ars est celare artem

List of Latin phrases (A-B)

A

ad meliora> ad mortem>
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).
a coelo 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.
abeunt studia in mores through study character grows The motto of Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School.
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 city having been founded 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.) (literally "in the year of the founded city").
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 verbis let injury by words be absent Expresses the wish that no insult or wrong be conveyed by the speaker's words, i.e., "no offense". Also rendered absit injuria verbis; see also absit invidia.
absit invidia let ill will be absent Although similar to the English expression "no offense", absit invidia is not a mere social gesture to avoid causing offense, but also a way to ward off the harm that some people superstitiously believe animosity can cause others. Also extended to absit invidia verbo, meaning "may ill will be absent from the word" (cf. absit iniuria verbis).
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
abyssus abyssum invocat deep calleth unto deep Also consider "hell invokes hell"; think "slippery slope."
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. The phrase is also translated as "A rough road leads to the stars", as on the Launch Complex 34 memorial plaque for the astronauts of Apollo 1.
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.
Towards better things the motto of St. Patricks College, Cavan, Ireland
To death used in medical contexts as a synonym for death.
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
aetat of age" / "aged" (in the sense of: "age: ...) Abbreviation of "aetatis"; even more abbreviated (and more common): "aet." — e.g.: "aetat 36" = "36 years old"/ "aet. 34" = "34 years old"
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 or aetat (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. More often translated as "Do well whatever you do", this phrase is used as the motto of several Catholic schools, including Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. According to the Catholic Culture dictionary, this phrase is used to remind people to concentrate on the task at hand, rather than scattering their attention.
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 an eagle's 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
alumnus
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.
amittere 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.
anglice in English Used before the anglicized version of a word or name. For example "Terra Mariae, anglice, Maryland".
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 1665–1666, 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 muscam 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 [est] celare artem art [is] to conceal art An aesthetic ideal that good art should appear natural rather than contrived. Of medieval origin, but often incorrectly attributed to Ovid.
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. Also the motto of the Portuguese Army Commandos.
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.
aurrum est potestas gold is power Motto of the fictional Fowl family in the Artemis Fowl series, written by Eoin Colfer
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, replaced by post tenebras lux.
aut pax aut bellum either peace or war The motto of the Gunn Clan.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam Either I shall find a way, or I shall 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 A Roman Catholic prayer to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

B

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, . 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.
bibo ergo sum I drink, therefore I am
bis dat qui cito dat he gives twice, who gives promptly Thus a gift that is given quickly without hesitation is worth twice as much.
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).
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