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Latin For Every Day

Updated on January 31, 2010

Latin For 2500 Years

Latin has survived in written form for 2500 years. Many of our words today are of Latin origin. Doctors use Latin and our courts use Latin.

If you watch the “stars” (I try not to) you might notice tattoos such as the one Angelina Jolie displayed on her lower belly Quod me nutria me destruit- “What nourishes me destroys me”. She changed her adopted son’s name to “Pax” – Peace.

On the fore-arm, of English soccer player, David Beckham, is Ut Amem et Foveam – “That I might love and cherish”.

Many universities exhibit Roman architecture as well as mottos. Harvard’s motto is Veritus- “Truth.” Dartmouth’s motto is Vox clamantis in deserto, “The voice crying in the wilderness.” Penn’s motto is Leges sine moribus vanae, “Laws without morals are useless.” Its original motto- Sine moribus vanae- was changed after a wry classicist pointed out that it could be taken to mean “Loose women without morals.”

The University of Illinois is the Greekest campus on earth and has forty-six fraternities and twenty-three sororities.

William And Mary University 1859


College fraternities derive their names from Greek. The first university fraternity was Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded on December 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Phi Beta Kappa was set up by students unable to get into the college’s Flat Hat Club, which had Thomas Jefferson as a member. Many of the rituals of the fraternity were borrowed from the Flat Hat Club. Many of the Flat Hat Club would go to the rough Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, drink heavily, and mix with local sailors and soldiers. The university’s authorities disapproved and sent scout to track the members. The members came up with secret handshakes, oaths, and passwords to avoid the scouts. These practices were copied by the members of Phi Beta Kappa in later years.

Phi Beta Kappa means "Love of learning is the guide of life".

Ad Hoc

So it appears that we could all use a little Latin. It’s here to stay.

I’m giving a little light to Latin phrases that we hear quite often.

Ad Hoc-“For this purpose” or “temporarily useful”

Ad infinitum- “Indefinitely”

Ad libitum-“Off the cuff” (Ad lib)

Ad nauseam- “Endlessly” (literally, until sickness)

Alias- Originally meant “at another time.” Mutated to mean “also known as.”

Alma mater- “Nourishing mother”

Alumnus- “Nursling, foster child” (graduate of a university)

Bona fide- “In good faith”

Carpe diem- “Seize the day”

Cornucopia- “Horn of plenty”

Cum laude- “With praise”

Emeritus- “Honorary, well earned”

Ergo- “Therefore”

Erratum- “Mistake”

Et al- “And the other people”

Etc. or et cetera- “And the other things”

Ex libris- “From the library of”

Habeas Corpus- “Protection against arbitrary imprisonment”

In memoriam- “In memory of”

In vitro- “Artificial”

Ipso facto- “Because of that very thing”

Magnum opus- “Masterpiece”

Mea culpa- “My fault”

Modus operandi- “A way of working things out”

Non sequitur- “An illogicality”

Per capita- “Individually”

Per se- “In and of itself”

Persona non grata- “An unacceptable person”

Post mortem- “After death”

Post partum- “After birth”

Prima facie- “At first appearance”

Quid pro quo- “Something for something”

Re- “Concerning”

RIP, requiescat in pace- “May he rest in peace”

Sub poena (subpoena)- “Under punishment”

Terra firma- “Dry land”

Versus- “Against”

Via- “By way of”

Vice versa- “Conversely”

Duenos Inscription

What we need now are Latin phrases to get us through the day. Such as:

Cogito, ergo sum.- I think, therefore I am.

Sum, ergo edo.- I am, therefore I eat.

Cogito, ergo doleo.- I think, therefore I am depressed.

Cogito, sumere potum alterum.- I think I’ll have another drink.

Noli reficere quod non fractum est.- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

In rivo fimi sine remo sum.- I’m up the creek without a paddle.

Cacatne ursus in sylvis?- Does a bear poop in the woods?

Dolores capitus non fero, sed affero.- I don’t get headaches, I give them.

Iube tuos colloqui cum meis.- Have your people talk to my people.

Pucher es!- You’re beautiful!

Amicule, deliciae, num mentiar tibi?- Baby, sweetheart, would I lie to you?

Apudne the vel me?- Your place or mine?

Perscripto in minibus tabellariorum est.- The check is in the mail.

Nescio quid dicas.- I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Noli me vocare, ego the vocabo.- Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

Perge, ut hunc diem appelem beatum.- Make my day.

Certe, Toto, sentio nos in Kansas non iam esse.- You know Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Ut plane dicam, cara mea, flocci non facio.- Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Morde manubrium meum.- Bite my crank.

Vescere bracis meis.- Eat my shorts.

Pone ubi sol non lucet.- Put it where the sun don’t shine.

Quisnam pepedit?- Who cut the cheese?

Fighting words sound better in Latin:

Vere furis.- You must be mad.

Fac ut vivas.- Get a life.

Veritatem imitare.- Be real.

Expergiscere et coffeam olface.- Wake up and smell the coffee.

Atque vetulus tuus!- So’s your old man!

Caro putrida es.- You’re dead meat.

Verveces tui similes pro ientaculo mihi appositi sunt.- I have jerks like you for breakfast.

Terms Of Non-Endearment:

Airhead- Caput vacans

Bimbo- Muliercula

Buttface- Vultus natiformis

Creep- Cimex

Dolt- Vervex

Doofus- Blennus

Dork- Caudex

Sleazeball- Pila foeda

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short lesson on Latin.

Sit hic dies tibi tucundus.

Have a nice day.


I’m outta here.


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    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 5 years ago

      Hi Felicia. I am not a professional in Latin. Please get better advice than I can give. Thank you for posting but Latin is not my forte. There are other phrases that may be shorter (less pain and writing) as well. Keep searching dear. God bless.

    • profile image

      Felicia 5 years ago


      I'm getting a tattoo really soon, and I want the quote "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end" on my ribs. I was just wondering if you could transelate that quote into Latin for me? I really want it to be in Latin, since so many people have that quote tattoed already in English...

      I really hope you can help me!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      God bless you howcurecancer!

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 6 years ago

      Awesome hub!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Oh you are such a delight! Thank you dear toknowinfo. Yo have lit me up!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Great hub. I didn't realize I knew so much latin. This hub is definitely not "in vitro". You write in a "veritatem imitare" way. I enjoy all your hubs and I say this "Cum laude ", after all, "Amicule, deliciae, num mentiar tibi?"

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      I love you Peggy Dear! You are so great! God bless!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Your question " Loquiturne pontifex maximus Latine?" I see the word "quit" in the middle of Loquiturne. I quit trying to figure this out. Babelfish unfortunately does not help translate Latin into any other language. Great search engine for those unfamiliar with it. Don't think that I kept my Latin book. I was just lucky to get out of that second year with a halfway decent grade. Haha!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Oh my Dear Petra, when will they realize,

      That the candidates really are lies?

      To me- it is certainly no disguise.

      I will not pull zee wool over my own eyes.

      Send another lawyer dressed in a suit,

      Working for business and they all pollute.

      They sold out America long ago,

      They make a little dough and off they go.

      They will sell our children for any amount,

      And sail away to their Cayman Island account.

      And America thinks it's the land of the free.

      As another war begins in a third world country.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      You got me started now: another Latin wise one you may want to include is "sic transit gloria mundi" in its new adaptation: "and that's the way george (bush) went down the mountain"

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Oh Petra! I do love you SO! God bless you Dear, Dear Petra! veni, vidi, fugi!

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Micky, Micky, Micky,

      I laough my ass off; when will you ever stop to amaze me? I hope never. Forgat to put the new and "improved" Latine saying of "veni, vidi, fugi" - it will become the American motto in some of the places we have no business in

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Rich! I must not have hit "Post Comment". Your avatar has been sitting here waiting for me. Carpe your hub Bub! God bless Rich!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Yo yo yo Maxim XJS! I believe you have it down Bud! Funny funny funny! God bless you Maxim!

    • profile image

      Maxim XJS 7 years ago

      This is an excellent site! Two questions:

      1-Does "Illegetum non carborundum" mean don't let the bastards wear you down?

      2-How would you say "Morde manubrium meum", Matey (as in arrr Matey)

    • richtwf profile image

      richtwf 7 years ago

      Another excellent hub Micky! Thanks for sharing this with us. We never got the chance to learn Latin at school but these days I love to collect quotes of all sorts including Latin ones. One of my favourites is: 'Carpe Diem.'

      So thanks again and for sharing your wonderful knowledge with us. Cheers my dear friend and another chance to reciprocate my appreciation for your brotherly love!

      God bless you Micky.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      I do love you Dim! Don't spit your tea on the keyboard!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Latin phrases for daily use and fighting phrases hit me just as I was getting my ´serious´head on and determined to learn more Latin. :Result--- gigles, followed by hoots of laughter. You do it me every time, man!!!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thank you HealthFreak!

    • HealthFreak31 profile image

      HealthFreak31 7 years ago

      loce article

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thank you Creativeone! God bless you dear!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you for a very interesting hub on Latin for ever day. Thank you for sharing. creativeone59

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Semper Fi Pachuca! Once a Marine always a Marine! There are several Marines here on the pages. 50 Caliber, MFB, and me at least. Semper Fi! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Pachuca213 7 years ago

      I loved this one as I love is " SEMPER FIDELIS" ALWAYS FAITHFUL the famous quote used by the few and the proud US Marines Corps. My dad lived by that and I like it too, because I am always faithful in life, love and friendship. I am bookmarking this hub because I want to go back to it later and learn/memorize all of these quotes.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Yo "NOMO"! Beautiful! 'Nil carborundum illegitimi'! I wish I had a grasp on a couple languages. I'll see you at your place! Be careful out there. Veritatem imitare!

    • nomoretrucks profile image

      nomoretrucks 7 years ago from scotland

      ah! this is the reason my Scottish sweetheart can understand my crap French, Spanish and Portuguese, she did Latin in her degree- they are all Latin based languages. My old foreman at a lorry garage had a saying if i was skriking about someone, i think it was along the lines of 'Nil carborundum illegitimi' theres more to it but i think it the phrase meant that you shouldn't allow people with questionable parentage to grind you down, does this make sense.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      I may have to get back to you- I'm searching in a book. I'm not Latinly fluent. So far my search reveals:

      Valeo--Vales...I'm OK--You're OK

      Pucher es!...You're beautiful

      Spes est...Hopefully

      Sit hic dies tibi iucundus...Have a nice day

      Ventis secundis, tene cursum...Go with the flow

      Noli reficere quod non fractum est...If it ain't broke, don't fix it Thanks

    • profile image

      NUBIA 7 years ago

      Can you help me translate


      to latin please :)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thanks Tony. I saw a book and bought a couple copies. I gave one to a tattoo artist. A not so tough guy can have a mean tattoo- in Latin! Thanks

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      I took Latin at school and into first year 'varsity for my sins! It's a great language to make fun with. I love sentences like "noli illegitimi carborundum sit" and some of those you have listed. Particularly like the "Expergiscere et coffeam olface" - that is simply wonderful!

      Then there are the sentences in English making fun of the Latin like "Caesar had some jam for tea!"

      The comic book Asterix were full of Latin puns and jokes which made them hilarious.

      Thanks for a good giggle

      Love and peace


    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 7 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      For the last few months I was in search of the meaning of carpe diem and now I got it - thank you, Micky, for sharing this...

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Hey Bud. If you can't find a good Latin book, let me know. I'll send you one with these very "phrases". Thanks Ralwus.

    • profile image

      ralwus 7 years ago

      LOL Now I must dig out my book of Latin. This made my day. I like your phrases much better. Hah! How would Clint Eastwood sound with those fighting words or even John Wayne? LOL

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thanks Pearldiver. I appreciate your stopping by. Carpe Diem

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thanks Pearldiver. I appreciate your stopping by. Carpe Diem

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Nicely done hub Micky. Latin is a language that will, I'm sure last another few thousand years.. sini die. Thanks for sharing this. Gotta say though; I'm better at Maori. Take Care. Kia Kaha.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thank you itakins. I've had Latin used against me by an EX, a Latin teacher, I wasn't amused either. Thanks

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 7 years ago from Irl

      Brilliant hub-I have to admit Sr. Mary Jane Frances-my old latin teacher ,would probably not be amused:)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      I appreciate your comment but let's keep it clean. That four letter word can hurt somebody!

    • PeytonFarquhar profile image

      PeytonFarquhar 7 years ago from So Cal

      Informative piece, but I would add the following:

      Res Firma Mitescere Nescit

      Which means, a firm resolve does not know how to weaken. In the vernacular it roughly translates as keep your dick up.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thank you Elena. Thanks for the correction. I changed it up a bit. Thanks so much for helping out.

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

      Very cool hub, Micky! :-) Just the frats and sororities derive their names from Greek letters, not Latin :-)

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thank you Nell Rose for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Cheers

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Et tu Mickey!! Brilliant I am going to bookmark this. Thanks for stopping by on my hubs, otherwise I wouldn't have found it. Cheers Nell

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Timothy, I'm glad you sent the link. I have no idea right off what you just said -unless there's a large, but good possum on vacation temporarily.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Jess, you're a mess. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Timothy Donnelly profile image

      Timothy Donnelly 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ahh, Magnum opus bona vacantia! Nisi secus? Talis qualis ex gratia publici juris dominium consensu. Quaeitur ad hoc cadit quaestio coram non judice Dio volens.

      (I sent you a link to figure this out).

      Great Hub!

    • Jess Killmenow profile image

      Jess Killmenow 7 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

      Latin is at the root of so much. Thank you, Micky

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Thank you Peggy. Loquiturne pontifex maximus Latine?

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Having taken two years of Latin in high school, I really enjoyed this hub. Now I am just pondering how to casually throw in the phrase...Cacatne ursus in sylvis?...into general conversation. Ha! You put a lot of thought into this hub. Thumbs up!!!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      You are so nice. Thank you for reading.

      You're a mess!

      Sit hic dies tibi tucundus.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      Intelligent hub and nice one, Latin phrases and I bookmarked this one,

      Is it correct to say I love you "ad nauseam"??

      thank you, how are you today Micky?

      TC, Sit hic dies tibi tucundus.