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Appendix:List of Latin phrases (A–E)

*List of Latin phrases
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This appendix lists direct English translations of Latin phrases. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before that of Ancient Rome:




Latin Translation Notes
a bene placito "from one who has been pleased well" Or "at will", "at one's pleasure". This phrase, and its Italian (beneplacito) and Spanish (beneplácito) derivatives, are synonymous with the more common ad libitum ("at pleasure").
abusus non tollit usum "abuse does not preclude proper use"
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, can refer to the obsolete cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos maxim of property ownership.
a capite ad calcem "from head to heel" From top to bottom; all the way through. Equally a pedibus usque ad caput.
a contrario "from the opposite" Equivalent to "on the contrary" or "au contraire". An argumentum a contrario is an "argument from the contrary", an argument or proof by contrast or direct opposite.
a Deucalione "since Deucalion" A long time ago. From Gaius Lucilius (Satires, 6, 284)
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.
a mari usque ad mare "from sea to 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.
a pedibus usque ad caput "from feet to head" Completely. Similar to the English expressions "from tip to toe" or "from top to toe". Equally a capite ad calcem. See also ab ovo usque ad mala.
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 knowledge), 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 that can be known from empirical experience.
a priori "from the former" Presupposed, 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 that can be known without empirical experience. In everyday speech, it denotes something occurring or being known before the event.
ab absurdo "from the absurd" Said of an argument that seeks to prove a statement's validity by pointing out the absurdity of an opponent's position (cf. appeal to ridicule) or that an assertion is false because of its absurdity. Not to be confused with a reductio ad absurdum, which is usually a valid logical argument.
ab abusu ad usum non valet consequentia "a consequence from an abuse to a use is not valid" Inferences regarding something's use from its misuse are invalid. Rights abused are still rights (cf. abusus non tollit usum).
ab aeterno "from the eternal" Literally, "from the everlasting" or "from eternity". Thus, "from time immemorial", "since the beginning of time" or "from an infinitely remote time in the past". In theology, often indicates something, such as the universe, that was created outside of time.
ab antiquo "from the ancient" From ancient times.
ab epistulis "from the letter" Or, having to do with correspondence.
ab extra "from beyond" A legal term meaning "from without". From external sources, rather than from the self or the mind (ab intra).
ab hinc "from here on" Often rendered abhinc (which in Latin means simply "since" or "ago").
ab imo pectore "from the bottom of my heart" More literally, "from the deepest chest". Attributed to Julius Caesar. Can mean "with deepest affection" or "sincerely".
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; it refers to a rule in law 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 around AD 1500.
ab initio "from the beginning" "At the outset", referring to an inquiry or investigation. In literature, refers to a story told from the beginning rather than in medias res (from the middle). In law, refers to something being the case from the start or from the instant of the act, rather than from when the court declared it so. A judicial declaration of the invalidity of a marriage ab initio is a nullity. In science, refers to the first principles. In other contexts, often refers to beginner or training courses. Ab initio mundi means "from the beginning of the world".
ab intestato "from an intestate" From someone who dies with no legal will (cf. ex testamento).
ab intra "from within" From the inside. The opposite of ab extra.
ab irato "from an angry man" By a person who is angry. Used in law to describe a decision or action that is detrimental to those it affects and was made based on hatred or anger, rather than on reason. The form irato is masculine; however, this does not mean it applies only to men, rather 'person' is meant, as the phrase probably elides "homo," not "vir."
ab origine "from the source" From the origin, beginning, source, or commencement—i.e., "originally". 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 also connote thoroughness.
ab uno disce omnes "from one, learn all" From Virgil's Aeneid. Refers to situations where a single example or observation indicates a general or universal truth.
ab urbe condita (a.u.c.) "from the founding of the city" Refers to the founding of Rome, which occurred in 753 BC according to Livy's count. Used as a reference point in ancient Rome for establishing dates, before being supplanted by other systems. Also anno urbis conditae (a.u.c.) ("in the year that the city was founded").
ab utili "from utility" Used of an argument.
absens haeres non erit "an absent person will not be an heir" In law, refers to the principle that someone who is not present is unlikely to inherit.
absente reo (abs. re.) "with the defendant being absent" In the absence of the accused.
absit iniuria "let injury be absent" Expresses the wish that no insult or wrong be conveyed 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/jealousy be absent" Said in the context of a statement of excellence. Unlike the English expression "no offense", absit invidia is intended to ward off jealous deities who might interpret a statement of excellence as hubris. Also extended to absit invidia verbo, meaning "may ill will/jealousy be absent from these words." Contrast with absit iniuria. An explanation of Livy's usage.
absit omen "let an omen be absent" In other words, "let there not be an omen here". 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 power or sovereignty.
absolvo "I acquit" A legal term said by a judge acquitting a defendant following a trial. Te absolvo or absolvo te, translated, "I forgive you," said by Roman Catholic priests during the Sacrament of Confession prior to Vatican II.
abundans cautela non nocet "abundant caution does no harm" Thus, one can never be too careful; even excessive precautions don't hurt anyone.
abusus non tollit usum "misuse does not remove use" An axiom stating that just because something can be, or has been, abused, does not mean that it must be, or always is. Abuse does not, in itself, justify denial of use
accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo "no one ought to accuse himself except in the Presence of God" A legal maxim denoting that any accused person is entitled to make a plea of not guilty, and also that a witness is not obliged to give a response or submit a document that will incriminate himself. A very similar phrase is nemo tenetur seipsum accusare.
Accipe Hoc "Take that" Motto of 848 Naval Air Squadron, Royal Navy.
acta est fabula plaudite "The play has been performed; applaud!" A common ending to ancient Roman comedies, also claimed by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars to have been Caesar Augustus' last words. Applied by Sibelius to the third movement of his String Quartet no. 2 so that his audience would realize it was the last one, as a fourth would normally be expected.
acta non verba "actions, not words" Motto of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
Acta Sanctorum "Deeds of the Saints" Also used in the singular, Acta Sancti ("Deeds of the Saint"), preceding a specific Saint's name. A common title of works in hagiography.
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea "The act is not guilty unless the mind is also guilty." A legal term outlining the presumption of mens rea in a crime.
actus reus "guilty act" The actual crime that is committed, rather than the intent or thought process leading up to the crime. Thus, the external elements of a crime, as contrasted with mens rea, the internal elements.
ad absurdum "to the absurd" 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").
adaequatio intellectûs nostri cum re "conformity of our minds to the fact" A phrase used in epistemology regarding the nature of understanding.
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 astra "to the stars" Name or motto (in full or part) of many organizations/publications/etc.
ad astra per aspera "to the stars through difficulty" Motto of Kansas, and other organisations.
ad astra per alia porci "to the stars on the wings of a pig" A favorite saying of John Steinbeck. A professor told him that he would be an author when pigs flew. Every book he wrote is printed with this insignia.
ad captandum vulgus "in order to court the crowd" To do something to appeal to the masses. Often used of politicians who make false or insincere promises to appeal to popular interest. An argumentum ad captandum is an argument designed to please the crowd.
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 one university or college to an alumnus of another. It is not an honorary degree, but a recognition of the formal learning that earned the degree at another college.
ad fontes "to the sources" A motto of Renaissance humanism. Also used in the Protestant Reformation.
ad fundum "to the bottom" Said during a generic toast, equivalent to "bottoms up!" In other contexts, generally means "back to the basics".
ad hoc "to this" Generally means "for this", in the sense of improvised on the spot or designed for only a specific, immediate purpose.

Rather than relying on ad hoc decisions, we should form a consistent plan for dealing with emergency situations.

ad hominem "to the man" Connotations of "against 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 validity of an argument is to some degree dependent on the qualities of the proponent.
ad honorem "to the honor" Generally means "for the honor", not seeking any material reward.
ad infinitum "to infinity" Going on forever. Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof.
ad interim (ad int) "for the meantime" As in the term "chargé d'affaires ad interim" for a diplomatic officer who acts in place of an ambassador.
ad Kalendas Graecas "to the Greek Kalends" Attributed by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars to Caesar Augustus. The phrase means "never" and is similar to phrases like "when pigs fly". The Kalends (also written Calends) were specific days of the Roman calendar, not of the Greek, and so the "Greek Kalends" would never occur.
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.
ad litem "to the lawsuit" A legal term 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 and St. Bartholomew's School, Newbury, UK
ad maiorem Dei gloriam (AMDG) "To the greater glory of God" Motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated all of his work with the abbreviation "AMDG", and Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius is similarly dedicated. Often rendered ad majorem Dei gloriam.
ad multos annos "To many years!" Expresses a wish for a long life. Similar to the English expression "Many happy returns!"
ad nauseam "to the point of disgust" Literally, "to the point of nausea". Sometimes used as a humorous alternative to ad infinitum. An argumentum ad nauseam is a logical fallacy involving basing one's argument on prolonged repetition, i.e., repeating something so much that people are "sick of it".
ad oculos "With your own 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 English idiom "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 what 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 injuria).
ad referendum
(ad ref)
"to that which must be brought back" Loosely "subject to reference", meaning that something has been approved provisionally, but must still receive official approval. Not necessarily related to a referendum.
ad rem "to the matter" Thus, "to the point". Without digression.

Thank you for your concise, ad rem response.

ad undas "to the waves" Equivalent to "to hell".
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 Louis XIV 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". Also the motto of Lund University, with the implied alternatives being the book (study) and the sword (defending the country in war).
ad valorem "to the value" According to an object's value. Used in commerce to refer to ad valorem taxes, taxes based on the assessed value of real estate or personal property.
ad victoriam "to victory" More commonly translated into "for victory" this is 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" Usually used of a term of office.
addendum "thing to be added" An item to be added, especially a supplement to a book. The plural is addenda.
adequatio intellectus et rei "correspondence of the mind and reality" One of the definitions of the truth. When the mind has the same form as reality, we think truth. Also found as adequatio rei et intellectus.
adsum "I am here" Equivalent to "Present!" or "Here!" The opposite of absum ("I am absent").
adversus solem ne loquitor "Don't speak against the sun" I.e., don't argue the obvious
aegri somnia "a sick man's dreams" From Horace, Ars Poetica, 7. Loosely, "troubled dreams".
aequitas "Justice" or "equality."
aetatis suae "of his own age" Thus, "at the age of". Appeared on portraits, gravestones, etc. Sometimes extended to anno aetatis suae (AAS), "in the year of his age". Sometimes shortened to just aetatis (aet.).

The tomb reads Anno 1629 Aetatis Suae 46 because she died in 1629 at age 46.

affidavit "he asserted" A legal term from Medieval Latin referring to a sworn statement. From fides, "faith".
age quod agis "Do what you are doing."
agenda "things to be done" Originally comparable to a to-do list, an ordered list of things to be done. Now generalized to include any planned course of action. The singular, agendum ("thing that must be done"), is rarely used.
Agnus Dei "Lamb of God" Latin translation from John 1:36, where John the Baptist exclaims "Ecce Agnus Dei!" ("Behold the Lamb of God!") upon seeing Jesus, referring both to a lamb's connotations of innocence and to a sacrificial lamb.
alea iacta est "the die is cast" Said by Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC, according to Suetonius. The original meaning was roughly equivalent to the English phrase "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 "Let learning be cherished where liberty has arisen." The motto of Davidson College.
alias "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.

alis aquilae "on eagles wings" taken from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 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 to those who have wings" motto of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro- PUC-RIO).
alis volat propris "she flies with her own wings" State motto of Oregon. Can also be rendered alis volat propriis.
Aliquantus "Rather big"
Aliquantulus "Not that big"
aliquid stat pro aliquo "something that stands for something else" A foundational definition for semiotics
alma mater "nourishing mother" 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 "other 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 belong to another that can belong to himself" 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" (fable "XXIb. 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.
alumna or
"pupil" Sometimes rendered with the gender-neutral alumn or alum in English. A graduate or former student of a school, college or university. Alumna (pl. alumnae) is a female pupil, and alumnus (pl. alumni) is a male pupil—alumni is generally used for a group of both males and females. The word derives from alere, "to nourish", a graduate being someone who was raised and taken care of at the school (cf. alma mater).
amicus curiae "friend of the court" An adviser, or a person who can obtain or grant access to the favour of powerful group, like a Roman Curia. In current U.S. 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.
amiterre legem terrae "to lose the law of the land" An obsolete legal term signifying the forfeiture of the right of swearing in any court or cause, or to become infamous.
amor est vitae essentia "love is the essence of life" As said by Robert B. Mackay, Australian Analyst.
amor et melle et felle est fecundissmismus "love is rich with both honey and venom"
Amor fati "love of fate" Nietzscheian alternative world view to memento mori [remember you must die]. Nietzsche believed amor fati to be more life affirming.
amor omnibus idem "love is the same for all" from Virgil's Georgics III.
amor patriae "love of one's country" Patriotism.
amor vincit omnia "love conquers all" Written on bracelet worn by the Prioress in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. See also veritas omnia vincit and labor omnia vincit.
animus omnia vincit "courage conquers all" Motto of North Mesquite High School, Mesquite, Texas.
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" Short for Anno Domini Nostri Iesus 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 Jesus' birth were once marked with a. C.n (Ante Christum Natum, "Before Christ was Born"), but now use the English abbreviation BC ("Before Christ").

Augustus was born in the year 63 BC, and died AD 14.

anno regni "In the year of the reign" Precedes "of" and the current ruler.
Annuit Cœptis "He Has Approved the Undertakings" Motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill. "He" refers to God, and so the official translation given by the U.S. State Department is "He [God] has favored our undertakings".
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 would actually mean "terrifying year". See also annus terribilis.
annus mirabilis "wonderful year" Used particularly to refer to the years 16651666, 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 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 litteram "before the letter" Said of an expression or term that describes something which existed before the phrase itself was introduced or became common.

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" The period from midnight to noon (cf. post meridiem).
ante mortem "before death" See post mortem ("after death").
ante prandium (a.p.) "before lunch" Used on pharmaceutical prescriptions to denote "before a meal". Less common is post prandium, "after lunch".
apparatus criticus "critical apparatus" Textual notes. A list of other readings relating to a document, especially in a scholarly edition of a text.
aqua (aq.) "water"
aqua fortis "strong water" Refers to nitric acid.
aqua pura "pure water" Or "clear water", "clean water".
aqua regia "royal water" refers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.
aqua vitae "water of life" "Spirit of Wine" in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, brandy (eau de vie) in France, and akvavit in Scandinavia.
aquila non capit muscas "an eagle doesn't catch flies" A noble or important person doesn't deal with insignificant issues.
arare litus "to plough the seashore" From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). Wasted labour.
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. Also rendered arbiter elegentiae ("judge of a taste").
arcus senilis "senile bow" An opaque circle around the cornea of the eye, often seen in elderly people.
Argentum album "white money" Also "silver coin". Mentioned in Domesday, signifies bullion, or silver uncoined.
arguendo "for arguing" For the sake of argument. Said when something is done purely in order to discuss a matter or illustrate a point.

Let us assume, arguendo, that your claim is correct.

argumentum "argument" Or "reasoning", "inference", "appeal", "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 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"), and in terrorem ("into terror").
ars celare artem "art [is] to conceal art" An aesthetic ideal that good art should appear natural rather than contrived.
ars gratia artis "art for art's sake" Translated into Latin from Baudelaire's "L'art pour l'art". Motto of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. This phrasing is a direct transliteration of 'art for the sake of art.' While very symmetrical for the MGM logo, the better Latin word order is 'Ars artis gratia.'
ars longa vita brevis "art is long, life is short" The Latin translation by Horace of a phrase from Hippocrates, often used out of context. The "art" referred to in the original aphorism was the craft of medicine, which took a lifetime to acquire.
asinus ad lyram "an ass to the lyre" From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). An awkward or incompetent individual.
asinus asinum fricat "the jackass rubs the jackass" Used to describe two people lavishing excessive praise on one another.
assecuratus non quaerit lucrum sed agit ne in damno sit "the assured does not seek profit but just indemnity for the loss" Refers to the insurance principle that the indemnity cannot be larger than the loss.
Auctoritas "authority" Referred to the general level of prestige a person had in Ancient Roman society.
audax at fidelis "bold but faithful" Motto of Queensland.
audeamus "let us dare" Motto of Otago University Students' Association, a direct response to the university's motto of sapere aude ("dare to be wise").
audemus jura nostra defendere "we dare to defend our rights" State motto of Alabama, adopted in 1923. Translated into Latin from a paraphrase of the stanza "Men who their duties know / But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain" from the poem "What Constitutes a State?" by 18th-century author William Jones.
audentes fortuna iuvat "fortune favors the bold" From Virgil, Aeneid X, 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.
audere est facere "to dare is to do" The motto of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, the famous professional Association Football (soccer) team based in London, England.
audi alteram partem "hear the other side" A legal principle of fairness. Also worded as audiatur et altera pars ("let the other side be heard too").
audio hostem "I hear the enemy" Motto of 845 NACS Royal Navy
aurea mediocritas "golden mean" From Horace's Odes II, 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 3,57. Later quoted by Seneca as "quod non mortalia pectora coges, auri sacra fames": "What aren't you able to bring men to do, miserable hunger for gold!"
auribus teneo lupum "I hold a wolf by the ears" A common ancient proverb, this version from Terence. 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, or 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.
aut Caesar aut nihil "either Caesar or nothing" Indicates that the only valid possibility is to be emperor, or a similarly prominent position. More generally, "all or nothing". Adopted by Cesare Borgia as a personal motto.
aut concilio aut ense "either by meeting or by the sword" Thus, either through reasoned discussion or through war. A former motto of Chile, post tenebras lux ultimately replaced by Por la Razon o la Fuerza (Spanish) ' by reason or by force '.
aut pax aut bellum "either peace or war" The motto of the Gunn Clan.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam "I will find a way, or I will make one" Hannibal.
aut vincere aut mori "either to conquer or to die" A general pledge of "victory or death" (cf. victoria aut mors).
ave atque vale "Hail and farewell!" From Catullus, carmen 101, addressed to his deceased brother.
Ave Caesar morituri te salutant "Hail, Caesar! The ones who are about to die salute you!" From Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Claudius 21. The traditional greeting of gladiators prior to battle. morituri is also translated as "we who are about to die" based on the context in which it was spoken, and this translation is sometimes aided by changing the Latin to nos morituri te salutamus. Also rendered with imperator instead of Caesar. A poor translation here could be, "Caesar's birds died from poor health."
ave Europa nostra vera Patria "Hail, Europe, our true Fatherland!" Anthem of Pan-Europeanists.
Ave Maria "Hail, Mary" Derived from "Hail, (Mary) full of grace, the Lord is with thee..." ((NT) Luke 1:28,42). A popular Catholic Church prayer.


Latin Translation Notes
barba tenus sapientes "wise as far as the beard" From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). In appearance wise, but not necessarily so.
Beata Virgo Maria (BVM) "Blessed Virgin Mary" A common name in the Roman Catholic Church for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The genitive, Beatae Mariae Virginis, occurs often as well, appearing with such words as horae ("hours"), litaniae ("litany") and officium ("office").
beatae memoriae "of blessed memory" See in memoriam.
beati pauperes spiritu "Blessed in spirit [are] the poor." Vulgate, Matthew 5:3. The full quote is "beati pauperes spiritu quoniam ipsorum est regnum caelorum" ("Blessed in spirit [are] the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens" - one of the Beatitudes).
beati possidentes "blessed [are] those who possess" Translated from Euripides.
beatus homo qui invenit sapentiam "blessed is the man who finds wisdom" Motto of Gymnasium Apeldoorn
bella gerant alii "let others wage war" Originally from the Habsburg marriages of 1477 and 1496, written as bella gerant alii tu felix Austria nube ("let others wage war; you, fortunate Austria, marry"). Said by King Matthias
bellum omnium contra omnes "war of all against all" A phrase used by Thomas Hobbes to describe the state of nature.
bis dat qui cito dat "he gives twice, who gives promptly" Thus haste is itself a gift.
bis in die (bid) "twice in a day" Medical shorthand for "twice a day".
bona fide "in good faith" In other words, "well-intentioned", "fairly". In modern contexts, often has connotations of "genuinely" or "sincerely". Bona fides is not the plural (which would be bonis fidebus), but the nominative, and means simply "good faith". Opposite of mala fide.
bona notabilia In law, if a person dying has goods, or good debts, in another diocese or jurisdiction within that province, besides his goods in the diocese where he dies, amounting to a certain minimum value, he is said to have bona notabilia; in which case, the probat of his will belongs to the archbishop of that province.
bona officia "good services" A nation's offer to mediate in disputes between two other nations.
bona patria A jury or assize of countrymen, or good neighbors.
bona vacantia "vacant goods" United Kingdom legal term for ownerless property that passes to The Crown.
boni pastoris est tondere pecus non deglubere "It is of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not to flay them." Tiberius reportedly said this to his regional commanders, as a warning against taxing the populace excessively.
bonum commune communitatis "common good of the community" Or "general welfare". Refers to what benefits a society, as opposed to bonum commune hominis, which refers to what is good for an individual.
bonum commune hominis "common good of a man" Refers to an individual's happiness, which is not "common" in that it serves everyone, but in that individuals tend to be able to find happiness in similar things.
busillis Pseudo-Latin meaning "baffling puzzle" or "difficult point". John of Cornwall (ca. 1170) was once asked by a scribe what the word meant. It turns out that the original text said in diebus illis magnis plenæ ("in those days there were plenty of great things"), which the scribe misread as indie busillis magnis plenæ ("in India there were plenty of large busillis").


Latin Translation Notes
cacoethes scribendi "bad habit of writing" From Satires of Juvenal. An insatiable urge to write. Hypergraphia
cadavera vero innumera "truly countless bodies" Used by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields.
cadent arma togae "Let arms yield to the toga" Refers to allowing statemanship and diplomacy to supersede declaration of war. Arms, (i.e. weapons) are to yield to the toga, a formal garment symbolizing Rome.
caetera desunt "the rest is wanting"
calix meus inebrians "my cup makes me drunk"
camera obscura "dark chamber" An optical device used in drawing, and an ancestor of modern photography. The source of the word camera.
Canes Pugnaces War Dogs or Fighting Dogs
Canis Canem Edit "Dog Eats Dog" Refers to a situation where nobody is safe from anybody, each man for himself.
capax infiniti "capable of the infinite" a pejorative term refering (at least) to some Christian doctrines of the incarnation of the Son of God when it asserts that humanity is capable of housing full divinity within its finite frame. Related to the Docetic heresy and sometimes a counterpoint to the Reformed 'extracalvinisticum.'
caput inter nubila (condit) "head in the clouds" So aggrandized as to be beyond practical (earthly) reach or understanding (from Virgil's Aeneid and the shorter form appears in John Locke's Two Treatises of Government)
Caritas Christi "The love of Christ" It implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Franicis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park (Edmonton).
carpe diem "seize the day" An exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. By far the most common translation is "seize the day," though carpere normally means something more like "pluck," and the allusion here is to picking flowers. The phrase collige virgo rosas has a similar sense.
carpe noctem "seize the night" An exhortation to make good use of the night, often used when carpe diem, q.v., would seem absurd, e.g., when observing a deep sky object or conducting a Messier marathon.
Carthago delenda est "Carthage must be destroyed" From Roman senator Cato the Elder, who ended every speech of his between the second and third Punic Wars with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally "For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed." Other translations include "In conclusion, I declare that Carthage must be destroyed." and "Furthermore, I move for Carthage to be destroyed."
casus belli "event of war" Refers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.
causa mortis "cause of death"
cave "beware!" especially used by doctors of medicine, when they want to warn each other (e.g.: "cave nephrolithiases" in order to warn about side effects of an uricosuric). Spoken aloud in some British public schools by pupils to warn each other of impending authority.
cave canem "beware of the dog"
Pompeii mosaic
Found written on floor mosaics depicting a dog, at the entrance of Roman houses excavated at Pompeii.
cave laborem "beware of work"
caveat emptor "let the buyer beware" The purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need.
caveat lector "let the reader beware" Used when the writer does not vouch for the accuracy of a text. Probably a recent alteration of caveat emptor.
caveat subscriptor "let the signer beware" The person signing a document is responsible for reading the information about the what the document entails before entering into an agreement.
caveat venditor "let the seller beware" The person selling goods is responsible for providing information about the goods to the purchaser.
caveat utilitor "let the user beware" The user is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need.
Cedant arma togae "let arms yield to the gown" "Let military power yield to civilian power," Cicero, De Officiis. See Toga, it:Cedant arma togae
celerius quam asparagi cocuntur "more swiftly than asparagus is cooked" Or simply "faster than cooking asparagus". A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternate mood and spelling of coquere.
cepi corpus "I got the body" In law, it is a return made by the sheriff, upon a capias, or other process to the like purpose; signifying, that he has taken the body of the party.
certum est quod certum reddi potest "It is certain if it is capable of being rendered certain" Often used in law when something is not known, but can be ascertained (e.g. the purchase price on a sale which is to be determined by a third-party valuer)
cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lex "When the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceases." A rule of law becomes ineffective when the reason for its application has ceased to exist or does not correspond to the reality anymore.
cetera desunt "the rest are missing" Also spelled "caetera desunt".
ceteris paribus "with other things equal" Idiomatically translated as "all other things being equal". A phrase which rules out outside changes interfering with a situation.
charta pardonationis se defendendo "a paper of pardon to him who defended himself" The form of a pardon for killing another man in self-defence. (see manslaughter)
charta pardonationis utlagariae "a paper of pardon to the outlaw" The form of a pardon of a man who is outlawed. Also called perdonatio utlagariae.
Christianos ad leones "[Throw the] Christians to the lions!"
Christo et Doctrinae "For Christ and Learning" The motto of Furman University.
Christus Rex "Christ the King" A Christian title for Jesus.
circa (c.) or (ca.) "around" In the sense of "approximately" or "about". Usually used of a date.
circulus vitiosus "vicious circle" In logic, begging the question, a fallacy involving the presupposition of a proposition in one of the premises (see petitio principii). In science, a positive feedback loop. In economics, a counterpart to the virtuous circle.
citius altius fortius "faster, higher, stronger" Motto of the modern Olympics.
Clamea admittenda in itinere per atturnatum A writ whereby the king of England could command the justice in eyre to admit one's claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king's service, cannot come in person.
clausum fregit An action of tresspass; thus called, by reason the writ demands the person summoned to answer to wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e. why he committed such a trespass.
claves Sancti Petri "the keys of Saint Peter" A symbol of the Papacy.
clavis aurea "Golden key" The means of discovering hidden or mysterious meanings in texts, particularly applied in theology and alchemy.
clerico admittendo "about to be made a clerk" In law, a writ directed to the bishop, for the admitting a clerk to a benefice upon a ne admittas, tried, and found for the party who procures the writ.
clerico capto per statutum mercatorum In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk out of prison, who is imprisoned upon the breach of statute merchant.
clerico convicto commisso gaolae in defectu ordinarii deliberando In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk to his ordinary, that was formerly convicted of felony; by reason that his ordinary did not challenge him according to the privilege of clerks.
clerico intra sacros ordines constituto non eligendo in officium In law, a writ directed to the bailiffs, etc, that have thrust a bailiwick or beadleship upon one in holy orders; charging them to release him.
Codex Iuris Canonici "Book of Canon Law" The official code of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Corpus Iuris Canonici).
Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt "Those who hurry cross the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mind" Hexameter by Horace (Epistulae I, 11 v.27). Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum ("You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky") in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1
cogito ergo sum "I think, therefore I am." A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.
coitus interruptus "interrupted congress" Aborting sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation—the only permitted form of birth control in some religions.
coitus more ferarum "congress in the way of beasts" An medical euphemism for the doggy-style sexual position.
collige virgo rosas "pick, girl, the roses"
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", 1909, by John William Waterhouse.
Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to Carpe diem, from De rosis nascentibus (also titled Idyllium de rosis) attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.
communibus annis "in common years" One year with another; on an average. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary," but "common to every situation"
communibus locis "in common places" A term frequently used among philosophical and other writers, implying some medium, or mean relation between several places; one place with another; on a medium. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary," but "common to every situation"
communis opinio "generally accepted view"
compos mentis "in control of the mind" Describes someone of sound mind. Sometimes used ironically. Also a legal principle, non compos mentis ("not in control of one's faculties"), used to describe an insane person.
concordia cum veritate "in harmony with truth" Motto of the University of Waterloo.
concordia salus "salvation through harmony" Motto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.


condemnant quod non intellegunt "They condemn what they do not understand" or "They condemn because they do not understand" (the quod is ambiguous)
condicio sine qua non "condition without which not" A required, indispensable condition. Commonly mistakenly rendered with conditio ("seasoning" or "preserving") in place of condicio("arrangement" or "condition").
confer (cf.) "bring together" Thus, "compare". Used as an abbreviation in text to recommend a comparison with another thing (cf. citation signal).
Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.) "Helvetian Confederation" The official name of Switzerland, hence the use of "CH" for its ISO country code, ".ch" for its Internet domain, and "CHF" for the ISO three-letter abbreviation of its currency, the Swiss franc.
coniunctis viribus "with connected strength" Or "with united powers". Sometimes rendered conjunctis viribus.
Consuetudo pro lege servatur "Custom is kept before the law" An inconsistently applied maxim. See also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law)
consummatum est "It is completed." The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.
contemptus saeculi "scorn for the times" Despising the secular world. The monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values.
contra spem spero "hope against hope"
contradictio in terminis "contradiction in terms" A word that makes itself impossible
contraria contrariis curantur "the opposite is cured with the opposite" First formulated by Hippocrates to suggest that the diseases are cured with contrary remedies. Antonym of Similia similibus curantur (the diseases are recovered with similar remedies. )
contra bonos mores "against good morals" Offensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.
contra legem "against the law"
cor ad cor loquitur "heart speaks to heart" From Augustine's Confessions, referring to a prescribed method of prayer: having a "heart to heart" with God. Commonly used in reference to a later quote by John Henry Cardinal Newman. A motto of Newman Clubs.
cor meum tibi offero domine prompte et sincere "my heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerely" motto of Calvin College
cor unum "one heart" A popular school motto. Often used as names for religious and other organisations such as the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
coram Deo "in the Presence of God" A phrase from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the Presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.
coram populo "in the presence of the people" Thus, openly.
coram nobis, coram vobis "in our presence", "in your presence" Two kinds of writs of error.
Corpus Christi "Body of Christ" The name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the Eucharist. It is also the name of a city in Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, and a controversial play.
corpus delicti "body of the offence" The fact that a crime has been committed, a necessary factor in convicting someone of having committed that crime; if there was no crime, there can not have been a criminal.
Corpus Iuris Canonici "Body of Canon Law" The official compilation of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici).
Corpus Iuris Civilis "Body of Civil Law" The body of Roman or civil law.
corpus vile "worthless body" A person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment.
corrigenda "things to be corrected"
corruptio optimi pessima "the corruption of the best is the worst"
corruptus in extremis "corrupt to the extreme" Motto of the fictional Springfield Mayor Office in The Simpsons TV-Show
Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges "When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous"--Tacitus
Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet "May he love tomorrow who has never loved before; And may he who has loved, love tomorrow as well" It's the refrain from the 'Pervigilium Veneris', a poem which describes a three day holiday in the cult of Venus, located somewhere in Sicily, involving the whole town in religious festivities joined with a deep sense of nature and Venus as the "procreatrix", the life-giving force behind the natural world.
Credo in Unum Deum "I Believe in One God" The first words of the Nicene Creed.
credo quia absurdum est "I believe it because it is absurd" A very common misquote of Tertullian's et mortuus est Dei Filius prorsus credibile quia ineptum est ("and the Son of God is dead: in short, it is credible because it is unfitting"), meaning that it is so absurd to say that God's son has died that it would have to be a matter of belief, rather than reason. The misquoted phrase, however, is commonly used to mock the dogmatic beliefs of the religious (see fideism). This phrase is commonly shortened to credo quia absurdum, and is also sometimes rendered credo quia impossibile est ("I believe it because it is impossible")or, as Darwin used it in his autobiography, credo quia incredibile.
crescamus in Illo per omina "May we grow in Him through all things" Motto of Cheverus High School.
crescat scientia vita excolatur "let knowledge grow, let life be enriched" Motto of the University of Chicago.
crescit eundo "it grows as it goes" State motto of New Mexico, adopted in 1887 as the territory's motto, and kept in 1912 when New Mexico received statehood. Originally from Lucretius' On the Nature of Things book VI, where it refers in context to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes.
cruci dum spiro fido "while I live, I trust in the cross", "Whilst I trust in the Cross I have life" Motto of the Sisters of Loreto (IBVM) and its associated schools. A second translation is "Whilst I trust in the Cross I have life"
cucullus non facit monachum "The hood does not make the monk" William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Scene I, Act V 48–50
cui bono "Good for whom?" "Who benefits?" An adage in criminal investigation which suggests that considering who would benefit from an unwelcome event is likely to reveal who is responsible for that event (cf. cui prodest). Also the motto of the Crime Syndicate of America, a fictional supervillain group. The opposite is cui malo ("Bad for whom?").
cui prodest "for whom it advances" Short for cui prodest scelus is fecit ("for whom the crime advances, he has done it") in Seneca's Medea. Thus, the murderer is often the one who gains by the murder (cf. cui bono).
cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos "Whose the land is, all the way to the sky and to the underworld is his." First coined by Accursius of Bologna in the 13th century. A Roman legal principle of property law that is no longer observed in most situations today. Less literally, "For whosoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths."
cuius regio, eius religio "whose region, his religion" The privilege of a ruler to choose the religion of his subjects. A regional prince's ability to choose his people's religion was established at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.
Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare. "Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his fault." — Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippica XII, ii, 5
culpa "fault" Also "blame" or "guilt". In law, an act of neglect. In general, guilt, sin, or a fault. See also mea culpa.
cum gladiis et fustibus "with swords and clubs" From the Bible. Occurs in Matthew 26:47 and Luke 22:52.
cum gladio et sale "with sword and salt" Motto of a well-paid soldier. See salary.
cum grano salis "with a grain of salt" Not to be taken too seriously or as the literal truth.

Yes, the brochure made it sound great, but such claims should be taken cum grano salis.

cum laude "with praise" The standard formula for academic Latin honors in the United States. Greater honors include magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
cum mortuis in lingua mortua "with the dead in a dead language" Movement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
cura personalis "care for the whole person"
cura te ipsum "take care of your own self" An exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others.
cur Deus Homo "Why the God/Man" The question attributed to Anselm in his work of by this name, wherein he reflects on why the Christ of Christianity must be both fully Divine and fully Human. Often translated "why did God become Man?"
curriculum vitae "course of life" A résumé.
custos morum "keeper of morals" A censor.
cygnus inter anates "swan among ducks"
cygnus insignis "distinguished by its swans" Motto of Western Australia.


Latin Translation Notes
damnatio memoriae "damnation of memory" A Roman custom in which disgraced Romans (particularly former Emperors) were pretended to have never existed.
damnum absque injuria "damage without injury" A loss that results from no one's wrongdoing. In Roman law, a man is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another resulting from a lawful act. This protection does not necessarily apply to unintended damage by negligence or folly.
data venia "with due respect" or "given the excuse" Used before disagreeing with someone.
dat deus incrementum "God grants the increase" Motto of Westminster School, a leading British independent school.
de bonis asportatis "carrying goods away" Trespass de bonis asportatis was the traditional name for larceny, or wrongful taking of chattels.
Decus Et Tutamen "An ornament and a safeguard" Inscription on one pound coins. Originally on 17th century coins, it refers to the inscribed edge as a protection against the clipping of precious metal. The phrase originally comes from Virgil's Aeneid.
descensus in cuniculi cavum "The descent into the cave of the rabbit" Down the Rabbit Hole
de dato "of the date" Used in the context of "As we agreed in the meeting d.d.26th Mai 2006.
de facto "in fact" Said of something that is the actual state of affairs, in contrast to something's legal or official standing, which is described as de jure. De facto refers to the "way things really are" rather than what is "officially" presented as the fact.

Although the emperor held the title and trappings of head of state, the Shogun was the de facto ruler of Japan.

de fideli "with faithfulness" A clerk makes the declaration De fideli on when appointed, promising to do his or her tasks faithfully as a servant of the court.
de futuro "regarding the future" Usually used in the context of "at a future time"
de gustibus non est disputandum "there is not to be discussion regarding tastes" Less literally "In matters of taste there is no dispute" or simply "There's no arguing taste". A similar expression in English is "There's no accounting for taste". Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, without attribution, renders the phrase as de gustibus non disputandum; the verb "to be" is often assumed in Latin, and is rarely required.
de integro "again" or "a second time"
de jure "by law" "Official", in contrast with de facto. Analogous to "in principle", whereas de facto is to "in practice". In other contexts, can mean "according to law", "by right" or "legally". Also commonly written de iure, the classical form.
de lege ferenda "from law to be passed"
de lege lata "from law passed" or "by law in force"
de minimis non curat praetor "The commander does not bother with the smallest things." Also "The chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles." Trivial matters are no concern of a high official (cf. aquila non capit muscas, "the eagle does not catch flies"). Sometimes rex ("the king") or lex ("the law") is used in place of praetor, and de minimis is a legal term referring to things unworthy of the law's attention.
de mortuis aut bene aut nihil "about the dead, either well or nothing" Less literally, "speak well of the dead or not at all" (cf. de mortuis nil nisi bonum).
de mortuis nil nisi bonum "about the dead, nothing unless a good thing" From de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est, "nothing must be said about the dead except the good", attributed by Diogenes Laertius to Chilon. In legal contexts, this quotation is used with the opposite meaning, as defaming a deceased person is not a crime. In other contexts, it refers to taboos against criticizing the recently deceased.
de nobis fabula narratur "about us is the story told" Thus, "their story is our story". Originally referred to the end of Rome's dominance. Now often used when comparing any current situation to a past story or historical event.
de novo "from the new" "Anew" or "afresh". In law, a trial de novo is a retrial. In biology, de novo means newly-synthesized, and a de novo mutation is a mutation that neither parent possessed or transmitted. In economics, de novo refers to newly-founded companies, and de novo banks are state banks that have been in operation for five years or less.
de omnibus dubitandum "be suspicious of everything, doubt everything" Karl Marx's favorite motto. He used this to explain his standpoint: "Critique everything in a capitalist economy".
de omni re scibili et quibusdam aliis "about every knowable thing, and even certain other things" A 15th-century Italian scholar wrote the De omni re scibili portion, and a wag added et quibusdam aliis.
De oppresso liber "Free From Having Been Oppressed" Commonly mistranslated as "To Liberate the Oppressed". The motto of the United States Army Special Forces.
de profundis "from the depths" Out of the depths of misery or dejection. From the Latin translation of Psalm 130.
de re "about the matter" In logic, de dicto statements (about the truth of a proposition) are distinguished from de re statements (about the properties of a thing itself).
Dei Gratia Regina "By the Grace of God, Queen" Also Dei Gratia Rex ("By the Grace of God, King"). Abbreviated as D G REG preceding Fidei Defensor (F D) on British pounds, and as D G Regina on Canadian coins.
Dei sub numine viget "under God's Spirit she flourishes" Motto of Princeton University.
delectatio morosa "peevish delight" In Catholic theology, a pleasure taken in sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images. It is distinct from actual sexual desire, and involves voluntary and complacent erotic fantasizing, without any attempt to suppress such thoughts.
deliriant isti Romani "They are mad, those Romans!" A translation into Latin from René Goscinny's "ils sont fous, ces romains!", frequently issued by Obelix in the Asterix comics.
Deo ac veritati "God and Truth" Motto of Colgate University.
Deo domuique "for God and for home" Motto of Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne.
Deo gratias "thanks [be] to God" The semi-Hispanicized form Deogracias is a Philippine first name.
Deo Optimo Maximo (DOM) "To the Best and Greatest God" Derived from the Pagan Iupiter Optimo Maximo ("To the best and greatest Jupiter"). Printed on bottles of Benedictine liqueur.
Deo vindice "with God as protector" Motto of the Confederate States of America. An alternate translation is "With an avenging God".
Deo volente "with God willing" This was often used in conjunction with a signature at the end of letters. It was used in order to signify that "God willing" this letter will get to you safely, "God willing" the contents of this letter come true.
deus ex machina "a god from a machine" From the Greek Από μηχανής Θεός (Apo mēchanēs Theos). A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by machine an actor playing a god or goddess, typically either Athena or (as in Euripides) the Dioscuri onto the stage to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot.
Deus vult "God wills it!" The principal slogan of the Crusades.
deus otiosus "God at leisure"
Dicto simpliciter "[From] a maxim, simply" I.e. "From a rule without exception." Short for A dicto simpliciter, the a often being dropped by confusion with the indefinite article. A dicto simpliciter occurs when an acceptable exception is ignored or eliminated. For instance, the appropriateness of using opiates is dependent on the presence of extreme pain. To justify the recreational use of opiates by referring to a cancer patient or to justify arresting said cancer patient by comparing him to the recreational user would be a dicto simpliciter.
dictum meum pactum "my word [is] my bond" Motto of the London Stock Exchange
diem perdidi "I have lost the day" From the Roman Emperor Titus. Passed down in Suetonius's biography of him in Lives of the Twelve Caesars (8)
Diem Ex Dei "Day of God"
Dies Irae "Day of Wrath" Refers to the Judgment Day in Christian eschatology. The name of a famous 13th-century Medieval Latin hymn by Tommaso da Celano, used in the Mass for the dead.
differentia specifica "specific differences"
dirigo "I direct" In Classical Latin, "I arrange". State motto of Maine. Based on a comparison of the state of Maine to the star Polaris.
dis aliter visum "it seemed otherwise to the gods" In other words, the gods have different plans than mortals, and so events do not always play out as people wish them to.
dis manibus sacrum (D.M.S.) "Sacred to the ghost-gods" Refers to the Manes, Roman spirits of the dead. Loosely "To the memory of". A conventional inscription preceding the name of the deceased on pagan grave markings, often shortened to dis manibus (D.M.), "for the ghost-gods". Preceded in some earlier monuments by hic situs est (H. S. E.), "he lies here".
Disce aut Discede "Learn or Depart" Motto of Royal College, Colombo.
disce quasi semper victurus vive quasi cras moriturus "Learn as if always going to live; live as if tomorrow going to die." Attributed to St Edmund of Abingdon.
discipuli nostri bardissimi sunt "Our students are the stupidest"
disjecta membra "scattered limbs" That is, "scattered remains". Paraphrased from Horace, Satires, I, 4, 62, where it was written "disiecti membra poetae" ("limbs of a scattered poet"). Also written as disiecta membra.
ditat Deus "God enriches" State motto of Arizona, adopted in 1911. Probably derived from the Vulgate's translation of Genesis 14:23.
divide et impera "divide and rule" A Roman maxim adopted by Julius Caesar, Louis XI and Machiavelli. Commonly rendered "divide and conquer".
dixi "I have spoken" A popular eloquent expression, usually used in the end of a speech. The implied meaning is: "I have said all that I had to say and thus the argument is settled".
["...", ...] dixit "["...", ...] said" Used to attribute a statement or opinion to its author, rather than the speaker.
do ut des "I give that you may give" Often said or written for sacrifices, when one "gives" and expects something back from the gods.
Docendo discitur "It is learned by teaching" Also translated "One learns by teaching." Attributed to Seneca the Younger.
Docendo disco, scribendo cogito I learn by teaching, think by writing.
dolus specialis special intent "The ... concept is particular to a few civil law systems and cannot sweepingly be equated with the notions of ‘special’ or ‘specific intent’ in common law systems. Of course, the same might equally be said of the concept of ‘specific intent,’ a notion used in the common law almost exclusively within the context of the defense of voluntary intoxication."—Genocide scholar William Schabas[1]
Domine dirige nos "Lord guide us" Motto of the City of London.
Dominus illuminatio mea "the Lord is my light" Motto of the University of Oxford.
Dominus vobiscum "Lord be with you" Phrase used during and at the end of Catholic sermons, and a general greeting form among and towards members of Catholic organizations, such as priests and nuns. See also pax vobiscum.
dona nobis pacem "give us peace" Often set to music, either by itself or as part of the Agnus Dei prayer of the Mass (see above). Also an ending in the video game Haunting Ground.
donatio mortis causa "giving in expectation of death" A legal concept where a person in imminent mortal danger need not meet the requisite consideration to create or modify a will.
draco dormiens nunquam titillandus "a sleeping dragon is never to be tickled" Motto of the fictional Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter series; translated more loosely in the books as "never tickle a sleeping dragon".
dramatis personae "the parts of the play" More literally, "the masks of the drama"; more figuratively, "cast of characters". The characters represented in a dramatic work.
Duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum est "Two minds, not one single thought" Stan Laurel, inscription for the fanclub logo Sons of the Desert.
Ductus exemplo "Leadership by Example" This is the motto for the United States Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School located at Marine Corps Base Quantico; Quantico, Virginia.
dulce bellum inexpertis "war is sweet to the inexperienced" War may seem pleasant to those who have never been involved in it, though the more experienced know better. A phrase from Erasmus in the 16th century.
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori "It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland." From Horace, Odes III, 2, 13. Used by Wilfred Owen for the title of a poem about World War I, Dulce et Decorum Est.
dulce et utile "a sweet and useful thing" Horace wrote in his Ars Poetica that poetry must be dulce et utile ("pleasant and profitable"), both enjoyable and instructive.
dulce periculum "danger is sweet" Horace, Odes III, 25, 16. Motto of the Scottish clan Clan MacAulay.
dulcissime, totam tibi subdo me "darling, I give myself to you totally" Movement from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
Dulcius ex asperis "sweeter after difficulties" Motto of the Scottish clan Clan Fergusson.[2]
dum laborus prosperous "While we work, we prospering" or more commonly, "As long as we are working, we are prospering" Motto of Vincent Massey Secondary School, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
dum spiro spero "while I breathe, I hope" State motto of South Carolina. From Cicero.
dum Roma deliberat Saguntum perit "while Rome debates, Saguntum is in danger" Used when someone has been asked for urgent help, but responds with no immediate action. Similar to Hannibal ante portas, but referring to a less personal danger.
dum vivimus servimus "While we live, we serve" motto of Presbyterian College.
dura lex sed lex "[the] law [is] harsh, but [it is] the law"
dura mater "tough mother" Outer covering of the brain.
dum vita est, spes est while there is life, there is hope
dux bellorum War leader


Latin Translation Notes
e pluribus unum 'From many, (comes) One.' Usually translated 'Out of many, (is) One.' Motto of the United States of America. Inscribed on the Capitol and many coins used in the United States of America. The motto of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica Portuguese soccer club.
Ecce Homo 'Behold the Man' From the Latin Vulgate Gospel according to St. John (XIX.v) (19.5, Douay-Rheims), where Pilate speaks these words as he presents Christ, crowned with thorns, to the crowd. Oscar Wilde opened his defense with this phrase when on trial for sodomy, characteristically using a well-known Biblical reference as a double entendre. It is also the title of Nietzsche's autobiography and of the theme music by Howard Goodall for the BBC comedy Mr. Bean.
editio princeps 'first edition' The first printed edition of a work.
e.g. 'for the sake of example' Abbreviation for exempli gratia, below.

Often confused with id est (i.e.)

ego te absolvo 'I absolve you' Part of the absolution-formula spoken by a priest as part of the sacrament of Penance (cf. absolvo).
ego te provoco 'I dare you'
emeritus 'veteran' Also 'worn-out'. Retired from office. Often used to denote a position held at the point of retirement, as an honor, such as professor emeritus or provost emeritus. This does not necessarily mean that the honoree is no longer active.
ens causa sui 'existing because of oneself' Or 'being one's own cause'. Traditionally, a being that owes its existence to no other being, hence God or a Supreme Being (cf. Primum Mobile).
ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem 'by the sword she seeks gentle peace under liberty' State motto of Massachusetts, adopted in 1775.
entitas ipsa involvit aptitudinem ad extorquendum certum assensum 'reality involves a power to compel sure assent' A phrase used in modern Western philosophy on the nature of truth.
eo ipso 'by that very act' eo ipso is a technical term used in philosophy. It means 'by that very act' in Latin. Similar to ipso facto. Example: 'The fact that I am does not eo ipso mean that I think.'

It is also used, with the same meaning, in law.

equo ne credite 'do not trust the horse' Virgil, Aeneid, II. 48-49
eo nomine 'by that name'
ergo 'therefore' Used to show a logical conclusion (cf. cogito ergo sum).
erga omnes 'in relation to everyone'
errare humanum est 'to err is human' From Seneca the Younger. The full quote is errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum: 'to err is human; to persist is of the Devil'.
erratum 'error' Or 'mistake'. Lists of errors in a previous edition of a work are often marked with the plural, errata ('errors').
esse est percipi 'to be is to be perceived' George Berkeley's motto for his idealist philosophical position that nothing exists independently of its perception by a mind except minds themselves.
esse quam videri 'to be, rather than to seem' Truly being something, rather than merely seeming to be something. State motto of North Carolina and academic motto of several schools, including North Carolina State University, Berklee College of Music, and Columbia College Chicagoas well as Connell's Point Public School and Cranbrook High School in Sydney, Australia. From chapter 26 of Cicero's De amicitia ('On Friendship'). Earlier than Cicero, the phrase had been used by Sallust in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), where he wrote that Cato esse quam videri bonus malebat ('he preferred to be good, rather than to seem so'). Earlier still, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes, line 592, ou gar dokein aristos, all' enai thelei ('his resolve is not to seem the best, but in fact to be the best').
esto perpetua 'may it be perpetual' Said of Venice by the Venetian historian Fra Paolo Sarpi shortly before his death. Also the state motto of Idaho, adopted in 1867.
et alibi (et al.) 'and elsewhere' A less common variant on et cetera used at the end of a list of locations to denote unlisted places.
et alii (et al.) 'and others' Used similarly to et cetera ('and the rest'), to stand for a list of names. Alii is actually masculine, so it can be used for men, or groups of men and women; the feminine, et aliae, is appropriate when the 'others' are all female. Et alia is correct for the neuter.[3]APA style uses et al. if the work cited was written by more than two authors; MLA style uses et al. for more than three authors.
et cetera (etc.) or (&c.) 'And the rest' In modern usages, also used to mean 'and so on' or 'and more'.
et facta est lux 'And light was made' This phrase is used by Morehouse College of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, as the school's motto.
et hoc genus omne 'And all that sort of thing' Abbreviated to e.h.g.o. or ehgo
et in Arcadia ego 'and in Arcadia [am] I' In other words, 'I, too, am in Arcadia'. See memento mori.
et nunc reges intelligite erudimini qui judicati terram 'And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.' From the Book of Psalms, II.x. (Vulgate), 2.10 (Douay-Rheims).
et sequentes (et seq.) 'and the following' Pluralized as et sequentia ('and the following things'), abbreviations: et seqq., et seq.., or sqq.
et suppositio nil ponit in esse 'a supposition puts nothing in being' More typically translated as "sayin' it don't make it so"
et tu, Brute? 'And you, Brutus?' Also 'Even you, Brutus?' or 'You too, Brutus?' Used to indicate a betrayal by someone close. From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, based on the traditional dying words of Julius Caesar. However, these were almost certainly not Caesar's true last words; Plutarch quotes Caesar as saying, in Greek (which was the language of Rome's elite at the time), 'και συ, τεκνον;' (Kai su, teknon?), in English 'You as well, (my) child?' Some have speculated based on this that Brutus was Caesar's child, though there is no substantial evidence of this.
et uxor (et ux.) 'and wife' A legal term.
ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur 'For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.' From the Gospel according to St. Matthew, XII.xxxiv (Vulgate), 12.34 (Douay-Rheims) and the Gospel according to St. Luke, VI.xlv (Vulgate), 6.45 (Douay-Rheims). Sometimes rendered without enim ('for').
ex abundanti cautela 'from abundant caution'
ex aequo 'from the equal' 'On equal footing', i.e., 'in a tie'.
ex animo 'from the heart' Thus, 'sincerely'.
ex ante 'from before' 'Beforehand', 'before the event'. Based on prior assumptions. A forecast.
Ex Astris Scientia 'From the Stars, Knowledge' The motto of the fictional Starfleet Academy on Star Trek. Adapted from ex luna scientia, which in turn was modeled after ex scientia tridens.
ex cathedra 'from the chair' A phrase applied to the declarations or promulgations of the Pope when, preserved from even the possibility of error by the action of the Holy Ghost (see Papal Infallibility), he solemnly declares or promulgates to the Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. Used, by extension, of anyone who is perceived as speaking as though with supreme authority or with arrogance.
ex Deo 'from God'
ex dolo malo 'from fraud' 'From harmful deceit'; dolus malus is the Latin legal term for 'fraud'. The full legal phrase is ex dolo malo non oritur actio ('an action does not arise from fraud'). When an action has its origin in fraud or deceit, it cannot be supported; thus, a court of law will not assist a man who bases his course of action on an immoral or illegal act.
ex facie 'from the face' Idiomatically rendered 'on the face of it'. A legal term typically used to note that a document's explicit terms are defective without further investigation.
ex gratia 'from kindness' More literally 'from grace'. Refers to someone voluntarily performing an act purely out of kindness, as opposed to for personal gain or from being forced to do it. In law, an ex gratia payment is one made without recognizing any liability or legal obligation.
ex hypothesi 'from the hypothesis' Thus, 'by hypothesis'.
ex lege 'from the law'
ex libris 'from the books' Precedes a person's name, with the meaning of 'from the library of...'
ex luna scientia 'from the moon, knowledge' The motto of the Apollo 13 moon mission, derived from ex scientia tridens.
ex nihilo nihil fit 'nothing may come from nothing' From Lucretius, and said earlier by Empedocles. Its original meaning is 'work is required to succeed', but its modern meaning is a more general 'everything has its origins in something' (cf. causality). It is commonly applied to the conservation laws in philosophy and modern science. Ex nihilo often used in conjunction with the term creation, as in creatio ex nihilo, meaning 'creation, out of nothing'. It is often used in philosophy or theology in connection with the proposition that God created the universe from nothing.
ex oblivione 'from oblivion' The title of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft.
ex officio 'from the office' By virtue of office or position; 'by right of office'. Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another. A common misconception is that ex officio members of a committee or congress may not vote, but this is not guaranteed by that title.

The Vice President of the United States is ex officio President of the United States Senate.

ex opere operantis 'from the work of the one working' A theological phrase contrasted with ex opere operato, referring to the notion that the validity or promised benefit of a sacrament depends on the person administering it.
ex opere operato 'from the work that worked' A theological phrase meaning that the act of receiving a sacrament actually confers the promised benefit, such as a baptism actually and literally cleansing one's sins. The Catholic Church affirms that the source of grace is God, not just the actions or disposition of the recipient.
ex oriente lux 'from the East, the light' Superficially refers to the sun rising in the east, but alludes to culture coming from the Eastern world.
ex parte 'from a part' A legal term meaning 'by one party' or 'for one party'. Thus, on behalf of one side or party only.
ex pede Herculem 'from Hercules' foot' From the measure of Hercules' foot you shall know his size; from a part, the whole.
ex post 'from after' 'Afterward', 'after the event'. Based on knowledge of the past. Measure of past performance.
ex post facto 'from a thing done afterward' Said of a law with retroactive effect.
ex scientia tridens 'from knowledge, sea power.' The United States Naval Academy motto. Refers to knowledge bringing men power over the sea comparable to that of the trident-bearing Greek god Poseidon.
ex scientia vera 'from knowledge, truth.' The motto of the College of Graduate Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.
ex silentio 'from silence' In general, the claim that the absence of something demonstrates the proof of a proposition. An argumentum ex silentio ('argument from silence') is an argument based on the assumption that someone's silence on a matter suggests ('proves' when a logical fallacy) that person's ignorance of the matter or their inability to counterargue validly.
ex tempore 'from time' 'This instant', 'right away' or 'immediately'. Also written extempore.
ex vi termini 'from the force of the term' Thus, 'by definition'.
ex vivo 'out of or from life' Used in reference to the study or assay of living tissue in an artificial environment outside the living organism.
ex voto 'from the vow' Thus, in accordance with a promise. An ex voto is also an offering made in fulfillment of a vow.
excelsior 'higher' 'Ever upward!' The state motto of New York. Also a catch phrase used by Marvel Comics head Stan Lee.
exceptio firmat regulam in casibus non exceptis 'The exception confirms the rule in cases which are not excepted' A juridical motto which means that exception, as for example during a 'state of exception', does not put in danger the legitimity of the rule in its globality. In other words, the exception is strictly limited to a particular sphere (see also: exceptio strictissimi juris est.
excusatio non petita accusatio manifesta 'an excuse that has not been sought is an obvious accusation' More loosely, 'he who excuses himself, accuses himself'—an unprovoked excuse is a sign of guilt. In French, qui s'excuse, s'accuse.
exeat 'may he leave' A formal leave of absence (cf. exit).
exempli gratia (e.g.) 'for the sake of example' Usually shortened in English to 'for example' (see citation signal). Often confused with id est (i.e.).

Exempli gratia, i.e., 'for example', is commonly abbreviated 'e.g.'; in this usage it is sometimes followed by a comma, depending on style.

exercitus sine duce corpus est sine spiritu 'an army without leader is like a body without spirit' On a plaque at the former military staff building of the Swedish Armed Forces.
exeunt 'they leave' The plural of exit. Also extended to exeunt omnes, 'everyone leaves'.
experimentum crucis 'crucial experiment' Literally 'experiment of the cross'. A decisive test of a scientific theory.
experto crede 'trust the expert' Literally 'believe one who has had experience'. An author's aside to the reader.
expressio unius est exclusio alterius 'the expression of the one is the exclusion of the other' 'Mentioning one thing may exclude another thing'. A principle of legal statutory interpretation: the explicit presence of a thing implies intention to exclude others; e.g., a reference in the Poor Relief Act 1601 to 'lands, houses, tithes and coal mines' was held to exclude mines other than coal mines. Sometimes expressed as expressum facit cessare tacitum (broadly, 'the expression of one thing excludes the implication of something else').
extant 'still in existence; surviving' adjective:

extant law is still existing, in existence, existent, surviving, remaining, undestroyed. Usage, when a law is repealed the extant law governs.

extra domus '(placed) outside of the house' Refers to a possible result of Catholic ecclesiastical legal proceedings when the culprit is removed from being part of a group like a monastery.
Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus 'Outside the Church there is no salvation' This expression comes from the writings of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the third century. It is often used to summarise the doctrine that the Catholic Church is absolutely necessary for salvation.
Extra omnes 'Out, all of you.' It is issued by the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations before a session of the Papal Conclave which will elect a new Pope. When spoken, all those who are not Cardinals, or those otherwise mandated to be present at the Conclave, must leave the Sistine Chapel.
extra territorium jus dicenti impune non paretur 'he who administers justice outside of his territory is disobeyed with impunity' Refers to extraterritorial jurisdiction. Often cited in law of the sea cases on the high seas.


  1. ^  Exempli gratia (e.g.) and id est (i.e.) are commonly confused and misused in colloquial English. The former, exempli gratia, means "for example", and is used before giving examples of something ("I have lots of favorite colors, e.g., blue, green, and hot pink"). The latter, id est, means "that is", and is used before clarifying the meaning of something, when elaborating, specifying, or explaining rather than when giving examples ("I have lots of favorite colors, i.e., I can't decide on just one").
  2. ^  American style guides tend to recommend that "e.g." and "i.e." should generally be followed by a comma, just as "for example" and "that is" would be; UK style tends to omit the comma. See and their discussion of commas for more information. Search "comma after i.e." for other opinions.


  1. ^ Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea: An Investigation into the Treatment of Mens Rea in the Quest to Hold Individuals Accountable for Genocide Mens Rea: The Mental Element quoting and citing William A. Schabas, “The Jelisic Case and the Mens Rea of the Crime of Genocide,” Leiden Journal of International Law 14 (2001): 129.
  2. ^ Clan Fergus(s)on Society Retrieved on 2007-12-14
  3. ^ University of Minnesota Style Manual: Correct Usage
  • Adeleye, Gabriel G. (1999). World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. →ISBN Invalid ISBN.
  • Stone, Jon R. (1996). Latin for the Illiterati. London & NY: Routledge. →ISBN.
  • This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain.