List of Latin phrases (C)

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This page lists English translations of notable Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before the rise of ancient Rome.

This list covers the letter C. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.

C[edit]

Latin Translation Notes
cacoethes scribendi insatiable desire to write Cacoēthes[1] "bad habit", or medically, "malignant disease" is a borrowing of Greek kakóēthes.[2] The phrase is derived from a line in the Satires of Juvenal: Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes, or "the incurable desire (or itch) for writing affects many". See hypergraphia.
cadavera vero innumera truly countless bodies Used by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.
Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. Kill them all. 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.
Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt Those who hurry across the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mind Hexameter by Horace (Epistula XI).[3] Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum (You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky) in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1.
Caesar non supra grammaticos Caesar has no authority over the grammarians
caetera desunt the rest is missing Caetera is Medieval Latin spelling for cētera.
calix meus inebrians my cup making 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 Dei capable of receiving God From Augustine, De Trinitate XIV, 8.11: Mens eo ipso imago Dei est quo eius capax est,[4] "The mind is the image of God, in that it is capable of Him and can be partaker of Him."
capax infiniti holding 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) (she plunges) [her] 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)
caput mortuum dead head Originally an alchemical reference to the dead head or worthless residue left over from a reaction. Also used to refer to a freeloader or worthless element.
Caritas Christi The love of Christ It implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Francis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park, Edmonton.
Caritas in Veritate Charity in Truth Pope Benedict XVI's third encyclical.
carpe diem seize the day An exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. Carpere refers to plucking of flowers or fruit. 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 or engaging in social activities after sunset.
carpe vinum seize the wine
Carthago delenda est Carthage must be destroyed The Roman senator Cato the Elder ended every speech after the Second Punic War with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally "For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed." Before the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon in the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan ended all his speeches in a similar way with Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est "The Treaty of Lisbon must be put to a referendum".
castigat ridendo mores One corrects customs by laughing at them Or, "[Comedy/Satire] criticises customs through humour", is a phrase coined by French New Latin poet Jean-Baptiste de Santeul (1630–1697), but sometimes wrongly attributed to his contemporary Molière or to Roman lyric poet Horace.
casus belli event of war Refers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.
causa latet, vis est notissima The cause is hidden, but the result is well known. Ovid: Metamorphoses IV, 287; motto of Alpha Sigma Phi.
causa mortis cause of death
cave beware! 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
caveat emptor let the buyer beware The purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need. Phrases modeled on this one replace emptor with lector, subscriptor, venditor, utilitor: "reader", "signer", "seller", "user".
caveat venditor let the seller beware It is a counter to caveat emptor and suggests that sellers can also be deceived in a market transaction. This forces the seller to take responsibility for the product and discourages sellers from selling products of unreasonable quality.
cedant arma togae let arms yield to the gown "Let military power yield to civilian power", Cicero, De Officiis I:77. See also Toga
celerius quam asparagi cocuntur more swiftly than asparagus [stem]s are cooked Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternative mood and spelling of coquere.
cepi corpus I have taken 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. See also habeas corpus.
certum est quod certum reddi potest it is certain, whatever can be rendered certain Or "... if it can be 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. By Gratian.
cetera desunt the rest are missing Also spelled "caetera desunt".
ceteris paribus all other things being equal That is, disregarding or eliminating extraneous factors in a situation.
charta pardonationis se defendendo a paper of pardon to defend oneself 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.) around 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 to admit one's claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king's service, cannot come in person.
clarere audere gaudere [be] bright, daring, joyful Motto of the Geal family.
clausum fregit   A legal action for trespass to land; so called, because the writ demands the person summoned to answer wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e., why he entered the plaintiff's land.
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 for being 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).
Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur "No one suffers punishment for mere intent." A Latin legal phrase. See, State v Taylor, 47 Or 455, 84 P 82.
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
Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to Carpe diem, from "De rosis nascentibus" (also titled "Idyllium de rosis"), attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.[5] Waterhouse-gather ye rosebuds-1909.jpg "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", 1909, by John William Waterhouse
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 common opinion prevailing doctrine, generally accepted view (in an academic field), scientific consensus; originally communis opinio doctorum, "common opinion of the doctors"
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 well-being through harmony Motto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.
concordia parvae res crescunt small things grow in harmony Motto of Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood
condemnant quod non intellegunt They condemn what they do not understand or
They condemn because they do not understand
The quod here is ambiguous: it may be the relative pronoun or a conjunction.
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.[6][7]) compare The abbreviation cf. is used in text to suggest a comparison with something else (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.
Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris C.Ss.R Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer Redemptorists
coniunctis viribus with connected strength Or "with united powers". Sometimes rendered conjunctis viribus. Motto of Queen Mary, University of London.
consensu with consent
consuetudo pro lege servatur Custom is held as law. Where there are no specific laws, the matter should be decided by custom;[8] established customs have the force of laws.[9] Also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law); see also: Consuetudinary.
consummatum est It is completed. The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.
contemptus mundi/saeculi scorn for the world/times Despising the secular world. The monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values.
contra bonos mores against good morals Offensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.
contra legem against the law Especially in civil law jurisdictions, said of an understanding of a statute that directly contradicts its wording and thus is neither valid by interpretation nor by analogy.
contra proferentem against the proferror In contract law, the doctrine of contractual interpretation which provides that an ambiguous term will be construed against the party that imposed its inclusion in the contract – or, more accurately, against the interests of the party who imposed it.
contra spem spero hope against hope Title of a poem by Lesya Ukrainka; also used in the Pentateuch with reference to Abraham the Patriarch.
contra vim mortis non crescit herba (or salvia) in hortis No herb (or sage) grows in the gardens against the power of death there is no medicine against death; from various medieval medicinal texts
contradictio in terminis contradiction in terms A thing or idea that would embody a contradiction, for example, payment for a gift, or a circle with corners. The fallacy of proposing such a thing.
contra principia negantem non est disputandum there can be no debate with those who deny the foundations Debate is fruitless when you don't agree on common rules, facts, presuppositions.
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.)
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 Cardinal John Henry 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 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 John Calvin's personal motto, also adopted by 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 nobis, coram vobis in our presence, in your presence Two kinds of writs of error.
coram populo in the presence of the people Thus, openly.
coram publico in view of the public
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, the name of Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge universities, 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, as in the phrase 'Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.'
corrigenda things to be corrected
corruptio optimi pessima the corruption of the best is the worst
corruptissima re publica plurimae leges When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous Tacitus
corvus oculum corvi non eruit a raven will not pick out an eye of another raven
corruptus in extremis corrupt to the extreme Motto of the fictional Springfield Mayor Office in The Simpsons TV-Show
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 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.
Cras es Noster The Future is Ours Motto of San Jacinto College.
creatio ex nihilo creation out of nothing A concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context. Also known as the 'First Cause' argument in Philosophy of Religion. Contrasted with creatio ex materia.
Credo in Unum Deum I Believe in One God The first words of 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 omnia 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.
crescente luce Light ever increasing Motto of James Cook University.
crescit cum commercio civitas Civilization prospers with commerce Motto of Claremont McKenna College.
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).
cuique suum to each his own
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 Cicero, Philippica XII, 5.
culpa fault 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.
cum hoc ergo propter hoc with this, therefore on account of this Fallacy of assuming that correlation implies 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
cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum with the exclusive right to print Copyright notice used in 16th-century England, used for comic effect in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
cuncti adsint meritaeque expectent praemia palmae let all come who by merit deserve the most reward Motto of University College London.
cupio dissolvi desire to be dissolved From the Bible, locution indicating a will to death ("I want to die").
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?"
cura personalis care for the whole person Motto of Georgetown University School of Medicine and University of Scranton.
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.
curriculum vitae course of life An overview of a person's life and qualifications, similar to 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

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ cacoēthes. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  2. ^ κακοήθης. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  3. ^ "Epistula XI". Epistularum Q. Horatii Flacci Liber Primus. The Society for Ancient Languages. Retrieved 2013-05-29. 
  4. ^ Saint Augustine. "Liber Quartusdecimus". Opera Omnia of St. Augustine. Rome: Città Nuova. Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  5. ^ "De rosis nascentibus", Bibliotheca Augustina
  6. ^ ""Abbreviations"". Yaelf.com. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  7. ^ "Abbreviations", University of Sussex
  8. ^ Jon R. Stone, More Latin for the Illiterati, Routledge, 1999, p. 53.
  9. ^ Giles Jacob, A Law Grammar, W. Clarke & Sons, 1817, p. 3.

References[edit]