List of Latin phrases (O)

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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 O. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.
Latin Translation Notes
O Deus ego amo te O God I Love You attributed to Saint Francis Xavier
O fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint, agricolas The farmers would count themselves lucky, if only they knew how good they had it from Virgil in Georgics II, 458
o homines ad servitutem paratos Men ready to be slaves! attributed (in Tacitus, Annales, III, 65) to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, in disgust at the servile attitude of Roman senators; said 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, 2
O Tite tute Tati tibi tanta tyranne tulisti O tyrant Titus Tatius, what terrible calamities you brought onto yourself! from Quintus Ennius, Annales (104), considered an example of a Latin tongue-twister
Obedientia civium urbis felicitas The obedience of the citizens makes us a happy city Motto of Dublin
obiit (ob.) one died "He/she died", inscription on gravestones; ob. also sometimes stands for obiter (in passing or incidentally)
obit anis, abit onus The old woman dies, the burden is lifted Arthur Schopenhauer
obit caeleps Ob. Cael. or died a bachelor (implying no legitimate offspring ever existed to inherit, cf. d.s.p., d.s.p.s. and d.s.p.m.) Heraldic visitation or County Visitation Books for England
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
obliti privatorum, publica curate Forget private affairs, take care of public ones Roman political saying which reminds that common good should be given priority over private matters for any person having a responsibility in the State
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
obtineo et teneo to obtain and to keep motto
obtorto collo with a twisted neck unwillingly
oculus dexter (O.D.) right eye Ophthalmologist shorthand
oculus sinister (O.S.) left eye
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 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 to me and I am burning up.)
odi profanum vulgus et arceo I hate the unholy rabble and keep them away Horace, Carmina III, 1
odium theologicum theological hatred name for the special hatred generated in theological disputes
oleum camino (pour) oil on the fire from Erasmus' (1466–1536) collection of annotated Adagia
omne ignotum pro magnifico every unknown thing [is taken] for great or "everything unknown appears magnificent" The source is Tacitus: Agricola, Book 1, 30 where the sentence ends with 'est'. The quotation is found in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes short story "The Red-Headed League" (1891) where the 'est' is missing.
omne initium difficile est every beginning is difficult
omne vivum ex ovo every living thing is from an egg foundational concept of modern biology, opposing the theory of spontaneous generation
Omnes homines sunt asini vel homines et asini sunt asini All men are donkeys or men and donkeys are donkeys a sophisma proposed and solved by Albert of Saxony (philosopher)
omnes vulnerant, postuma necat, or, omnes feriunt, ultima necat all [the hours] wound, last one kills usual in clocks, reminding the reader of death
omnia cum deo all with God motto for Mount Lilydale Mercy College, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia
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 (whatever said in Latin, seems profound)
omnia in mensura et numero et pondere disposuisti Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight. Book of Wisdom, 11:21
Omnia mea mecum porto All that is mine I carry with me is a quote that Cicero ascribes to Bias of Priene
omnia mutantur, nihil interit everything changes, nothing perishes Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD), Metamorphoses, book XV, line 165
omnia omnibus all things to all men 1 Corinthians 9:22
si omnia ficta if all (the words of poets) is fiction Ovid, Metamorphoses, book XIII, lines 733–4: "si non omnia vates ficta"
omnia vincit amor love conquers all Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC), Eclogue X, line 69
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"
omnia sponte fluant absit violentia rebus everything should flow by itself, force should be absent "let it go"
omnia sunt communia all things shall be held in common from Acts of the Apostles
omnis vir enim sui Every man for himself!
omnibus idem the same to all motto of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, usually accompanied by a sun, which shines for (almost) everyone
omnibus locis fit caedes There is slaughter everywhere (in every place) Julius Caesar's The Gallic War, 7.67
omnis traductor traditor every translator is a traitor every translation is a corruption of the original; the reader should take heed of unavoidable imperfections
omnis vir tigris everyone a tiger motto of the 102nd Intelligence Wing
omnium gatherum gathering of all miscellaneous collection or assortment; "gatherum" is English, and the term is used 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 collected works of an author
opera posthuma posthumous works works published after the author's death
operari sequitur esse 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 veritate 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
opinio juris sive necessitatis an opinion of law or necessity a belief that an action was undertaken because it was a legal necessity; source of customary law
opus anglicanum English work fine embroidery, especially used to describe church vestments
Opus Dei The Work of God Catholic organisation
ora et labora pray and work This principle of the Benedictine monasteries reads in full: "Ora et labora (et lege), Deus adest sine mora." "Pray and work (and read), God is there without delay" (or to keep the rhyme: "Work and pray, and God is there without delay")
ora pro nobis pray for us "Sancta Maria, mater Dei, ora pro nobis pecatoribus"; Brazilian name for Pereskia aculeata
orando laborando by praying, by working motto of Rugby School
oratio recta direct speech expressions from Latin grammar
oratio obliqua indirect speech
orbis non sufficit the world does not suffice or the world is not enough from Satires of Juvenal (Book IV/10), 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 one of the oldest mottos of Craft Freemasonry.[1]
(oremus) pro invicem (Let us pray), one for the other; let us pray for each other Popular salutation for Roman Catholic clergy at the beginning or ending of a letter or note. Usually abbreviated OPI. ("Oremus" used alone is just "let us pray").
orta recens quam pura nites newly risen, how brightly you shine Motto of New South Wales


Additional references

  • Adeleye, Gabriel G. (1999). Thomas J. Sienkewicz; James T. McDonough Jr. (eds.). World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. ISBN 0865164223.
  • Stone, Jon R. (1996). Latin for the Illiterati. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415917751.