Yesterday I spoke about some of the most common writing abbreviations found in English. All of these were derived from Latin so I thought it would be good to follow the post up with an article about popular phrases which were borrowed directly from the Latin language.
Latin was the foundation for many European languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Many words in English are derived from Latin however there are lots of words which have not been changed and can be found in just about every book or magazine.
This list is far from complete, rather a quick look at some of the most well known Latin phrases.
- sic – Is the Latin word for ‘so‘ or ‘thus‘. It is usually placed within brackets and it is comment to write the phrase in italics too. It is used when you want to quote a factual error or typo to show that the mistake was made in the text being quoted and not by the writer themselves. Example : The man assured me he was from Seeatle [sic].
- ad hoc – Is the Latin phrase for ‘for this‘ or ‘to this‘. Ad hoc can refer to a number of different things but it generally refers to something that has a single purpose e.g. ad hoc committee.
- de facto – A Latin phrase which means ‘in fact‘, ‘in practice‘ or ‘in reality‘. It is commonly used to refer to what unofficially happens in practive. For example, General Smith was the de facto ruler of the army (i.e. this implies he was the person who called the shots!).
- a cappella – Is the Latin phrase for ‘from the choir‘.
- carpe diem – A Latin phrase which means ‘seize the day‘.
- post mortem – A Latin phrase which means ‘After Death‘.
- non sequitur – Is the Latin phrase for ‘it does not follow‘. For example : If I am in Paris I am in France but it does not follow that if I am in France I am in Parid.
- Ipso facto – Is the Latin phrase for ‘by the deed itself,‘ or ‘By that very fact‘. The phrase was used by Ben Stiller in Dodgeball : ‘You work for the bank. The bank works for me. Ipso facto, I’m your boss’.
- pro rata – Is the Latin phrase for ‘in proportion‘.
- quid pro quo – Is the Latin phrase for ‘something for something‘. When someone says this it usually means ‘So what do I get?’.
- vice versa – Is the Latin phrase for ‘the other way around‘. Example : Love teaches us about life and vice versa.
- rigor mortis – Is the Latin phrase for the chemical changes that occur after death.
What’s your favourite Latin phrase or quote? 🙂