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The meaning and origin of the expression: Latin Phrases

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Latin Phrases

Here's a list of Latin phrases and sayings that are used in English often enough to have become part of the language.

A priori

From what comes before.

Ad absurdum

To the point of absurdity.

Ad hoc

For this purpose.

Ad infinitum

Without limit - endlessly.

Ad nauseam

To a sickening extent.

Alma Mater

One's old school (literally 'bounteous mother').

Alter ego

Other (alternative) self.

Annus horribilis

A horrible year.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God.

Aqua pura

Pure water.

Aqua vitae

Alcoholic spirit, e.g. brandy/whisky. Literally 'water of life'.

Ars longa, vita brevis Skill takes time to acquire, but life is short.

Ave Maria

Hail Mary.

Carpe diem

Seize the day (More literally translated as 'enjoy the day, pluck it when it is ripe').

Caveat emptor

Let the buyer beware.

Cogito ergo sum

I think, therefore I am.

Corpus Christi

The body of Christ.

De facto

In fact - in reality.

Dei Gratia

By the grace of God.

E Pluribus Unum

One from many.

Et cetera (etc.)

And the rest.

Et tu, Brute

And you, Brutus.

Ex libris

'Out of the books', that is, from the library.

Gloria in excelsis deo

Glory to God in the highest.

Habeas corpus

You must have the body (in court).

In absentia

In one's absence.

In camera

In private chamber.

In flagrante delicto

In the act of committing an offence.

In loco parentis

In the place of a parent.

In vitro

In a test tube (literally 'in glass').

Ipso facto

By that very fact.

Magnum opus

A great work.

Mea culpa

My fault.

Modus operandi (m.o.)

Mode of operating.

Nolens volens

Willingly or unwillingly (see also, willy-nilly).

Persona non grata

An unacceptable or unwelcome person, especially a foreign diplomat.

Post partum

After childbirth.

Praemonitus, praemunitus Forewarned is forearmed.

Prima facie

At first sight; on the face of it.

Pro bono

Without charge - for the public good.

Opus Dei

The work of God.

Quid pro quo

Something for something, that is, a favour for a favour.

Quo vadis?

Where are you going?

Rigor mortis

The rigidity of death.

Semper fidelis

Always faithful.

Sine qua non


Status quo

The current state of affairs.

Sub judice

Before a court.

Tempus fugit

Time flees.

Terra firma

Solid ground.

Urbi et orbi

To the city and to the globe.

Veni vidi vici

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Vice versa

The other way around.

Vivat Regina

Long live the queen.

Vox populi

The voice of the people.

See also - French phrases in English.