List of Latin phrases (A)

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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 A. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.


A[edit]

Latin Translation Notes
ab absurdo from the absurd Said of an argument either for a conclusion that rests on the alleged absurdity of an opponent's argument (cf. appeal to ridicule) or that another assertion is false because it is absurd. The phrase is distinct from reductio ad absurdum, which is usually a valid logical argument.
ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia an inference from an abuse to a use is not valid Rights abused are still rights; confer abusus non tollit usum.
ab aeterno from the eternal Literally, "from the everlasting", "from eternity", and "from outside of time". Philosophically and theologically, it indicates something, e. g., the universe, that was created from outside of time. Sometimes the phrase is used incorrectly to denote "from time immemorial", "since the beginning of time", or "from an infinitely remote time in the past", i. e., not from without time but from a point within time.
ab antiquo from the ancient From ancient times.
a bene placito from one well pleased Or, "at will" or "at one's pleasure". This phrase, and its Italian (beneplacito) and Spanish (beneplácito) derivatives, are synonymous with the more common ad libitum (at pleasure).
ab epistulis from the letters Regarding or pertaining to correspondence.
ab extra from beyond/without A legal term denoting derivation from an external source, rather than from a person's self or mind, this latter source being denoted by "ab intra".
ab hinc from here on Also sometimes written as "abhinc".
ab imo pectore from the deepest chest Or "from the bottom of my heart", "with deepest affection", or "sincerely". Attributed to Julius Caesar.
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. The phrase refers to the legal principle 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 circa AD 1500.
ab initio from the beginning Or, "from the outset", referring to an inquiry or investigation. In literature, it refers to a story told from the beginning rather than "in medias res" ("from the middle"). In law, it refers to a thing being true from its beginning or from the instant of the act, rather than from when the court declared it so. An annulment is a judicial declaration of the invalidity or nullity of a marriage ab initio; i. e., that the pseudo marriage was "no thing" (in Latin, "nullius", from which the word "nullity" derives) and never existed, except perhaps in name only. In science, the phrase refers to the first principles. In other contexts, it often refers to beginner or training courses. "Ab initio mundi" means "from the beginning of the world".
ab intestato from an intestate From a decedent, i. e., a dead person, who died without executing a legal will. Confer ex testamento.
ab intra from within From the inside; the opposite of ab extra.
ab invito unwillingly
ab irato from an angry man Or, "by an angry person"; used in law to describe a decision or action that is detrimental to those whom it affects and is motivated by hatred or anger instead of reason. The form irato is masculine; however, this does not limit the application of the phrase to men: rather, "person" is meant because the phrase probably elides "homo" ("man/person"), not "vir" ("men").
ab origine from the source From the origin, beginning, source, or commencement; i. e., "originally". It is 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 connote thoroughness.
absens haeres non erit an absent person will not be an heir The legal principle that a person who is not present is unlikely to inherit.
absente reo (abs. re.) [with] the defendant being absent A legal phrase denoting action "in the absence of the accused".
absit iniuria "let injury be absent" Expresses the wish that no insult or injury be presumed or done by the speaker's words, i. e., "no offense". Also rendered absit iniuria verbis ("let injury be absent from these words"). Contrast with absit invidia.
absit invidia "let ill will/envy be absent" Said in the context of a statement of excellence: unlike the English expression "no offense", absit invidia is intended to ward off envious deities who might interpret a statement of excellence as hubris. Also extended to absit invidia verbo, ("may ill will/envy be absent from these words"). Contrast it with absit iniuria verbis. An explanation of Livy's usage.
absit omen let an omen be absent Or, "let this not be a bad omen". 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, if not supreme, power, dominion, ownership, and sovereignty.
absolvo I acquit A legal term pronounced by a judge to acquit a defendant following his trial. Te absolvo or absolvo te, translated, "I forgive you," said by Roman Catholic priests during the Sacrament of Confession, in Latin prior to the Second Vatican Council and in vernacular thereafter.
abundans cautela non nocet abundant caution does no harm Frequently re-phrased as "one can never be too careful".
ab uno disce omnes from one, learn all From Virgil, Aeneid, Book 2, 65-6. Refers to situations where a single example or observation indicates a general or universal truth. Visible in the court of the character King Silas in the American television series Kings.
ab urbe condita (a.u.c.) from the city having been founded Or, "from the founding of Rome", which occurred in 753 BC, according to Livy's count. It was used as a referential year in ancient Rome from which subsequent years were calculated, prior to being replaced by other dating conventions. Also anno urbis conditae (a.u.c.); literally "in the year of the founded city".
abusus non tollit usum misuse does not remove use The misuse of some thing does not eliminate the possibility of its correct use.
ab utili from utility Used of an argument.
abyssus abyssum invocat deep calleth unto deep From Psalms 42:7; some translations have "sea calls to sea".
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, it may refer to the proprietary principle of Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos ("Whosesoever is the soil, it is his up to the sky and down to the depths [of the Earth]").
a capite ad calcem from head to heel From top to bottom; all the way through; or from head to toe. Equally, a pedibus usque ad caput.
accipe hoc take this Motto of the 848 Naval Air Squadron, British Royal Navy.
accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo no one ought to accuse himself except in the presence of God A legal principle denoting that an accused person is entitled to plead not guilty, and that a witness is not obligated to respond or submit a document that would incriminate himself. A similar phrase is nemo tenetur se ipsum accusare ("no one is bound to accuse himself"). See right to silence.
a contrario from the opposite Equivalent to "on the contrary" and "au contraire". An argumentum a contrario ("argument from the contrary") is an argument or proof by contrast or direct opposite.
acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt mortal actions never deceive the gods Ovid, Tristia, 1.2.97: si tamen acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt, / a culpa facinus scitis abesse mea. ("Yet if mortal actions never deceive the gods, / you know that crime was absent from my fault.")
acta est fabula plaudite The play has been performed; applaud! A common ending to ancient Roman comedies; Suetonius claimed in The Twelve Caesars that these were the last words of Augustus; Sibelius applied them to the third movement of his String Quartet No. 2, so that his audience would recognize that it was the last one, because a fourth would be ordinarily expected.
acta non verba Deeds Not Words Motto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
acta sanctorum Deeds of the Saints Also used in the singular preceding a saint's name: Acta Sancti ("Deeds of Saint") N.; a common title of hagiography works.
actus me invito factus non est meus actus the act done by me against my will is not my act
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea The act does not make [a person] guilty unless the mind should be guilty. The legal principle of the presumption of mens rea in a crime.
actus reus guilty act The actual crime that is committed, as distinguished from the intent, thinking, and rationalizing that procured the criminal act; the external elements of a crime, as contrasted with the mens rea, i. e., the internal elements.
ad absurdum to absurdity 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").
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 acta to the archives Denoting the irrelevance of a thing.
ad altiora tendo I strive towards higher things
ad arbitrium at will, at pleasure
ad astra to the stars Name or motto, in whole or part, of many organizations, publications, et cetera.
ad astra per aspera to the stars through difficulties Or, "a rough road leads to the stars", as on the Launch Complex 34 memorial plaque for the astronauts of Apollo 1. Motto of the State of Kansas and other organisations.
ad augusta per angusta to rise to a high position overcoming hardships
ad captandum vulgus in order to capture the crowd To appeal to the masses. Often said of or used by politicians. An argumentum ad captandum is an argument designed to please the crowd.
ad clerum to the clergy A formal letter or communication in the Christian tradition from a bishop to his clergy. An "ad clerum" may be an encouragement in a time of celebration or a technical explanation of new regulations or canons.
a Deucalione from or since Deucalion A long time ago. From Gaius Lucilius, Satires, 6, 284.
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 a university or college to an alumnus of another. It is not an honorary degree but a recognition of the formal learning for which the degree was earned at another college.
ad fontes to the sources A motto of Renaissance humanism and the Protestant Reformation.
ad fundum to the bottom Said during a generic toast; equivalent to "bottoms up!" In other contexts, it generally means "back to the basics".
ad hoc to this Generally means "for this", in the sense of improvised or intended only for a specific, immediate purpose.
ad hominem to the man Or, "at 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 soundness of an argument is dependent on the qualities of the proponent.
ad honorem to the honour Generally means "for the honour", i. d., not for the purpose of gaining any material reward.
ad infinitum to infinity Enduring forever. Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof. Also used in philosophical contexts to mean "repeating in all cases".
ad interim (ad int) for the meantime As in the term "chargé d'affaires ad interim", denoting a diplomatic officer who acts in place of an ambassador.
ad kalendas graecas at the Greek Calends Attributed by Suetonius in The Twelve Caesars to Augustus. The Calends were specific days of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, and so the "Greek Kalends" would never occur. Similar to "when pigs fly".
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. Also used by some restaurants in favor of the colloquial "all you can eat or drink".
ad litem to the lawsuit A legal phrase 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, Little Flower Academy and St. Bartholomew's School, Newbury, UK
ad maiorem Dei gloriam or ad majorem 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."
ad meliora towards better things Motto of St. Patrick's College, Cavan, Ireland.
ad mortem to death A medical phrase serving as a synonym for death.
ad multos annos to many years A wish for a long life; similar to "many happy returns".
ad nauseam to seasickness Or, "to the point of disgust". Sometimes used as a humorous alternative to ad infinitum. An argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy whose erroneous proof is proffered by prolonged repetition of the argument, i. e., the argument is repeated so many times that persons are "sick of it".
ad oculos to the 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 phrase "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 whatever 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 iniuria).
ad referendum
(ad ref)
to be proposed [before the Senate] Loosely "subject to reference": provisionally approved, but still needing official approval. Not the same as a referendum.
ad rem to the matter Thus, "to the point", without digression.
ad sumus here we are Motto of the Brazilian Marine Corps.
ad susceptum perficiendum in order to achieve what has been undertaken Motto of the Association of Trust Schools.
ad terminum qui praeteriit for the term which has passed A legal phrase 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 unum to one
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 King Louis XIV of France 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] Motto of Lund University, with the implied alternatives being the book (study) and the sword (defending the nation in war).
ad valorem according to value Used in commerce to refer to ad valorem taxes, i. e., taxes based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property.
ad victoriam to victory More commonly translated "for victory", it was 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 A phrase describing the term of a political office as ending upon the death of the officer or his commission of a sufficiently grave immorality and/or legal crime.
addendum thing to be added An item to be added, especially as a supplement to a book. The plural is addenda.
adaequatio intellectus et rei correspondence of the mind and reality One of the classic definitions of "truth". When the mind has the same form as reality, we think truth. Also found as adaequatio rei et intellectus.
adaequatio intellectus nostri cum re conformity of our minds to the fact A phrase used in epistemology regarding the nature of understanding.
adsum I am here Equivalent to "Present!" or "Here!" The opposite of absum ("I am absent").
adversus solem ne loquitor do not speak against the Sun Or, "do not argue what is obviously/manifestly incorrect".
advocatus diaboli Devil's advocate Someone who, in the face of a specific argument, voices an argument that he does not necessarily accept, for the sake of argument and discovering the truth by testing the opponent's argument. Confer the term "arguendo".
aegri somnia a sick man's dreams Horace, Ars Poetica, 7. Loosely, "troubled dreams".
aetatis of age / aged Often abbreviated to "aetat.", or more frequently further to "aet."; meaning "of age _ [years]" or "aged _ [years]". E. g., "aetatis 36" denotes being "36 years old".
aetatis suae of his age (followed by an ordinal number) Thus, "at the age of _ [years]". Appears on portraits, gravestones, monuments, et cetera. Usually preceded by anno (AAS), "in the year [of his age/life] _". Sometimes shortened to aetatis, aetat.", or even "aet. Frequently combined with Anno Domini, giving a date as both the theoretical age of Jesus Christ and the age of the decedent; e. g., Obiit anno Domini MDCXXXVIo (tricensimo sexto), [anno] aetatis suae XXVo (vicensimo quinto) ("he died in the 1636th year of the Lord, [being] the 25th [year] of his age[/life]").
a falsis principiis proficisci to set forth from false principles Legal phrase; Cicero, De Finibus, 4.53.
affidavit he asserted A legal term from "fides" ("faith"), originating at least from Medieval Latin to denote a statement under oath.
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.
age quod agis do what you are doing More often translated as "do well whatever you do". Literally translated, it means "do what you do"; figuratively it means "keep going, because you are inspired or dedicated to do so". This is the motto of several Roman Catholic schools. It was also used by Pope St. John XXIII in the sense of "do not be concerned with any other matter than the task in hand"; he was allaying worry of what would become of him in the future: his sense of "age quod agis" was "joy" regarding what is presently occurring and "detachment" from concern of the future. (Pope St. John XXIII, Journal of a Soul, pages 154-5)
agere sequitur credere action follows belief "We act according to what we believe (ourselves to be)."[2]
agere sequitur (esse) action follows being Metaphysical and moral principle that indicates the connection of ontology, obligation, and ethics.[2]
Agnus Dei Lamb of God Latin translation from John 1: 36, when St. John the Baptist exclaimed "Ecce Agnus Dei!" ("Behold the Lamb of God!") upon seeing Jesus Christ; it refers both to the innocence of a lamb and to Christ being a sacrificial lamb after the Jewish religious practice.
alea iacta est the die has been cast Or, in Greek, ἀνερρίφθω κύβος anerrhíphthō kýbos; said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC, according to Suetonius. The original meaning was similar to "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 light [is] to be nourished where liberty [has] arisen. Or. "let learning be cherished". The motto of Davidson College.
alias at another time, otherwise An assumed name or pseudonym; similar to alter ego, but more specifically referring to a name, not to a "second self".
alibi elsewhere 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.
aliquid stat pro aliquo something stands for something else A foundational definition in semiotics.
alis aquilae on an eagle's wings A quotation from Isaiah, 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 with wings Or, "nothing is heavy to those who have wings". Motto of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
alis volat propriis she flies with her own wings Motto of the State of Oregon, adopted in 1987; it replaced the previous state motto of "The Union", which was adopted in 1957.
alma mater nourishing mother A 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 another 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 be another's who can be his own The 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", in Fable 21B: 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.
alumnus or
alumna
pupil Graduate or former student of a school, college, or university. Plural of alumnus is alumni (male). Plural of alumna is alumnae (female).
a mari usque ad mare from sea to sea This translation ignores the word usque, which is an emphasis word, so a better translation is probably from sea even unto 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.
amicus certus in re incerta a sure friend in an unsure matter Ennius, as quoted by Cicero in Laelius de Amicitia s. 64
amicus curiae friend of the court An adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of a powerful group, e. g., the a Roman Curia. In current United States 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.
Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas. Plato is my friend, but truth is a better friend. An assertion that truth is more valuable than friendship; attributed to Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1096a15 and Roger Bacon, Opus Majus, Part 1, Chapter 5.
amittere legem terrae to lose the law of the land An obsolete legal phrase signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.
amat victoria curam victory favors care Motto of Baylor School, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Wellesley College Primary School, Eastbourne, New Zealand; and Victoria College, St. Helier Parish, Jersey, Channel Islands.
amor Dei intellectualis intellectual love of God Baruch Spinoza
amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus love is rich with both honey and venom
amor fati love of fate Nietzscheian alternative world view to that represented by memento mori ("remember you must die"): Nietzsche believed "amor fati" was more affirmative of life.
amor omnibus idem love is the same for all Virgil, Georgics, 3.
amor patriae love of the fatherland Or, "love of the nation", i. e., patriotism.
amor vincit omnia love conquers all Inscribed on a bracelet worn by the Prioress in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales; originally from Virgil, Eclogues, 10, 69: omnia vincit amor: et nos cedamus amori ("love conquers all: let us too surrender to love").
anglice in English Used before the anglicized version of a word or name. For example, "Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland".
animus in consulendo liber a mind unfettered in deliberation Motto of NATO.
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 Abbreviated from Anno Domini Nostri Iesu 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 His birth were formerly signified by a. C. n (ante Christum natum ("before Christ was born")), but now use the English abbreviation "BC" ("before Christ"). For example, Augustus was born in the year 63 BC and died in AD 14.
anno regni In the year of the reign Precedes "of" and the current ruler.
annuit cœptis he nods at things now begun Or, "he approves our undertakings". Motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and, consequently, on the reverse of the United States one-dollar bill; in this context the motto refers to God.
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 could actually mean "terrifying year". See also annus terribilis.
annus mirabilis wonderful year Used particularly to refer to the years 1665-6, 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, mass-energy equivalence, 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 faciem Domini before the face of the Lord Motto of the Christian Brothers College, Adelaide
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. Example: 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 From midnight to noon; confer post meridiem.
ante mortem before death See post mortem ("after death").
ante omnia armari before all else, be armed
ante prandium (a.p.) before lunch Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions to denote "before a meal". Less common is post prandium ("after lunch").
a pedibus usque ad caput from feet to head Or, "completely"; similar to the English expressions "from tip to toe" and "from head to toe". Equally a capite ad calcem. See also ab ovo usque ad mala.
aperire terram gentibus open the land to nations Motto of Ferdinand de Lesseps referring to the Suez and Panama Canals. Also appears on a plaque at Kinshasa train station.
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 evidence; 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 known from experience.
apparatus criticus tools of a critic Textual notes or a list of other readings relating to a document, especially in a scholarly edition of a text.
a priori from the former Presupposed independent of experience; 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 is supposed without empirical evidence. In everyday speech, it denotes something occurring or being known before the event.
apud in the writings of Used in scholarly works to cite a reference at second hand.
aqua (aq.) water
aqua fortis strong water Refers to nitric acid.
aqua pura pure water Or, "clear water" or "clean water".
aqua regia royal water Refers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid, thus called because of its ability to dissolve gold.
aqua vitae water of life "Spirit of Wine" in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in the Netherlands, brandy (eau de vie) in France, and akvavit in Scandinavia.
aquila non capit muscas an eagle does not catch flies Or, "a noble or important person does not deal with insignificant matters".
arare litus to plough the seashore Desiderius Erasmus, Adagia (AD 1508); meaning "wasted labor".
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. Sometimes found in the singular as arbiter elegantiae ("judge of taste").
arcana imperii the secrets of power Originally used by Tacitus to refer to the state secrets and unaccountable acts of the Roman imperial government.
arcanum boni tenoris animae The secret behind a good mood Motto of the Starobrno Brewery in Brno.
arcus senilis bow of an old person An opaque circle around the cornea of the eye, often seen in elderly people.
arduus ad solem Striving towards the Sun Motto of Victoria University of Manchester.
argentum album white silver Also "silver coin"; mentioned in the Domesday Book; signifies bullion or silver uncoined.
arguendo for arguing Or, "for the sake of argument". Said when something is done purely in order to discuss a matter or illustrate a point. E. g., "let us assume, arguendo, that your claim is correct."
argumentum argument Or "reasoning", "inference", "appeal", or "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 invidiam (to hatred - appealing to low passions), 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), in terrorem (into terror), and e contrario (from/to the opposite).
ars 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.[3]
ars gratia artis art for the sake of art Translated into Latin from Baudelaire's "L'art pour l'art". Motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While symmetrical for the logo of MGM, the better word order in Latin is "Ars artis gratia".
ars longa, vita brevis art is long, life is short Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae, 1.1, translating a phrase of Hippocrates that is often used out of context. The "art" referred to in the original aphorism was the craft of medicine, which took a lifetime to acquire.
arte et labore by art and by labour Motto of Blackburn Rovers F.C.
arte et marte by skill and valour Motto of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) Branch of the Canadian Forces.
Artis Bohemiae Amicis Friends of Czech Arts Award of the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic for the promotion of the positive reputation of Czech culture abroad.
asinus ad lyram an ass to the lyre Desiderius Erasmus, Adagia (AD 1508); meaning "an awkward or incompetent individual".
asinus asinum fricat the jackass rubs the jackass Used to describe 2 persons who are lavishing excessive praise on one another.
assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sit the assured does not seek profit but makes [it his profit] that he not be in loss Refers to the insurance principle that the indemnity can not be larger than the loss.
astra inclinant, sed non obligant the stars incline us, they do not bind us Refers to the distinction of free will from astrological determinism.
auctores varii various authors Used in bibliography for books, texts, publications, or articles that have more than 3 collaborators.
auctoritas authority The level of prestige a person had in Roman society.
auctoritas non veritas facit legem authority, not truth, makes law This formula appears in the 1668 Latin revised edition of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, book 2, chapter 26, p. 133.
audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret slander boldly, something always sticks Francis Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum (AD 1623).
audax at fidelis bold but faithful Motto of Queensland, Australia.
audeamus let us dare Motto of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment [CSOR] on their regimental coat of arms; of Otago University Students' Association, a direct response to the university's motto of sapere aude ("dare to be wise"); and of Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
audemus jura nostra defendere we dare to defend our rights Motto of the State of Alabama, adopted in AD 1923; translated into Latin from a paraphrase of the stanza "Men who their duties know / But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain" from William Jones, "What Constitutes a State?"
audentes fortuna iuvat fortune favors the bold From Virgil, Aeneid, Book 10, 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 and the USS Montpelier (SSN-765) in the latter form.
audere est facere to dare is to do Motto of Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
audi alteram partem hear the other side A legal principle; also worded as audiatur et altera pars ("let the other side be heard also").
audio hostem I hear the enemy Motto of the 845 NAS Royal Navy.
audi, vide, tace hear, see, be silent
aurea mediocritas golden mean From Horace's Odes, 2, 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, Book 3, 57. Later quoted by Seneca as quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames ("what do not you force mortal hearts [to do], accursed hunger for gold").
auribus teneo lupum I hold a wolf by the ears A common ancient proverb, this version from Terence. It 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 (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.
aurora musis amica dawn is a friend to the muses Title of a distich by Iohannes Christenius (1599–1672): "Conveniens studiis non est nox, commoda lux est; / Luce labor bonus est et bona nocte quies." ("Night is not suitable for studying, daylight is; / working by light is good, as is rest at night."); in Nihus, Barthold (1642). Epigrammata disticha. Johannes Kinckius. 
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/token of a better age Motto of the Order of St Michael and St George and of Raffles Institution in Singapore.
aut Caesar aut nihil either Caesar or nothing Denotes an absolute aspiration to become the Emperor, or the equivalent supreme magistrate, and nothing else. More generally, "all or nothing". A personal motto of Cesare Borgia. Charles Chaplin also used the phrase in The Great Dictator to ridicule Hynkel's (Chaplin's parody of Hitler) ambition for power, but substituted "nulles" for "nihil".
aut consiliis aut ense either by meeting or the sword I. e., either through reasoned discussion or through war. It was the first motto of Chile.
aut cum scuto aut in scuto either with shield or on shield Or, "do or die" or "no retreat". A Greek expression («Ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς») that Spartan mothers said to their sons as they departed for battle. It refers to the practices that a Greek hoplite would drop his cumbersome shield in order to flee the battlefield, and a slain warrior would be borne home atop his shield.
aut imiteris aut oderis imitate or loathe it Seneca the Younger, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, 7:7. From the full phrase: "necesse est aut imiteris aut oderis" ("you must either imitate or loathe the world").
aut neca aut necare either kill or be killed Also: "neca ne neceris" ("kill lest you be killed").
aut pax aut bellum either peace or war The motto of the Gunn Clan.
aut simul stabunt aut simul cadent they will either stand together or fall together Said of two situations that can only occur simultaneously: if one ends, so does the other, and vice versa.[4]
aut viam inveniam aut faciam I will either find a way or make one Hannibal.
aut vincere aut mori either to conquer or to die A general pledge of victoria aut mors ("victory or death"). Motto of the Higgenbotham and Higginbottom families of Cheshire, England, United Kingdom; participants in the War of the Roses. Also the motto for the United States 1st Fighter Wing, Langley Air Force Base, in Virginia.
ave atque vale hail and farewell Catullus, Carmen 101, addressed to his deceased brother.
ave Europa nostra vera patria hail Europe, our true fatherland Anthem of Imperium Europa.
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant Hail, Emperor! Those who are about to die salute you! From Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars, Claudius 21. A salute and plea for mercy recorded on one occasion by naumachiarii–captives and criminals fated to die fighting during mock naval encounters. Later versions included a variant of "We who are about to die", and this translation is sometimes aided by changing the Latin to nos morituri te salutamus.
Ave Maria Hail, Mary Roman Catholic prayer of intercession asking St. Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ to pray for the petitioner.
ave mater Angliae Hail, Mother of England Motto of Canterbury, England, United Kingdom.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ William Blackstone, Commentary on the Laws of England, Book 3, Chapter 10: Of Injuries to Real Property, and First of Dispossession, or Ouster, of the Freehold, Footnote 47.
  2. ^ a b James T. Bretzke, Consecrated Phrases: a Latin Theological Dictionary: Latin Expressions Commonly Found in Theological Writings (Liturgical Press, 1998), p. 10. ISBN 0-8146-5880-6, ISBN 978-0-8146-5880-2.
  3. ^ Peter Jones (2006). Reading Ovid: Stories from the Metamorphoses. Cambridge University Press. p. 223. ISBN 0-521-84901-2. 
  4. ^ "Quando i politici si rifugiano nel latino", La Repubblica, 7 July 2004.

References[edit]