Latin Phrases And Their English Meanings That Every Red-Blooded American Needs to Know - A Through G

Latin phrases And Their English Meanings 

A Through G

I am always finding Latin Phrases handy in my everyday speech. The problem, no one knows what I am saying. Sometimes I don't even know for sure. So I have created a set of lists of some common, not so common, and some completely made up Latin phrases. 

This is not just a copy of someone else's list. I have personally gone over every line and researched the Latin roots, updated the translations and/or added variations of meaning and/or given the modern colloquial phrase equivalent (imho). I have also tried to add insight or additional references to the phrase for contextual or historical perspective. 

I have broken this up alphabetically and each table is sortable within your browser as well. Just click on a heading to to re-order the table. 

Felix et Festum!

Table of Latin Phrases Beginning A through G
Latin Phrase [L]iteral | English Meaning | (Usage / Notes)
A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi [L] A cliff in front, wolves behind | A rock and a hard place
Ab ovo usque ad mala [L] From eggs to apples | From start to finish | From beginning to end | From apps to dessert | 
Absolvi meam animam [L] That is absolved from my soul | I got that off my chest
Absconde obesito illegitimo [C] Scram, you fat bastardo!
A verbis ad verbera [L] From words to whips | From words to blows | From words to sticks and stones | (verber is to whip, lash or beat)
Ad alta [L] To the top | To the summit
Ad astra [L] To the stars | To the heavens
Ad astra per aspera [L] To the stars by pains | [L]To the heavens through difficulty | A rough road leads to the stars | (Kansas state motto)
Ad hoc [L] To this | For this reason | (An exceptional case for which we do something)
Ad hominem {L} To the person/man | A logical fallacy that means 'Attacking the person' and not the argument. Frequently used in politics and called mudslinging.
Ad infinitum [L] Forever | [L]To infinity | And so on and so on | (Used in math to indicate never ending properties, like 1/3 = 1.33333333333 ad infinitum)
Ad interim [L] For now | [L]For the time being | Long form of "ad int" | (Signifies temporary status, as in during a transition)
Ad libitum Freely | At Will | Long form of "ad lib" | (Typically used to mean it is up to an actor, or impromptu speaker what to say or do for an given time or occasion within a play or script. Frequently refers to comical stand-up acts that incorporate on-the-spot back-and-forth commentary)
Ad libitur As desired | As willed | As wished | (See "Ad libitum")
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam to the greater glory of God - motto of the Society of Jesus
Ad nauseam Until sick | Until nauseaus
Adversus incendia excubias nocturnas vigilesque commentus est Against the dangers of fires, he =Augustus conceived of the idea of night guards and watchmen. Suetonius, Life of Augustus
Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem Keep a calm head in tough times
Aeronavis abstractio a prestituto cursu Hijacking (Airplane)
Agnus Dei Lamb of God | Name of a Catholic subsect
Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est Yes, that is a very large amount of corn
Alea iacta est The die has been cast | (Said by Caesar as he was crossing the Rubicon river to take Rome)
Alma Mater Nourishing Mother
Alter ego Other Self
Amor vincit omnia Love conquers all
Anicularum lucubrationes Old wives' tales. Old wives tale
Annuit coeptis God has favoured us | (found on U.S. currency)
Ante bellum Before the war | (Before the [U.S.Civil] war)
Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis exponebantur ad necem. In the good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept crags.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus! Let's all sport our mood rings!
Anus Equi Volants Flying arse of horse
Aquila non copit murem The eagle does not catch mice - In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff or don't bother with that which is not worth bothering.
Ars longa, vita brevis Art lasts, life is short | Art is forever, Life is for a day
Ars sine scientia nihil est Art without science is nothing
Ascendo tuum Up yours!
Aspice, officio fungeris sine spe honoris amplioris To wit, you're in a dead-end job with no hope for escape!
Astra non mentiuntur, sed astrologi bene mentiuntur de astris The stars don't lie, but astrologists lie about the stars
At a barbeque Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri? Ever noticed how wherever you stand, the smoke goes right into your face?
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam Find a way or make one
Avarus animus nullo satiatur lucro A greedy mind is satisfied with no amount of gain
Ave Caesar imperator, morituri te salutant Hail Caesar, those about to die salute you gladiators before the fight
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum Benedicta tu in mullieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus Sancta Maria, Mater Dei Ora pro Nobis, peccatoribus Nunc et in hora mortis nostra. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed in the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Holy Mary, Mother of God Pray for us sinners Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
Bellum omium contra omnes Everyman struggles against everyman from Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
Bene, cum Latine nescias, nolo manus meas in te maculare. Well, if you don't understand plain Latin, I'm not going to dirty my hands on you.
Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur! Those green pants go so well with that pink shirt and the plaid jacket!
Braccae tuae aperiuntur. Your fly is open | Your trousers are undone
Caeca invidia est Jealousy is blind | Envy is blind
Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei The heavens declare the glory of God
Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar
Canis meus id comedit My dog ate it
Carpe Canum Seize the dog
Carpe Diem Seize the day
Carpe Narem Pick your nose | Grab your schnoz
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam. I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.
Cave canem Beware of dog
Cave canem...te necet lingendo Beware of the dog, he may lick you to death.
Cave cibum, valde malus est. Beware the food, it is very bad.
Cave ne ante ullas catapultas ambules. If I were you, I wouldn't walk in front of any catapults.
Caveat emptor Let the buyer beware.
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam And therefore, I conclude that Carthage must be destroyed perhaps most correctby Marcus Porcius Cato Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator
Ceterum censeo, Carthago delenda est That is my opinion. It is further my opinion, that Carthage must be destroyed by Marcus Porcius Cato Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator
Cogita ante salis Think before you act | Look before you leap
Cogito ergo doleo I think, therefore I am depressed | I think there I am grieved | I think therefore I am pained
Cogito ergo sum I think, therefore I am.
Cogito, Facio Fio! Think it, Do it, Become it! Think, act, becom | Think it, Do it, Become it | Think it, Do it, Your are it
Coitus non circum No screwing around
Commune hoc ignorantiae vitium est: quae nescias, nequicquam esse profiteri Leon Battista Alberti: De Re Aedificatoria, VI,2 A common thing with the ignorant, to despise what they do not understand; James Leoni's translation, London 1726 - this translation is not entirely to the point, either, I feel - a better one might be: A common vice among ignorants is to reject the idea that there is anything to know
Conditio sine qua non Necessity is the mother of invention | Condition, necessarily to be fulfilled | An exceptional situation
Conlige suspectos semper habitos Round up the usual suspects
Contra felicem vix deus vires habet Against a lucky man a God scarcely has power
Corripe Cervisiam Seize the beer | Grab a beer
Corruptio optimi pessima Corruption of the best is worst
Coruscantes disci per convexa caeli volantes. Flying saucers
Credo nos in fluctu eodem esse I believe we of the same mind | I think we're on the same wavelength
Cui bono For the good of whom? | For whose good? | In whose interests?
Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults
Cum Grano Salis With a Grain of Salt
Cursum Perficio My travels are done | My journey is over | My round is complete
Da mihi sis bubulae frustrum assae, solana tuberosa in modo Gallico fricta, ac quassum lactatum coagulatum crassum Give me a hamburger, french fries, and a thick shake
Da mihi sis cerevisiam dilutam. Give me a light beer | I'll have a diluted beer
De gustibus non est disputandum There is no accounting for taste
De mortiis aut bene aut nihil Speak well of the dead or not at all
De mortuis nil nisi bonum Say nothing but good of the dead
Dei gratia By the grace of God.
Delenda est Carthago Carthage must be destroyed
Deo Vindice God vindicates us | God will prove us right| (Motto of the Confederate States of America)
Deo volente God willing
Deus commodo muto consisto quem meus canis sententia existo Which, in a very ham-fisted way, with generosity, comes close to being:
Deus est intus God is within
Deus et natua non faciunt frusta God and nature do not work together in vain
Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit! God, look at the time! My wife will kill me!
Die dulci fruere. Have a nice day.
dies irae Judgement day | Day of Wrath
Diis aliter visum The Gods decided otherwise
Divide et impera Divide and rule
Docendo discimus We learn by teaching
Dominus habet oculos centum The master has a hundred eyes
Domus in colle House on the hill
Dona nobis pacem Grant us peace
Drustanus Hic Iacit Cvnomori filius Here Lies Drustan, son of [Marcus]Cunomorus, said to be inscribed on a stone pillare in Cornwall
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. It is sweet and fitting to die for ones country
E Pluribus Unum One from many
Eheu, litteras istas reperire non possum Unfortunately, I can't find those particular documents
Errare humanum est To err is human
Errare humanun est - sed perseverare diabolicum To err is human, but to persist is devilish
Escariorium lavator Dishwashing machine
Esse est percipi Being is perception | (A standard metaphysical Mauser quote from his work on phenomenology)
Estne tibi forte magna feles fulva et planissima? Do you by chance happen to own a large, yellowish, very flat cat?
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre? Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?
Ex cathedra With authority | ("From the Chair" [of the Pope])
Ex nilhilo nihil fit From nothing nothing comes | Nothing begets nothing
Exegi monumentum aere perennius I have erected a monument more lasting than bronze. Horace
Exempli gratia For example | (Long form of the acronym E.g.)
Exemplum de simia, quae, quando plus ascendit, plus apparent posteriora eius --Saint Bonaventure He doth like the ape, that the higher he clymbes the more he shows his ars. --Translation by Sir Francis Bacon
Exitus acta probat The outcome justifies the deed The ends justify the means | The outcome justifies the act
Exterioris pagina puella Front Page Girl | Cover girl | Page One Girl
Fabas indulcet fames Hunger sweetens the beans | Hunger makes everything taste better
Fabricati diem Make my day
Fac me cocleario vomere Gag me with a spoon
Fac ut gaudeam Make my day
Fac ut vivas Get a life | Make your life
Fama nihil est celerius Nothing is swifter than rumour
Fama volat Fame has wings
Fax mentis incedium gloriae The passion of glory is the torch of the mind
Feles mala! Cur cista non uteris? Stramentum novum in ea posui. Bad kitty! Why don't you use the cat box? I put new litter in it.
Festina lente Hurry slowly
Fiat lux Let there be light - Vulgate, Genesis
Fides punica Treachery - Livy
Flamma fumo est proxima Where there is smoke, there is fire | Flame follows smoke - Titus Maccius Plautus, Curculio
Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit Perhaps someday we will look back upon these things with joy
Forsan miseros meliora sequentur. For those in misery better things will come - Virgil
Fortunatus sum! Pila mea de gramine horrido modo in pratum lene recta volvit! Isn't that lucky! My ball just rolled out of the rough and onto the fairway!
Fronti nulla fides No reliance can be placed on appearance
Furnulum pani nolo. I don't want a toaster.
Gaudeamus igitur iuvenes dum sumus. Therefore, let us rejoice while we are young
Gramen artificiosum odi. I hate Astroturf | Artificial turf stinks



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