Latin Phrases

Updated 2007-02-24 11:23


Memorize some commonly used Latin phrases. Note that these are descriptions of how these terms are used today, not translations.

Well-known Latin phrases

LatinEnglish description
ante bellumbefore the war
e.g. (abbreviation)(exempli gratia) for example
caveat emptorlet the buyer beware
habeas corpuslegal action to release detained person (you must produce body)
etc. (abbreviation)(et cetera) and the others
bona fidegenuine, sincere (in good faith)


LatinEnglish description
non sequiturconclusion that doesn't follow from premise or evidence (it does not follow)
modus operandimanner of operating
i.e. (abbreviation)(id est) that is
in vitroin a test-tube or laboratory environment (in the glass)
prima facieupon first sight
alma materschool or college
carpe diemseize the day (use it well)

Latin phrases II

LatinEnglish description
affidavitsworn statement usable in court (he has declared upon oath)
ipso factoby the fact itself
de facto as a matter of fact, though not of law
post mortemafter death
ad hominemattack or appeal to feelings rather than reason


LatinEnglish description
a priorifrom what was before.
ex post factoretroactive, enacted after the fact
ad nauseamto a disgusting or ridiculous degree
terra firmasolid ground
quid pro quogiving something to get something in return


LatinEnglish description
addendathings to be added
semper fidelisalways faithful
a cappellawithout instruments (chapel style)
ad hocimprovised (or for a special purpose)
status quothe present state of affairs