Latin Phrases In English

Here is a quick list of Latin expressions used in English. Note that the English meanings are not necessarily literal translations.

ab extra – from without

ab initio – from the beginning

absit omen – may there be no ill omen

ad absurdum– to the point of absurdity

ad finem – to the end, towards the end

ad hoc – for this purpose

ad infinitum – to infinity

ad nauseam – to the point where one becomes disgusted

ad valorem – according to the value

alma mater – benign mother- applied by old students to their university

alter ego – one’s second half

amor vincit omnia – love conquers all

Anno Domini – in the year of our Lord

annus mirabilis – year of wonders

ante bellum – before the war

a priori – based on theory rather than observation

aqua vitae – water of life

ars longa, vita brevis – art is long, life is short

bona fides – in good faith, genuine

carpe diem – seize the day, enjoy the present day

casus belli – an act justifying war

caveat emptor – let the buyer beware

de facto – from the fact, actual or possibility

de jure – in law, by right

dramatis personae – characters of the play

errare est humanum – to err is human

et tu, Brute! – And you, too, Brutus! (said to be Julius Caesar’s last words)

exempli gratia – by way of example

ex cathedra – with authority; used especially of those pronouncements of the Pope that are considered infallible.

ex gratia – as an act of grace

ex officio – by virtue of his office

favete linguis – favour me with your tongues, i.e. be silent

fiat justitia, ruat coelum – let justice be done, though the heavens fall

fiat lux – let there be light

honoris causa – for the sake of honour, honorary

in loco parentis – in the place of a parent

in memoriam – in memory, to the memory of

in situ – situated in the original or natural position

ipse dixit – he himself said it

in vino veritas – in wine there is truth

lapsus linguae – a slip of the tongue

magnum opus – a great work

male fide – with bad faith, treacherously

memento mori – remember that you must die

modus operandi – plan of working

persona non grata – unacceptable or unwelcome person

post mortem – after death

prima facie – on the first view

sic transit gloria mundi – so passes away earthly glory

sine die – without a day being appointed

sine qua non – without which not, an indispensable condition

status quo – the state in which things as they are now

sub judice – under consideration

ubique – everywhere

ultra vires – beyond one’s powers

veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered

vice versa – the terms being reversed

viva voce – by the living voice, orally

vox populi, vox Dei – the voice of the people is the voice of God


Get the latest updates

Subscribe in a reader

Prefer Email?
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.