This page includes Englishtranslations of several Latin phrases and abbreviations such as i.e.. Some of these are themselves translations from Greek.
For a list of more formal proverbs, see: List of Latin proverbs (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Latin_proverbs). Note that the difference between phrases and proverbs is often subjective. Please use this test to see whether a Latin sentence is a phrase or proverb: If the sentence is an old yet common saying that expresses some practical truth, then it is probably a proverb. If it is in the form of an incomplete sentence or does not contain some practical truth, then it is probably a phrase.
"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. e.g. "It is unwise to invest in pyramid schemes, and, a fortiori, in e-mail pyramid schemes."
"In 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
"To the Greek Kalends" — said by Emperor Augustus, in Suetonius, with the sense of "never". Kalends were part of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, so the "Greek kalends" are "a date that will never happen".
"At the foot of the letter" — i.e. "exactly as it is written".
Ad perpetuam memoriam
"To the eternal memory [of]"
Ad usum Delphini
"For usage 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 printed for his heir apparent, the Dauphin.
Ad usum proprium (ad us. propr.)
"For own usage"
"By the value" — e.g.ad valorem tax.
"The Devil's Advocate" — said about someone who defends an unpopular view for the sake of discussion (and implying a lack of person belief in the validity of the argument).
Alea iacta est
"The die is cast" — said by Julius Caesar, in Suetonius, after his decision to defy Roman law by crossing the Rubicon with his troops. (Suetonius actually uses it in the future imperative "Alea iacta esto": "Be sure to cast the dice").
Alis volat propiis
"She flies with her own wings" - the Oregon state motto.
"Nourishing mother" — term used for the university one attends/has attended. The word "matriculation" is 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.
"Friend of the court" — an adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of powerful people (like Romana curia). In current U.S. legal usage, a third party allowed to submit a brief (an amicus brief) to the court.
"Before the letter" — said after an expression that described something that existed before the expression itself was introduced or became common. For example, one could say that Alan Turing was a computer scientist ante litteram, since the profession of "computer scientist" was not recognised in Turing's day.
Ante meridiem (a.m.)
"Before noon" — in the period from midnight to noon.
Ante prandium (a.p.)
"Before lunch" — i.e. before a meal. Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions.
Asinus asinorum in saecula saeculorum.
"The jackass of jackasses in the centuries of centuries", or "The greatest jackass in eternity."
Audentes Fortunas Juvat
"Fortune favors the bold"—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 CE
"Good services", a nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations
Bonum commune communitatis
"General welfare." Literally, "common good of the community."
Bonum commune hominis
"Common good of man."
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 plenĉ ("in those days plenty of great things"), which the scribe misread as indie busillis magnis plenĉ ("in India there were plenty of large busillis")...  (http://digilander.libero.it/summagallicana/Volume1/A.VIIII.8.01.htm).
"Bad habit of writing" — i.e. an insatiable urge to write. From Juvenal.
"In conclusion, I think that..." — Cato the Elder used to conclude his speeches, on any topic whatsoever, with Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("In conclusion, I think that Carthage must be destroyed").
"I think therefore I am" — (French philosopher Rene Descartes) Through this ultimate rationalistic view, Descartes attempts to prove the existence of one's self not through one's sense experience but through reasoning.
"In fact" — Said of something that actually is the case. Often the implication is that it isn't the case of necessity (de jure) or that it is supposed not to be the case; e.g. "The Shogun was the de facto ruler of Japan."
"A god from a machine" — a contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by machine an actor playing Zeus onto the stage — as though he were descending from Olympus — to resolve an awkward plot.
"God wills it" — this slogan was the principal one of the Crusades.
"Let it be everlasting" — used by the historian Fra Paolo Sarpi of his native Venice.
Et alii (et al.)
"And others" — used to abbreviate a list of names (Alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or groups of men and women; the feminineet aliae is appropriate when the "others" are all female.)
"And thou, Brutus?" — literal quotation from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He renders as Latin in an English play what was originally quoted as Greek supposedly spoken by a Roman. But Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, και συ τεκνον Kai su, teknon? — Greek for "You too, my child?" (Greek would have been the language of Rome's elite at the time.) However it is unlikely that Caesar actually said these words.
"From the heart" — i.e. "sincerely".
"From before" — "beforehand", "before the event", i.e. based on prior assumptions.
"You must have the body" — i.e. you must justify an imprisonment. First two words of the Writ to bring a prisoner to court (Charles II of England, Habeas Corpus Act - 1679) and commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to have the charge against specifically identified.
"We have a pope" — used in a Catholic Church conclave to announce a successful ballot to elect a new pope.
Haec olim meminisse juvabit
"Perhaps, we'll look back at this and smile." Virgil's Aeneid
"That is (to say)", abbreviated as "i.e." — sometimes "in this case," depending on the context. When celebrating this holiday (i.e. Christmas), hang a wreath on your door. It is never equivalent to "e.g.".
"By fire and iron" — a phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also seen as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.
"In imitation of God" — a principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
Imperium in imperio
"An empire within an empire" — i.e. a group of people within an nation's territory who are beginning to look as if they most of the members owe primary allegiance to the upper member(s) of the group, so that the allegiance of the group depends more than it should on the relationship of the leader(s) with the larger empire.
Imperium sine fine
"Empire without end". In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, neverending empire, the empire-without-end.
"In (the form of) an image" — as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person".
"In long (form)" — i.e. "in full", "completely", "unabridged."
"To faith" — to the verification of
In fine (i.f.)
In flagrante delicto
"In flaming crime" — i.e. "caught red-handed."
"In forum" — in court.
In illo tempore
"At that time", found often in the Gospel lecture during the Mass. It is used to mark a time in an indetermined past.
"At the place" — as e.g., "the water samples were analyzed in loco."
In loco parentis
"In place of the parents" — Legal term, "assuming custodial/parental responsibility and authority".
In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum
"In your hands I commend (i.e., entrust) my spirit", according to Luke 23:46 the last words of Jesus on the Cross.
In media res
"In the middle things" or " — by Horace, refers to the literary technique of beginning a narrative in them middle of, or at a late point in, the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
"In memory of" — i.e. to remember or honor a deceased person.
"In a nutshell."
In partibus infidelium
"The land of the infidels" — infidels here refers to non-Christians. After Islam conquered a big part of the Roman Empire, the corresponding bishoprics didn't disappear, but remained as honorific titles.
"In silicon", an experiment or process performed as a computer simulation. Compare with in vitro and in vivo. This is pseudo-latin, though clever. The "on" ending of silicon matches no latin noun declension, though there are Greek neuter nouns that end in "-on"; the ablative case ending is simply taken by analogy from in vivo and in vitro.
In statu nascendi
"In the state of being born" — just as something is about to begin.
"Thus (it is) true" — i.e. "thus indeed". A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes".
Ite, missa est
"Leave, the mass is finished" — the final words of the Roman Missal (literally "go, it is dismissed", i.e. the congregation is dismissed, or "go, this is the mass", i.e. there is no more mass to be said)
"Theological hatred" — a name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes.
"All works" — the collected works of some author.
"Posthumous works" — i.e. published after the author's death.
Opere citato (op. cit.)
"In work (already) cited" — used in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used.
Ophidia in herba
"A snake in the grass" — any hidden danger or unknown risk.
"With peace" — used to indicate that the speaker contradicts someone else: "...but acquired characteristics are not inherited, paceLamarck..."
"With your permission."
Panem et circenses
"Bread and circus plays" — Juvenal, Satires 10, 81, describing all that was needed for the emperors to placate the Roman mob, and today used to describe any public entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters.
Through the agency (of) — 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").
"By itself" or "in itself" — i.e. without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc.; for instance, negligence per se.
Estimating the full extent of the environmental damages caused by exotic species and the number of species extinctions they have caused is difficult because little is known about the estimated 750,000 species in the United States, half of which have not even been described (Raven and Johnson 1992).
Non-indigenous weeds are spreading and invading approximately 700,000 ha/yr of the U.S. wildlife habitat (Babbitt 1998).
In addition, based on the earlier discussion of pests in lawns, gardens, and golf courses, we estimate the control costs of plant pathogens in lawns, gardens, and golf courses to be at least $2 billion/yr.
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