, no man's land. A neutral or uninhabited area, or a land not under the sovereignty of any recognized political entity.
terras irradient let them illuminate the lands Or "let them give light to the world". An allusion to Isaiah 6.3: plena est omnis terra gloria eius ("the whole earth is full of his glory"). Sometimes mistranslated as "they will illuminate the lands" based on mistaking irradiare for a future indicative third-conjugation verb, whereas it is actually a present subjunctive first-conjugation verb. Motto of Amherst College; the college's original mission was to educate young men to serve God.
tertium non datur a third is not given A logical axiom that a claim is either true or false, with no third option.
tertium quid a third something 1. Something that cannot be classified into either of two groups considered exhaustive; an intermediate thing or factor. 2. A third person or thing of indeterminate character.
testis unus, testis nullus one witness is not a witness A law principle expressing that a single witness is not enough to corroborate a story.
timeo Danaos et dona ferentes I fear Greeks even if they bring gifts Danaos being a term for the Greeks. In Virgil's Aeneid, II, 49, the phrase is said by Laocoön when warning his fellow Trojans against accepting the Trojan Horse. The full original quote is quidquid id est timeo Danaos et dona ferentis, quidquid id est meaning "whatever it is" and ferentis being an archaic form of ferentes. Commonly mistranslated "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts".
timidi mater non flet A coward's mother does not weep proverb; occasionally appears on loading screens in the game Rome: Total War.
timor mortis conturbat me the fear of death confounds me Refrain originating in the response to the seventh lesson in the Office of the Dead. In the Middle Ages, this service was read each day by clerics. As a refrain, it appears also in other poems and can frequently be found inscribed on tombs.
totus tuus totally yours Offering one's life in total commitment to another. The motto was adopted by Pope John Paul II to signify his love and servitude to Mary the Mother of Jesus.
tres faciunt collegium three makes company It takes three to have a valid group; three is the minimum number of members for an organization or a corporation.
translatio imperii transfer of rule Used to express the belief in the transfer of imperial authority 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. See also Peace and Truce of God.
tu autem you indeed Also "even you" or "yes, you", in response to a person's belief that he will never die. A memento mori epitaph.
tu autem Domine miserere nobis But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us Phrase said at the end of biblical readings in the liturgy of the medieval church.
tu fui ego eris I was you; you will be me Thus, "what you are, I was; what I am, you will be.". A memento mori gravestone inscription to remind the reader that death is unavoidable (cf. sum quod eris).
tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito you should not give in to evils, but proceed ever more boldly against them From Virgil, Aeneid, 6, 95.
tu quoque you too The logical fallacy of attempting to defend one's position merely by pointing out the same weakness in one's opponent.
tuebor I will protect Found on the Great Seal on the flag of the state of Michigan.
turris fortis mihi Deus God is my strong tower Motto of the Kelly Clan

[edit] U

Latin Translation Notes
uberrima fides most abundant faith Or "utmost good faith" (cf. bona fide). A legal maxim of insurance contracts requiring all parties to deal in good faith.
ubertas et fidelitas fertility and faithfulness Motto of Tasmania.
ubi amor, ibi dolor where [there is] love, there [is] pain  
ubi bene ibi patria where [it is] well, there [is] the fatherland Or "Home is where it's good"; see also ubi panis ibi patria.
ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est where there is charity and love, God is there  
ubi dubium ibi libertas where [there is] doubt, there [is] freedom Anonymous proverb.
ubi jus ibi remedium Where [there is] a right, there [is] a remedy  
ubi mel ibi apes where [there is] honey, there [are] bees similar to " you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar" .. treat people nicely and they will treat you nice back
ubi libertas ibi patria where [there is] liberty, there [is] the fatherland Or "where there is liberty, there is my country". Patriotic motto.
ubi nihil vales, ibi nihil velis Where you are worth nothing, there you will wish for nothing From the writings of the Flemish philosopher Arnold Geulincx; also quoted by Samuel Beckett in his first published novel, Murphy.
ubi non accusator ibi non iudex where [there is] no accuser, there [is] no judge Thus, there can be no judgment or case if no one charges a defendant with a crime. The phrase is sometimes parodied as "where there are no police, there is no speed limit".
ubi panis ibi patria where there is bread, there is my country  
ubi pus, ibi evacua where there is pus, there evacuate it  
ubi re vera when, in a true thing Or "whereas, in reality..." Also rendered ubi revera ("when, in fact" or "when, actually").
ubi societas ibi ius if there's a society, law will be there By Cicero.
ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant They make a desert and call it peace from a speech by Calgacus reported/constructed by Tacitus, Agricola, ch. 30.
ubi sunt where are they? Nostalgic theme of poems yearning for days gone by. From the line ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt ("Where are they, those who have gone before us?").
Ubique, quo fas et gloria ducunt everywhere, where right and glory leads Motto of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and most other Artillery corps within the armies of the British Commonwealth (for example, the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery and Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery).
ultima ratio last method
the final argument
the last resort (as force)
The last resort. Short form for the metaphor "The Last Resort of Kings and Common Men" referring to the act of declaring war; used in the names the French sniper rifle PGM Ultima Ratio and the fictional Reason weapon system. Louis XIV of France had Ultima Ratio Regum ("last argument of kings") cast on the cannons of his armies; motto of the 1st Battalion 11th Marines. Cannon inscribed "ultima ratio regum"
ultimo mense (ult.) in the last month Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the previous month. Used with inst. ("this month") and prox. ("next month").
ultra vires beyond powers "Without authority". Used to describe an action done without proper authority, or acting without the rules. The term will most often be used in connection with appeals and petitions.
ululas Athenas (to send) owls to Athens From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Latin translation of a classical Greek proverb. Generally means putting large effort in a necessarily fruitless enterprise. Compare "selling coal to Newcastle".
una hirundo non facit ver one swallow does not make summer A single example of something positive does not necessarily mean that all subsequent similar instances will have the same outcome.
una salus victis nullam sperare salutem the only safety for the conquered is to hope for no safety Less literally, "the only safe bet for the vanquished is to expect no safety". Preceded by moriamur et in media arma ruamus ("let us die even as we rush into the midst of battle") in Virgil's Aeneid, book 2, lines 353–354. Used in Tom Clancy's novel Without Remorse, where character John Clark translates it as "the one hope of the doomed is not to hope for safety".
unitas per servitiam unity through service Motto for the St. Xavier's Institution Board of Librarians.
uno flatu in one breath Used in criticism of inconsistent pleadings, i.e. "one cannot argue uno flatu both that the company does not exist and that it is also responsible for the wrong."
unus multorum one of many An average person.
Unus papa Romae, unus portus Anconae, una turris Cremonae, una ceres Raconae One pope in Rome, one port in Ancona, one tower in Cremona, one beer in Rakovník Motto of the Czech Brewery in Rakovník.[46]
Urbi et Orbi to the city and the circle [of the lands] Meaning "To Rome and the World". A standard opening of Roman proclamations. Also a traditional blessing by the pope.
urbs in horto city in a garden Motto of the City of Chicago.
usus est magister optimus practice is the best teacher. In other words, practice makes perfect. Also sometimes translated "use makes master."
ut biberent quoniam esse nollent so that they might drink, since they refused to eat Also rendered with quando ("when") in place of quoniam. From a book 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. Thus, the sense is, "if they do not perform as expected, they must suffer the consequences".
ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas though the power be lacking, the will is to be praised all the same From Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto (III, 4, 79).
ut dicitur as has been said; as above  
ut incepit fidelis sic permanet as she began loyal, so she persists Thus, the state remains as loyal as ever. Motto of Ontario.
ut infra as below  
ut mare quod ut ventus to sea and into wind Motto of USNS Washington Chambers
ut prosim that I may serve Motto of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
ut proverbium loguitur vetus... you know what they say... Lit: As the old proverb says...
ut res magis valeat quam pereat that the matter may have effect rather than fail[47]  
ut retro as backwards Or "as on the back side"; thus, "as on the previous page" (cf. ut supra).
ut Roma cadit, sic omnis terra as Rome falls, so [falls] the whole world  
ut sit finis litium so there might be an end of litigation A traditional brocard. The full form is Interest reipublicae ut sit finis litium, "it is in the government's interest that there be an end to litigation." Often quoted in the context of statutes of limitation.
ut supra as above  
ut tensio sic vis as the extension, so the force Robert Hooke's expression of his discovery of his law of linear elasticity. Also: Motto of École Polytechnique de Montréal.
utilis in ministerium usefulness in service Comes from 2 Timothy 4:11. Motto of Camberwell Girls Grammar School.
utraque unum both into one Also translated as "that the two may be one." Motto found in 18th century Spanish dollar coins. Motto of Georgetown University.
utrinque paratus ready for anything Motto of The British Parachute Regiment

[edit] V

Latin Translation Notes
vade ad formicam go to the ant A Biblical phrase from the Book of Proverbs. The full quotation translates as "go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn wisdom".
vade mecum go with me A vade-mecum or vademecum is an item one carries around, especially a handbook.
vade retro Satana Go back, Satan! An exhortation for Satan to begone, often used in response to temptation. From a popular Medieval Catholic exorcism formula, based on a rebuke by Jesus to Peter in the Vulgate, Mark 8:33: vade retro me Satana ("step back from me, Satan!"). The older phrase vade retro ("go back!") can be found in Terence's Formio I, 4, 203. The phrase has been mocked by a Portuguese slogan, "Vai de metro, Satanás" ("Go by the subway, Satan").
vae victis Woe to the conquered! Attributed by Livy to Brennus, the chief of the Gauls, while he demanded more gold from the citizens of the recently sacked Rome in 390 BC.
vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas vanity of vanities; everything [is] vanity More simply, "vanity, vanity, everything vanity". From the Vulgate, Ecclesiastes, 1:2.
vaticinium ex eventu prophecy from the event A prophecy made to look as though it was written before the events it describes, while in fact being written afterwards.
victoria concordia crescit victory through harmony Motto of Arsenal F.C.
vel non or not Summary of alternatives, i.e. "this action turns upon whether the claimant was the deceased's grandson vel non."
velle est posse "To be willing is to be able." (non-literal: "Where there's a will, there's a way.") Motto of Hillfield, one of the founding schools of Hillfield Strathallan College.
velocius quam asparagi coquantur more rapidly than asparagus will be cooked Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". Ascribed to Augustus by Suetonius (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Book 2 (Augustus), para. 87). Can refer to anything done very quickly. A very common variant is celerius quam asparagi cocuntur ("more swiftly than asparagus is cooked").
velut arbor aevo As a tree with the passage of time Motto of the University of Toronto
veni, vidi, vici I came, I saw, I conquered The message supposedly sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe his battle against King Pharnaces II near Zela in 47 BC.
venisti remanebis donec denuo completus sis From whence you came, you shall remain, until you are complete again The phrase that the wizard said to the Devil in the film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny which trapped him in hell as long as he was missing his tooth.
vera causa true cause  
verba docent exempla trahunt Words instruct, illustrations lead On the relevance to use illustrations for example when preaching.
verba ita sunt intelligenda ut res magis valeat quam pereat words are to be understood such that the subject matter may be more effective than wasted When explaining a given subject, it is important to clarify rather than confuse.
verba volant, scripta manent words fly away, writings remain From a famous speech of Caio Titus at the Roman senate.
verbatim word for word Refers to perfect transcription or quotation.
verbatim et litteratim word for word and letter by letter  
verbi divini minister servant of the divine Word A priest (cf. Verbum Dei).
verbi gratia
( or VG)
for example literally: "for the sake of a word"
Verbum Dei Word of God See religious text.
verbum Domini manet in aeternum (VDMA) The Word of the Lord Endures Forever Motto of the Lutheran Reformation.
verbum sap A word to the wise is sufficient The hearer can fill in the rest; enough said. Short for Verbum sapienti sat[is] est.
veritas truth Motto of many educational institutions.
veritas, bonitas, pulchritudo, sanctitas Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and Holiness Current motto of Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan.
veritas Christo et ecclesiae Truth for Christ and Church The de jure motto of Harvard University, dating to its foundation; it is often shortened to Veritas to dispose of its original religious meaning.
veritas curat The Truth Cures. Motto of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research.
Veritas Dei vincit The God's Truth prevails. Motto of the Hussites.
veritas, fides, sapientia Truth, Faith, Wisdom Current motto of Dowling Catholic High School.
veritas diaboli manet in aeternum Devil's truth remain eternally  
veritas et fortitudo Truth and Courage One of the mottoes of Lyceum of the Philippines University.
veritas et virtus Truth and virtue Motto of University of Pittsburgh, Methodist University.
veritas in caritate Truth Through Caring Motto of Bishop Wordsworth's School.
Veritas Iustitia Libertas Truth Justice Liberty Motto of Free University of Berlin.
Veritas Liberabit Vos Truth Shall Set You Free Motto of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, The first Catholic Philippine Jesuit University located in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao, Philippines.
veritas lux mea Truth is my light. A common non-literal translation is "Truth enlightens me." Motto of Seoul National University.
veritas vitæ magistra Truth is Life's Teacher. Another plaussible translation is 'Truth is Life's Mistress'. Unofficial Motto of University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, appearing in its Tower.
veritas odit moras Truth hates delay Seneca the Younger.
veritas omnia vincit Truth conquers all Motto of Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario. See also national motto Satyameva Jayate of India and motto of Triangle Fraternity.
veritas unitas caritas Truth, Unity, Love Motto of Villanova University.
veritas vincit truth conquers Motto of the Scottish clan Keith. Used to be motto of Protektorate of Bohemia and Moravia and in Czech translation motto of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic
Veritas. Virtus. Libertas. Truth. Courage. Freedom. Motto of the University of Szeged in Hungary.
veritas vos liberabit the truth will set you free Motto of Johns Hopkins University.
veritate duce progredi Advancing (with) Truth Leading. Motto of University of Arkansas.
[in] veritate et caritate with truth and love Motto of Catholic Junior College, Singapore.
veritate et virtute with truth and courage Motto of Sydney Boys High School. Also "virtute et veritate", motto of Walford Anglican School for Girls.
veritatem dilexi I delight in (or, I have chosen) the truth. Motto of Bryn Mawr College.
veritatem fratribus testari to bear witness to the truth in brotherhood Motto of Xaverian Brothers High School.
vero nihil verius nothing truer than truth Motto of Mentone Girls' Grammar School
vero possumus Yes, we can A variation of the campaign slogan used by then-Senator Barack Obama on a Great Seal variation during the 2008 US presidential campaign.[48]
versus (vs) or (v.) towards Literally "in the direction". Mistakenly used in English as "against" (probably from "adversus"), particularly to denote two opposing parties, such as in a legal dispute or a sports match.
veto I forbid The right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation. Derived from ancient Roman voting practices.
vi et animo With heart and soul Or "Strength with Courage". Motto of Ascham School and the McCulloch clan crest.
vi veri universum vivus vici by the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe Supposedly from Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus although it is conspicuously absent from both the uncensored A and edited B text, (where the B text is the version originally shown shortly after Marlowe's Death and the A text being, supposedly, closer to Marlowe's original Manuscript.) Strangely the nature of the quote is more in keeping with the themes of truth portrayed in the original Germanic Faust folk tale. Note that v was originally the consonantal u, and was written the same before the two forms became distinct, and also after in many cases, when u and v were both capitalized as V: thus, Vniversum. Also, universum is sometimes quoted with the form ueniversum (or Veniversum), which is presumably a combination of universum and oeniversum, two classically attested spellings). Recently quoted in the Alan Moore graphic novel and film adaptation, V for Vendetta, by the main character, V.
via by the road "by way of" or "by means of"; e.g. "I'll contact you via e-mail."
via media middle road Can refer to the radical center political stance.
via, veritas, vita The Way, the Truth and the Life Motto of The University of Glasgow, Eastern Nazarene College and a number of Canossian schools in Singapore and Hong Kong. From the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John 14:6.
vice in place of "one who acts in place of another"; can be used as a separate word, or as a hyphenated prefix: "Vice President" and "Vice-Chancellor".
vice versa
versa vice
with position turned
For other uses, see vice versa
Thus, "the other way around", "conversely", etc. Historically, vice is properly pronounced as two syllables, but the one-syllable pronunciation is extremely common. Classical Latin pronunciation dictates that the letter C can only make a hard sound, like K, thus vee-keh vehr-sah. (Note that in classical times, the V was pronounced like a W.)[49]
victoria aut mors Victory or death! similar to aut vincere aut mori.
victoria concordia crescit Victory comes from harmony The official club motto of Arsenal F.C.
victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni the victorious cause pleased the gods, but the conquered cause pleased Cato Lucan, Pharsalia 1, 128. Dedication on the south side of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
vide "see" or "refer to"  
vide infra (v.i.) "see below"  
vide supra (v.s.) "see above" Or "see earlier in this writing". Also shortened to just supra.
videlicet (viz.) "namely", "that is to say", "as follows" Contraction of videre licet: "permitted to see".
video et taceo I see and keep silent The motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
video meliora proboque deteriora sequor I see and approve of the better, but I follow the worse From the Metamorphoses VII. 20–21 of Ovid. A summary of the experience of akrasia.
video sed non credo I see it, but I don't believe it Caspar Hofmann after being shown proof of the circulatory system by William Harvey.
videre licet "it is permitted to see", "one may see"  
vim promovet insitam promotes one's innate power Motto of University of Bristol taken from Horace Ode 4.4.
vince malum bono Overcome Evil with Good Partial quotation of Romans 12:21 also used as a motto for Old Swinford Hospital and Bishop Cotton School, Shimla.
vincere scis Hannibal victoria uti nescis you know [how] to win, Hannibal; you do not know [how] to use victory According to Livy, a cavalry colonel told Hannibal this after the victory at Cannae in 216 BC, meaning that Hannibal should have marched on Rome directly.
vincit omnia veritas Truth conquers all  
vincit qui patitur he conquers who endures First attributed to Roman scholar and satirst Persius; frequently used as motto.
vincit qui se vincit he/she conquers who conquers himself/herself Motto of many educational institutions. Also "bis vincit qui se vincit" ("he/she who prevails over himself/herself is twice victorious"). Also the motto of The Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast as seen on the castle's stained glass window near the beginning of the film.
vinculum juris "the chain of the law", i.e. legally binding "A civil obligation is one which has a binding operation in law, vinculum juris." Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856, "Obligation."
vir prudens non contra ventum mingit "[A] wise man does not urinate [up] against the wind"  
virile agitur "The manly thing is being done" As used in the motto of Knox Grammar School
viriliter agite estote fortes "Quit ye like men, be strong" As used in the motto of Culford School
virtus et scientia virtue and knowledge Frequently used as a motto, preeminently as that of La Salle University of Philadelphia, PA.
virtus in media stat Virtue stands in the middle. Idiomatically: Good practice lies in the middle path. There is disagreement as to whether "media" or "medio" is correct.
virtus sola nobilitas virtue alone [is] noble Christian Brothers College, St Kilda's school motto
virtus tentamine gaudet Strength rejoices in the challenge. The motto of Hillsdale College.
virtus unita fortior virtue united [is] stronger State motto of Andorra.
virtute et armis by virtue and arms Or "by manhood and weapons". State motto of Mississippi. Possibly derived from the motto of Lord Gray De Wilton, virtute non armis fido ("I trust in virtue, not in arms"). Also virtute et labore, as by manhood and by work motto of Pretoria Boys High School
vis legis power of the law  
visio dei Vision of a god  
vita ante acta a life done before Thus, a previous life, generally due to reincarnation.
vita, dulcedo, spes [Mary our] life, sweetness, hope Motto of University of Notre Dame.
vita incerta, mors certissima Life is uncertain, death is most certain In simpler English, "The most certain thing in life is death".
vita patris During the life of the father Hence the term "decessit vita patris" (d.v.p) or "died v.p." seen in genealogy works such as Burke's Peerage.
vita summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam the shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes A wistful refrain, sometimes used ironically. From the first line of Horace's Ode I; later used as the title of a short poem by Ernest Dowson.
vitai lampada tradunt They hand on the torch of life From Lucretius' poem De rerum natura II.77–79; the normal spelling "vitae" (two syllables) had to be changed to "vitaï" (three syllables) to fit the requirements of the poem's dactylic hexameters. Motto of the Sydney Church of England Grammar School and others.
viva voce living voice An oral, as opposed to a written, examination of a candidate.
vivat crescat floreat may it live, grow, and flourish!  
vivat rex May the King live! Usually translated "Long live the King!" Also Vivat Regina ("Long live the Queen!").
Vivat Slovakia! Long live Slovakia! Election hit of the People's Party – Movement for a Democratic Slovakia.
vive memor leti live remembering death Persius. Compare with "memento mori"
vive ut vivas live so that you may live The phrase suggests that one should live life to the fullest and without fear of possible consequences.
vivere est cogitare To live is to think Cicero. Compare with "cogito ergo sum".
vivere est vincere To live is to conquer Captain John Smith's personal Motto.
vivere militare est To live is to fight Seneca (Epist. 96,5). Compare with "militia est vita hominis" Book of Job 7:1
vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit called and not called, God will be present or "called and even not called, God approaches"; attributed to the Oracle at Delphi. Used by Carl Jung as a personal motto adorning his home and grave.
volenti non fit injuria to one willing, no harm is done or "to him who consents, no harm is done"; used in tort law to delineate the principle that one cannot be held liable for injuries inflicted on an individual who has given his consent to the action that gave rise to the injury.
votum separatum separate vow An independent, minority voice.
vox clamantis in deserto the voice of one shouting in the desert or traditionally, "the voice of one crying in the wilderness"; from Isaiah 40, and quoted by John the Baptist in the Gospels. Usually the "voice" is assumed to be shouting in vain, unheeded by the surrounding wilderness. However, in this phrase's use as the motto of Dartmouth College, it is taken to denote an isolated beacon of education and culture in the "wilderness" of New Hampshire.
vox nihili voice of nothing Applied to a useless or ambiguous phrase or statement.
vox populi voice of the people Short non-prearranged interview with an ordinary person (e.g. on the street); sometimes shortened to "vox pop".