Brandon's Notepad

July 30, 2010

Useful Latin Words & Phrases

Filed under: Language,Latin — Brandon @ 8:11 am
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My Lists > Language > Latin Resources > Useful Latin Words & Phrases


If nothing else, Latin is useful for getting a point across. For example, a single English word can have several meanings, all of which are conveyed by different Latin words that can be compared and contrasted. Also, word roots and extensions are very useful for understanding the meanings of unfamiliar words and for the expansion of one’s own vocabulary. They aren’t very useful if you don’t use them at least on occasion, so it is beneficial to have a good list of Latin phrases on hand. Below are links to some good online lists, as well as a (growing) list of phrases I’ve found helpful or just plain cool.


Sites

Some sites with useful Latin phrases:

And, some not-so-serious ones:

Favourites

Here are some I’ve used, mostly at work:

  • cum grano salis – “with a grain of salt”.
  • cura posterior – “future concern”.
  • domus dulcis domus – “home sweet home”, or at work: domus dulcis cubus.
  • esse quam videri – “to be, rather than seem to be”; common motto, including North Carolina’s.
  • ex abrupto – “without preparation”.
  • ex mea sententia – “in my opinion”.
  • imperium – power or authority.
  • in esse – “in being”, “in actual existence”.
  • locus in quo – “The place in which”; in law, the scene of an event.
  • obsta principiis – “resist the beginnings”; i.e. “nip in the bud”.
  • sapere aude – “dare to discern”; used by Horace, Kant & Foucault.
  • terra incognita – “unknown land”; ancient cartography term for unmapped regions.

From showbiz:

  • Me transmitte sursum, caledoni! – “Beam me up, Scottie!”

And, some from religion and philosophy:

  • credo ut intelligam – “I believe so that I may understand”; Anselm of Canterbury.

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