Latin Phrases


It’s a matter of taste and style, but not long ago American writers attempted to demonstrate their credentials to the world by including Latin and French phrases within works. A dash of Latin was expected of the moderately educated throughout the Western world.

– Words and Phrases –

annus mirabilis - wonderful year

arbiter elegantiae - judge of the elegant; one who knows the good things in life

bona fides - good faith; credentials

carpe diem - sieze the day; enjoy the present

casus belli - cause justifying a war

caveat emptor - buyer beware

cui bono? - for whose advantage?

caeteris paribus - all things being equal

de facto - of fact; it is

de gustibus non est disputandum - no disputing tastes; there is no accounting for taste

Dei gratia - by the grace of God

Deo gratias - thanks to God

Deo volente - God willing

dis aliter visum - it seemed otherwise to the gods

Dominus vobiscum - Lord be with you

dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - sweet and seemly it is to die for one’s country

ecce homo - behold man

ex cathedra - with authority

ex more - with or according to customs

exempli gratia - for example (e.g.)

genius loci - spirit of the location

hic et ubique - here and everywhere

hinc illae lacrimae - hence, those tears

humanum est errare - to err is human; human is to err

id est - that is (i.e.)

in extremis - at death

in hoc signo vinces - by this sign, you conquer

in loco parentis - in place of the parent

in medias res - into the middle of things; the heart of the matter

in omnia paratus - prepared for all; ready for anything

in perpetuum - forever; perpetually

in propia persona - in person; in one’s own life or words

in statu quo - as things were

in toto - entirely; in total

ipso jure - the law itself

jure divino - Divine law

labor omnia vincit - labor conquers all things; effort results in victory

laborare est orare - to work is to pray

laus Deo - praise God

loco citato - in the location cited

loquitur - he speaks

mens sana in corpore sano - of sound mind in a healthy body

meum et tuum - mine and yours

modus operandi - mode of operating

morituri te salutamus - we who are about to die, salute you

motu proprio - of one’s own accord; on your own

multum in parvo - there is much in little

nemo me impune lacessit - no one attacks me with impunity

nil admirari - wondering at nothing

nolens volens - willing or not

Nota Bene - note well; pay special attention to

omnia vincit amor - love conquers all

opere citato - in the volume cited; in the book cited

otium cum dignitate - leisure with dignity

passim - here and there

pater patriae - father of his country

pax vobiscum - peace be with you

persona non grata - unwelcome person

primus inter pares - first among equals

pro bono publico - for the public good

pro Deo et ecclesia - for God and the Church

pro forma - as a matter of form; standard

quod erat demonstrandum - which was demonstrated; that which was shown

requiescat in pace - rest in peace

sic - thus; so it was

sic passim - so throughout

sic semper tyrannis - thus always to tyrants

sine die - some day; not a particular time

sine quo non - without which, nothing; it is essential

tempus fugit - time flies

timeo Danaos et dona ferentes - I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts

verbatim et literatim - word for word, letter for letter


Now, even if you were not fortunate enough to take Latin in school, you possess enough to impress some editors and readers. Use these phrases wisely… and sparingly.



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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 30-Nov-2013
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach