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Common Latin Phrases

Common Latin Phrases in English

TermDefinition
*ad hoc a temporary committee formed for a special purpose
ad infinitum to infinity; forever; the sky's the limit
ad nauseam repeating or continuing to the point of boredom
alias a pseudonym or false name that hides one’s true identity
alibi a legal defense where the accused shows that he was elsewhere at the time the crime was committed
alma mater refers to the university or high school one attended
Anno Domini (A.D.) abbreviation commonly used in calendars to mark years since the birth of Jesus of Nazareth
alumni the graduates of a school or college
bona fide genuine; legit; real
carpe diem literally "seize the day" - a piece of advice to live each moment to the fullest
caveat emptor literally "let the buyer beware" - a legal principal that the buyer is responsible for checking the quality of goods before sale (it may be a clunker).
circa (for dates) around; approximately
compos mentis sane; thinking clearly
cum laude literally "with praise"; it's a cumulative award for academic success for graduates
curriculum vitae a resumé
de facto in fact; real
e.g. for example
ergo therefore
*errata errors
et cetera (etc.) and so on
ex post facto literally, "after the fact" - laws that punish crimes that were legal when committed
i.e. "that is", in other words
in re about; concerning; regarding
in vitro taking place outside a living organism (especially in petri dishes or test tubes); artificial
inter alia among other things
magnam opus masterpiece
mea culpa "my fault”; “my bad"; used in apologies or in prayers for forgiveness
per annum for each year
per capita for each person
per se in itself; intrinsically, not for other reasons or causes
persona non grata an unacceptable or unwelcome person
post-mortem an examination of a dead body; autopsy
pro rata proportional(ly); at the given rate
quid pro quo something (usually favors) given for something else; similar to "this for that," “tit for tat,” or “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours"
requiescat in pace; (R.I.P.) literally, “may he rest in peace” - a benediction for the dead often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers
semper fidelis literally, “always faithful” - the motto of several institutions, including the U.S. Marine Corps
(sic) Used to point out deliberate errors in quoted text, when those errors also appeared in the original source
status quo the existing “state of affairs”
tabula rasa literally a "blank slate" - a term used for a new beginning
terra firma literally “solid land” - the Earth; the ground (not sea or sky)
verbatim word for word; in exactly the same words
versus; vs.; v. against
vice versa opposite; the other way round
a.m./p.m. (ante/post meridiem) before noon / after noon
interim the time between two events
memorandum; memo A brief note serving as a reminder
p.s.; post scriptum a brief note added to an already finished letter
pro/contra for/against
Created by: bbentrup