LATIN NOTES

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LATIN NOTES
ETYMOLOGY
AD HOC
FOR THIS PURPOSE
A temporary assignment; For a specific
task
AD HOMINEM
AGAINST THE MAN
Attack the man, not the issue
AD INFINITUM
WITHOUT LIMIT
Forever; endlessly
AD LIBITUM (AD LIB)
AT PLEASURE
Extemporaneous speech
AD NAUSEAM
TO SEASICKNESS
To the point of causing nausea
ANNUIT COEPTIS
HE HAS FAVORED OUR UNDERTAKING
Motto on the US dollar bill
ALMA MATER
NOURISHING MOTHER
Romans used this to refer to the country of
their birth;
Reference to one’s college or university
ALTER EGO
ANOTHER SELF
An inseparable friend;
Another aspect of one’s personality
ALUMNUS (ALUMNA, ALUMNAE, ALUMNI)
FOSTER SON; PUPIL
Graduate
AMOR VINCIT OMNIA
LOVE CONQUERS ALL
From works by Virgil and Chaucer
(prologue in The Canterbury Tales)
ANNO DOMINI (A.D.)
IN THE YEAR OF THE LORD
Used to indicate that a time division falls
within the period dating from the birth of
Christ; sometimes written as CE (common
era); BCE (before common era) predates
AD/CE
A POSTERIORI
FROM WHAT COMES AFTER
Inductive reasoning from particular to
general; Generalization based on
assumptions
A PRIORI
FROM WHAT COMES BEFORE
Deductive reasoning; consequences
deduced from principles derived from prior
knowledge
ARS GRATIA ARTIS
ART FOR ART’S SAKE
Creating something just to create it, there
is no specific purpose; MGM studio
trademark
ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS
ART IS LONG, LIFE IS SHORT
Art will last after the artist is gone; axiom
coined by Hippocrates
BONA FIDE
IN GOOD FAITH
Honest; sincere offer;
Documentation; credentials
CARPE DIEM
SEIZE THE DAY
Take action now;
“Strike while the iron is hot”
CASUS BELLI
CAUSE OF WAR
An act or event that provokes or is used to
justify war
CAVEAT
LET HIM BEWARE
Warning; Admonition
CAVEAT EMPTOR
LET THE BUYER BEWARE
Get it in writing
CIRCA (C.)
ABOUT, AROUND
“This book was written circa 1870.”
COGITO ERGO SUM
I THINK THEREFORE I AM
Descartes “Discourse on Reasoning”;
starting point for Cartesian philosophy
known as Idealism (Plato) or Realism
(Aristotle)
CUM LAUDE
WITH PRAISE
Earned by student with a of GPA 3.0 - 3.49
MAGNA CUM LAUDE
WITH GREAT PRAISE
Earned by student with a of GPA 3.5 - 3.79
SUMMA CUM LAUDE
WITH HIGHEST PRAISE
Earned by student with a of GPA 3.8 – 4.0
CURRICULUM VITAE (C.V.)
COURSE OF ONE’S LIFE
Résumé; brief list of accomplishments and
areas of study
DE FACTO
From the fact
A de facto ruler takes over without legal
steps
DEUS EX MACHINA
God out of a machine
Unexpected occurrence which rescues
someone from a predicament;
An unlikely intervention
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
People of the play; Persons of the drama
Cast list of a dramatic performance
EXEMPLI GRATIA (e.g.)
For the sake of example
Used when giving an example
E PLURIBUS UNUM
One out of many
Motto of the United States of America
ET AL. (allii, aliae, alia)
And others
Usually used when making a list including
other people
ET CETERA (etc.)
And the rest
And so forth;
He had dogs, cats, birds, etc.
ET TU, BRUTE
You also, Brutus?
Betrayal by a trusted friend;
Brutus, et al., stabbed Julius Caesar
EX CATHEDRA
From the chair
With authority;
Official pronouncement
EXCELSIOR
Higher
Onward and upward;
New York State’s motto
EX LIBRIS
From the books
Sticker placed in books from someone’s
library, followed by owner’s name
FIAT LUX
Let there be light
Beginning verse of the book of Genesis in
the Bible
HIC ET NUNC
Here and now
Wanting something ASAP; legal term
HIC ET UBIQUE
Here and everywhere
All over the place;
ubi = where; ubiquitous
ID EST (i.e.)
That is
Used to clarify a statement
IN ABSENTIA
In absence
Doing something for someone else while
they are not present
IN LOCO PARENTIS
In the place of a parent
Guardianship over minors
IN MEDIAS RES
In the midst of things
Literary term: In or into the middle of a
narrative plot
IN TOTO
In all
Entirely; completely
IN VINO VERITAS
In wine the truth
Liquor loosens the tongue
IPSE DIXIT
He himself said so
Truth based on a person’s authority, not
actual evidence
IPSO FACTO
By that very fact
Absolutely regardless of all else; as an
inevitable result
LAPSUS LINGUAE
Slip of the tongue
Metathesis!
LINGUA FRANCA
Frankish language
Common language; widely used language
in order to communicate with the greatest
amount of people at once
LUPUS EST HOMO HOMINI
Man is wolf to man
Man displays predatory behavior to other
men (though wolves don’t do this to their
own kind)
MAGNUM OPUS
A great work
An artist’s finest work
MEA CULPA
My fault
Through my fault, I am to blame
MEMENTO MORI
Remember to die
A reminder we are to die; a human skull is
a memento mori
MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO
Sound mind in a sound body
An ideal to strive for; comes from a satire
written by the poet Juvenal in 2nd century
AD
MIRABILE DICTU
Wonderful to tell
Phrase expressing astonishment
MIRABILE VISU
Wonderful to see
Companion phrase to mirabile dictu
MODUS OPERANDI (m.o.)
Manner of working
Pattern a criminal follows
NE PLUS ULTRA
Not more beyond
Nothing better than this; Perfection;
Supremacy of a product
NIHIL OBSTAT (QUOMINUS
IMPRIMATUR)
Nothing inhibits it from being published
Stamped in books after the church okays a
book for publication; indicates that book
contains nothing damaging to faith or
morals
NOLO CONTENDERE
I do not wish to contend
Court plea meaning “not contesting the
charges, but not admitting guilt”
NON COMPOS MENTIS
Not in full possession of one’s mental powers
Legal term: Not of sound mind
NON SEQUITUR
It does not follow
A statement made that does not logically
follow the previous statement
NOTA BENE (N.B.)
Mark well
Note well; Literary term used to call
attention to something important
O TEMPORA! O MORES!
Oh the times! Oh the manners (customs)!
Exclamation used to criticize present day
attitudes and trends
PAX
Peace
Pax Americana, Pax Romana, Pax
Britannica
PER CAPITA
By/Per head
Per unit of population
PER DIEM
By the day
Daily; for each day
PER SE
By, of or in itself
Instrinsically; “as such”
PERSONA (NON) GRATA
Person (not) welcomed
Used in diplomatic circles
POST HOC, ERGO PROPTER HOC
After this, therefore because of this
Because one thing/event follows another
doesn’t mean it was caused by the first
event; a fallacy of an argument
POST SCRIPTUM (P.S.)
After writing
Additional text after completing the main
body
PRO BONO (PUBLICO)
For (the public) good
Legal work done without charge
PRO FORMA
For form
Follow formalities; go through the motions
in a perfunctory way
QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM
(Q.E.D)
Which was to be demonstrated
To show conclusively through a
demonstration of evidence
QUID PRO QUO
Something for something
An even exchange; You scratch my back,
I’ll scratch yours
QUORUM
Of whom
Minimum number of people required in
order to conduct official business
RARA AVIS
Rare bird
One of a kind
REQUIESCAT IN PACE (R.I.P.)
May s/he rest in peace
Check out some old timey tombstones
SANCTUM SANCTORUM
Holy of Holies
Place of inviolable privacy; where no one
should interrupt you
SEMPER FIDELIS
Always faithful
Motto of US Marine Corps (often
abbreviated as “semper fi”)
SEMPER PARATUS
Always prepared/ready
Motto of US Coast Guard
SI QUAERIS PENINSULAM AMOENAM
CIRCUMSPICE
If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look
about you
Motto of the State of Michigan
SIC
Thus
I found it thus; used when using a direct
quote from text to denote misspellings
i.e. Her note said “I left because their
(sic) was no one home.”
SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS
Thus even to tyrants
John Wilkes Boothe’s alleged words when
killing Lincoln; motto of the State of
Virginia
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI
Thus/so passes the glory of the world
Everything passes/is transitory;
used during the coronation of the Pope
SINE QUA NON
Without which not
An absolute necessity; indispensable
SUB ROSA
Under the rose
What’s said in a meeting is confidential;
roses suspended above Roman tables to
remind guests to keep silent; “what’s said
under the rose, stays under the rose”
SUI GENERIS
Of its own kind
Unique; in a class of its own
SUMMUM BONUM
Highest good
The supreme good from which all others
are derived
TABULA RASA
Clean slate
Starting over from scratch; newborns are
tabula rasa
TEMPUS FUGIT
Time flies
‘nuff said
TERRA FIRMA
Solid earth
To be on solid ground
TERRA INCOGNITA
Unknown land
Often written on maps before it was
“discovered”
VENI, VIDI, VICI
I came, I saw, I conquered
Julius Caesar quote after crossing the
Rubicon in 49 bc in defiance of Roman
law, resulting in civil war
VERSO
Left
Left (side of a page)
RECTO
Right
Right (side of a page)
VICE VERSA
With the order changed
Conversely; reversed
VALE (SALVE)
Farewell (Hail)
Roman greeting
NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM
New order of the ages
Motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of
the US; also on dollar bill
VOX POPULI
Voice of the people
Popular opinion
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