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The meaning and origin of the expression: Latin Phrases

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Latin Phrases

Here's a list of Latin phrases and sayings that are used in English often enough to have become part of the language.

A priori

 

From what comes before.

Ad absurdum

 

To the point of absurdity.

Ad hoc

 

For this purpose.

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Ad infinitum

 

Without limit - endlessly.

Ad nauseam

 

To a sickening extent.

Alma Mater

 

One's old school (literally 'bounteous mother').

Alter ego

 

Other (alternative) self.

Annus horribilis

 

A horrible year.

Agnus Dei

 

Lamb of God.

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Aqua pura

 

Pure water.

Aqua vitae

 

Alcoholic spirit, e.g. brandy/whisky. Literally 'water of life'.

Ars longa, vita brevis  

Skill takes time to acquire, but life is short.

Ave Maria

 

Hail Mary.

Carpe diem

 

Seize the day (More literally translated as 'enjoy the day, pluck it when it is ripe').

Caveat emptor

 

Let the buyer beware.

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Cogito ergo sum

 

I think, therefore I am.

Corpus Christi

 

The body of Christ.

De facto

 

In fact - in reality.

Dei Gratia

 

By the grace of God.

E Pluribus Unum

 

One from many.

Et cetera (etc.)

 

And the rest.

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Et tu, Brute

 

And you, Brutus.

Ex libris

 

'Out of the books', that is, from the library.

Gloria in excelsis deo

 

Glory to God in the highest.

Habeas corpus

 

You must have the body (in court).

In absentia

 

In one's absence.

In camera

 

In private chamber.

In flagrante delicto

 

In the act of committing an offence.

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In loco parentis

 

In the place of a parent.

In vitro

 

In a test tube (literally 'in glass').

Ipso facto

 

By that very fact.

Magnum opus

 

A great work.

Mea culpa

 

My fault.

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Modus operandi (m.o.)

 

Mode of operating.

Nolens volens

 

Willingly or unwillingly (see also, willy-nilly).

Persona non grata 

An unacceptable or unwelcome person, especially a foreign diplomat.

Post partum

 

After childbirth.

Praemonitus, praemunitus 

Forewarned is forearmed.

Prima facie

 

At first sight; on the face of it.

Pro bono

 

Without charge - for the public good.

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Opus Dei

 

The work of God.

Quid pro quo

 

Something for something, that is, a favour for a favour.

Quo vadis?

 

Where are you going?

Rigor mortis

 

The rigidity of death.

Semper fidelis

 

Always faithful.

Sine qua non

 

Indispensable.

Status quo

 

The current state of affairs.

Sub judice

 

Before a court.

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Tempus fugit

 

Time flees.

Terra firma

 

Solid ground.

Urbi et orbi

 

To the city and to the globe.

Veni vidi vici

 

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Vice versa

 

The other way around.

Vivat Regina

 

Long live the queen.

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Vox populi

 

The voice of the people.

See also - French phrases in English.