List Of Legal Maxims





a bene placito

from one who has been pleased well

Or "at will", "at one's pleasure". This phrase, and its Italian (beneplacito) and Spanish (beneplácito) derivatives, are synonymous with the more common ad libitum (at pleasure).

a caelo usque ad centrum

from the sky to the center

Or "from heaven all the way to the center of the earth". In law, can refer to the obsolete cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos maxim of property ownership ("for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths").

a capite ad calcem

from head to heel

From top to bottom; all the way through. Equally a pedibus usque ad caput.

a contrario

from the opposite

Equivalent to "on the contrary" or "au contraire". An argumentum a contrario is an "argument from the contrary", an argument or proof by contrast or direct opposite.

a Deucalione

since Deucalion

A long time ago. From Gaius Lucilius (Satires, 6, 284)

a fortiori

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.

a mari usque ad mare

from sea to sea

From Psalm 72:8, "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae" (KJV: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth"). National motto of Canada.

a pedibus usque ad caput

from feet to head

Completely. Similar to the English expressions "from tip to toe" or "from top to toe". Equally a capite ad calcem. See also ab ovo usque ad mala.

a posse ad esse

from being able to being

"From possibility to actuality" or "from being possible to being actual"

a posteriori

from the latter

Based on observation (i.e., empirical knowledge), the reverse of a priori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known after a proof has been carried out. In philosophy, used to denote something that can be known from empirical experience.

a priori

from the former

Presupposed, the reverse of a posteriori. Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known or postulated before a proof has been carried out. In philosophy, used to denote something that can be known without empirical experience. In everyday speech, it denotes something occurring or being known before the event.

ab absurdo

from the absurd

Said of an argument that seeks to prove a statement's validity by pointing out the absurdity of an opponent's position (cf. appeal to ridicule) or that an assertion is false because of its absurdity. Not to be confused with a reductio ad absurdum, which is usually a valid logical argument.

ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia

a consequence from an abuse to a use is not valid

Inferences regarding something's use from its misuse are invalid. Rights abused are still rights (cf. abusus non tollit usum).

ab aeterno

from the eternal

Literally, "from the everlasting" or "from eternity". Thus, "from time immemorial", "since the beginning of time" or "from an infinitely remote time in the past". In theology, often indicates something, such as the universe, that was created outside of time.

ab antiquo

from the ancient

From ancient times.

ab epistulis

from the letter

Or, having to do with correspondence.

ab extra

from beyond

A legal term meaning "from without". From external sources, rather than from the self or the mind (ab intra).

ab hinc

from here on

Often rendered abhinc (which in Latin means simply "since" or "ago").

ab imo pectore

from the bottom of my heart

More literally, "from the deepest chest". Attributed to Julius Caesar. Can mean "with deepest affection" or "sincerely".

ab inconvenienti

from an inconvenient thing

New Latin for "based on unsuitability", "from inconvenience" or "from hardship". An argumentum ab inconvenienti is one based on the difficulties involved in pursuing a line of reasoning, and is thus a form of appeal to consequences; it refers to a rule in law that an argument from inconvenience has great weight.

ab incunabulis

from the cradle

Thus, "from the beginning" or "from infancy". Incunabula is commonly used in English to refer to the earliest stage or origin of something, and especially to copies of books that predate the spread of the printing press around AD 1500.

ab initio

from the beginning

"At the outset", referring to an inquiry or investigation. In literature, refers to a story told from the beginning rather than in medias res (from the middle). In law, refers to something being the case from the start or from the instant of the act, rather than from when the court declared it so. A judicial declaration of the invalidity of a marriage ab initio is a nullity. In science, refers to the first principles. In other contexts, often refers to beginner or training courses. Ab initio mundi means "from the beginning of the world".

ab intestato

from an intestate

From someone who dies with no legal will (cf. ex testamento).

ab intra

from within

From the inside. The opposite of ab extra.

ab irato

from an angry man

By a person who is angry. Used in law to describe a decision or action that is detrimental to those it affects and was made based on hatred or anger, rather than on reason. The form irato is masculine; however, this does not mean it applies only to men, rather 'person' is meant, as the phrase probably elides "homo," not "vir."

ab origine

from the source

From the origin, beginning, source, or commencement—i.e., "originally". The source of the word aboriginal.

ab ovo usque ad mala

from the egg to the apples

From Horace, Satire 1.3. Means "from beginning to end", based on the Roman main meal typically beginning with an egg dish and ending with fruit (cf. the English phrase soup to nuts). Thus, ab ovo means "from the beginning", and can also connote thoroughness.

ab uno disce omnes

from one, learn all

From Virgil's Aeneid. Refers to situations where a single example or observation indicates a general or universal truth.

ab urbe condita (a.u.c.)

from the city having been founded

Refers to the founding of Rome, which occurred in 753 BC according to Livy's count. Used as a reference point in ancient Rome for establishing dates, before being supplanted by other systems. Also anno urbis conditae (a.u.c.) (literally "in the year of the founded city").

ab utili

from utility

Used of an argument.

absens haeres non erit

an absent person will not be an heir

In law, refers to the principle that someone who is not present is unlikely to inherit.

absente reo (abs. re.)

with the defendant being absent

In the absence of the accused.

absit iniuria verbis

let injury by words be absent

Expresses the wish that no insult or wrong be conveyed by the speaker's words, i.e., "no offense". Also rendered absit injuria verbis; see also absit invidia.

absit invidia

let ill will be absent

Although similar to the English expression "no offense", absit invidia is not a mere social gesture to avoid causing offense, but also a way to ward off the harm that some people superstitiously believe animosity can cause others. Also extended to absit invidia verbo, meaning "may ill will be absent from the word" (cf. absit iniuria verbis).

absit omen

let an omen be absent

In other words, "let there not be an omen here". Expresses the wish that something seemingly ill-boding does not turn out to be an omen for future events, and calls on divine protection against evil.

absolutum dominium

absolute dominion

Total power or sovereignty.


I acquit

A legal term said by a judge acquitting a defendant following a trial. Te absolvo or absolvo te, translated, "I forgive you," said by Roman Catholic priests during the Sacrament of Confession prior to Vatican II.

abundans cautela non nocet

abundant caution does no harm

Thus, one can never be too careful; even excessive precautions don't hurt anyone.

abusus non tollit usum

misuse does not remove use

An axiom stating that just because something can be, or has been, abused, does not mean that it must be, or always is. Abuse does not, in itself, justify denial of use

abyssus abyssum invocat

deep calleth unto deep

From Psalms 42:7; some translations have 'Sea calls to sea'.

accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo

no one ought to accuse himself except in the Presence of God

A legal maxim denoting that any accused person is entitled to make a plea of not guilty, and also that a witness is not obliged to give a response or submit a document that will incriminate himself. A very similar phrase is nemo tenetur seipsum accusare.

Accipe Hoc

Take this

Motto of 848 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Navy.

acta est fabula plaudite

The play has been performed; applaud!

A common ending to ancient Roman comedies, also claimed by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars to have been Caesar Augustus' last words. Applied by Sibelius to the third movement of his String Quartet no. 2 so that his audience would realize it was the last one, as a fourth would normally be expected.

acta non verba

actions, not words

Motto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Acta Sanctorum

Deeds of the Saints

Also used in the singular, Acta Sancti (Deeds of the Saint), preceding a specific Saint's name. A common title of works in hagiography.

actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea

The act is not guilty unless the mind is also guilty.

A legal term outlining the presumption of mens rea in a crime.

actus reus

guilty act

The actual crime that is committed, rather than the intent or thought process leading up to the crime. Thus, the external elements of a crime, as contrasted with mens rea, the internal elements.

ad absurdum

to the absurd

In logic, to the point of being silly or nonsensical. See also reductio ad absurdum. Not to be confused with ab absurdo (from the absurd).

adaequatio intellectûs nostri cum re

conformity of our minds to the fact

A phrase used in Epistemology regarding the nature of understanding.

ad abundantiam

to abundance

In legal language, used when providing additional evidence to an already sufficient collection. Also used commonly, as an equivalent of "as if this wasn't enough".

ad astra

to the stars

Name or motto (in full or part) of many organizations/publications/etc.

ad astra per aspera

to the stars through difficulty

Motto of Kansas, and other organisations. The phrase is also translated as "A rough road leads to the stars", as on the Launch Complex 34 memorial plaque for the astronauts of Apollo 1.

ad astra per alia porci

to the stars on the wings of a pig

A favorite saying of John Steinbeck. A professor told him that he would be an author when pigs flew. Every book he wrote is printed with this insignia.

ad captandum vulgus

in order to court the crowd

To do something to appeal to the masses. Often used of politicians who make false or insincere promises to appeal to popular interest. An argumentum ad captandum is an argument designed to please the crowd.

ad eundem

to the same

An ad eundem degree, from the Latin ad eundem gradum (to the same step" or "to the same degree), is a courtesy degree awarded by one university or college to an alumnus of another. It is not an honorary degree, but a recognition of the formal learning that earned the degree at another college.

ad fontes

to the sources

A motto of Renaissance humanism. Also used in the Protestant Reformation.

ad fundum

to the bottom

Said during a generic toast, equivalent to "bottoms up!" In other contexts, generally means "back to the basics".

ad hoc

to this

Generally means "for this", in the sense of improvised on the spot or designed for only a specific, immediate purpose.

Rather than relying on ad hoc decisions, we should form a consistent plan for dealing with emergency situations.

ad hominem

to the man

Connotations of "against the man". Typically used in argumentum ad hominem, a logical fallacy consisting of criticizing a person when the subject of debate is the person's ideas or argument, on the mistaken assumption that the validity of an argument is to some degree dependent on the qualities of the proponent.

ad honorem

to the honor

Generally means "for the honor", not seeking any material reward.

ad infinitum

to infinity

Going on forever. Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof.

ad interim (ad int)

for 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

Attributed by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars to Caesar Augustus. The phrase means "never" and is similar to phrases like "when pigs fly". The Kalends (also written Calends) were specific days of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, and so the "Greek Kalends" would never occur.

ad libitum (ad lib)

toward pleasure

Loosely, "according to what pleases" or "as you wish"; libitum comes from the past participle of libere, "to please". It typically indicates in music and theatrical scripts that the performer has the liberty to change or omit something. Ad lib is specifically often used when someone improvises or ignores limitations.

ad litem

to the lawsuit

A legal term referring to a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party who is deemed incapable of representing himself. An individual who acts in this capacity is called a guardian ad litem.

ad lucem

to the light

Motto of Oxford High School (Oxford), the University of Lisbon, Withington Girls' School and St. Bartholomew's School, Newbury, UK

ad maiorem Dei gloriam (AMDG)

To the greater glory of God

Motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Edward Elgar dedicated his oratorio The Dream of Gerontius "A.M.D.G." Often rendered ad majorem Dei gloriam.

ad meliora

Towards better things

motto of St. Patrick's College, Cavan, Ireland

ad mortem

To death

used in medical contexts as a synonym for death

ad multos annos

To many years!

Expresses a wish for a long life. Similar to the English expression "Many happy returns!"

ad nauseam

to the point of disgust

Literally, "to the point of nausea". Sometimes used as a humorous alternative to ad infinitum. An argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy involving basing one's argument on prolonged repetition, i.e., repeating something so much that people are "sick of it".

ad oculos

With your own eyes.

Meaning "obvious on sight" or "obvious to anyone that sees it".

ad pedem litterae

to the foot of the letter

Thus, "exactly as it is written". Similar to the English idiom "to the letter", meaning "to the last detail".

ad perpetuam memoriam

to the perpetual memory

Generally precedes "of" and a person's name, and is used to wish for someone to be remembered long after death.

ad pondus omnium (ad pond om)

to the weight of all things

More loosely, "considering everything's weight". The abbreviation was historically used by physicians and others to signify that the last prescribed ingredient is to weigh as much as all of the previously mentioned ones.

ad quod damnum

to what damage

Meaning "according to the harm" or "in proportion to the harm". The phrase is used in tort law as a measure of damages inflicted, implying that a remedy, if one exists, ought to correspond specifically and only to the damage suffered (cf. damnum absque injuria).

ad referendum
(ad ref)

to that which must be brought back

Loosely "subject to reference", meaning that something has been approved provisionally, but must still receive official approval. Not necessarily related to a referendum.

ad rem

to the matter

Thus, "to the point". Without digression.

Thank you for your concise, ad rem response.

ad terminum qui praeteriit

for the term which has passed

A legal term for a writ of entry ad terminum qui praeteriit [for the term which has passed].1

ad undas

to the waves

Equivalent to "to hell".

ad usum Delphini

for the use 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 censored for his heir apparent, the Dauphin. Also rarely in usum Delphini (into the use of the Dauphin).

ad usum proprium (ad us. propr.)

for one's own use

ad utrumque paratus

prepared for either alternative

Also the motto of Lund University, with the implied alternatives being the book (study) and the sword (defending the country in war).

ad valorem

to the value

According to an object's value. Used in commerce to refer to ad valorem taxes, taxes based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property.

ad victoriam

to victory

More commonly translated into "for victory" this is a battlecry of the Romans.

ad vitam aeternam

to eternal life

Also "to life everlasting". A common Biblical phrase.

ad vitam aut culpam

for life or until fault

Usually used of a term of office.


thing to be added

An item to be added, especially a supplement to a book. The plural is addenda.

adequatio intellectus et rei

correspondence of the mind and reality

One of the definitions of the truth. When the mind has the same form as reality, we think truth. Also found as adequatio rei et intellectus.


I am here

Equivalent to "Present!" or "Here!" The opposite of absum (I am absent).

adversus solem ne loquitor

Don't speak against the sun

I.e., don't argue the obvious

aegri somnia

a sick man's dreams

From Horace, Ars Poetica, 7. Loosely, "troubled dreams".


Justice or equality


of age" / "aged" (in the sense of: "age: ...)

Abbreviation of "aetatis"; even more abbreviated (and more common): "aet." — e.g.: "aetat 36" = "36 years old"/ "aet. 34" = "34 years old"

aetatis suae

of his own age

Thus, "at the age of". Appeared on portraits, gravestones, etc. Sometimes extended to anno aetatis suae (AAS), "in the year of his age". Sometimes shortened to just aetatis or aetat (aet.).

The tomb reads Anno 1629 Aetatis Suae 46 because she died in 1629 at age 46.


he asserted

A legal term from Medieval Latin referring to a sworn statement. From fides, "faith".

age quod agis

Do what you are doing.

More often translated as "Do well whatever you do", this phrase is used as the motto of several Catholic schools, including Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. According to the Catholic Culture dictionary, this phrase is used to remind people to concentrate on the task at hand, rather than scattering their attention.


things to be done

Originally comparable to a to-do list, an ordered list of things to be done. Now generalized to include any planned course of action. The singular, agendum (thing that must be done), is rarely used.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God

Latin translation from John 1:36, where John the Baptist exclaims "Ecce Agnus Dei!" (Behold the Lamb of God!) upon seeing Jesus, referring both to a lamb's connotations of innocence and to a sacrificial lamb.

alea iacta est

the die is cast

Said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC, according to Suetonius. The original meaning was roughly equivalent to the English phrase "the game is afoot", but its modern meaning, like that of the phrase "crossing the Rubicon", denotes passing the point of no return on a momentous decision and entering into a risky endeavor where the outcome is left to chance.

alenda lux ubi orta libertas

Let learning be cherished where liberty has arisen.

The motto of Davidson College.



An assumed name or pseudonym. Similar to alter ego, but more specifically referring to a name, not to a "second self".



A legal defense where a defendant attempts to show that he was elsewhere at the time a crime was committed.

His alibi is sound; he gave evidence that he was in another city on the night of the murder.

alis aquilae

on an eagle's wings

taken from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40. "But those who wait for the Lord shall find their strength renewed, they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not grow faint."

alis grave nil

nothing is heavy to those who have wings

motto of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro — PUC-RIO).

alis volat propris

she flies with her own wings

State motto of Oregon. Can also be rendered alis volat propriis.


Rather big


Not that big

aliquid stat pro aliquo

something that stands for something else

A foundational definition for semiotics

alma mater

nourishing mother

Term used for the university one attends or has attended. Another university term, matriculation, is also 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.

alter ego

other I

Another self, a second persona or alias. Can be used to describe different facets or identities of a single character, or different characters who seem representations of the same personality. Often used of a fictional character's secret identity.

alterius non sit qui suus esse potest

Let no man belong to another that can belong to himself

Final sentence from Aesop ascribed fable (see also Aesop's Fables) "The Frogs Who Desired a King" as appears in the collection commonly known as the "Anonymus Neveleti" (fable XXIb. De ranis a Iove querentibus regem). Motto of Paracelsus. Usually attributed to Cicero.

alterum non laedere

to not wound another

One of Justinian I's three basic legal precepts.

alumna or


Sometimes rendered with the gender-neutral alumn or alum in English. A graduate or former student of a school, college or university. Alumna (pl. alumnae) is a female pupil, and alumnus (pl. alumni) is a male pupil—alumni is generally used for a group of both males and females. The word derives from alere, "to nourish", a graduate being someone who was raised and taken care of at the school (cf. alma mater).

amicus curiae

friend of the court

An adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of powerful group, like a Roman Curia. In current U.S. legal usage, an amicus curiae is a third party allowed to submit a legal opinion (in the form of an amicus brief) to the court.

amittere legem terrae

to lose the law of the land

An obsolete legal term signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.

amor est vitae essentia

love is the essence of life

As said by Robert B. Mackay, Australian Analyst.

amor et melle et felle est fecundissmismus

love is rich with both honey and venom

amor fati

love of fate

Nietzscheian alternative world view to memento mori [remember you must die]. Nietzsche believed amor fati to be more life affirming.

amor omnibus idem

love is the same for all

from Virgil's Georgics III.

amor patriae

love of one's country


amor vincit omnia

love conquers all

Written on bracelet worn by the Prioress in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. See also veritas omnia vincit and labor omnia vincit.


in English

Used before the anglicized version of a word or name. For example "Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland".

anno (an.)

in the year

Also used in such phrases as anno urbis conditae (see ab urbe condita), Anno Domini, and anno regni.

Anno Domini (A.D.)

in the Year of the Lord

Short for Anno Domini Nostri Iesus Christi (in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ), the predominantly used system for dating years across the world, used with the Gregorian calendar, and based on the perceived year of the birth of Jesus Christ. The years before Jesus' birth were once marked with a.C.n (Ante Christum Natum, Before Christ was Born), but now use the English abbreviation BC (Before Christ).

Augustus Caesar was born in the year 63 BC, and died AD 14.

anno regni

In the year of the reign

Precedes "of" and the current ruler.

Annuit Cœptis

He Has Approved the Undertakings

Motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill. "He" refers to God, and so the official translation given by the U.S. State Department is "He [God] has favored our undertakings".

annus horribilis

horrible year

A recent pun on annus mirabilis, first used by Queen Elizabeth II to describe what a bad year 1992 had been for her, and subsequently occasionally used to refer to many other years perceived as "horrible". In Classical Latin, this phrase would actually mean "terrifying year". See also annus terribilis.

annus mirabilis

wonderful year

Used particularly to refer to the years 1665–1666, during which Isaac Newton made revolutionary inventions and discoveries in calculus, motion, optics and gravitation. Annus Mirabilis is also the title of a poem by John Dryden written in the same year. It has since been used to refer to other years, especially to 1905, when Albert Einstein made equally revolutionary discoveries concerning the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion and the special theory of relativity. (See Annus Mirabilis Papers)

annus terribilis

dreadful year

Used to describe 1348, the year the Black Death began to afflict Europe.

ante bellum

before the war

As in "status quo ante bellum", "as it was before the war". Commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War.

ante cibum (a.c.)

before food

Medical shorthand for "before meals".

ante litteram

before the letter

Said of an expression or term that describes something which existed before the phrase itself was introduced or became common.

Alan Turing was a computer scientist ante litteram, since the field of "computer science" was not yet recognized in Turing's day.

ante meridiem (a.m.)

before midday

The period from midnight to noon (cf. post meridiem).

ante mortem

before death

See post mortem (after death).

ante prandium (a.p.)

before lunch

Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions to denote "before a meal". Less common is post prandium, "after lunch".

apparatus criticus

critical apparatus

Textual notes. A list of other readings relating to a document, especially in a scholarly edition of a text.

aqua (aq.)


aqua fortis

strong water

Refers to nitric acid.

aqua pura

pure water

Or "clear water", "clean water".

aqua regia

royal water

refers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.

aqua vitae

water of life

"Spirit of Wine" in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, brandy (eau de vie) in France, and akvavit in Scandinavia.

aquila non capit muscam

an eagle doesn't catch flies

A noble or important person doesn't deal with insignificant issues.

arare litus

to plough the seashore

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Wasted labour.

arbiter elegantiarum

judge of tastes

One who prescribes, rules on, or is a recognized authority on matters of social behavior and taste. Said of Petronius. Also rendered arbiter elegentiae (judge of a taste).

arcus senilis

senile bow

An opaque circle around the cornea of the eye, often seen in elderly people.

Argentum album

white money

Also "silver coin". Mentioned in Domesday, signifies bullion, or silver uncoined.


for arguing

For the sake of argument. Said when something is done purely in order to discuss a matter or illustrate a point.

Let us assume, arguendo, that your claim is correct.



Or "reasoning", "inference", "appeal", "proof". The plural is argumenta. Commonly used in the names of logical arguments and fallacies, preceding phrases such as a silentio (by silence), ad antiquitatem (to antiquity), ad baculum (to the stick), ad captandum (to capturing), ad consequentiam (to the consequence), ad crumenam (to the purse), ad feminam (to the woman), ad hominem (to the person), ad ignorantiam (to ignorance), ad judicium (to judgment), ad lazarum (to poverty), ad logicam (to logic), ad metum (to fear), ad misericordiam (to pity), ad nauseam (to nausea), ad novitatem (to novelty), ad personam (to the character), ad numerum (to the number), ad odium (to spite), ad populum (to the people), ad temperantiam (to moderation), ad verecundiam (to reverence), ex silentio (from silence), and in terrorem (into terror).

ars [est] celare artem

art [is] to conceal art

An aesthetic ideal that good art should appear natural rather than contrived. Of medieval origin, but often incorrectly attributed to Ovid.2

ars gratia artis

art for art's sake

Translated into Latin from Baudelaire's "L'art pour l'art". Motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This phrasing is a direct transliteration of 'art for the sake of art.' While very symmetrical for the MGM logo, the better Latin word order is 'Ars artis gratia.'

ars longa vita brevis

art is long, life is short

The Latin translation by Seneca (De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1) of a phrase from Hippocrates, often used out of context. The "art" referred to in the original aphorism was the craft of medicine, which took a lifetime to acquire.

asinus ad lyram

an ass to the lyre

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). An awkward or incompetent individual.

asinus asinum fricat

the jackass rubs the jackass

Used to describe two people lavishing excessive praise on one another.

assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sit

the assured does not seek profit but just indemnity for the loss

Refers to the insurance principle that the indemnity cannot be larger than the loss.

audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret

slander boldly, something always sticks

from Francis Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum (1623)



Referred to the general level of prestige a person had in Ancient Roman society.

audax at fidelis

bold but faithful

Motto of Queensland.


let us dare

Motto of Otago University Students' Association, a direct response to the university's motto of sapere aude (dare to be wise).

audemus jura nostra defendere

we dare to defend our rights

State motto of Alabama, adopted in 1923. Translated into Latin from a paraphrase of the stanza "Men who their duties know / But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain" from the poem "What Constitutes a State?" by 18th-century author William Jones.

audentes fortuna iuvat

fortune favors the bold

From Virgil, Aeneid X, 284 (where the first word is in the archaic form audentis). 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. Often quoted as audaces fortuna iuvat. Also the motto of the Portuguese Army Commandos.

audere est facere

to dare is to do

The motto of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, the professional Association Football (soccer) team based in London, England.

audi alteram partem

hear the other side

A legal principle of fairness. Also worded as audiatur et altera pars (let the other side be heard too).

audio hostem

I hear the enemy

Motto of 845 NACS Royal Navy

aurea mediocritas

golden mean

From Horace's Odes II, 10. Refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes. The golden mean concept is common to many philosophers, chiefly Aristotle.

auri sacra fames

accursed hunger for gold

From Virgil, Aeneid 3,57. Later quoted by Seneca as "quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames": "What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!"

auribus teneo lupum

I hold a wolf by the ears

A common ancient proverb, this version from Terence. Indicates that one is in a dangerous situation where both holding on and letting go could be deadly. A modern version is "To have a tiger by the tail."

aurora australis

southern dawn

The Southern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Southern Hemisphere. It is less well-known than the Northern Lights, or aurorea borealis. The Aurora Australis is also the name of an Antarctic icebreaker ship.

aurora borealis

northern dawn

The Northern Lights, an aurora that appears in the Northern Hemisphere.

aurum potestas est

gold is power

Motto of the fictional Fowl family in the Artemis Fowl series, written by Eoin Colfer

auspicium melioris aevi

hope of a better age

Motto of Raffles Institution, a secondary school in Singapore.

aut Caesar aut nihil

either Caesar or nothing

Indicates that the only valid possibility is to be emperor, or a similarly prominent position. More generally, "all or nothing". Adopted by Cesare Borgia as a personal motto.

aut concilio aut ense

either by meeting or by the sword

Thus, either through reasoned discussion or through war. A former motto of Chile, replaced by post tenebras lux.

aut pax aut bellum

either peace or war

The motto of the Gunn Clan.

aut viam inveniam aut faciam

Either I shall find a way, or I shall make one


aut vincere aut mori

either to conquer or to die

A general pledge of "victory or death" (cf. victoria aut mors).

ave atque vale

Hail and farewell!

From Catullus, carmen 101, addressed to his deceased brother.

ave Caesar morituri te salutant

Hail, Caesar! The ones who are about to die salute you!

From Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Claudius 21. The traditional greeting of gladiators prior to battle. morituri is also translated as "we who are about to die" based on the context in which it was spoken, and this translation is sometimes aided by changing the Latin to nos morituri te salutamus. Also rendered with imperator instead of Caesar.

ave Europa nostra vera Patria

Hail, Europe, our true Fatherland!

Anthem of Pan-Europeanist

Ave Maria

Hail, Mary

A Roman Catholic prayer to Mary, the mother of Jesus.





barba tenus sapientes

wise as far as the beard

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). In appearance wise, but not necessarily so.

Beata Virgo Maria (BVM)

Blessed Virgin Mary

A common name in the Roman Catholic Church for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The genitive, Beatae Mariae Virginis (BMV), occurs often as well, appearing with such words as horae (hours), litaniae (litany) and officium (office).

beatae memoriae

of blessed memory

See in memoriam.

beati pauperes spiritu

Blessed in spirit [are] the poor.

Vulgate, Matthew 5:3. The full quote is "beati pauperes spiritu quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum" ("Blessed in spirit [are] the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens" - one of the Beatitudes).

beati possidentes

blessed [are] those who possess

Translated from Euripides.

beatus homo qui invenit sapientiam

blessed is the man who finds wisdom

from Proverbs 3:13; set to music in a 1577 motet of the same name by Orlando di Lasso.

bella gerant alii

let others wage war

Originally from the Habsburg marriages of 1477 and 1496, written as bella gerant alii tu felix Austria nube (let others wage war; you, fortunate Austria, marry). Said by King Matthias

bellum omnium contra omnes

war of all against all

A phrase used by Thomas Hobbes to describe the state of nature.

bibo ergo sum

I drink, therefore I am

bis dat qui cito dat

he gives twice, who gives promptly

Thus a gift that is given quickly without hesitation is worth twice as much.

bis in die (bid)

twice in a day

Medical shorthand for "twice a day".

bona fide

in good faith

In other words, "well-intentioned", "fairly". In modern contexts, often has connotations of "genuinely" or "sincerely". Bona fides is not the plural (which would be bonis fidebus), but the nominative, and means simply "good faith". Opposite of mala fide.

bona notabilia

In law, if a person dying has goods, or good debts, in another diocese or jurisdiction within that province, besides his goods in the diocese where he dies, amounting to a certain minimum value, he is said to have bona notabilia; in which case, the probat of his will belongs to the archbishop of that province.

bona officia

good services

A nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations.

bona patria

A jury or assize of countrymen, or good neighbors.

bona vacantia

vacant goods

United Kingdom legal term for ownerless property that passes to The Crown.

boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere

It is of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to flay them.

Tiberius reportedly said this to his regional commanders, as a warning against taxing the populace excessively.

bonum commune communitatis

common good of the community

Or "general welfare". Refers to what benefits a society, as opposed to bonum commune hominis, which refers to what is good for an individual.

bonum commune hominis

common good of a man

Refers to an individual's happiness, which is not "common" in that it serves everyone, but in that individuals tend to be able to find happiness in similar things.


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 plenæ (in those days there were plenty of great things), which the scribe misread as indie busillis magnis plenæ (in India there were plenty of large busillis).





cacoethes scribendi

bad habit of writing

From Satires of Juvenal. An insatiable urge to write. Hypergraphia

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

Kill them. For the Lord knows those who are his.

Supposed statement by Abbot Arnaud Amalric before the massacre of Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade, recorded 30 years later, according to Caesar of Heisterbach.

cadavera vero innumera

truly countless bodies

Used by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.

caetera desunt

the rest is wanting

calix meus inebrians

my cup makes me drunk

camera obscura

dark chamber

An optical device used in drawing, and an ancestor of modern photography. The source of the word camera.

canes pugnaces

war dogs" or "fighting dogs

canis canem edit

dog eats dog

Refers to a situation where nobody is safe from anybody, each man for himself.

capax infiniti

capable of the infinite

a term referring (at least) to some Christian doctrines of the incarnation of the Son of God when it asserts that humanity is capable of housing full divinity within its finite frame. Related to the Docetic heresy and sometimes a counterpoint to the Reformed 'extracalvinisticum.'

caput inter nubila (condit)

head in the clouds

So aggrandized as to be beyond practical (earthly) reach or understanding (from Virgil's Aeneid and the shorter form appears in John Locke's Two Treatises of Government)

Caritas Christi

The love of Christ

It implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Franicis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park (Edmonton).

carpe diem

seize the day

An exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. By far the most common translation is "seize the day", though carpere normally means something more like "pluck", and the allusion here is to picking flowers. The phrase collige virgo rosas has a similar sense.

carpe noctem

seize the night

An exhortation to make good use of the night, often used when carpe diem, q.v., would seem absurd, e.g., when observing a deep sky object or conducting a Messier marathon.

Carthago delenda est

Carthage must be destroyed

From Roman senator Cato the Elder, who ended every speech of his between the second and third Punic Wars with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally "For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed." Other translations include "In conclusion, I declare that Carthage must be destroyed." and "Furthermore, I move for Carthage to be destroyed."

casus belli

event of war

Refers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.

causa mortis

cause of death



especially used by doctors of medicine, when they want to warn each other (e.g.: "cave nephrolithiases" in order to warn about side effects of an uricosuric). Spoken aloud in some British public schools by pupils to warn each other of impending authority.

cave canem

beware of the dog

Found written on floor mosaics depicting a dog, at the entrance of Roman houses excavated at Pompeii.

cave laborem

beware of work

cave nil vino

beware of running out of wine

caveat emptor

let the buyer beware

The purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need.

caveat lector

let the reader beware

Used when the writer does not vouch for the accuracy of a text. Probably a recent alteration of caveat emptor.

caveat subscriptor

let the signer beware

The person signing a document is responsible for reading the information about the what the document entails before entering into an agreement.

caveat venditor

let the seller beware

The person selling goods is responsible for providing information about the goods to the purchaser.

caveat utilitor

let the user beware

The user is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need.

Cedant arma togae

let arms yield to the gown

"Let military power yield to civilian power", Cicero, De Officiis. See Toga, it:Cedant arma togae

celerius quam asparagi cocuntur

more swiftly than asparagus is cooked

Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternate mood and spelling of coquere.

cepi corpus

I got the body

In law, it is a return made by the sheriff, upon a capias, or other process to the like purpose; signifying, that he has taken the body of the party.

certum est quod certum reddi potest

It is certain if it is capable of being rendered certain

Often used in law when something is not known, but can be ascertained (e.g. the purchase price on a sale which is to be determined by a third-party valuer)

cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex

When the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceases.

A rule of law becomes ineffective when the reason for its application has ceased to exist or does not correspond to the reality anymore.

cetera desunt

the rest are missing

Also spelled "caetera desunt".

ceteris paribus

with other things equal

Idiomatically translated as "all other things being equal". A phrase which rules out outside changes interfering with a situation.

charta pardonationis se defendendo

a paper of pardon to him who defended himself

The form of a pardon for killing another man in self-defence. (see manslaughter)

charta pardonationis utlagariae

a paper of pardon to the outlaw

The form of a pardon of a man who is outlawed. Also called perdonatio utlagariae.

Christianos ad leones

[Throw the] Christians to the lions!

Christo et Doctrinae

For Christ and Learning

The motto of Furman University.

Christus nos liberavit

Christ has freed us

title of volume I, book 5, chapter XI of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

Christus Rex

Christ the King

A Christian title for Jesus.

circa (c.) or (ca.)


In the sense of "approximately" or "about". Usually used of a date.

circulus in probando

Circle made in testing (a premise)

Circular reasoning. Similar term to circulus vitiosus.

circulus vitiosus

vicious circle

In logic, begging the question, a fallacy involving the presupposition of a proposition in one of the premises (see petitio principii). In science, a positive feedback loop. In economics, a counterpart to the virtuous circle.

citius altius fortius

faster, higher, stronger

Motto of the modern Olympics.

Clamea admittenda in itinere per atturnatum


A writ whereby the king of England could command the justice in eyre to admit one's claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king's service, cannot come in person.

clausum fregit


An action of tresspass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.

claves Sancti Petri

the keys of Saint Peter

A symbol of the Papacy.

clavis aurea

Golden key

The means of discovering hidden or mysterious meanings in texts, particularly applied in theology and alchemy.

clerico admittendo

about to be made a clerk

In law, a writ directed to the bishop, for the admitting a clerk to a benefice upon a ne admittas, tried, and found for the party who procures the writ.

clerico capto per statutum mercatorum


In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk out of prison, who is imprisoned upon the breach of statute merchant.

clerico convicto commisso gaolae in defectu ordinarii deliberando


In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk to his ordinary, that was formerly convicted of felony; by reason that his ordinary did not challenge him according to the privilege of clerks.

clerico intra sacros ordines constituto non eligendo in officium


In law, a writ directed to the bailiffs, etc, that have thrust a bailiwick or beadleship upon one in holy orders; charging them to release him.

Codex Iuris Canonici

Book of Canon Law

The official code of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Corpus Iuris Canonici).

Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt

Those who hurry cross the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mind

Hexameter by Horace (Epistulae I, 11 v.27). Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum (You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky) in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1

cogito ergo sum

I think, therefore I am.

A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.

coitus interruptus

interrupted congress

Aborting sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation—the only permitted form of birth control in some religions.

coitus more ferarum

congress in the way of beasts

A medical euphemism for the doggy-style sexual position.

collige virgo rosas

pick, girl, the roses

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", 1909, by John William Waterhouse.

Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to Carpe diem, from De rosis nascentibus (also titled Idyllium de rosis) attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.

combinatio nova

new combination

It is frequently abbreviated comb. nov.. It is used in the life sciences literature when a new name is introduced, e.g. Klebsiella granulomatis comb. nov..

communibus annis

"in common years"

One year with another; on an average. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary", but "common to every situation"

communibus locis

"in common places"

A term frequently used among philosophical and other writers, implying some medium, or mean relation between several places; one place with another; on a medium. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary", but "common to every situation"

communis opinio

generally accepted view

compos mentis

in control of the mind

Describes someone of sound mind. Sometimes used ironically. Also a legal principle, non compos mentis (not in control of one's faculties), used to describe an insane person.

concordia cum veritate

in harmony with truth

Motto of the University of Waterloo.

concordia salus

salvation through harmony

Motto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.

condemnant quod non intellegunt

They condemn what they do not understand or They condemn because they do not understand (the quod is ambiguous)

condicio sine qua non

condition without which not

A required, indispensable condition. Commonly mistakenly rendered with conditio (seasoning" or "preserving) in place of condicio(arrangement" or "condition).

confer (cf.)

bring together

Thus, "compare". Used as an abbreviation in text to recommend a comparison with another thing (cf. citation signal).

Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.)

Helvetian Confederation

The official name of Switzerland, hence the use of "CH" for its ISO country code, ".ch" for its Internet domain, and "CHF" for the ISO three-letter abbreviation of its currency, the Swiss franc.

coniunctis viribus

with connected strength

Or "with united powers". Sometimes rendered conjunctis viribus.

Consuetudo pro lege servatur

Custom is kept before the law

An inconsistently applied maxim. See also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law)

consummatum est

It is completed.

The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.

contemptus saeculi

scorn for the times

Despising the secular world. The monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values.

contra spem spero

hope against hope

Title of a poem by Lesya Ukrainka

contradictio in terminis

contradiction in terms

A word that makes itself impossible

contraria contrariis curantur

"the opposite is cured with the opposite"

First formulated by Hippocrates to suggest that the diseases are cured with contrary remedies. Antonym of Similia similibus curantur (the diseases are recovered with similar remedies. )

contra bonos mores

against good morals

Offensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.

contra legem

against the law

cor ad cor loquitur

heart speaks to heart

From Augustine's Confessions, referring to a prescribed method of prayer: having a "heart to heart" with God. Commonly used in reference to a later quote by John Henry Cardinal Newman. A motto of Newman Clubs.

cor aut mors

Heart or Death

(Your choice is between) The Heart (Moral Values, Duty, Loyalty) or Death (to stop exist, to no longer matter, to no longer be respected as person of integrity.)

cor meum tibi offero domine prompte et sincere

my heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerely

motto of Calvin College

cor unum

one heart

A popular school motto. Often used as names for religious and other organisations such as the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

coram Deo

in the Presence of God

A phrase from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the Presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.

coram populo

in the presence of the people

Thus, openly.

coram nobis, coram vobis

in our presence, in your presence

Two kinds of writs of error.

Corpus Christi

Body of Christ

The name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the Eucharist. It is also the name of a city in Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, and a controversial play.

corpus delicti

body of the offence

The fact that a crime has been committed, a necessary factor in convicting someone of having committed that crime; if there was no crime, there can not have been a criminal.

Corpus Iuris Canonici

Body of Canon Law

The official compilation of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici).

Corpus Iuris Civilis

Body of Civil Law

The body of Roman or civil law.

corpus vile

worthless body

A person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment.


things to be corrected

corruptio optimi pessima

the corruption of the best is the worst

corruptus in extremis

corrupt to the extreme

Motto of the fictional Springfield Mayor Office in The Simpsons TV-Show

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous


Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet

May he love tomorrow who has never loved before; And may he who has loved, love tomorrow as well

It's the refrain from the 'Pervigilium Veneris', a poem which describes a three day holiday in the cult of Venus, located somewhere in Sicily, involving the whole town in religious festivities joined with a deep sense of nature and Venus as the "procreatrix", the life-giving force behind the natural world.

Credo in Unum Deum

I Believe in One God

The first words of the The Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed.

credo quia absurdum est

I believe it because it is absurd

A very common misquote of Tertullian's et mortuus est Dei Filius prorsus credibile quia ineptum est (and the Son of God is dead: in short, it is credible because it is unfitting), meaning that it is so absurd to say that God's son has died that it would have to be a matter of belief, rather than reason. The misquoted phrase, however, is commonly used to mock the dogmatic beliefs of the religious (see fideism). This phrase is commonly shortened to credo quia absurdum, and is also sometimes rendered credo quia impossibile est (I believe it because it is impossible)or, as Darwin used it in his autobiography, credo quia incredibile.

crescamus in Illo per omina

May we grow in Him through all things

Motto of Cheverus High School.

crescat scientia vita excolatur

let knowledge grow, let life be enriched

Motto of the University of Chicago.

crescit eundo

it grows as it goes

State motto of New Mexico, adopted in 1887 as the territory's motto, and kept in 1912 when New Mexico received statehood. Originally from Lucretius' De rerum natura book VI, where it refers in context to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes.

cruci dum spiro fido

while I live, I trust in the cross, Whilst I trust in the Cross I have life

Motto of the Sisters of Loreto (IBVM) and its associated schools.

cucullus non facit monachum

The hood does not make the monk

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Scene I, Act V 48–50

cui bono

Good for whom?

"Who benefits?" An adage in criminal investigation which suggests that considering who would benefit from an unwelcome event is likely to reveal who is responsible for that event (cf. cui prodest). Also the motto of the Crime Syndicate of America, a fictional supervillain group. The opposite is cui malo (Bad for whom?).

cui prodest

for whom it advances

Short for cui prodest scelus is fecit (for whom the crime advances, he has done it) in Seneca's Medea. Thus, the murderer is often the one who gains by the murder (cf. cui bono).

cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos

Whose the land is, all the way to the sky and to the underworld is his.

First coined by Accursius of Bologna in the 13th century. A Roman legal principle of property law that is no longer observed in most situations today. Less literally, "For whosoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths."

cuius regio, eius religio

whose region, his religion

The privilege of a ruler to choose the religion of his subjects. A regional prince's ability to choose his people's religion was established at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.

Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.

Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his fault

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippica XII, ii, 5.



Also "blame" or "guilt". In law, an act of neglect. In general, guilt, sin, or a fault. See also mea culpa.

cum gladiis et fustibus

with swords and clubs

From the Bible. Occurs in Matthew 26:47 and Luke 22:52.

cum gladio et sale

with sword and salt

Motto of a well-paid soldier. See salary.

cum grano salis

with a grain of salt

Not to be taken too seriously or as the literal truth.

Yes, the brochure made it sound great, but such claims should be taken cum grano salis.

cum hoc ergo prompter hoc

with this, therefore on account of this

"Correlation does not imply causation."

cum laude

with praise

The standard formula for academic Latin honors in the United States. Greater honors include magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

cum mortuis in lingua mortua

with the dead in a dead language

Movement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky

cura personalis

care for the whole person

cura te ipsum

take care of your own self

An exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others.

cur Deus Homo

Why the God/Man

The question attributed to Anselm in his work of by this name, wherein he reflects on why the Christ of Christianity must be both fully Divine and fully Human. Often translated "why did God become Man?"

curriculum vitae

course of life

A résumé.

custos morum

keeper of morals

A censor.

cygnis insignis

distinguished by its swans

Motto of Western Australia.

cygnus inter anates

swan among ducks





Da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius

Give me the fact(s), I'll give you the law

also: Da mihi facta, dabo tibi ius; legal principle based on Roman law; parties should present the facts of a case while the judge rules on the law. Related to iura novit curia (the court knows the law).

damnatio memoriae

damnation of memory

A Roman custom in which disgraced Romans (particularly former Emperors) were pretended to have never existed.

damnum absque injuria

damage without injury

A loss that results from no one's wrongdoing. In Roman law, a man is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another resulting from a lawful act. This protection does not necessarily apply to unintended damage by negligence or folly.

data venia

with due respect" or "given the excuse

Used before disagreeing with someone.

dat deus incrementum

God grants the increase

Motto of Westminster School, a leading British independent school.

de bonis asportatis

carrying goods away

Trespass de bonis asportatis was the traditional name for larceny, or wrongful taking of chattels.

Decus Et Tutamen

An ornament and a safeguard

Inscription on one pound coins. Originally on 17th century coins, it refers to the inscribed edge as a protection against the clipping of precious metal. The phrase originally comes from Virgil's Aeneid.

descensus in cuniculi cavum

The descent into the cave of the rabbit

Down the Rabbit Hole (see: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland#Famous lines and expressions.

de dato

of the date

Used in the context of "As we agreed in the meeting d.d.26th Mai 2006.

de facto

in fact

Said of something that is the actual state of affairs, in contrast to something's legal or official standing, which is described as de jure. De facto refers to the "way things really are" rather than what is "officially" presented as the fact.

Although the emperor held the title and trappings of head of state, the Shogun was the de facto ruler of Japan.

de fideli

with faithfulness

A clerk makes the declaration De fideli on when appointed, promising to do his or her tasks faithfully as a servant of the court.

de futuro

regarding the future

Usually used in the context of "at a future time"

de gustibus non est disputandum

there is not to be discussion regarding tastes

Less literally "In matters of taste there is no dispute" or simply "There's no arguing taste". Likely of Scholastic origin (see Wiktionary).

A related expression in English is "There's no accounting for taste".

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, without attribution, renders the phrase as de gustibus non disputandum; the verb "to be" is often assumed in Latin, and is rarely required.

An alternative form is de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum – "There's no arguing about tastes and colors."

de integro

again, a second time

de jure

by law

"Official", in contrast with de facto. Analogous to "in principle", whereas de facto is to "in practice". In other contexts, can mean "according to law", "by right" or "legally". Also commonly written de iure, the classical form.

de lege ferenda

from law to be passed

de lege lata

from law passed" or "by law in force

de minimis non curat lex

The law does not bother with the smallest things.

The court does not want to bother with small, trivial things. A case must have importance for the court to hear it. See "de minimis not curat praetor".

de minimis non curat praetor

The commander does not bother with the smallest things.

Also "The chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles." Trivial matters are no concern of a high official (cf. aquila non capit muscas, the eagle does not catch flies). Sometimes rex (the king) or lex (the law) is used in place of praetor, and de minimis is a legal term referring to things unworthy of the law's attention.

de mortuis aut bene aut nihil

about the dead, either well or nothing

Less literally, "speak well of the dead or not at all" (cf. de mortuis nil nisi bonum).

de mortuis nil nisi bonum

about the dead, nothing unless a good thing

From de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est, "nothing must be said about the dead except the good", attributed by Diogenes Laertius to Chilon. In legal contexts, this quotation is used with the opposite meaning, as defaming a deceased person is not a crime. In other contexts, it refers to taboos against criticizing the recently deceased.

de nobis fabula narratur

about us is the story told

Thus, "their story is our story". Originally referred to the end of Rome's dominance. Now often used when comparing any current situation to a past story or historical event.

de novo

from the new

"Anew" or "afresh". In law, a trial de novo is a retrial. In biology, de novo means newly-synthesized, and a de novo mutation is a mutation that neither parent possessed or transmitted. In economics, de novo refers to newly-founded companies, and de novo banks are state banks that have been in operation for five years or less.

de omnibus dubitandum

be suspicious of everything, doubt everything

Karl Marx's favorite motto. He used this to explain his standpoint: "Critique everything in a capitalist economy".

de omni re scibili et quibusdam aliis

about every knowable thing, and even certain other things

A 15th-century Italian scholar wrote the De omni re scibili portion, and a wag added et quibusdam aliis.

De Oppresso Liber

Free From Having Been Oppressed

Commonly mistranslated as "To Liberate the Oppressed". The motto of the United States Army Special Forces.

de profundis

from the depths

Out of the depths of misery or dejection. From the Latin translation of Psalm 130.

de re

about the matter

In logic, de dicto statements (about the truth of a proposition) are distinguished from de re statements (about the properties of a thing itself).

Dei Gratia Regina

By the Grace of God, Queen

Also Dei Gratia Rex (By the Grace of God, King). Abbreviated as D G REG preceding Fidei Defensor (F D) on British pounds, and as D G Regina on Canadian coins.

Dei sub numine viget

under God's Spirit she flourishes

Motto of Princeton University.

delectatio morosa

peevish delight

In Catholic theology, a pleasure taken in sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images. It is distinct from actual sexual desire, and involves voluntary and complacent erotic fantasizing, without any attempt to suppress such thoughts.

deliriant isti Romani

They are mad, those Romans!

A translation into Latin from René Goscinny's "ils sont fous, ces romains!", frequently issued by Obelix in the Asterix comics.

Deo ac veritati

God and Truth

Motto of Colgate University.

Deo domuique

for God and for home

Motto of Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne.

Deo et Patriae

for God and Country

Motto of Regis High School.

Deo gratias

thanks [be] to God

The semi-Hispanicized form Deogracias is a Philippine first name.

Deo Optimo Maximo (DOM)

To the Best and Greatest God

Derived from the Pagan Iupiter Optimo Maximo (To the best and greatest Jupiter). Printed on bottles of Bénédictine liqueur.

Deo vindice

with God as protector

Motto of the Confederate States of America. An alternate translation is "With an avenging God".

Deo volente

with God willing

This was often used in conjunction with a signature at the end of letters. It was used in order to signify that "God willing" this letter will get to you safely, "God willing" the contents of this letter come true.

deus caritas est

God is Love

The first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI.

deus ex machina

a god from a machine

From the Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (Apò mēchanēs Theós). A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by machine an actor playing a god or goddess, typically either Athena or (as in Euripides) the Dioscuri onto the stage to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot.

Deus vult

God wills it!

The principal slogan of the Crusades.

deus otiosus

God at leisure

Dicto simpliciter

[From] a maxim, simply

I.e. "From a rule without exception." Short for A dicto simpliciter, the a often being dropped by confusion with the indefinite article. A dicto simpliciter occurs when an acceptable exception is ignored or eliminated. For instance, the appropriateness of using opiates is dependent on the presence of extreme pain. To justify the recreational use of opiates by referring to a cancer patient or to justify arresting said cancer patient by comparing him to the recreational user would be a dicto simpliciter.

dictum meum pactum

my word [is] my bond

Motto of the London Stock Exchange

diem perdidi

I have lost the day

From the Roman Emperor Titus. Passed down in Suetonius's biography of him in Lives of the Twelve Caesars (8)

Diem Ex Dei

Day of God

Dies Irae

Day of Wrath

Refers to the Judgment Day in Christian eschatology. The name of a famous 13th-century Medieval Latin hymn by Tommaso da Celano, used in the Mass for the dead.

Dies non juridicum

Day without judiciary

Days under common law (traditionally Sunday) in which no legal process can be served and any judgment is void. This concept was first codified by the English Parliament in the reign of Charles II.

differentia specifica

specific differences


I direct

In Classical Latin, "I arrange". State motto of Maine. Based on a comparison of the state of Maine to the star Polaris.

dis aliter visum

it seemed otherwise to the gods

In other words, the gods have different plans than mortals, and so events do not always play out as people wish them to.

dis manibus sacrum (D.M.S.)

Sacred to the ghost-gods

Refers to the Manes, Roman spirits of the dead. Loosely "To the memory of". A conventional inscription preceding the name of the deceased on pagan grave markings, often shortened to dis manibus (D.M.), "for the ghost-gods". Preceded in some earlier monuments by hic situs est (H. S. E.), "he lies here".

Disce aut Discede

Learn or Depart

Motto of Royal College, Colombo.

disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus

Learn as if always going to live; live as if tomorrow going to die.

Attributed to St Edmund of Abingdon.

discipuli nostri bardissimi sunt

Our students are the stupidest

disjecta membra

scattered limbs

That is, "scattered remains". Paraphrased from Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62, where it was written "disiecti membra poetae" (limbs of a scattered poet). Also written as disiecta membra.

ditat Deus

God enriches

State motto of Arizona, adopted in 1911. Probably derived from the Vulgate's translation of Genesis 14:23.

divide et impera

divide and rule

A Roman maxim adopted by Julius Caesar, Louis XI and Machiavelli. Commonly rendered "divide and conquer".


I have spoken

A popular eloquent expression, usually used in the end of a speech. The implied meaning is: "I have said all that I had to say and thus the argument is settled".

["...", ...] dixit

["...", ...] said

Used to attribute a statement or opinion to its author, rather than the speaker.

do ut des

I give that you may give

Often said or written for sacrifices, when one "gives" and expects something back from the gods.

Docendo discitur

It is learned by teaching

Also translated "One learns by teaching." Attributed to Seneca the Younger.

Docendo disco, scribendo cogito

I learn by teaching, think by writing.

dolus specialis

special intent

"The ... concept is particular to a few civil law systems and cannot sweepingly be equated with the notions of ‘special’ or ‘specific intent’ in common law systems. Of course, the same might equally be said of the concept of ‘specific intent,’ a notion used in the common law almost exclusively within the context of the defense of voluntary intoxication."—Genocide scholar William Schabas3

Domine dirige nos

Lord guide us

Motto of the City of London.

Dominus Illuminatio Mea

the Lord is my light

Motto of the University of Oxford.

Dominus vobiscum

Lord be with you

Phrase used during and at the end of Catholic sermons, and a general greeting form among and towards members of Catholic organizations, such as priests and nuns. See also pax vobiscum.

dona nobis pacem

give us peace

Often set to music, either by itself or as part of the Agnus Dei prayer of the Mass (see above). Also an ending in the video game Haunting Ground.

donatio mortis causa

giving in expectation of death

A legal concept where a person in imminent mortal danger need not meet the requisite consideration to create or modify a will.

draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

a sleeping dragon is never to be tickled

Motto of the fictional Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter series; translated more loosely in the books as "never tickle a sleeping dragon".

dramatis personae

the parts of the play

More literally, "the masks of the drama"; more figuratively, "cast of characters". The characters represented in a dramatic work.

Duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum est

Two blank slates with nothing written upon them

Stan Laurel, inscription for the fanclub logo Sons of the Desert.

Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt

The fates lead the willing and drag the unwilling

Attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Ductus exemplo

Leadership by Example

This is the motto for the United States Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School located at Marine Corps Base Quantico; Quantico, Virginia.

dulce bellum inexpertis

war is sweet to the inexperienced

War may seem pleasant to those who have never been involved in it, though the more experienced know better. A phrase from Erasmus in the 16th century.

dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland.

From Horace, Odes III, 2, 13. Used by Wilfred Owen for the title of a poem about World War I, Dulce et Decorum Est.

dulce et utile

a sweet and useful thing

Horace wrote in his Ars Poetica that poetry must be dulce et utile (pleasant and profitable), both enjoyable and instructive.

dulce periculum

danger is sweet

Horace, Odes III, 25, 16. Motto of the Scottish clan Clan MacAulay.

Dulcius ex asperis

sweeter after difficulties

Motto of the Scottish clan Clan Fergusson.4

dum spiro spero

while I breathe, I hope

State motto of South Carolina. From Cicero.

dum Roma deliberat Saguntum perit

while Rome debates, Saguntum is in danger

Used when someone has been asked for urgent help, but responds with no immediate action. Similar to Hannibal ante portas, but referring to a less personal danger.

dum vivimus servimus

While we live, we serve

motto of Presbyterian College.

dura lex sed lex

the law [is] harsh, but [it is] the law

dura mater

tough mother

Outer covering of the brain.

dum vita est, spes est

while there is life, there is hope

dux bellorum

War leader





e pluribus unum

'From many, (comes) One.'

Usually translated 'Out of many, (is) One.' Motto of the United States of America. Inscribed on the Capitol and many coins used in the United States of America. Also used as the motto of S.L. Benfica.

Ecce Homo

'Behold the Man'

From the Latin Vulgate Gospel according to St. John (XIX.v) (19.5, Douay-Rheims), where Pilate speaks these words as he presents Christ, crowned with thorns, to the crowd. It is also the title of Nietzsche's autobiography and of the theme music by Howard Goodall for the BBC comedy Mr. Bean. Oscar Wilde opened his defense with this phrase when on trial for pederasty.

editio princeps

'first edition'

The first printed edition of a work.


'for the sake of example'

Abbreviation for exempli gratia, below.

Often confused with id est (i.e.)[1]. e.g. is used to introduce one or more examples.

Ego non

'not I'

ego te absolvo

'I absolve you'

Part of the absolution-formula spoken by a priest as part of the sacrament of Penance (cf. absolvo).

ego te provoco

'I dare you'



Also 'worn-out'. Retired from office. Often used to denote a position held at the point of retirement, as an honor, such as professor emeritus or provost emeritus. This does not necessarily mean that the honoree is no longer active.

ens causa sui

'existing because of oneself'

Or 'being one's own cause'. Traditionally, a being that owes its existence to no other being, hence God or a Supreme Being (cf. Primum Mobile).

ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem

'by the sword she seeks gentle peace under liberty'

State motto of Massachusetts, adopted in 1775.

entitas ipsa involvit aptitudinem ad extorquendum certum assensum

'reality involves a power to compel sure assent'

A phrase used in modern Western philosophy on the nature of truth.

eo ipso

'by that very act'

Technical term used in philosophy and the law. It means 'by that very act'; similar to ipso facto. Example: "The fact that I am does not eo ipso mean that I think." From Latin eo ipso, ablative form of id ipsum, "that (thing) itself".

equo ne credite

'do not trust the horse'

Virgil, Aeneid, II. 48-49 (Latin)

eo nomine

'by that name'



Denotes a logical conclusion (cf. cogito ergo sum).

erga omnes

'in relation to everyone'

errare humanum est

'to err is human'

From Seneca the Younger. The full quote is errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum: 'to err is human, but to persist is diabolical.'



Or 'mistake'. Lists of errors in a previous edition of a work are often marked with the plural, errata ('errors').

esse est percipi

'to be is to be perceived'

George Berkeley's motto for his idealist philosophical position that nothing exists independently of its perception by a mind except minds themselves.

esse quam videri

'to be, rather than to seem'

Truly being something, rather than merely seeming to be something. State motto of North Carolina and academic motto of several schools, including North Carolina State University, Berklee College of Music, and Columbia College Chicago as well as Connell's Point Public School and Cranbrook High School in Sydney, Australia. From chapter 26 of Cicero's De amicitia ('On Friendship'). Earlier than Cicero, the phrase had been used by Sallust in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), where he wrote that Cato esse quam videri bonus malebat ('he preferred to be good, rather than to seem so'). Earlier still, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes, line 592, ou gar dokein aristos, all' enai thelei ('his resolve is not to seem the best, but in fact to be the best').

esto perpetua

'may it be perpetual'

Said of Venice by the Venetian historian Fra Paolo Sarpi shortly before his death. Also the state motto of Idaho, adopted in 1867, and of S. Thomas' College, Sri Lanka.

et alibi (et al.)

'and elsewhere'

A less common variant on et cetera used at the end of a list of locations to denote unlisted places.

et alii (et al.)

'and others'

Used similarly to et cetera ('and the rest'), to stand for a list of names. Alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or groups of men and women; the feminine, et aliae (or et aliæ), is appropriate when the 'others' are all female. Et alia is neuter plural and thus properly used only for inanimate, genderless objects, but some use it as a gender-neutral alternative.5 APA style uses et al. if the work cited was written by more than six authors; MLA style uses et al. for more than three authors.

et cetera (etc.) or (&c.)

'And the rest'

In modern usages, also used to mean 'and so on' or 'and more'.

et facta est lux

And light was made

From Genesis 1:3 "and there was light".

et hoc genus omne

'And all that sort of thing'

Abbreviated to e.h.g.o. or ehgo

etiam si omnes... ego non

also if all ones... not I

et in Arcadia ego

'and in Arcadia [am] I'

In other words, 'I, too, am in Arcadia'. See memento mori.

et nunc reges intelligite erudimini qui judicati terram

'And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.'

From the Book of Psalms, II.x. (Vulgate), 2.10 (Douay-Rheims).

et si omnes... ego non

even if all ones... not I

et sequentes (et seq.)

'and the following'

Pluralized as et sequentia ('and the following things'), abbreviations: et seqq., et seq.., or sqq.

et suppositio nil ponit in esse

'a supposition puts nothing in being'

More typically translated as either (a) "Sayin' it don't make it so", or (b) "Hypothetically..."

et tu, Brute?

'And you, Brutus?'

Also 'Even you, Brutus?' or 'You too, Brutus?' Used to indicate a betrayal by someone close. From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, based on the traditional dying words of Julius Caesar. However, these were almost certainly not Caesar's true last words; Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, in Greek (which was the language of Rome's elite at the time), καὶ σὺ τέκνον; (Kaì sù téknon?), in English 'You as well, (my) child?', quoting from Menander. Some have speculated based on this that Brutus was Caesar's child, though there is no substantial evidence of this.

et uxor (et ux.)

'and wife'

A legal term.

ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur

'For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.'

From the Gospel according to St. Matthew, XII.xxxiv (Vulgate), 12.34 (Douay-Rheims) and the Gospel according to St. Luke, VI.xlv (Vulgate), 6.45 (Douay-Rheims). Sometimes rendered without enim ('for').

ex abundanti cautela

'from abundant caution'

ex aequo

'from the equal'

'On equal footing', i.e., 'in a tie'.

ex animo

'from the heart'

Thus, 'sincerely'.

ex ante

'from before'

'Beforehand', 'before the event'. Based on prior assumptions. A forecast.

Ex Astris Scientia

'From the Stars, Knowledge'

The motto of the fictional Starfleet Academy on Star Trek. Adapted from ex luna scientia, which in turn was modeled after ex scientia tridens.

ex cathedra

'from the chair'

A phrase applied to the declarations or promulgations of the Pope when, in communion with the college of cardinals, preserved from the possibility of error by the action of the Holy Ghost (see Papal Infallibility), he solemnly declares or promulgates ("from the chair" that was the ancient symbol of the teacher and of the governor, in this case of the church) a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. Used, by extension, of anyone who is perceived as speaking as though with supreme authority.

ex Deo

'from God'

ex dolo malo

'from fraud'

'From harmful deceit'; dolus malus is the Latin legal term for 'fraud'. The full legal phrase is ex dolo malo non oritur actio ('an action does not arise from fraud'). When an action has its origin in fraud or deceit, it cannot be supported; thus, a court of law will not assist a man who bases his course of action on an immoral or illegal act.

ex facie

'from the face'

Idiomatically rendered 'on the face of it'. A legal term typically used to note that a document's explicit terms are defective without further investigation.

ex fide fiducia

'from faith [comes] confidence'

A motto of St George's College, Harare.

ex gratia

'from kindness'

More literally 'from grace'. Refers to someone voluntarily performing an act purely out of kindness, as opposed to for personal gain or from being forced to do it. In law, an ex gratia payment is one made without recognizing any liability or legal obligation.

ex hypothesi

'from the hypothesis'

Thus, 'by hypothesis'.

ex lege

'from the law'

ex libris

'from the books'

Precedes a person's name, with the meaning of 'from the library of...'

ex luna scientia

'from the moon, knowledge'

The motto of the Apollo 13 moon mission, derived from ex scientia tridens.

ex malo bonum

'good out of evil'

From St. Augustine's "Sermon LXI" where he contradicts Seneca's dictum in Epistulae 87:22: bonum ex malo non fit (good does not come from evil). Also: the alias of the Anberlin song, "Miserabile Visu" from their album New Surrender.

ex mea sententia

'in my opinion'

ex nihilo nihil fit

'nothing may come from nothing'

From Lucretius, and said earlier by Empedocles. Its original meaning is 'work is required to succeed', but its modern meaning is a more general 'everything has its origins in something' (cf. causality). It is commonly applied to the conservation laws in philosophy and modern science. Ex nihilo often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning 'creation, out of nothing'. It is often used in philosophy or theology in connection with the proposition that God created the universe from nothing. It is also mentioned in the final ad-lib of the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

ex oblivione

'from oblivion'

The title of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft.

ex officio

'from the office'

By virtue of office or position; 'by right of office'. Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another. A common misconception is that ex officio members of a committee or congress may not vote, but this is not guaranteed by that title.

ex opere operantis

'from the work of the one working'

A theological phrase contrasted with ex opere operato, referring to the notion that the validity or promised benefit of a sacrament depends on the person administering it.

ex opere operato

'from the work worked'

A theological phrase meaning that the act of receiving a sacrament actually confers the promised benefit, such as a baptism actually and literally cleansing one's sins. The Catholic Church affirms that the source of grace is God, not just the actions or disposition of the minister or the recipient of the sacrament.

ex oriente lux

'from the East, the light'

Originally refers to the sun rising in the east, but alludes to culture coming from the Eastern world.

Motto of Viadrina European University and others.

ex parte

'from a part'

A legal term meaning 'by one party' or 'for one party'. Thus, on behalf of one side or party only.

ex pede Herculem

'from Hercules' foot'

From the measure of Hercules' foot you shall know his size; from a part, the whole.

ex post

'from after'

'Afterward', 'after the event'. Based on knowledge of the past. Measure of past performance.

ex post facto

'from a thing done afterward'

Said of a law with retroactive effect.

ex professo

'with due competence'

Said of the person who perfectly knows his art or science.

ex scientia tridens

'from knowledge, sea power.'

The United States Naval Academy motto. Refers to knowledge bringing men power over the sea comparable to that of the trident-bearing Greek god Poseidon.

ex scientia vera

'from knowledge, truth.'

The motto of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.

ex silentio

'from silence'

In general, the claim that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition. An argumentum ex silentio ('argument from silence') is an argument based on the assumption that someone's silence on a matter suggests ('proves' when a logical fallacy) that person's ignorance of the matter or their inability to counterargue validly.

ex tempore

'from time'

'This instant', 'right away' or 'immediately'. Also written extempore.

ex vi termini

'from the force of the term'

Thus, 'by definition'.

ex vivo

'out of or from life'

Used in reference to the study or assay of living tissue in an artificial environment outside the living organism.

ex voto

'from the vow'

Thus, in accordance with a promise. An ex voto is also an offering made in fulfillment of a vow.



'Ever upward!' The state motto of New York. Also a catch phrase used by Marvel Comics head Stan Lee.

exceptio firmat regulam in casibus non exceptis

'The exception confirms the rule in cases which are not excepted'

A juridical motto which means that exception, as for example during a 'state of exception', does not put in danger the legitimacy of the rule in its globality. In other words, the exception is strictly limited to a particular sphere. See also exceptio strictissimi juris est and exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis

'The exception confirms the rule in cases which are not excepted'

A juridical motto often mistranslated as "the exception that proves the rule". See also firmat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta

'an excuse that has not been sought is an obvious accusation'

More loosely, 'he who excuses himself, accuses himself'—an unprovoked excuse is a sign of guilt. In French, qui s'excuse, s'accuse.


'may he leave'

A formal leave of absence (cf. exit).

exempli gratia (e.g.)

'for the sake of example'

Usually shortened in English to 'for example' (see citation signal). Often confused with id est (i.e.).6
Exempli gratia,'for example', is commonly abbreviated 'e.g.'; in this usage it is sometimes followed by a comma, depending on style.

exercitus sine duce corpus est sine spiritu

'an army without leader is like a body without spirit'

On a plaque at the former military staff building of the Swedish Armed Forces.


'they leave'

The plural of exit. Also extended to exeunt omnes, 'everyone leaves'.

experientia docet

'experience teaches'

This term has been used in dermatopathology to express that there is no substitute for experience in dealing with all the numerous variations that may occur with skin conditions.8 The term has also been used in gastroenterology.9

experimentum crucis

'crucial experiment'

Literally 'experiment of the cross'. A decisive test of a scientific theory.

experto crede

'trust the expert'

Literally 'believe one who has had experience'. An author's aside to the reader.

expressio unius est exclusio alterius

'the expression of the one is the exclusion of the other'

'Mentioning one thing may exclude another thing'. A principle of legal statutory interpretation: the explicit presence of a thing implies intention to exclude others; e.g., a reference in the Poor Relief Act 1601 to 'lands, houses, tithes and coal mines' was held to exclude mines other than coal mines. Sometimes expressed as expressum facit cessare tacitum (broadly, 'the expression of one thing excludes the implication of something else').


'still in existence; surviving'


extant law is still existing, in existence, existent, surviving, remaining, undestroyed. Usage, when a law is repealed the extant law governs.

extra domus

'(placed) outside of the house'

Refers to a possible result of Catholic ecclesiastical legal proceedings when the culprit is removed from being part of a group like a monastery.

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

'Outside the Church there is no salvation'

This expression comes from the writings of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the third century. It is often used to summarise the doctrine that the Catholic Church is absolutely necessary for salvation.

Extra omnes

'Out, all of you.'

It is issued by the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations before a session of the Papal Conclave which will elect a new Pope. When spoken, all those who are not Cardinals, or those otherwise mandated to be present at the Conclave, must leave the Sistine Chapel.

extra territorium jus dicenti impune non paretur

'he who administers justice outside of his territory is disobeyed with impunity'

Refers to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Often cited in law of the sea cases on the high seas.





Faber est suae quisque fortunae

Every man is the artisan of his own fortune

Appius Claudius Caecus. Motto of Fort Street High School in Petersham, Sydney , Australia.

fac fortia et patere

do brave deeds and endure

Motto of Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, Australia.

fac simile

make a similar thing

Origin of the word facsimile, and, through it, of fax.

facta, non verba

actions, not words

Motto of United States Navy Destroyer Squadron 22 and Joint Task Force 2, Star of the Sea College, Convent of Holy Child Jesus School, Layton Hill, Blackpool, and Southwood Boys' Grammar School in Ringwood, Victoria, Australia and Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, in England.

falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus

false in one thing, false in everything

A Roman legal principle indicating that a witness who willfully falsifies one matter is not credible on any matter. The underlying motive for attorneys to impeach opposing witnesses in court: the principle discredits the rest of their testimony if it is without corroboration.

felo de se

felon from himself

An archaic legal term for one who commits suicide, referring to early English common law punishments, such as land seizure, inflicted on those who killed themselves.

fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt

men generally believe what they want to

People's beliefs are shaped largely by their desires. Julius Caesar, The Gallic War 3.18

festina lente

hurry slowly

An oxymoronic motto of Augustus. It encourages proceeding quickly, but with calm and caution. Equivalent to 'More haste, less speed'. Motto of The Madeira School, McLean, Virginia.

fiat iustitia et pereat mundus

let justice be done, and the world shall perish

Motto of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor.

fiat justitia ruat caelum

let justice be done should the sky fall

Attributed to Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus.

fiat lux

let light be made

Less literally, "let light arise" or "let there be light" (cf. lux sit). From the Latin translation of Genesis, "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux" (and God said, 'Let light be made', and light was made). The motto of Parkland Composite High School, the University of California, University of Washington, Clark University, Waynesburg University, Angelo State University, University of Lethbridge, Rollins College, Hiram College, Alfred University and Kitsilano Secondary School. It is also the motto of the Conservatorium High School in Sydney, Australia. It is incorporated into the logo of the University of Liverpool and Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland.

Fiat Voluntas Dei

May God's will be done

Fiat Voluntas Tua

Thy will be done

The motto of Archbishop Richard Smith of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

Fidei Defensor (Fid Def) or (fd)

Defender of the Faith

A title given to Henry VIII of England by Pope Leo X on October 17, 1521 before Henry became a heresiarch. Still used by the British monarchs, it appears on all British coins, usually abbreviated.

fidem scit

"He knows the faith"

Sometimes mistranslated to "Keep the faith", when used in contemporary English-language writings of all kinds to convey a light-hearted wish for the reader's well-being. The humor comes from the phrase's similarity in pronunciation to the words "Feed 'em shit".

fides qua creditur

the faith by which it is believed

the personal faith which apprehends, contrasted with fides quae creditur

fides quae creditur

"the faith which is believed

the content of "the faith," contrasted with fides qua creditur

fides quaerens intellectum

"faith seeking understanding

the motto of Saint Anselm, found in his Proslogion

fidus Achates

faithful Achates

A faithful friend. From the name of Aeneas's faithful companion in Virgil's Aeneid.

finis vitae sed non amoris

The end of Life is not the end of Love

omnibus locis fit caedes

Let there be slaughter everywhere

Julius Caesar's The Gallic War, 7.67

flagellum dei

scourge of god

Referred to Attila the Hun, when he led his armies to invade the Western Roman Empire.

flectere si nequeo superos, Achaeronta movebo

If I cannot move heaven I will raise hell

Virgil's Aeneid - Book 7

floreat etona

May Eton Flourish

Motto of Eton College

floruit (fl.)

one flourished

Indicates the period when a historical figure whose birth and death dates are unknown was most active.

fluctuat nec mergitur

she wavers and is not immersed

Motto of Paris.

fons et origo

the spring and source

"The fountainhead and beginning". The source and origin.

fortes fortuna adiuvat

Fortune favours the bold

fortes in fide

strong in faith

"Fortes in Fide" is the Motto of Ateneo de Davao University. Used "Fortiores in Fide"(Stronger in Faith) during the 50th Anniversary in 1998]

fortis cadere, cedere non potest

The brave may fall, but cannot yield

Motto of Fahnestock Family Arms.

fortis est veritas

truth is strong

Motto on the coat of arms of Oxford, England.

fortis et liber

strong and free

Motto of Alberta.

fortiter et fideliter

bravely and faithfully

Motto of The King's School, Sydney.





gaudeamus hodie

let us rejoice today

gaudeamus igitur

therefore let us rejoice

First words of a famous academic anthem used, among other places, in The Student Prince.

gaudium in veritate

joy in truth

generalia specialibus non derogant

universal things do not detract from specific things

A principle of legal statutory interpretation: If a matter falls under a specific provision and a general provision, it shall be governed by the specific provision.

genius loci

spirit of place

The unique, distinctive aspects or atmosphere of a place, such as those celebrated in art, stories, folk tales, and festivals. Originally, the genius loci was literally the protective spirit of a place, a creature usually depicted as a snake.

gesta non verba

Deeds not words

Motto of James Ruse Agricultural High School.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Glory to God in the Highest

Often translated "Glory to God on High". The title and beginning of an ancient Roman Catholic doxology, the Greater Doxology. See also ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

Gloria Patri

Glory to the Father

The beginning of the Lesser Doxology.

gloriosus et liber

glorious and free

Motto of Manitoba

Gradibus ascendimus

Ascending by degrees

Motto of Grey College, Durham

gradatim ferociter

by degrees, ferociously

Motto of private spaceflight company Blue Origin

Gratiae veritas naturae

Truth through God's mercy and nature

Motto of Uppsala University

graviora manent

heavier things remain

In other words, "more severe things await" or simply "the worst is yet to come".

gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe cadendo

a water drop hollows a stone not by force, but by falling often

From Ovid, Epistulae ex Ponto IV, 10, 5.





habeas corpus

You should have the body

A legal term from the 14th century or earlier. Refers to a number of legal writs to bring a person before a court or judge, most commonly habeas corpus ad subjiciendum (you may have the body to bring up). Commonly used as the general term for a prisoner's legal right to challenge the legality of their detention.

habemus papam

we have a pope

Used after a Roman Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope.

Habent sua fata libelli

Books have their destiny [according to the capabilities of the reader]

hac lege

with this law

haec olim meminisse iuvabit

one day, this will be pleasing to remember

Commonly rendered in English as "One day, we'll look back on this and smile". From Virgil's Aeneid 1.203. Also, motto of the Jefferson Society.

Hannibal ante portas

Hannibal before the gates

Refers to wasting time while the enemy is already here. Attributed to Cicero.

Hannibal ad portas

Hannibal is at the gates

Roman parents would tell their misbehaving children this, invoking their fear of Hannibal.

haud ignota loquor

I speak not of unknown things

Thus, "I say no things that are unknown". From Virgil's Aeneid, 2.91.

hic abundant leones

here lions abound

Written on uncharted territories of old maps.

hic et nunc

here and now

hic jacet (HJ)

here lies

Also rendered hic iacet. Written on gravestones or tombs, preceding the name of the deceased. Equivalent to hic sepultus (here is buried), and sometimes combined into hic jacet sepultus (HJS), "here lies buried".

hic manebimus optime

here we'll stay excellently

According to Titus Livius the phrase was pronounced by Marcus Furius Camillus, addressing the senators who intended to abandon the city, invaded by Gauls, in 390 BCE circa. It is used today to express the intent to keep one's position even if the circumstances appear adverse.

hic sunt dracones

here there are dragons

Written on uncharted territories of old maps.

hic sunt leones

here there are lions

Written on uncharted territories of old maps.

hinc illae lacrimae

hence those tears

From Terence, Andria, line 125. Originally literal, referring to the tears shed by Pamphilus at the funeral of Chrysis, it came to be used proverbally in the works of later authors, such as Horace (Epistula XIX, 41).

historia vitae magistra

history, the teacher of life

From Cicero, Tusculanas, 2, 16. Also "history is the mistress of life".

hoc age

do this

Motto of Bradford Grammar School, often purposefully mistranslated by pupils as "Just do it!".

hoc est bellum

This is war

hoc est Christum cognoscere, beneficia eius cognoscere

To know Christ is to know his benefits

Famous dictum by the Reformer Melanchthon in his Loci Communes of 1521

Hoc Est Enim Corpus Meum

This is my Body

The words of Jesus reiterated in Latin during the Roman Catholic Eucharist. "Hoc Est Corpus" May be the source of the expression "hocus-pocus".citation needed

homo homini lupus

man [is a] wolf to man

First attested in Plautus' Asinaria (lupus est homo homini). The sentence was drawn on by Hobbes in Leviathan as a concise expression of his human nature view.

homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto

I am a human being; nothing human is strange to me

From Terence, Heautontimoroumenos. Originally "strange" or "foreign" (alienum) was used in the sense of "irrelevant", as this line was a response to the speaker being told to mind his own business, but it is now commonly used to advocate respecting different cultures and being humane in general. Puto (I consider) is not translated because it is meaningless outside of the line's context within the play.

homo unius libri (timeo)

(I fear) a man of one book

Attributed to Thomas Aquinas

hominem non morbum cura

Treat the Man, not the Disease

Motto of the Far Eastern University - Institute of Nursing

honor virtutis praemium

esteem is the reward of virtue

Motto of Arnold School, Blackpool, England

honoris causa

for the sake of honor

Said of an honorary title, such as "Doctor of Science honoris causa".

hora fugit

the hour flees

See tempus fugit.

hora somni (h.s.)

at the hour of sleep

Medical shorthand for "at bedtime".

horas non numero nisi serenas

I do not count the hours unless they are sunny

A common inscription on sundials.

hortus in urbe

A garden in the city

Motto of the Chicago Park District, a playful allusion to the city's motto, urbs in horto, q.v.

hortus siccus

A dry garden

A collection of dry, preserved plants.

horribile dictu

horrible to say

That is, "a horrible thing to relate". A pun on mirabile dictu.

hostis humani generis

enemy of the human race

Cicero defined pirates in Roman law as being enemies of humanity in general.

hypotheses non fingo

I do not fabricate hypotheses

From Newton, Principia. Less literally, "I do not assert that any hypotheses are true".





ibidem (ibid.)

in the same place

Usually used in bibliographic citations to refer to the last source previously referenced.

idem (id.)

the same

Used to refer to something that has already been cited. See also ibidem.

idem quod (i.q.)

the same as

Not to be confused with an intelligence quotient.

id est (i.e.)

that is

"That is (to say)", "in other words", or sometimes "in this case", depending on the context.

Id est, i.e., "that is", is commonly abbreviated "i.e."; in this usage it can be followed by a comma, or not, depending on style (American English and British English respectively).

id quod plerumque accidit

that which generally happens

A phrase used in legal language to indicate the most probable outcome from an act, fact, event or cause.

Idus Martiae

the Ides of March

In the Roman calendar, the Ides of March refers to the 15th day of March. In modern times, the term is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, the story of which was famously retold in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar.10 The term has come to be used as a metaphor for impending doom.

Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI)

Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews

Direct quote from the Vulgate, John 19:19. The inscription was written in Latin, Greek and Aramaic at the top of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. (John 19:20)

igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum

Therefore whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war

Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Epitoma rei militaris (See also in this list Si vis pacem, para bellum)

igne natura renovatur integra

through fire, nature is reborn whole

An alchemical aphorism invented as an alternate meaning for the acronym INRI.

igni ferroque

with fire and iron

A phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also rendered as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.

ignis aurum probat

fire tests gold

A phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances, it is also the motto of the Prometheus Society

ignis fatuus

foolish fire

Will o' the wisp.

ignorantia juris non excusat

ignorance of the law does not excuse

A legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability.

ignoratio elenchi

ignorance of the issue

The logical fallacy of irrelevant conclusion: making an argument that, while possibly valid, doesn't prove or support the proposition it claims to. An ignoratio elenchi that is an intentional attempt to mislead or confuse the opposing party is known as a red herring. Elenchi is from the Greek elenchos.

ignotum per ignotius

unknown by means of the more unknown

An explanation that is less clear than the thing to be explained. Synonymous with obscurum per obscurius.

ignotus (ign.)


imago Dei

image of God

From the religious concept that man was created in "God's image".

imitatio dei

imitation of a god

A principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).

imperium in imperio

an order within an order

1. A group of people who owe utmost fealty to their leader(s), subordinating the interests of the larger group to the authority of the internal group's leader(s).
2. A "
fifth column" organization operating against the organization within which they seemingly reside.

imperium sine fine

an empire without an end

In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, neverending empire, the endless (sine fine) empire.


let it be printed

An authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).

in absentia

in the absence

Used in a number of situations, such as in a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.

in actu

in act

"In the very act/In reality".

in articulo mortis

at the point of death

in camera

in the chamber

Figuratively, "in secret". See also camera obscura.

in casu

in the event

"In this case".

in cauda venenum

the poison is in the tail

Using the metaphor of a scorpion, this can be said of an account that proceeds gently, but turns vicious towards the end — or more generally waits till the end to reveal an intention or statement that is undesirable in the listener's eyes.

incertae sedis

of uncertain position (seat)

A term used to classify a taxonomic group when its broader relationships are unknown or undefined.

incredibile dictu

incredible to say

A variant on mirabile dictu.

in Deo speramus

in God we hope

Motto of Brown University.

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Index of Prohibited (or, Forbidden) Books

A list of books considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.

indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliter

indivisible and inseparable

Motto of Austria-Hungary prior to its separation into independent states in 1918.

in dubio pro reo

in doubt, on behalf of the [alleged] culprit

Expresses the judicial principle that in case of doubt the decision must be in favor of the accused (in that anyone is innocent until there is proof to the contrary).

in duplo

in double

"In duplicate".

in effigie

in the likeness

"In (the form of) an image", "in effigy" as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person".

in esse

in existence

In actual existence; as opposed to in posse.

in extenso

in the extended

"In full", "at full length", "completely", "unabridged".

in extremis

in the furthest reaches

In extremity; in dire straits. Also "at the point of death" (cf. in articulo mortis).

in fidem

into faith

To the verification of faith.

in fieri

in becoming

Thus, "pending".

in fine (i.f.)

in the end

At the end.

The footnote says "p. 157 in fine": "the end of page 157".

Infinitus est numerus stultorum.

Infinite is the number of fools.

Infirma mundi elegit Deus

God chooses the weak of the world

The motto of Venerable Vital-Justin Grandin, the bishop of the St. Albert Diocese, which in now the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton

in flagrante delicto

in a blazing wrong, while the crime is blazing

Equivalent to the English idiom "caught red-handed": caught in the act of committing a crime. Sometimes carried the connotation of being caught in a "compromising position".

in flore

in blossom


in foro

in forum

Legal term for "in court".

infra dignitatem (infra dig)

beneath one's dignity

in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

We enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire

A palindrome said to describe the behavior of moths. Also the title of a film by Guy Debord.

in hoc signo vinces

by this sign you will conquer

Words Constantine claimed to have seen in a vision before the Battle of Milvian Bridge. Motto of Sigma Chi fraternity.

in hunc effectum

for this purpose

Describes a meeting called for a particular stated purpose only.

in illo tempore

in that time

"at that time", found often in Gospel lectures during Masses, used to mark an undetermined time in the past.

in inceptum finis est

[roughly]the way you begin is how you will end

in limine

at the outset

Preliminary, in law referring to a motion that is made to the judge before or during trial, often about the admissibility of evidence believed prejudicial

in loco

in the place

That is, "at the place".

The nearby labs were closed for the weekend, so the water samples were analyzed in loco.

in loco parentis

in the place of a parent

A legal term meaning "assuming parental (i.e., custodial) responsibility and authority". Primary and secondary teachers are typically bound by law to act in loco parentis.

in luce Tua videmus lucem

in Thy light we see light

Motto of Valparaiso University.

in lumine tuo videbimus lumen

in your light we will see the light

Motto of Columbia University and Ohio Wesleyan University.

in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum

into your hands I entrust my spirit

According to Luke 23:46, the last words of Jesus on the cross.

in medias res

into the middle of things

From Horace. Refers to the literary technique of beginning a narrative in the middle of, or at a late point in, the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Lusíadas and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.

in memoriam

into the memory

Equivalent to "in the memory of". Refers to remembering or honoring a deceased person.

in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas

in necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity

"Charity" (caritas) is being used in the classical sense of "compassion" (cf. agape). Motto of the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. Often misattributed to Augustine of Hippo.

in nuce

in a nut

I.e. "in potentiality." Comparable to "potential", "to be developed".

In omnia paratus

Ready for anything.

Motto of the so-called secret society of Yale in the television show Gilmore Girls.

in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro

Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book

Quote by Thomas a Kempis

in partibus infidelium

in the parts of the infidels

That is, "in the land of the infidels", infidels here referring to non-Christians. After Islam conquered a large part of the Roman Empire, the corresponding bishoprics didn't disappear, but remained as titular sees.

in pectore

in the heart

A Cardinal named in secret by the pope. See also ab imo pectore.

in personam

into a person

"Directed towards a particular person". In a lawsuit in which the case is against a specific individual, that person must be served with a summons and complaint to give the court jurisdiction to try the case. The court's judgment applies to that person and is called an "in personam judgment." In personam is distinguished from in rem, which applies to property or "all the world" instead of a specific person. This technical distinction is important to determine where to file a lawsuit and how to serve a defendant. In personam means that a judgment can be enforceable against the person, wherever he or she is. On the other hand, if the lawsuit is to determine title to property (in rem), then the action must be filed where the property exists and is only enforceable there.

in posse

in potential

In the state of being possible; as opposed to in esse.

in propria persona

in one's own person

"Personally", "in person".

In re

in the matter [of]

A legal term used to indicate that a judicial proceeding may not have formally designated adverse parties or is otherwise uncontested. The term is commonly used in case citations of probate proceedings, for example, In re Smith's Estate; it is also used in juvenile courts, as, for instance, In re Gault.

In rem

to the thing

A legal term used to indicate a court's jurisdiction over a "thing" rather than a "legal person". As opposed to "ad personam jurisdiction". Example: in tenant landlord disputes, the summons and complaint may be nailed to the door of a rented property. This is because the litigant seeks jurisdiction over "the premises" rather than "the occupant".

in rerum natura

in the nature of things

See also Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things).

in retentis

among things held back

Used to describe documents kept separately from the regular records of a court for special reasons.

in saeculo

in the times

"In the secular world", that is, outside a monastery, or before death.

in salvo

in safety

in silico
Dog Latin)

in silicon

Coined in the early 1990s for scientific papers. Refers to an experiment or process performed virtually, as a computer simulation. The term is Dog Latin modeled after terms such as in vitro and in vivo. The Latin word for silicon is silicium, so the correct Latinization of "in silicon" would be in silicio, but this form has little usage.

in situ

in the place

In the original place, appropriate position, or natural arrangement. In medical contexts, it implies that the condition is still in the same place and has not worsened, improved, spread, etc. In situ examinations of materials are performed under real conditions, e.g. a neutron diffraction study of a metal under thermo-mechanical conditions rather than post-mortem. In chemical contexts, in situ indicates that a reagent had been made in flask immediately prior to its use in the reaction.

In somnis veritas

In dreams there is truth

In spe

in hope

"future" (My mother-in-law in spe", i.e. "My future mother-in-law), or "in embryonic form", as in "Locke's theory of government resembles, in spe, Montesquieu's theory of the separation of powers."

In specialibus generalia quaerimus

To seek the general in the specifics

That is, to understand the most general rules through the most detailed analysis.

instante mense (inst.)

in the present month

Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the current month. Sometimes abbreviated as instant. Used with ult. (last month) and prox. (next month).

"Thank you for your letter of the 17th inst."

in statu nascendi

in the state of being born

Just as something is about to begin.

intaminatis fulget honoribus

Untarnished, she shines with honor

From Horace’s Odes (III.2.18). Motto of Wofford College.

integer vitae scelerisque purus

unimpaired by life and clean of wickedness

From Horace. Used as a funeral hymn.

inter alia (i.a.)

among other things

A term used in formal extract minutes to indicate that the minute quoted has been taken from a fuller record of other matters, or when alluding to the parent group after quoting a particular example.

inter alios

among others

Often used to compress lists of parties to legal documents.

inter arma enim silent leges

In the face of arms, the law falls mute, more popularly rendered as In a time of war, the law falls silent.

Said by Cicero in Pro Milone as a protest against unchecked political mobs that had virtually seized control of Rome in the '60s and '50s BC. Famously quoted in the essay "Resistance to Civil Government" by Henry David Thoreau as "The clatter of arms drowns out the voice of the law."

inter caetera

among others

Title of a papal bull.

inter spem et metum

between hope and fear

inter vivos

between the living

Said of property transfers between living persons, as opposed to inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.

in toto

in all

"Totally", "entirely", "completely".

intra muros

within the walls

Thus, "not public". Source of the word intramural. See also intramuros.

intra vires

within the powers

That is, "within the authority".

in triplo

in triple

"In triplicate".

in utero

in the womb

in utrumque paratus

Prepared for either (event)

Motto of the McKenzie clan.

in vacuo

in a void

"In a vacuum". In isolation from other things.

In varietate concordia

Literally, In variety, concord (Loosely, In diversity, harmony [or, friendship])

The motto of the European Union and the Council of Europe

in vino veritas

in wine [there is] truth

That is, wine loosens the tongue.

(Referring to alcohol's disinhibitory effects.)

in vitro

in glass

An experimental or process methodology performed in a "non-natural" setting (e.g., in a laboratory using a glass test tube or Petri dish), and thus outside of a living organism or cell. The reference to glass is merely an historic one, as the current usage of this term is not specific to the materials involved, but rather to the "non-natural" setting employed. Alternative experimental or process methodologies would include in vitro, in silico, ex vivo and in vivo.

In vitro fertilization is not literally done "in glass", but rather is a technique to fertilize egg cells outside of a woman's body. By definition, it is thus an ex vivo process.

in vivo

in life" or "in a living thing

An experiment or process performed on a living specimen.

in vivo veritas

in a living thing [there is] truth

An expression used by biologists to express the fact that laboratory findings that do not include testing on an organism (in vitro) are not always reflected when applied to an organism (in vivo). A pun on in vino veritas.

invictus maneo

I remain unvaquished

Motto of the Armstrong Clan.

Iohannes est nomen eius

John is its name / Juan es su Nombre

Motto of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

ipsa scientia potestas est

knowledge itself is power

Famous phrase written by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597.

ipse dixit

he himself said it

Commonly said in Medieval debates referring to Aristotle, who was considered the supreme authority on matters of philosophy. Used in general to emphasize that some assertion comes from some authority, i.e., as an appeal to authority, and the term ipsedixitism has come to mean any unsupported rhetorical assertion that lacks a logical argument. Originally coined by Cicero in his De Natura Deorum (I, 10) to describe the behavior of the students of Pythagoras.

ipsissima verba

the very words themselves

"Strictly word for word" (cf. verbatim). Often used in Biblical Studies to describe the record of Jesus' teaching found in the New Testament (specifically, the four Gospels).

ipsissima voce

the very 'voice' itself

To approximate the main thrust or message without using the exact words.

ipso facto

by the fact itself

Or "by that very fact".

Ira Deorum

Wrath of the Gods

Like the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the ancient Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of Pax Deorum (Peace of the Gods) instead of Ira Deorum (Wrath of the Gods): earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.

ira furor brevis est

Wrath (anger) is but a brief madness

ita vero

thus indeed

A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes", preferring to respond to questions with the affirmative or negative of the question (i.e., "Are you hungry?" was answered by "I am hungry" or "I am not hungry", not "Yes" or "No).

Ite, missa est

Go, it is sent" (or, more loosely: "You have been dismissed

The deacon's statement to the congregation as part of the concluding ceremonies of the ritual of the Roman Catholic Mass. Scholars are not all agreed about what it intends.

Iter Legis

The path of the law

The path a law takes from its conception to its implementation.

iugulare mortuos

to cut the throat of corpses

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). It can mean attacking the work or personality of deceased person. Alternatively, it can be used to describe criticism of an individual already heavily criticised by others.

iura novit curia

the court knows the laws

A legal principle in civil law countries of the Roman-German tradition (e.g., in Spain,Germany, Italy and Brazil) that says that lawyers need not to argue the law, as that is the office of the court. Sometimes miswritten as iura novat curia (the court renews the laws).

iuris ignorantia est cum ius nostrum ignoramus

it is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights

ius accrescendi

right of accrual

Commonly referred to as "right of survivorship": a rule in property law that surviving joint tenants have rights in equal shares to a decedent's property.

ius ad bellum

law towards war

Refers to the laws that regulate the reasons for going to war. Typically, this would address issues of self-defense or preemptive strikes.

ius cogens

compelling law

Refers to a fundamental principle of international law considered to have acceptance among the international community of states as a whole. Typically, this would address issues not listed or defined by any authoritative body, but arise out of case law and changing social and political attitudes. Generally included are prohibitions on waging aggressive war, crimes against humanity, war crimes, piracy, genocide, slavery, and torture.

ius in bello

law in war

Refers to the "laws" that regulate the conduct of combatants during a conflict. Typically, this would address issues of who or what is a valid target, how to treat prisoners, and what sorts of weapons can be used. The word jus is also commonly spelled ius.

ius primae noctis

law of the first night

The droit de seigneur.

iustitia omnibus

justice for all

Motto of the District of Columbia.

iuventitus veho fortunas

I bear the fortunes of youth

Motto of Dollar Academy.

iuventuti nil arduum

to the young nothing is difficult

Motto of Canberra Girls' Grammar School.





Labor omnia vincit

Hard work conquers all

State motto of Oklahoma and many other institutions. Derived from a phrase in Virgil's Eclogue X (10.59: omnia vincit Amor — "Love conquers all").

Laborare pugnare parati sumus

To work, (or) to fight; we are ready

Motto of the California Maritime Academy

Labore et honore

By labour and honour

Motto of several schools

Laboremus pro patria

Let us work for the fatherland

Motto of the Carlsberg breweries

Laboris gloria Ludi

Work hard, Play hard

Motto of the Camborne School of Mines, Cornwall, UK

lapsus linguae

slip of the tongue

A "proglossis", "tip of the tongue" or "apex of the tongue". Often used to mean "linguistic error" or "language mistake". It and its written-word variant, lapsus calami (slip of the pen) can sometimes refers to a typographical error as well.

Ex.: "I'm sorry for mispronouncing your name. It wasn't intentional; it was a lapsus linguae".

lapsus memoriae

slip of memory

Source of the term memory lapse.

Laudator Temporis Acti

praiser of time past

One who is discontent with the present but instead prefers things of the past. See "the Good old days".

Laudetur Jesus Christus

Praise (Be) Jesus Christ

Often used as a salutation, but also used after prayers or the reading of the gospel.

laus Deo

praise be to God

This is written on the East side at the peak of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

lectori salutem

greetings reader

Often abbreviated to L.S., used as opening words for a letter.

lege artis

according to the law of the art

Describes something genuine, true, real, tested, proven, not assumed, not placebo. Used especially in a medical context. The 'art' referred to in the phrase is medicine.

legem terrae

the law of the land

leges humanae nascuntur, vivunt, et moriuntur

laws of man are born, live and die

leges sine moribus vanae

laws without morals [are] vain

From Horace's Odes: the official motto of the University of Pennsylvania.



A legal term describing a "forced share", the portion of a deceased person's estate from which the immediate family cannot be disinherited. From the French héritier legitime (rightful heir).

lex artis

law of the skill

The rules that regulate a professional duty.

lex orandi, lex credendi

the law of prayer is the law of faith

lex dei vitae lampas

the law of God is the lamp of life

Motto of the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne

lex ferenda

the law that should be borne

The law as it ought to be.

lex hac edictali

the law here proclaims

The rule whereby a spouse cannot by deed inter vivos or bequeath by testament to his or her second spouse more than the amount of the smallest portion given or bequeathed to any child.

lex in casu

law in the event

A law that only concerns one particular case.

lex lata

the law that has been borne

The law as it is.

lex loci

law of the place

lex non scripta

law that has not been written

Unwritten law, or common law.

lex parsimoniae

law of succinctness

also known as Ockhams Razor.

lex rex

the law [is] king

A principle of government advocating a rule by law rather than by men. The phrase originated as a double entendre in the title of Samuel Rutherford's controversial book Lex, Rex (1644), which espoused a theory of limited government and constitutionalism.

lex scripta

written law

Statute law. Contrasted with lex non scripta.

lex talionis

the law of retaliation

Retributive justice (cf. an eye for an eye).

lex tempus

time is the law

Name of musical composition by popular Maltese electronic music artist Ray Buttigieg

libera te tutemet (ex inferis)

Free yourself (from hell)

Used in the movie Event Horizon (1997), where it is translated as "save yourself (from hell)". It is initially misheard as liberate me (free me), but is later corrected. Libera te is often mistakenly merged into liberate, which would necessitate a plural pronoun instead of the singular tutemet (which is an emphatic form of tu, you).

Libertas Justitia Veritas

Liberty Justice Truth

Motto of the Korea University.

Libertas Quae Sera Tamen

freedom which [is] however late

Thus, "liberty even when it comes late". Motto of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

libra (lb)


Literally "balance". Its abbreviation, lb, is used as a unit of weight, the pound.

loco citato (lc)

in the place cited

More fully written in loco citato. See also opere citato.

locus classicus

a classic place

The most typical or classic case of something; quotation which most typifies its use.

locus deperditus

place of (irremediable) loss

Used in philology to indicate that subsequent mistakes in the tradition of the text have made a passage so corrupted as to discourage any attempt of correction. The passage is marked by a crux desperationis ("†"). Somehow close in meaning to the modern English expression lost in translation.

locus minoris resistentiae

place of less resistance

A medical term to describe a location on or in a body that offers little resistance to infection, damage, or injury. For example, a weakened place that tends to be reinjured.

lorem ipsum

sorrow itself, pain for its own sake

A mangled fragment from Cicero's De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum (On the Limits of Good and Evil, 45 BC), used as typographer's filler to show fonts (a.k.a. greeking). An approximate literal translation of lorem ipsum might be "sorrow itself", as the term is from dolorum ipsum quia, meaning "sorrow because of itself", or less literally, "pain for its own sake".

luceat lux vestra

Let your light shine

May be found in Matthew Ch. 5 V. 16. Popular as a school motto.

lucem sequimur

We follow the light

Motto of the University of Exeter, United Kingdom

luctor et emergo

I struggle and emerge

Motto of both the Dutch province of Zeeland to denote its battle against the sea, and the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan.

lucus a non lucendo

[it is] a grove by not being light

From late 4th-century grammarian Honoratus Maurus, who sought to mock implausible word origins such as those proposed by Priscian. A pun based on the word lucus (dark grove) having a similar appearance to the verb lucere (to shine), arguing that the former word is derived from the latter word because of a lack of light in wooded groves. Often used as an example of absurd etymology.

lupus in fabula

the wolf in the story

With the meaning "speak of the wolf, and he will come". Occurs in Terence's play Adelphoe.

lupus non mordet lupum

a wolf does not bite a wolf

lux et lex

light and law

Motto of the liberal arts school, Franklin & Marshall College. Light in reference to Benjamin Franklin's many innovations and discoveries. Law in reference to John Marshall as one of the most notable Supreme Court Justices.

lux et veritas

light and truth

A translation of the Hebrew Urim and Thummim. Motto of Yale University and Indiana University. An expanded form, lux et veritas floreant (let light and truth flourish), is the motto of the University of Winnipeg

lux ex tenebris

light from darkness

Motto of the 67th Network Warfare Wing, a unit within the United States Air Force.

lux hominum vita

life the light of men

Motto of the University of New Mexico

lux in Domino

light in the Lord

Motto of the Ateneo de Manila University

lux libertas

light, liberty

Motto of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

lux mentis lux orbis

Light of the mind, light of the world

Motto of Sonoma State University

lux sit

let there be light

A more literal Latinization of the phrase "let there be light", the most common translation of fiat lux ("let light arise", literally "let light be made"), which in turn is the Latin Vulgate Bible phrase chosen for the Genesis line (And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light). Motto of the University of Washington.

lux tua nos ducat

Your Light Guides Us

Motto of St. Julian's School, Carcavelos, Portugal11





magister dixit

the teacher has said it

Canonical medieval reference to Aristotle, precluding further discussion

Magna Carta

Great Charter

A set of documents between Pope Innocent III, King John of England, and English barons.

magna cum laude

with great praise

A common Latin honor, above cum laude and below summa cum laude.

Magna Europa est Patria Nostra

Great Europe is Our Fatherland

Political motto of pan-Europeanists (cf. ave Europa nostra vera Patria)

magna est vis consuetudinis

great is the power of habit

magno cum gaudio

with great joy

magnum opus

great work

Said of someone's masterpiece

maiora premunt

greater things are pressing

Used to indicate that it is the moment to address more important, urgent, issues.

mala fide

in bad faith

Said of an act done with knowledge of its illegality, or with intention to defraud or mislead someone. Opposite of bona fide.

mala tempora currunt

bad times are upon us

Also used ironically, e.g.: New teachers know all tricks used by pupils to copy from classmates? Oh, mala tempora currunt!.

male captus bene detentus

wrongly captured, properly detained

An illegal arrest will not prejudice the subsequent detention/trial.

Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery

malum discordiae

apple of discord

Alludes to the apple of Eris in the Judgement of Paris, the mythological cause of the Trojan War. It is also a pun based on the near-homonymous word malum (evil). The word for "apple" has a long ā vowel in Latin and the word for "evil" a short a vowel, but they are normally written the same.

malum quo communius eo peius

the more common an evil is, the worse it is

malum in se

wrong in itself

A legal term meaning that something is inherently wrong (cf. malum prohibitum).

malum prohibitum

wrong due to being prohibited

A legal term meaning that something is only wrong because it is against the law.

manu militari

with a military hand

Using armed forces in order to achieve a goal

manu propria (m.p.)

with one's own hand

With the implication of "signed by one's hand". Its abbreviated form is sometimes used at the end of typewritten or printed documents or official notices, directly following the name of the person(s) who "signed" the document exactly in those cases where there isn't an actual handwritten signature.

manus celer Dei

the swift hand of God

Originally used as the name of a ship in the Marathon game series, its usage has spread. In the PlayStation game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the phrase was written in blood on the walls of a vampire's feeding room. It is assumed that one of the dying victims wrote it with his fingers. After the game's main character surveys the bloody room, associative logic dictates that the phrase was to deify both the vampire's wrath on shackled, powerless humans and the boundless slaughter of his victims.

manus manum lavat

one hand washes the other

famous quote from The Pumpkinification of Claudius, ascribed to Seneca the Younger.12 It implies that one situation helps the other.

mare clausum

closed sea

In law, a sea under the jurisdiction of one nation and closed to all others.

mare liberum

free sea

In law, a sea open to international shipping navigation.

mare nostrum

our sea

A nickname given to the Mediterranean Sea during the height of the Roman Empire, as it encompassed the entire coastal basin.

Mater Dei

Mother of God

A name given to describe the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, who is also called the "Son of God."

Mater Facit

Mother Does It

Used as a joke to say Mother Fuck It, though it really means "mother does it"

Mater semper certa est

The mother is always certain

a Roman-law principle which has the power of praesumptio iuris et de iure, meaning that no counter-evidence can be made against this principle (literally: Presumed there is no counter evidence and by the law). Its meaning is that the mother of the child is always known.

mater familias

the mother of the family

The female head of a family. See pater familias.

materia medica

medical matter

The branch of medical science concerned with the study of drugs used in the treatment of disease. Also, the drugs themselves.

me vexat pede

it annoys me at the foot

Less literally, "my foot itches". Refers to a trivial situation or person that is being a bother, possibly in the sense of wishing to kick that thing away.

Mea Culpa

My Fault

Used in Christian prayers and confession to denote the inherently flawed nature of mankind. Can also be extended to mea maxima culpa (my greatest fault). Analogous to the nonstandard modern English slang "my bad".

Mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundat

My hovercraft is full of eels

A relatively common recent Latinization inspired by the Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch by Monty Python.

Media vita in morte sumus

In the midst of our lives we die

A well-known sequence, falsely attributed to Notker during the Middle Ages. It was translated by Cranmer and became a part of the burial service in the funeral rites of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Mediolanum captum est

Milan has been captured

Used erroneously as Mediolanum Capta Est by the black metal band Mayhem as an album title. Mediolanum was an ancient city in present-day Milan, Italy.


better things

Carrying the connotation of "always better". The motto of the University of Rochester.

Melita, domi adsum

Honey, I'm home!

A relatively common recent Latinization from the joke phrasebook Latin for All Occasions. Grammatically correct, but the phrase would be anachronistic in ancient Rome.

memento mori

remember that [you will] die

Figuratively "be mindful of dying" or "remember your mortality", and also more literally rendered as "remember to die", though in English this ironically misses the original intent. An object (such as a skull) or phrase intended to remind people of the inevitability of death. A more common theme in Christian than in Classical art. The motto of the Trappist order.

memento vivere

a reminder of life

Also, "remember that you have to live." Literally rendered as "remember to live."

memores acti prudentes futuri

mindful of what has been done, aware of what will be

Thus, both remembering the past and foreseeing the future. From the North Hertfordshire District Council coat of arms.

mens agitat molem

the mind moves the mass

From Virgil. Motto of Rossall School, the University of Oregon, the University of Warwick and the Eindhoven University of Technology.

mens et manus

mind and hand

Motto of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

mens rea

guilty mind

Also "culprit mind". A term used in discussing the mindset of an accused criminal.

mens sana in corpore sano

a sound mind in a sound body

Or "a sensible mind in a healthy body".

meminerunt omnia amantes

lovers remember all

metri causa

for the sake of the meter

Excusing flaws in poetry "for the sake of the meter"

Miles Gloriosus

Glorious Soldier

Or "Boastful Soldier". Miles Gloriosus is the title of a play of Plautus. A stock character in comedy, the braggart soldier. (It is said that at Salamanca, there is a wall, on which graduates inscribe their names, where Francisco Franco had a plaque installed reading FRANCISCUS FRANCUS MILES GLORIOSUS.)

minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus

he threatens the innocent who spares the guilty

mirabile dictu

wonderful to tell

mirabile visu

wonderful by the sight

A Roman phrase used to describe a wonderful event/happening.

miscerique probat populos et foedera jungi

He approves of the mingling of the peoples and their bonds of union

Latin Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV, line 112, "he" referring to the great Roman god, who approved of the settlement of Romans in Africa. Old Motto of Trinidad and Tobago, and used in the novel A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul.

miserabile visu

terrible by the sight

A terrible happening or event.

miserere nobis

have mercy upon us

A phrase within the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and the Agnus Dei, to be used at certain points in Christian religious ceremonies.

missit me Dominus

the Lord has sent me

A phrase used by Jesus Christ.


we send

A warrant of commitment to prison, or an instruction for a jailer to hold someone in prison.

mobilis in mobili

moving in a moving thing" or, poetically, "changing through the changing medium

The motto of the Nautilus from the Jules Verne novel 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.


modus operandi (M.O.)

method of operating

Usually used to describe a criminal's methods.

modus ponens

method of placing

Loosely "method of affirming", a logical rule of inference stating that from propositions if P then Q and P, then one can conclude Q.

modus tollens

method of removing

Loosely "method of denying", a logical rule of inference stating that from propositions if P then Q and not Q, then one can conclude not P.

modus morons
Dog Latin)

Dog Latin based on wordplay with modus ponens and modus tollens, referring to the common logical fallacy that if P then Q and not P, then one can conclude not Q (cf. denying the antecedent and contraposition).

modus vivendi

method of living

An accommodation between disagreeing parties to allow life to go on. A practical compromise.

montaini semper liberi

mountaineers [are] always free

State motto of West Virginia, adopted in 1872.

Montis Insignia Calpe

Badge of the Rock of Gibraltar

mortui vivos docent

(Let the) dead teach the living

Used to justify dissections of human cadavers in order to understand the cause of death.

more ferarum

like beasts

used to describe any sexual act in the manner of beasts

morituri nolumus mori

we who are about to die don't want to

From Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero

morituri te salutant

those who are about to die salute you

Used once in Suetonius' De Vita Caesarum 5, (Divus Claudius), chapter 2113, by the condemned prisoners manning galleys about to take part in a mock naval battle on Lake Fucinus in AD 52. Popular misconception ascribes it as a gladiator's salute. See also: Ave Caesar morituri te salutant and Naumachia.

mors certa, hora incerta

death is certain, its hour is uncertain

mors tua vita mea

your death, my life

From medieval Latin, it indicates that battle for survival, where your defeat is necessary for my victory, survival.

mors vincit omnia

death conquers all" or "death always wins

An axiom often found on headstones.

mortuum flagellas

you are flogging a dead

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Criticising one who will not be affected in any way by the criticism.

mos maiorum

the custom of our ancestors

an unwritten code of laws and conduct, of the Romans. It institutionalized cultural traditions, societal mores, and general policies, as distinct from specific laws.

motu proprio

on his own initiative

Or "by his own accord." Identifies a class of papal documents, administrative papal bulls.

mulgere hircum

to milk a male goat

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Attempting the impossible.

multa paucis

Say much in few words

multis e gentibus vires

from many peoples, strength

Motto of Saskatchewan.

multum in parvo

much in little

Conciseness. The motto of Rutland, a county in central England.

Latin phrases are often multum in parvo, conveying much in few words.

mundus vult decipi

the world wants to be deceived

From James Branch Cabell.

munit haec et altera vincit

this one defends and the other one conquers

Motto of Nova Scotia.

mutatis mutandis

with those things changed which needed to be changed

Thus, "with the appropriate changes".





nasciturus pro iam nato habetur, quotiens de commodis eius agitur

The unborn is deemed to have been born to the extent that his own inheritance is concerned

Refers to a situation where an unborn child is deemed to be entitled to certain inheritance rights.

natura abhorret a vacuo

nature abhors a vacuum

natura non contristatur

nature is not saddened

That is, the natural world is not sentimental or compassionate.

natura non facit saltum ita nec lex

nature does not make a leap, thus neither does the law

Shortened form of "sicut natura nil facit per saltum ita nec lex" (just as nature does nothing by a leap, so neither does the law), referring to both nature and the legal system moving gradually.

natura non facit saltus

nature makes no leaps

A famous aphorism of Linnaeus stating that all organisms bear relationships on all sides, their forms changing gradually from one species to the next. From Philosophia Botanica.

naturalia non sunt turpia

What is natural is not dirty.

Based on Servius' commentary on Virgil's Georgics (3:96): "turpis non est quia per naturam venit."

naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.

You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.

You must take the basic nature of something into account.
Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle iv, line 24.

navigare necesse est vivere non est necesse

to sail is necessary; to live is not necessary

Attributed by Plutarch to Gnaeus Pompeius, who, during a severe storm, commanded sailors to bring food from Africa to Rome.

ne plus ultra

nothing more beyond

Also nec plus ultra or non plus ultra. A descriptive phrase meaning the best or most extreme example of something. The Pillars of Hercules, for example, were literally the nec plus ultra of the ancient Mediterranean world. Charles V's heraldic emblem reversed this idea, using a depiction of this phrase inscribed on the Pillars—as plus ultra, without the negation. This represented Spain's expansion into the New World.

ne sutor ultra crepidam

Cobbler, no further than the sandal!

Thus, don't offer your opinion on things that are outside your competence. It is said that the Greek painter Apelles once asked the advice of a cobbler on how to render the sandals of a soldier he was painting. When the cobbler started offering advice on other parts of the painting, Apelles rebuked him with this phrase in Greek, and it subsequently became a popular Latin expression.

nec dextrorsum, nec sinistrorsum

Neither to the right nor to the left

Do not get distracted. This Latin phrase is also the motto for Bishop Cotton Boys School and the Bishop Cotton Girls High school, both located in Bangalore, India.

nec spe, nec metu

without hope, without fear

nec tamen consumebatur

and yet it was not consumed

Refers to the Burning Bush of Exodus 3:2. Motto of many Presbyterian churches throughout the world, including Australia.

nec temere nec timide

neither reckless nor timid

The motto of the Dutch 11th air manoeuvre brigade 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade

neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet

kill them all, god will know his own.

said by Arnaud Amaury, the Abbot of Citeaux, the Papal Legate. Recorded by a monk who was present at the time. The Abbot had been asked by the military commander of the crusade, the Earl of Leicester, how best to deal with the heretics and this is how he replied. The phrase has been adapted to "Kill them all, let God sort 'em out" and is a commonly used military proverb to this day.

nemine contradicente (nem. con.)

with no one speaking against

Less literally, "without dissent". Used especially in committees, where a matter may be passed nem. con., or unanimously.

nemo dat quod non habet

no one gives what he does not have

Thus, "none can pass better title than they have".

nemo est supra legis

nobody is above the law

nemo iudex in sua causa

no man shall be a judge in his own cause

Legal principle that no individual can preside over a hearing in which he holds a specific interest or bias.

nemo malus felix

peace visits not the guilty mind

Also translated to "no peace for the wicked." Refers to the inherent psychological issues that plague bad/guilty people.

nemo me impune lacessit

no one provokes me with impunity

Motto of the Order of the Thistle, and consequently of Scotland, found stamped on the milled edge of certain British pound sterling coins. It is also the motto of the Montressors in the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The Cask of Amontillado"

nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit

No mortal is wise at all times

The wisest may make mistakes.

nemo nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur

No one learns except by friendship

Used to imply that one must like a subject in order to study it.

nemo saltat sobrius

Nobody dances sober

The short and more common form of "Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit", "Nobody dances sober, unless he is completely insane."

nemo tenetur seipsum accusare

no one is bound to accuse himself

A maxim banning mandatory self-incrimination. Near-synonymous with accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo. Similar phrases include: nemo tenetur armare adversarium contra se (no one is bound to arm an opponent against himself), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to in any way assist the prosecutor to his own detriment; nemo tenetur edere instrumenta contra se (no one is bound to produce documents against himself, meaning that a defendant is not obligated to provide materials to be used against himself (this is true in Roman law and has survived in modern criminal law, but no longer applies in modern civil law); and nemo tenere prodere seipsum (no one is bound to betray himself), meaning that a defendant is not obligated to testify against himself.

nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam

Endless money forms the sinews of war

In war, it is essential to be able to purchase supplies and to pay troops (as Napoleon put it, "An army marches on its stomach").

nihil ad rem

nothing to do with the point

That is, in law, irrelevant and / or inconsequential.

nihil dicit

he says nothing

In law, a declination by a defendant to answer charges or put in a plea.

nihil novi

nothing of the new

Or just "nothing new". The phrase exists in two versions: as nihil novi sub sole (nothing new under the sun), from the Vulgate, and as nihil novi nisi commune consensu (nothing new unless by the common consensus), a 1505 law of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and one of the cornerstones of its Golden Liberty.

nihil obstat

nothing prevents

A notation, usually on a title page, indicating that a Roman Catholic censor has reviewed the book and found nothing objectionable to faith or morals in its content. See also imprimatur.

Nihil sine Deo

Nothing without God

The motto of the Kingdom of Romania, while ruled by the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen dynasty (1878–1947).

nil admirari

be surprised at nothing

Motto of the Fitzgibbon family. See John FitzGibbon, 1st Earl of Clare

nil desperandum

nothing must be despaired at

That is, "never despair".

nil nisi bonum

(about the dead say) nothing unless (it is) good

Short for nil nisi bonum de mortuis dicere. That is, "Don't speak ill of anyone who has died". Also "Nil magnum nisi bonum" (nothing is great unless good), motto of St Catherine's School, Toorak.

nil nisi malis terrori

no terror, except to the bad

The motto of King's School, Macclesfield.

nil per os (n.p.o.)

nothing through the mouth

Medical shorthand indicating that oral foods and fluids should be withheld from the patient.

nil satis nisi optimum

nothing [is] enough unless [it is] the best

Motto of Everton Football Club, residents of Goodison Park, Liverpool.

nil sine labore

nothing without labour

Motto of Brisbane Grammar School , Brisbane Girls Grammar School and Victoria School

nil sine numine

nothing without the divine will

Or "nothing without providence". State motto of Colorado, adopted in 1861. Probably derived from Virgil's Aeneid Book II, line 777, "non haec sine numine devum eveniunt" (these things do not come to pass without the will of the gods). See also numina.

nil volentibus arduum

Nothing [is] arduous for the willing

Nothing is impossible for the willing

nisi Dominus frustra

if not the Lord, [it is] in vain

That is, "everything is in vain without God". Summarized from Psalm 127, "nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem frustra vigilavit qui custodit" (unless the Lord builds the house, they work on a useless thing who build it; unless the Lord guards the community, he keeps watch in vain who guards it). The motto of Edinburgh.

nisi prius

unless previously

In England, a direction that a case be brought up to Westminster for trial before a single judge and jury. In the United States, a court where civil actions are tried by a single judge sitting with a jury, as distinguished from an appellate court.

nolens volens

unwilling, willing

That is, "whether unwillingly or willingly". Sometimes rendered volens nolens, aut nolens aut volens or nolentis volentis. Similar to willy-nilly, though that word is derived from Old English will-he nil-he ([whether] he will or [whether] he will not).

noli me tangere

do not touch me

Commonly translated "touch me not". According to the Gospel of John, this was said by Jesus to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection.

noli turbare circulos meos

Do not disturb my circles!

That is, "Don't upset my calculations!" Said by Archimedes to a Roman soldier who, despite having been given orders not to, killed Archimedes at the conquest of Syracuse. The soldier was executed for his act.

nolite te bastardes carborundorum
Dog Latin)

"Don't let the bastards grind you down

From The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood — the protagonist (Offred) finds the phrase inscribed on the inside of her wardrobe. One of many variants of Illegitimi non carborundum.

nolle prosequi

to be unwilling to prosecute

A legal motion by a prosecutor or other plaintiff to drop legal charges, usually in exchange for a diversion program or out-of-court settlement.

nolo contendere

I do not wish to contend

That is, "no contest". A plea that can be entered on behalf of a defendant in a court that states that the accused doesn't admit guilt, but will accept punishment for a crime. Nolo contendere pleas cannot be used as evidence in another trial.

nomen dubium

doubtful name

A scientific name of unknown or doubtful application.

nomen est omen

the name is a sign

Thus, "true to its name".

nomen nescio (N.N.)

I do not know the name

Thus, the name or person in question is unknown.

nomen nudum

naked name

A purported scientific name that does not fulfill the proper formal criteria and therefore cannot be used unless it is subsequently proposed correctly.

non bis in idem

not twice in the same thing

A legal principle forbidding double jeopardy.

non causa pro causa

not the cause for the cause

Also known as the "questionable cause" or "false cause". Refers to any logical fallacy where a cause is incorrectly identified.

non compos mentis

not in control of the mind

See compos mentis. Also rendered non compos sui (not in control of himself). Samuel Johnson, author of the first English dictionary, theorized that the word nincompoop may derive from this phrase.

Non ducor, duco

I am not led; I lead

Motto of São Paulo city, Brazil. See also pro Brasilia fiant eximia.

non constat

it is not certain

Used to explain scientific phenomena and religious advocations, for example in medieval history, for rulers to issue a 'Non Constat' decree, banning the worship of a holy figure. In legal context, occasionally a backing for nulling information that was presented by an attorney. Without any tangible proof, Non constat information is difficult to argue for.

non facias malum ut inde fiat bonum

you should not make evil in order that good may be made from it

More simply, "don't do wrong to do right". The direct opposite of the phrase "the ends justify the means".

non impediti ratione congitatonis

unencumbered by the thought process

Motto of radio show Car Talk.

non in legendo sed in intelligendo legis consistunt

the laws depend not on being read, but on being understood

non liquet

it is not proven

Also "it is not clear" or "it is not evident". A sometimes controversial decision handed down by a judge when they feel that the law is not complete.

non mihi solum

not for myself alone

Motto of Anderson Junior College, Singapore.

non nobis solum

not for ourselves alone

Appears in Cicero's De Officiis Book 1:22 in the form non nobis solum nati sumus (we are not born for ourselves alone). Motto of Lower Canada College, Montreal.

non obstante veredicto

not standing in the way of a verdict

A judgment notwithstanding verdict, a legal motion asking the court to reverse the jury's verdict on the grounds that the jury could not have reached such a verdict reasonably.

non olet

it doesn't smell

See pecunia non olet.

non omnis moriar

I shall not all die

"Not all of me will die", a phrase expressing the belief that a part of the speaker will survive beyond death.

non plus ultra

nothing further beyond

the ultimate

non possumus

not possible

non progredi est regredi

to not go forward is to go backward

non prosequitur

he does not proceed

A judgment in favor of a defendant when the plaintiff failed to take the necessary steps in an action within the time allowed.

non scholae sed vitae discimus

We learn not for school, but for life.

from Seneca. Also, motto of the Istanbul Bilgi University.

non quis sed quid

not who but what

Used in the sense "what matters is not who says it but what he says" – a warning against ad hominem arguments. Also, motto of Southwestern University.

non sequitur

it does not follow

In general, a non sequitur is a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context (rather than due to being inherently nonsensical or internally inconsistent), often used in humor. As a logical fallacy, a non sequitur is a conclusion that does not follow from a premise.

non serviam

I will not serve

Possibly derived from a Vulgate mistranslation of the Book of Jeremiah. Commonly used in literature as Satan's statement of disobedience to God, though in the original context the quote is attributed to Israel, not Satan.

non sibi

Not for self.

A slogan used by many schools and universities.

non sibi, sed suis

Not for one's self but for one's own.

A slogan used by many schools and universities. Including Tulane University.

Non sibi, sed patria

Not for self, but for Country.

Motto of the USS Halyburton (FFG-40)

Non silba, sed anthar; Deo vindice

Not for self, but for others; God will vindicate.

A slogan used by the Ku Klux Klan.

non sum qualis eram

I am not such as I was

Or "I am not the kind of person I once was". Expresses a change in the speaker.

non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum

Do not hold as gold all that shines as gold.

Also, "All that glitters is not gold." Parabolae. Also used by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice

non timebo mala

I will fear no evil

This is the phrase printed on the Colt, in Supernatural.

non vi, sed verbo

Not through violence, but through the word alone

Martin Luther on Catholic church reform. (see Protestant Reformation)

nosce te ipsum

know thyself

From Cicero, based on the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), inscribed on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. A non-traditional Latin rendering, temet nosce (thine own self know), is translated in The Matrix as "know thyself".

nosus decipio

we cheat

As translated in Amazing Grace (2006 film), "we cheat." From verb decipere: to ensnare, trap, beguile, deceive, cheat.

noster nostri

Literally "Our ours"

Approximately "Our hearts beat as one."

nota bene (n.b.)

mark well

That is, "please note" or "note it well".

Novus Ordo Seclorum

New Order of the Ages

From Virgil. Motto on the Great Seal of the United States. Similar to Novus Ordo Mundi (New world order).

nulla dies sine linea

Not a day without a line drawn.

Pliny the Elder attributes this maxim to Apelles, an ancient Greek artist.

nulla poena sine lege

no penalty without a law

Refers to the legal principle that one cannot be punished for doing something that is not prohibited by law, and is related to Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.

Nulla tenaci invia est via

For the tenacious, no road is impassable.

Motto of the Dutch car builder Spyker.

nullam rem natam

no thing born

That is, "nothing". It has been theorized that this expression is the origin of Italian nulla, French rien, and Spanish and Portuguese nada, all with the same meaning.

nulli secundus

second to none

Motto of the Coldstream Guardsand Nine Squadron Royal Australian Corps of Transport.

nullius in verba

On the word of no man

Motto of the Royal Society.

nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege

no crime, no punishment without law

Legal principle meaning that one cannot be penalised for doing something that is not prohibited by law. It also means that penal law cannot be enacted retroactively. See also Nullum crimen et nulla poena sine lege and Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali

nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiae fuit

There has been no great wisdom without an element of madness

numerus clausus

closed number

A method to limit the number of students who may study at a university.

nunc dimittis

now you are sending away

In the Gospel of Luke, spoken by Simeon while holding the baby Jesus when he felt he was ready to be dismissed into the afterlife (he had seen the light). Often used in the same way the phrase Eureka is used, as a jubilant exclamation of revelation.

nunc est bibendum

now is the time to drink

Carpe-Diem-type phrase from the Odes of Horace, "Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus" (Now is the time to drink, now the time to dance footloose upon the earth).

nunc pro tunc

now for then

Something that has retroactive effect, is effective from an earlier date.

nunc scio quid sit amor

now I know what love is

From Virgil, Eclogues VIII.

nunquam minus solus quam cum solus

never less alone than when alone.

nunquam non

never unprepared

Motto of the Scottish clan Johnston





O homines ad servitutem paratos

Men fit to be slaves!

Attributed (in Tacitus, Annales, III, 65) to the Emperor Tiberius, in disgust at the servile attitude of Roman senators. Used of those who should be leaders but instead slavishly follow the lead of others.

O tempora O mores

Oh, the times! Oh, the morals!

Also translated "What times! What customs!" From Cicero, Catilina I, 1, 2.

obiit (ob.)

one died

"He died" or "she died", an inscription on gravestones. ob. also sometimes stands for obiter (in passing or incidentally).

obit anus, abit onus

The old woman dies, the burden is lifted

Arthur Schopenhauer.

obiter dictum

a thing said in passing

In law, an observation by a judge on some point of law not directly relevant to the case before him, and thus neither requiring his decision nor serving as a precedent, but nevertheless of persuasive authority. In general, any comment, remark or observation made in passing.

obscuris vera involvens

the truth being enveloped by obscure things

From Virgil.

obscurum per obscurius

the obscure by means of the more obscure

An explanation that is less clear than what it tries to explain. Synonymous with ignotum per ignotius.

oculus dexter (O.D.)

right eye

Ophthalmologist shorthand.

oculus sinister (O.S.)

left eye

Ophthalmologist shorthand.

oderint dum metuant

let them hate, so long as they fear

Favorite saying of Caligula, attributed originally to Lucius Accius, Roman tragic poet (170 BC).

odi et amo

I hate and I love

The opening of Catullus 85. The entire poem reads, "odi et amo quare id faciam fortasse requiris / nescio sed fieri sentio et excrucior" (I hate and I love. Why do I do this, you perhaps ask. / I do not know, but I feel it happening and am tormented.).

odi profanum vulgus et arceo

I hate the unholy rabble and keep them away

From Horace.

odium theologicum

theological hatred

A name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes.

oleum camino

(To pour) oil on the fire

From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508).

omnes vulnerant, postuma necat or omnes feriunt, ultima necat

All [the hours] wound, last one kills

Usual in clocks, reminding the reader of death.

omne ignotum pro magnifico

every unknown thing [is taken] for great

Or "everything unknown appears magnificent".

omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina

everything said [is] stronger if said in Latin

Or "everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin". A more common phrase with the same meaning is quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.

omnia mutantur, nihil interit

Everything changes, nothing perishes

Or "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost" (Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD), Metamorphoses, book XV, line 165)

omnia vincit amor

Love conquers all

Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC), Eclogue X, line 69

omne vivum ex ovo

Every living thing is from an egg

A foundational concept of modern biology, opposing the theory of spontaneous generation.

omnia munda mundis

everything [is] pure to the pure [men]

From The New Testament.

omnia praesumuntur legitime facta donec probetur in contrarium

all things are presumed to be lawfully done, until it is shown [to be] in the reverse

In other words, "innocent until proven guilty".

omnibus idem

the same to all

The motto of P.C. Hooft, usually accompanied by a sun, which shines for (almost) everyone.

Omnis Vir Tigris

"Everyone A Tiger"

Motto of the 102nd Intelligence Wing

omnium gatherum

gathering of all

A miscellaneous collection or assortment. Often used facetiously.

onus probandi

burden of proof

onus procedendi

burden of procedure

Burden of a party to adduce evidence that a case is an exception to the rule

opera omnia

all works

The collected works of an author.

opera posthuma

posthumous works

Works published after the author's death.

operari sequitur esse

the act of doing something follows the act of being

Scholastic phrase, used to explain that there is no possible act if there is not being: being is absolutely necessary for any other act.

opere citato (op. cit.)

in the work that was cited

Used in academic works when referring again to the last source mentioned or used.

opere et viritate

in action and truth

Doing what you believe is morally right through everyday actions.

opere laudato (op. laud.)


See opere citato

operibus anteire

leading the way with deeds

To speak with actions instead of words.

ophidia in herba

a snake in the grass

Any hidden danger or unknown risk.

opus anglicanum

English work

Fine embroidery. Especially used to describe church vestments.

Opus Dei

The Work of God

Opus Dei is a Catholic institution founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá. Its mission is to help people turn their work and daily activities into occasions for growing closer to God, for serving others, and for improving society.

ora et labora

pray and work

The Motto of Order of Saint Benedict as well as the motto for St. Joseph's Institution, Dalhousie Law School, Halifax Nova Scotia, and Infant Jesus Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Tangasseri, India, and other institutions.

ora pro nobis

pray for us

oratio directa

direct speech

An expression from Latin grammar. cf. "oratio obliqua."

oratio obliqua

indirect speech

An expression from Latin grammar. cf. "oratio directa."

orbis non sufficit

the world does not suffice"
"the world is not enough

Originates from Juvenal's Tenth Satire, referring to Alexander the Great. James Bond's adopted family motto in the novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It made a brief appearance in the film adaptation of the same name and was later used as the title of the nineteenth James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough.

orbis unum

One world

Seen in The Legend of Zorro.

ordo ab chao

Out of chaos, comes order

The phrase is one of the oldest mottos of Craft Freemasonry.citation needed

orta recens quam pura nites

newly risen, how brightly you shine

Motto of New South Wales.






"in peace"

"With all due respect to", "with due deference to", "by leave of", or "no offense to". Used to politely acknowledge someone who disagrees with the speaker or writer.

pace tua

"your peace"

Thus, "with your permission".

pacta sunt servanda

"agreements must be kept"

Also "contracts must be honoured". Indicates the binding power of treaties.

palma non sine pulvere

"no reward without effort"

Also "dare to try"; motto of numerous schools.

panem et circenses

"bread and circuses"

From Juvenal, Satire X, line 81. Originally described all that was needed for emperors to placate the Roman mob. Today used to describe any entertainment used to distract public attention from more important matters.

para bellum

"prepare for war"

From "Si vis pacem para bellum" if you want peace prepare for war since if you are ready for war your enemies will not attack. Can be used to denote support or approval for a war or conflict.

parens patriae

"parent of the nation"

A public policy requiring courts to protect the best interests of any child involved in a lawsuit. See also Pater Patriae.

Pari passu

"with equal step"

Thus, "moving together", "simultaneously", etc.

parva sub ingenti

"the small under the huge"

Implies that the weak are under the protection of the strong, rather than that they are inferior. Motto of Prince Edward Island.

Parvis imbutus tentabis grandia tutus

"When you are steeped in little things, you shall safely attempt great things"

Motto of Barnard Castle School, sometimes translated as "Once you have accomplished small things, you may attempt great ones safely"


"here and there"

Less literally, "throughout" or "frequently". Said of a word that occurs several times in a cited text. Also used in proofreading, where it refers to a change that is to be repeated everywhere needed.

pater familias

"father of the family"

Or "master of the house". The eldest male in a family, who held patria potestas ("paternal power"). In Roman law, a father had enormous power over his children, wife, and slaves, though these rights dwindled over time. Derived from the phrase pater familias, an Old Latin expression preserving the archaic -as ending for the genitive case.

Pater Patriae

"Father of the Nation"

Also rendered with the gender-neutral parens patriae ("parent of the nation").

pater peccavi

"father, I have sinned"

The traditional beginning of a Roman Catholic confession.

Pater Omnipotens

"Father Almighty"

A more direct translation would be "omnipotent father".

Patriam fecisti diversis de gentibus unam

"From differing peoples you have made one native land"

pauca sed matura

"few, but ripe"

From The King and I by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Said to be one of Carl Gauss's favorite quotations.

pauca sed bona

"few, but good"

Similar to "quality over quantity"; though there may be few of something, at least they are of good quality.

pax aeterna

"eternal peace"

A common epitaph.

Pax Americana

"American Peace"

A euphemism for the United States of America and its sphere of influence. Adapted from Pax Romana.

Pax Britannica

"British Peace"

A euphemism for the British Empire. Adapted from Pax Romana.

Pax Christi

"Peace of Christ"

Used as a wish before the H.Communion in the RC Mass, also the name of the peace movement Pax Christi

pax Dei

"peace of God"

Used in the Peace and Truce of God movement in 10th-Century France.

Pax Deorum

"Peace of the Gods"

Like the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of Pax Deorum (The Peace of the Gods) instead of Ira Deorum (The Wrath of the Gods).

Pax Domine

"Peace, lord"

lord or master; used as a form of address when speaking to clergy or educated professionals.

pax et bonum

"peace and the good"

Motto of St. Francis of Assisi and, consequently, of his monastery in Assisi, in the Umbria region of Italy. Translated in Italian as pace e bene.

pax et lux

"peace and light"

Motto of Tufts University.

pax in terra

"Peace on earth"

Used to exemplify the desired state of peace on earth.

Pax Europea

"European peace"

A euphemism for Europe after World War II

pax maternum, ergo pax familiarum

"peace of mothers, therefore peace of families"

If the mother is peaceful, then the family is peaceful. The reverse of the Southern American saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Pax Mongolica

"Mongolian Peace"

A period of peace and prosperity in Asia during the Mongol Empire.

Pax Romana

"Roman Peace"

A period of relative prosperity and lack of conflict in the early Roman Empire.

Pax Sinica

"Chinese Peace"

A period of peace in East Asia during times of strong Chinese hegemony.

Pax tecum

"Peace be with you"


pax vobiscum

"peace [be] with you"

A common farewell. The "you" is plural ("you all"), so the phrase must be used when speaking to more than one person; pax tecum is the form used when speaking to only one person.


"I have sinned"

Telegraph message and pun from Charles Napier, British general, upon completely subjugating the Indian province of Sindh in 1842. This is, arguably, the most terse military despatch ever sent. The story is apocryphal.

pecunia non olet

"the money doesn't smell"

According to Suetonius, when Emperor Vespasian was challenged by his son Titus for taxing the public lavatories, the emperor held up a coin before his son and asked whether it smelled or simply said non olet ("it doesn't smell"). From this, the phrase was expanded to pecunia non olet, or rarely aes non olet ("copper doesn't smell").

pecunia, si uti scis, ancilla est; si nescis, domina

"if you know how to use money, money is your slave; if you don't, money is your master"

Written on an old Latin tablet in downtown Verona (Italy).

pendent opera interrupta

"the work hangs interrupted"

From the Aeneid of Virgil, Book IV.


"By, through, by means of"

See specific phrases below.

per angusta ad augusta

"through difficulties to greatness"

The motto of numerous educational establishments.

per annum (pa.)

"through a year"

Thus, "yearly"—occurring every year.

per ardua

"through adversity"

Motto of the British RAF Regiment

per ardua ad alta

"through hard work, great things are achieved"

Motto of University of Birmingham.

per ardua ad astra

"through struggles to the stars"

Motto of the air force of several nations and of several schools. The phrase is used by Latin Poet Virgil in the Aeneid; also used in H. Rider Haggard's novel The People of the Mist.

per aspera ad astra

"through hardships to the stars"

From Seneca the Younger. Motto of NASA and the South African Air Force. A common variant, ad astra per aspera ("to the stars through hardships"), is the state motto of Kansas. Ad Astra ("To the Stars") is the title of a magazine published by the National Space Society. De Profundus Ad Astra ("From the depths to the stars.") is the motto of the LASFS.

per capsulam

"through the small box"

That is, "by letter".

per capita

"through the heads"

"Per head", i.e., "per person". The singular is per caput ("through a head").

per contra

"through the contrary"

Or "on the contrary" (cf. a contrario).

per curiam

"through the senate"

Legal term meaning "by the court", as in a per curiam decision.

Per crucem vincemus

"through the cross we shall conquer"

Motto of St John Fisher Catholic High School, Dewsbury.

per definitionem

"through the definition"

Thus, "by definition".

per diem (pd.)

"through a day"

Thus, "per day". A specific amount of money an organization allows an individual to spend per day, typically for travel expenses.

Per Mare per Terram

"By Sea and by Land"

Motto of the Royal Marines and (with small difference) of Clan Donald.

per mensem (pm.)

"through a month"

Thus, "per month", or "monthly".

per os (p.o.)

"through the mouth"

Medical shorthand for "by mouth".

per pedes

"by feet"

Used of a certain place can be traversed or reached by foot, or to indicate that one is travelling by foot as opposed to by a vehicle.

per procura (p.p.) or (per pro)

"through the agency"

Also rendered per procurationem. 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".

per quod

"by reason of which"

In a UK legal context: "by reason of which" (as opposed to per se which requires no reasoning). In American jurisprudence often refers to a spouse's claim for loss of consortium.

per rectum (pr)

"through the rectum"

Medical shorthand. See also per os.

per se

"through itself"

Also "by itself" or "in itself". Without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc. A common example is negligence per se. See also malum in se.

per stirpes

"through the roots"

Used in wills to indicate that each "branch" of the testator's family should inherit equally. Contrasted with per capita.

per unitatem vis

"through unity, strength"

Motto of Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets.

per veritatem vis

"through truth, strength"

Motto of Washington University in St. Louis.

per volar sunatasic

"born to fly upwards"*

Motto of St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School and St Margaret's Anglican Girls School *This is a historical misconception. The phrase is not from latin but from 'Dante Purgatorio XII 94-96'. "Per Volar Su Nata" - Original meaning from the Sisters of the Sacred Advent was "Born to Soar" .

perpetuum mobile

"thing in perpetual motion"

A musical term. Also used to refer to hypothetical perpetual motion machines.

persona non grata

"person not pleasing"

An unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person. In diplomatic contexts, a person rejected by the host government. The reverse, persona grata ("pleasing person"), is less common, and refers to a diplomat acceptable to the government of the country to which he is sent.

petitio principii

"request of the beginning"

Begging the question, a logical fallacy in which a proposition to be proved is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises.

pia desideria

"pious longings"

Or "dutiful desires".

pia fraus

"pious fraud"

Or "dutiful deceit". Expression from Ovid. Used to describe deception which serves Church purposes.

pia mater

"pious mother"

Or "tender mother". Translated into Latin from Arabic. The delicate innermost of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.


"one painted"

Thus, "he painted this" or "she painted this". Formerly used on works of art, next to the artist's name.

pluralis majestatis

"plural of majesty"

The first-person plural pronoun when used by an important personage to refer to himself or herself; also known as the "royal we".

plus Ultra

"further beyond"

The national motto of Spain and a number of other institutions. Motto of the Colombian National Armada.

pollice compresso favor iudicabatur

"goodwill decided by compressed thumb"

Life was spared with a thumb tucked inside a closed fist, simulating a sheathed weapon. Conversely, a thumb up meant to unsheath your sword.

pollice verso

"with a turned thumb"

Used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator. The type of gesture used is uncertain. Also the name of a famous painting depicting gladiators by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

pons asinorum

"bridge of asses"

Any obstacle that stupid people find hard to cross. Originally used of Euclid's Fifth Proposition in geometry.

Pontifex Maximus

"Greatest High Priest"

Or "Supreme Pontiff". Originally an office in the Roman Republic, later a title held by Roman Emperors, and later a traditional epithet of the pope. The pontifices were the most important priestly college of the ancient Roman religion; their name is usually thought to derive from pons facere ("to make a bridge"), which in turn is usually linked to their religious authority over the bridges of Rome, especially the Pons Sublicius.

posse comitatus

"force of the county"

Thus, to be able to be made into part of a retinue or force. In common law, posse comitatus is a sheriff's right to compel people to assist law enforcement in unusual situations.

post aut propter

"after it or by means of it"

Causality between two phenomena is not established (cf. post hoc, ergo propter hoc).

post cibum (p.c.)

"after food"

Medical shorthand for "after meals" (cf. ante cibum).

Post Coitum Omne Animal Triste Est

"After sexual intercourse every animal is sad"

Latin proverb.

post coitus

"After sex"

After sexual intercourse.

post hoc ergo propter hoc

"after this, therefore because of this"

A logical fallacy where one assumes that one thing happening after another thing means that the first thing caused the second. The title of a West Wing episode.

post festum

"after the feast"

Too late, or after the fact.

post meridiem (p.m.)

"after midday"

The period from noon to midnight (cf. ante meridiem).

post mortem (pm)

"after death"

Usually rendered postmortem. Not to be confused with post meridiem.

Post mortem auctoris (p.m.a.)

"after the author's death"

The phrase is used in legal terminology in the context of intellectual property rights, especially copyright, which commonly lasts until a certain number of years after the author's death.

post prandial

"after the time before midday"

Refers to the time after any meal. Usually rendered postprandial.

post scriptum (p.s.)

"after what has been written"

A postscript. Used to mark additions to a letter, after the signature. Can be extended to post post scriptum (p.p.s.), etc.

post tenebras lux, post tenebras spero lucem

"after darkness, [I hope for] light"

Motto of the Protestant Reformation inscribed on the Reformation Wall in Geneva from Vulgata, Job 17:12. Former motto of Chile; motto of Robert College of Istanbul.

Praemonitus praemunitus

"forewarned is forearmed"


praesis ut prosis ne ut imperes

"Lead in order to serve, not in order to rule"

Motto of Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

prima facie

"at first sight"

Used to designate evidence in a trial which is suggestive, but not conclusive, of something (e.g., a person's guilt).

prima luce

"at dawn"

Literally "at first light"

Primas sum: primatum nil a me alienum puto

"I am a primate; nothing about primates is outside of my bailiwick"

A sentence by the American anthropologist Earnest Albert Hooton and the slogan of primatologists and lovers of the primates.

primum mobile

"first moving thing"

Or "first thing able to be moved". See primum movens.

primum movens

"prime mover"

Or "first moving one". A common theological term, such as in the cosmological argument, based on the assumption that God was the first entity to "move" or "cause" anything. Aristotle was one of the first philosophers to discuss the "uncaused cause", a hypothetical originator—and violator—of causality.

primum non nocere

"first, to not harm"

A medical precept. Often falsely attributed to the Hippocratic Oath, though its true source is probably a paraphrase from Hippocrates' Epidemics, where he wrote, "Declare the past, diagnose the present, foretell the future; practice these acts. As to diseases, make a habit of two things: to help, or at least to do no harm."

primus inter pares

"first among equals"

A title of the Roman Emperors (cf. princeps).

principia probant non probantur

"principles prove; they are not proved"

Fundamental principles require no proof; they are assumed a priori.

prior tempore potior iure

"earlier in time, stronger in law"

A legal principle that older laws take precedent over newer ones. Another name for this principle is lex posterior.

pro bono

"for the good"

The full phrase is pro bono publico ("for the public good"). Said of work undertaken voluntarily at no expense, such as public services. Often used of a lawyer's work that is not charged for.

pro Brasilia fiant eximia

"let exceptional things be made for Brazil"

Motto of São Paulo state, Brazil. See also non ducor duco.

Pro deo et patria

"For God and Country"

Motto of St. John's High School, Chandigarh, India, American University, Washington, DC, St Peter's College, South Australia, and Iona Presentation College, Perth.

pro forma

"for form"

Or "as a matter of form". Prescribing a set form or procedure, or performed in a set manner.

pro gloria et patria

"for gloria and fatherland"

Motto of Prussia

pro hac vice

"for this occasion"

Request of a state court to allow an out-of-state lawyer to represent a client.

Pro multis

"for many"

It is part of the Rite of Consecration of the wine in the Western Christian tradition, as part of the Mass.

pro patria

"for country"

Pro Patria Medal:- for operational service (minimum 55 days) in defence of the Republic South Africa or in the prevention or suppression of terrorism; issued for the Border War (counter-insurgency operations in South West Africa 1966-89) and for campaigns in Angola (1975-76 and 1987-88). Motto of the Royal Canadian Regiment and Royal South Australia Regiment

pro patria Vigalans

"watchful for the country"

Motto of the United States Army Signal Corps.

pro rata

"for the rate"

i.e., proportionately.

pro rege et lege

"for king and the law"

Found on the Leeds coat of arms

pro re nata (prn)

"for a thing that has been born"

Medical shorthand for "as the occasion arises" or "as needed". Also "concerning a matter having come into being" Used to describe a meeting of a special Presbytery or Assembly called to discuss something new, and which was previously unforeseen (literally: "concerning a matter having been born").

pro studio et labore

"for study and work"

pro se

"for oneself"

to defend oneself in court without counsel ("pro per" -persona-in California)

pro tanto

"for so much"

Denotes something that has only been partially fulfilled. A philosophical term indicating the acceptance of a theory or idea without fully accepting the explanation

pro tempore

"for the time"

Equivalent to English phrase "for the time being". Denotes a temporary current situation.

probatio pennae

"testing of the pen"

A Medieval Latin term for breaking in a new pen.

procol harum

"beyond these things"

1960's progressive group

propria manu (p.m.)

"by one's own hand"

propter vitam vivendi perdere causas

"to destroy the reasons for living for the sake of life"

That is, to squander life's purpose just in order to stay alive, and live a meaningless life. From Juvenal, Satyricon VIII, verses 83–84.

provehito in altum

"launch forward into the deep"

Motto of Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as of the band 30 Seconds to Mars..

proxime accessit

"he came next"

The runner-up.

proximo mense (prox.)

"in the following month"

Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the next month. Used with ult. ("last month") and inst. ("this month").

pulvis et umbra sumus

"we are dust and shadow"

From Horace, Carmina book IV, 7, 16.

punctum saliens

"leaping point"

Thus, the essential or most notable point.





qua patet orbis

"as far as the world extends"

Motto of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps

quaecumque sunt vera

"whatsoever is true"

Motto of Northwestern University. Also motto of the University of Alberta as quaecumque vera. Taken from Phillipians 4:8 of the Bible

quaecumque vera doce me

"Teach me whatsoever is true"

Motto of St. Joseph's College, Edmonton at the University of Alberta.

quae non prosunt singula multa iuvant

"what alone is not useful helps when accumulated"

Ovid, Remedia amoris



Or "you might ask..." Used to suggest doubt or to ask one to consider whether something is correct. Often introduces rhetorical or tangential questions.

quaerite primum regnum Dei

"seek ye first the kingdom of God"

Also quaerite primo regnum dei. Motto of Newfoundland and Labrador. Motto of Shelford Girls' Grammar, St Columb's College, and Philharmonic Academy of Bologna.

qualis artifex pereo

"As what kind of artist do I perish?"

Or "What an artist dies in me!" Attributed to Nero by Suetonius.

quamdiu bene gesserit

Legal Latin: "as long as he shall have behaved well"

I.e., "[while on] good behavior." From which Frank Herbert extracted the name for the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the Dune novels.

quando omni flunkus, mortati

"When all else fails, play dead"

Mock-Latin phrase said at the end of The Red Green Show.

quantum libet (q.l.)

"as much as pleases"

Medical shorthand for "as much as you wish".

quantum sufficit (qs)

"as much as is enough"

Medical shorthand for "as much as needed" or "as much as will suffice".

quaque hora (qh)

"every hour"

Medical shorthand. Also quaque die (qd), "every day", quaque mane (qm), "every morning", and quaque nocte (qn), "every night".

quare clausum fregit

"wherefore he broke the close"

An action of tresspass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.

quater in die (qid)

"four times a day"

Medical shorthand.

quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane"

quem di diligunt adulescens moritur

"he whom the gods love dies young"

Other translations of diligunt include "prize especially" or "esteem". From Plautus, Bacchides, IV, 7, 18. In this comic play, a sarcastic servant says this to his aging master. The rest of the sentence reads: dum valet sentit sapit ("while he is healthy, perceptive and wise").

questio quid iuris

"I ask what law?"

From the Summoner's section of Chaucer's General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, line 648.

qui bono

"who with good"

Common nonsensical Dog Latin misrendering of the Latin phrase cui bono ("who benefits?").

qui pro quo

literally qui instead of quo (medieval Latin)

Unused in English, but common in other modern languages (for instance Italian, Polish and French). Used as a noun, indicates a misunderstanding.

qui tacet consentire videtur

"he who is silent is taken to agree"

Thus, silence gives consent. Sometimes accompanied by the proviso "ubi loqui debuit ac potuit", that is, "when he ought to have spoken and was able to".

qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur

"he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself"

Generally known as 'qui tam,' it is the technical legal term for the unique mechanism in the federal False Claims Act that allows persons and entities with evidence of fraud against federal programs or contracts to sue the wrongdoer on behalf of the Government.

qui totum vult totum perdit

"he who wants everything loses everything"

Attributed to Seneca.

qui transtulit sustinet

"he who transplanted still sustains"

Or "he who brought us across still supports us", meaning God. State motto of Connecticut. Originally written as sustinet qui transtulit in 1639.

quia suam uxorem etiam suspiciore vacare vellet

"because he should wish even his wife to be free from suspicion"

Attributed to Julius Caesar by Plutarch, Caesar 10. Translated loosely as "because even the wife of Caesar may not be suspected". At the feast of Bona Dea, a sacred festival for females only, which was being held at the Domus Publica, the home of the Pontifex Maximus, Caesar, and hosted by his second wife, Pompeia, the notorious rhetorian Clodius arrived in disguise. Caught by the outraged noblewomen, Clodius fled before they could kill him on the spot for sacrilege. In the ensuing trial, allegations arose that Pompeia and Clodius were having an affair, and while Caesar asserted that this was not the case and no substantial evidence arose suggesting otherwise, he nevertheless divorced, with this quotation as explanation.

quid agis

"What's going on?"

What's happening? What's going on? What's the news? What's up?

quid est veritas

"What is truth?"

In the Vulgate translation of John 18:38, Pilate's question to Jesus. A possible answer is an anagram of the phrase: est vir qui adest, "it is the man who is here."

quid novi ex Africa

"What of the new out of Africa?"

Less literally, "What's new from Africa?" Derived from an Aristotle quotation.

quid pro quo

"what for what"

Commonly used in English, it is also translated as "this for that" or "a thing for a thing". Signifies a favor exchanged for a favor. The traditional latin expression for this meaning was do ut des

quid nunc

"What now?"

Commonly shortened to quidnunc. As a noun, a quidnunc is a busybody or a gossip. Patrick Campbell worked for The Irish Times under the pseudonym "Quidnunc".

quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

"whatever has been said in Latin seems deep"

Or "anything said in Latin sounds profound". A recent ironic Latin phrase to poke fun at people who seem to use Latin phrases and quotations only to make themselves sound more important or "educated". Similar to the less common omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.

Quieta non movere

"don't move settled things"

quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

"Who will guard the guards themselves?"

Commonly associated with Plato who in the Republic poses this question; and from Juvenal's On Women, referring to the practice of having eunuchs guard women and beginning with the word sed ("but"). Usually translated less literally, as "Who watches the watchmen?" This translation is a common epigraph, such as of the Tower Commission and Alan Moore's Watchmen comic book series.

quis leget haec?

"Who will read this?"

quis ut Deus

"Who [is] as God?"

Usually translated "Who is like unto God?" Questions who would have the audacity to compare himself to a Supreme Being.

quo amplius eo amplius

"Something more beyond plenty"

Apocryphally credited to Borges, House on Nob Hill (unauthorized Morgenstern translation, c. 1962)

quo errat demonstrator

"where the prover errs"

A pun on ''quod erat demonstrandum''.

quo fata ferunt

"where the fates bear us to"

Motto of Bermuda.

quo usque tandem

"For how much longer?"

From Cicero's Ad Catilinam speech to the Roman Senate regarding the conspiracy of Catiline: quo usque tandem abutere Catilina patientia nostra ("For how much longer, Catiline, will you abuse our patience?").

quo vadis

"Where are you going?"

According to Vulgate translation of John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, quo vadis ("Lord, where are you going?"). The King James Version has the translation "Lord, whither goest thou?"

quod erat demonstrandum (Q.E.D.)

"which was to be demonstrated"

The abbreviation is often written at the bottom of a mathematical proof. Sometimes translated loosely into English as "The Five Ws", W.W.W.W.W., which stands for "Which Was What We Wanted".

quod erat faciendum (Q.E.F)

"which was to be done"

Or "which was to be constructed". Used in translations of Euclid's Elements when there was nothing to prove, but there was something be constructed, for example a triangle with the same size as a given line.

quod est (q.e.)

"which is"

quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur

"what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason"

If no grounds have been given for an assertion, there is no need to provide grounds for contradicting it.

quod licet Iovi non licet bovi

"what is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to an ox"

If an important person does something, it does not necessarily mean that everyone can do it (cf. double standard). Iovi (also commonly rendered Jovi) is the dative form of Iupiter ("Jupiter" or "Jove"), the chief god of the Romans.

quod me nutrit me destruit

"what nourishes me destroys me"

Thought to have originated with Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe. Generally interpreted to mean that that which motivates or drives a person can consume him or her from within. This phrase has become a popular slogan or motto for pro-ana websites, anorexics and bulimics. In this case the phrase is literally describing food.

quod natura non dat Salmantica non praestat

"what nature does not give, Salamanca does not provide"

Refers to the Spanish University of Salamanca, meaning that education cannot substitute the lack of brains.

Quod scripsi, scripsi.

"What I have written I have written."

Pilate to the chief priests (John 19:22).

quod vide (q.v.)

"which see"

Used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book. For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae vide (qq.v.).

quomodo vales

"how are you?"


"of whom"

The number of members whose presence is required under the rules to make any given meeting constitutional.

quos amor verus tenuit tenebit

"Those whom true love has held, it will go on holding"


Quot capita tot sensus

"As many heads, so many opinions"

"There are as many opinions as there are heads." --Terence.

quot homines tot sententiae

"how many people, so many opinions"

Or "there are as many opinions as there are people".





radix malorum est cupiditas

"the root of evils is desire"

Or "greed is the root of all evil". Theme of the Pardoner's Tale from The Canterbury Tales.

Rara avis (Rarissima avis)

"Rare bird" ("very rare bird")

An extraordinary or unusual thing. From Juvenal's Satires: rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno ("a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan").

ratio decidendi

"reasoning for the decision"

The legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose a judgment's rationale.

ratio legis

"reasoning of law"

A law's foundation or basis.

ratione soli

"by account of the ground"

Or "according to the soil". Assigning property rights to a thing based on its presence on a landowner's property.


"[in] the matter of"

More literally, "by the thing". From the ablative of res ("thing" or "circumstance"). Often used in e-mail replies. It is a common misconception that the "Re:" in correspondence is an abbreviation for regarding or reply; this is not the case. The use of Latin re, in the sense of "about, concerning", is English usage.

rebus sic stantibus

"with matters standing thus"

The doctrine that treaty obligations hold only as long as the fundamental conditions and expectations that existed at the time of their creation hold.

recte et fideliter

"Upright and Faithful"

Also "just and faithful" and "accurately and faithfully". Motto of Ruyton Girls' School

reductio ad absurdum

"leading back to the absurd"

A common debate technique, and a method of proof in mathematics and philosophy, that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. In general usage outside mathematics and philosophy, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. Translated from Aristotle's "ἡ εις άτοπον απαγωγη" (hi eis atopon apagogi, "reduction to the impossible").

reductio ad infinitum

"leading back to the infinite"

An argument that creates an infinite series of causes that does not seem to have a beginning. As a fallacy, it rests upon Aristotle's notion that all things must have a cause, but that all series of causes must have a sufficient cause, that is, an unmoved mover. An argument which does not seem to have such a beginning becomes difficult to imagine.

regnat populus

"the people rule"

State motto of Arkansas, adopted in 1907. Originally rendered in 1864 in the plural, regnant populi ("the peoples rule"), but subsequently changed to the singular.

Regnum Mariae Patrona Hungariae

"Kingdom of Mary, the Patron of Hungary"

Former motto of Hungary.


That which is sent back - a question sent for report or reconsideration by a court to a lower court or to a committee.

repetita juvant

"repeating does good"

Usually said as a jocular remark to defend the speaker's (or writer's) choice to repeat some important piece of information to ensure reception by the audience.

repetitio est mater studiorum

"repetition is the mother of study"

requiescat in pace (R.I.P.)

"let him rest in peace"

Or "may he rest in peace". A benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers. "RIP" is commonly mistranslated as "Rest In Peace", though the two mean essentially the same thing.

rerum cognoscere causas

"to learn the causes of things"

Motto of the University of Sheffield, the University of Guelph, and London School of Economics.

res gestae

"things done"

A phrase used in law representing the belief that certain statements are made naturally, spontaneously and without deliberation during the course of an event, they leave little room for misunderstanding/misinterpretation upon hearing by someone else ( i.e. by the witness who will later repeat the statement to the court) and thus the courts believe that such statements carry a high degree of credibility.

res ipsa loquitur

"the thing speaks for itself"

A phrase from the common law of torts meaning that negligence can be inferred from the fact that such an accident happened, without proof of exactly how. A clause sometimes (informally) added on to the end of this phrase is sed quid in infernos dicit ("but what the hell does it say?"), which serves as a reminder that one must still interpret the significance of events that "speak for themselves".

res judicata

"judged thing"

A matter which has been decided by a court. Often refers to the legal concept that once a matter has been finally decided by the courts, it cannot be litigated again (cf. non bis in idem and double jeopardy).

respice adspice prospice

"look behind, look here, look ahead"

i.e., "examine the past, the present and future". Motto of CCNY.

respice finem

"look back at the end"

i.e., "have regard for the end" or "consider the end". Generally a memento mori, a warning to remember one's death.

respondeat superior

"let the superior respond"

Regarded as a legal maxim in agency law, referring to the legal liability of the principal with respect to an employee. Whereas a hired independent contract acting tortiously may not cause the principal to be legally liable, a hired employee acting tortiously will cause the principal (the employer) to be legally liable, even if the employer did nothing wrong.

restitutio in integrum

"restoration to original condition"

Principle behind the awarding of damages in common law negligence claims

res nullius

"nobody's property"

Goods without an owner. Used for things or beings which belong to nobody and are up for grabs, e.g., uninhabited and uncolonized lands, wandering wild animals, etc. (cf. terra nullius, "no man's land").

rex regum fidelum et

"king even of faithful kings"

Latin motto that appears on the crest of the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul and Jan Crouch.

rigor mortis

"stiffness of death"

The rigidity of corpses when chemical reactions cause the limbs to stiffen about 3–4 hours after death. Other signs of death include drop in body temperature (algor mortis, "cold of death") and discoloration (livor mortis, "bluish color of death").

risum teneatis, amici?

"Can you help laughing, friends?"

An ironic or rueful commentary, appended following a fanciful or unbelievable tale.

Roma invicta

"Unconquerable Rome

Inspirational motto inscribed on the Statue of Rome.

Romanes eunt domus

"Romanes go the house"

An intentionally garbled Latin phrase from Monty Python's Life of Brian. Its intended meaning is "Romans, go home!", but is actually closer to "'People called Romanes they go the house'", according to a centurion in the movie. When Brian is caught vandalizing the palace walls with this phrase, rather than punish him, the centurio