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[Note: This compendium of Roman proverbs and Latin phrases was originally assembled for the edification of my partners' sons, Anton and Sergei. Study of the classics was always one refuge for unfettered academic inquiry in Soviet days, since it was difficult to get too dangerously political about a people 1,500 years dead. Happily today, classicism still thrives, unlike here. I selected proverbs I thought most relevant to the Russian experience, but in fact nil novi sub sole. Human nature doesn't change that much across time or space, so I reprint here the annotations as I wrote them for the Russians.]

A surprising number of these serious expressions for law, letters, logic, science, philosophy, medicine are still used today. You will notice that the pithiest phrases that impart important lessons in life often rhyme or rely on alliteration, which is why they have passed often unchanged into English. Most of these expressions date from the Classical period, hence I use classical orthography as you would see it inscribed on architraves or written in scrolls, not the later Vulgate form used in the Middle Ages.
Latin has no articles (a, an, the), however I've inserted them to clarify meaning. Latin has no "K", "J" or "W". "U" is rendered as "V", and pronounced like "w". Classical Latin had neither lower case nor punctuation.
Words in square brackets [] are implied but generally not written in the original Latin phrase; it is especially common to omit the verb "to be" and personal pronouns when they're the subject. The symbolic shorthand of an highly inflected language is second-nature to Russians, but difficult for native English speakers to grasp.
English words in single quotes '' are not exact translations of the Latin but do express the same idea exactly, therefore these translations may be used verbatim.
When you use Latin in writing today, the words should be rendered in Italics.

Classical Latin Literal English Idiomatic English Annotations
AB AETERNO from eternity from the beginning of time
no date established
it has always been this way
AB ASINO LANAM wool from an ass blood from a stone
AB VRBE CONDITA from the founding of the city abbreviated A.U.C., specifically used for Roman dates, reckoned from the founding of that city in 753 BCE
A CAPPELLA in church [style] i.e. vocal music only
ACTA NON VERBA actions not words motto of U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King's Point
ACTVS REVS wrongful act as opposed to mens rea - the wrongful intention or guilty mind
AD ASTRA PER ASPERA to the stars through difficulties motto of The National Space Society
AD CALENDAS GRAECAS at the Greek calends never because the Greek did not reckon time with calends
AD HOC to this for a particular purpose
spur of the moment
AD INFINITVM to infinity without end
AD LIBITVM to pleasure perform without a plan
nowadays used in short form ad lib
AD MAIOREM DEI GLORIAM for the greater glory of God
AD NAVSEVM to [the point of] disgust
ADVOCATVS DIABOLI devil's advocate nowadays, a person who takes the unpopular side of an argument
ALEA IACTA EST the die is cast there's no going back
what's next is in the hands of the gods
irreversible act
ALMA MATER fostering mother one's old school
AMICVS CVRIAE friend of the court person not party to the case who submits material of probitive value
AMOR VINCIT OMNIA love conquers all
ANNO DOMINI year of the Lord abbreviated A.D.
ANNVIT COEPTIS [He] has favored [our] undertaking divine favor motto above the pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar
ANNVS MIRABILIS wonderful year not just any good year, but a momentous year in history such as 1848, 1968, or 1989
ANNVS TERRIBILIS terrible year just the opposite of above, an especially rotten year such as 1346, 1914, or 2001
A POSTERIORI from what comes after inductive reasoning based on observation, as opposed to deductive, or a priori
AQVA VITAE water of life akvavit
in general, distilled spirits
see parallel Gaelic uiskabagh, "water of life", i.e. whiskey
ARS GRATIA ARTIS art for art's sake statement that art needs no external justification, as opposed to commercial art
ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS art is long [while] life is short art lasts forever while affairs of the moment are forgotten
AVREA MEDIOCRITAS the golden mean moderation in all things truth and goodness are generally to be found in the middle, not the extremes
AVE ATQVE VALE hail and farewell
BONA FIDE in good faith
CAMERA OBSCVRA hidden room an early photographic or painting technique utilizing optical pinholes
CARPE DIEM seize the day eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die
CARTAGO DELENDA EST Carthage must be destroyed
CASVS BELLI occasion of war the act which starts a war
CAVEAT EMPTOR let the buyer beware
CAVEAT VENDOR let the seller beware modern counter-principle of above
CAVE QVID DICIS, QVANDO ET CVI beware what you say, when and to whom
CETERIS PARIBVS other things being equal
CIRCA about,
abbreviated c or ca.
CAELVM NON ANIMVM MVTANT QVI TRANS MARE CVRRVNT those who cross the sea [only] change the sky, not their spirits no matter how far you go, you always take yourself with you
COGITO ERGO SVM I think therefore I am fundamental axiom by Descartes in XVIII, not Roman
CORPVS DELICTI the body of the crime tangible evidence of wrongdoing, the smoking gun as opposed to mere circumstances or indications
CREDO QVIA ABSVRDVM I believe it [because] it's absurd this sentiment would translate very well into Russian
CVI BONO for whom [is it] good? to find the criminal, first learn who profited from the crime
CVM GRANO SALIS [take] with a grain of salt be skeptical
CVM TACENT CLAMANT when they are silent, they cry out silence is an admission of guilt
CVNCTANDO REGITUR MUNDIS waiting, one rules the world waiting, one conquers all
CVRAE LEVES LOQVVNTVR INGENTES STVPENT lesser griefs talk, great ones are speechless in for a penny, in for a pound;
might as well be hung for a sheep instead of a lamb;
leave no witnesses
as Machiavelli said, And let it here be noted that men are either to be kindly treated, or utterly crushed, since they can revenge lighter injuries, but not graver. Wherefore the injury we do to a man should be of a sort to leave no fear of reprisals
CVRRICVLVM VITAE the course of [one's] life a resume
DAMNANT QVOD NON INTELLIGVNT they condemn what they do not understand
DE ASINI VMBRA DISCEPTARE to argue about the shadow of an ass petty things for petty minds
DE FACTO from the fact in reality
actually in power
as opposed to...
DE IVRE from the law legal but not real or not in power
DE GVSTIBVS NON DISPVTANDVM EST in [matters] of taste, there's no argument
DE MORTVIS NIL NISI BONVM of the dead, [say] nothing but good never speak ill of the dead
DE NIHILO NIHIL nothing from nothing also, ex nihilo nihil fit you can't create something from nothing
DE PROFVNDIS out of the depths [of sorrow and despair]
DE RERVM NATVRA on the nature of things title of Marcus Aurelius's magnum opus
DEO GRATIS thanks be to God
DEUS VOLENT [as] God wills
DEVS EX MACHINA god from the machine a contrived plot device, usually a sign of bad writing or bad thinking
DRAMATIS PERSONAE persons of the drama cast of characters
DVM SPIRO SPERO while [there's] life, [there's] hope
DVM VIVIMVS VIVAMVS while we live let us live Epicurean motto
DVRA LEX SED LEX hard [is the] law but [it's the] law
E PLVRIBVS VNVM out of many, one motto on the US dollar
ECCE HOMO behold the man words first spoken by Pontius Pilate when he showed Jesus crowned by thorns to the mob
ENSE ET ARATRO with sword and plow citizen-soldier, one who serves in war and peace
ERRARE HVMANVM EST to err is human the second half of the phrase is "to forgive, divine"
ET CETERA and others abbreviated etc.
ET TV BRVTE you also Brutus Caesar's dying recognition of betrayal
EX CATHEDRA from the chair from high authority
EX PEDE HERCVLEM from the foot of Hercules one can judge the whole from a sample
EX POST FACTO from what is done afterwards after the fact, or retroactive one form of logical fallacy
EXCEPTIO PROBAT REGVLAM the exception establishes the rule not that all rules must have exceptions, but that exceptions help define rules better
EXEMPLI GRATIA by way of example abbreviated e.g.
EXTINCTVS AMABITVR IDEM the same [hated] man will be loved after he's dead how quickly we forget
FABAS INDVLCET FAMES hunger sweetens beans hunger is the best seasoning
FACILIS DESCENSVS AVERNO the descent to Avernus (Hell) [is] easy it's easy to fall, hard to rise
FELIS QVI NIHIL DEBET happy [is] he who owes nothing
FIAT LVX let there be light Biblical
FIAT VOLVNTAS TVA let Thy will [be done] Biblical
FIDES PVNICA Punic [Carthaginian] faith i.e. a double cross
FINEM RESPICE look to the end [before setting forth]
FLAGRANTE DELICTO with the crime blazing caught in the act
FORTES FORTVNA FORTIBVS fortune favors the brave you make your own luck
FORTITER IN RE, SVAVITER IN MODE resolutely in the thing [deed], gently in manner do what is necessary, but do it as gently as possible
FRONTI NVLLA FIDES on the front no reliance [can be placed] don't judge a book by its cover
don't be misled by appearances
GAVDEAMVS IGITVR let us rejoice therefore Biblical
HABEAS CORPVS [that] you have the body a legal writ requiring that the person being detained be brought before a judge to show cause and guard against unfair imprisonment; basis of British and American jurisprudence
HAEC OLIM MEMINISSE IVVABIT time heals all things i.e. wounds, offenses
HANNIBAL AD PORTAS Hannibal is at the gates the best colloquial translation in American English is regrettably, "the Russians are coming"
HIC ET NVNC here and now immediately
HOC EST VIVERE BIS VITA POSSE PRIORE FRVI to live twice is to make useful profit from one's past Experience is the best teacher, so learn from her
HOC VOLO SIC IVBEO SIT PRO RATIONE VOLVNTAS this I will, thus I command, let [my] will [serve] as reason
HODIE MIHI CRAS TIBI today to me tomorrow to you epitaph to remind reader of own mortality
HOMO DOCTVS IS SE SEMPER DIVITIAS HABET a learned man always has wealth within himself
HOMO LVPVS HOMINI man [is a] wolf to man man's inhumanity to man
HOSTIS HVMANI GENERIS enemy of the human race Saddam, for instance
IBIDEM in the same place abbreviated ibid.
ID EST that is abbreviated i.e.
IESV NAZARENVS REGIS IVDAEORVM Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews Roman inscription over Christ's cross, always abbreviated INRI
IGNIS AVREM PROBAT, MISERIA FORTES VIROS fire tests gold, adversity [tests] strong men Nietzsche: 'That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger'
IGNOTI NVLLA CVPIDO no desire [exists] for [a thing] unknown you can't want what you don't see Why not to broadcast Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the Third World
IN ARTICVLO MORTIS in the grip of death a deathbed statement carries special weight, also in extremis
IN BELLO PARVIS MOMENTIS MAGNI CASVS INTERCEDVNT in war great events result from small causes for want of a nail, a shoe was lost
for want of a shoe, a horse was lost
for want of a horse, a courier was lost
for want of a courier, a battle was lost
and so, the kingdom was lost
armies win that screw up least, so pay attention to detail
IN CAMERA in chambers judicial proceeding from which the public is excluded
IN CAVDA VENENVM in the tail [is the] poison watch out for what you don't see
look beyond the obvious
IN HOC SIGNO VINCES by this sign you shall conquer miraculous apparition to Emperor Constantine at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 306 CE
IN LOCO PARENTIS in place of parents
IN MEDIA RES into the midst of things into the middle of the story
doing something without background or preparation
as opposed to ab ovo "from the egg" or ab initio "from the beginning"
IN NOMINE PATRIS ET FILII ET SPIRITVS SANCTI in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost Biblical
IN SAECVLA SAECVLORVM for ages of ages forever
IN SITV in place
INSANVS OMNIS FVRERE CREDIT CETEROS every madman thinks everybody else is mad
IN VINO VERITAS in wine [there is] truth
IN TOTO in total i.e., without changes; all at once
INFRA DIGNITATEM beneath [one's] dignity
INTEGER VITAE blameless of life an honorable life
INTER ALIA among other [things]
INTERREGNVM period between rules anarchy, lawlessness
IPSA QVIDEM PRETIVM VIRTVS SIBI virtue is its own reward
IPSE DIXIT he himself said so assertion relying on personal authority, not fact
IPSO FACTO by the fact itself
IVS EST ARS BONI ET AEQVI law is the art of the good and the just
IVS GENTIVM right of tribes law of nations
international law
LAPSVS LINGVAE slip of the tongue
LAVDEM VIRTVTIS NECESSITATI DAMVS we give to necessity the praise of virtue finding the benefit in what's needful
LEX NON SCRIPTA unwritten law common law English law based on custom
LEX TALIONIS the law of retaliation an eye for an eye
LINGVA FRANCA French tongue the common or universal language
LVCVS A NON LVCENDO a grove from the absence of light a thing whose essence is the opposite of what its name suggests an absurd etymology, e.g. ?
or, Orwellian
LVSVS NATVRAE sport of nature a freak
MAGNVM OPVS great work the major work of one's life
MAIOR E LONGINQVO REVERENTIA greater reverence from afar familiarity breeds contempt nothing propinks like propinquity
MALESVADA FAMES persuading to evil hunger that leads to crime in French, jaquerie
MEA CVLPA my crime my fault
MEDICE, CVRA TE IPSVM physican heal thyself also, take one's own advice
MEMENTO MORI remember you must die reminder of death, or a death's head
MENDACEM MEMOREM ESSE OPORTET it is fitting that a liar [should be a man of good] memory Robert Burns: 'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we learn to deceive.'
MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO a sound mind in a sound body one cannot be sane without being healthy
MIRABILE DICTV remarkable to say
MIRABILE VISV wonderful to see
MOBILE VVLGVS the moveable public the fickle mob
MODVS OPERANDI method of operation abbreviated M.O.
MODVS VIVENDI way of living [together]
MORITVRI TE SALVTEMVS we who are about to die salute you traditional salute given to Roman emperors by gladiators in the arena before combat
MORS TVA, VITA MEA your death, my life you must die so that I can live
MORTVI NON MORDANT dead [men] don't bite dead men tell no tales
MVLTI SVNT VOCATI, PAVCI VERO ELECTI many are called [but] few are chosen
MVNDVS VVLT DECIPI the world wishes to be deceived there's a sucker born every minute
MVTATIS MVTANDIS the things that ought to have changed having been changed with the necessary substitutions having been made
NASCENTES MORIMVR from the moment of birth we begin to die
NATVRA NON FACIT SALTVM nature makes no leaps gradualism; however the discovery of the Dino Killer's footprint in Chixulub, Yucutan may have invalidated this seemingly sensible principle
NE CEDE MALIS do not yield to misfortune
NE PLVS VLTRA not further beyond a highest or furthest point implicitly a suggestion to stay put or better yet go back, nowadays used incorrectly as a synonym for 'best'
NE QVID NIMIS nothing in excess
NEC PLVRIBVS IMPAR not unequal to most a match for anyone motto of Louis XIV of France "the Sun King"; good example of litote or understatement by which an affirmative thought is expressed by stating the negative of the contrary thought
NEMO LIBER EST QVI CORPORI SERVIT no one is free who is a slave to his body
NEMO MALVS FELIX no bad man [is] happy no peace unto the wicked
NEMO ME IMPVNE LACESSIT no one provokes me with impunity back off or be sorry
NEMO REPENTE FVIT TVRPISSIMVS no one ever became extremely wicked all of a sudden
NIHIL AGENDO HOMINES MALE AGERE DISCVNT by doing nothing men learn to act wickedly or as the Bible says, idle hands are the Devil's workshop
NIL DESPERANDVM nothing is to be despaired of never say die Yogi Berra: 'the game ain't over til it's over'
NIL NOVI SVB SOLE nothing new under the sun is more about human nature than our inventions
NOLENS, VOLENS [being] unwilling, willing doing something you don't really want to do, willy-nilly, haphazardly
NOLI ME TANGERE touch me not spoken by Jesus to Mary Magdalen after his Resurrection
a person or thing that can't be touched
a warning to stay away or uninvolved
NOLLE PROSEQVI to wish not to proceed procurator's statement abandoning the proceedings
NOLO CONTENDERE I don't want to fight equivalent to admission of guilt and subject to punishment, but allows legal option to deny charges later
NON BIS IN IDEM not twice for the same thing Latin proscription against double jeopardy in the courts
NON COMPOS MENTIS not sound mind insane, crazy
NON EST VIVERE SED VALERE VITA EST life is not being alive but being well
NON IGNARA MALI, MISERIS SVCCVRRERE DISCO no stranger to misfortune [myself] I learn to relieve the sufferings [of others]
NON MIHI, NON TIBI, SED NOBIS not for you, not for me, but for us the foundation of a good relationship
NON NOVA SED NOVE not new things but newly in a new way
NON OMNIA POSSVMVS OMNES we cannot all do everything no one can become an expert in everything
NON OMNIS MORIAR I shall not [completely] die Horace telling us that his works would live forever
NON SEMPER EA SVNT QVAE VIDENTVR things are not always what they appear to be see also non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut auram
NON SEMPER ERIT AESTAS [it] will not always be summer make hay while the sun shines
be prepared for hard times
NON SEQVITVR [it] does not follow illogical, nonsense
NOTA BENE note well abbreviated N.B.
NOVVS HOMO new man but really means parvenu or nouveau riche or novy Russkii
NVDVM PACTVM a nude pact an invalid agreement a contract with illusory benefits or without consideration hence unenforceable
NVLLVM QVOD TETIGET NON ORNAVIT he touched none he did not adorn not simply 'the Midas touch', or 'he left things better than he found them', but a tribute to a Renaissance man
NVNC AVT NVNQVAM now or never
NVNC DIMITTIS now let [thy servant] depart generally any permission to go, specifically to express one's readiness to depart or die
NVNC PRO TVNC now for then retroactive
OBITER DICTVM [thing] said by the way parenthetical remark
OBSTA PRINCIPIIS resist the beginnings nip it in the bud
a stitch in time saves nine
an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
don't wait for something to get worse before fixing it
ODERINT DVM METVANT [let] them hate while they fear let them hate me as long as they fear me could have been Lavrentiy Pavlovich's [Beria's] personal motto
OLEVM ADDERE CAMINO to pour fuel on the stove adding gasoline to a fire
to make a bad thing worse
to aggravate the situation
OLEVM PERDISTI you have lost oil you've wasted your time on this criticism for a misallocation of resources
OMNE IGNOTVM PRO MAGNIFICO EST everything unknown is thought to be magnificent 'the grass is greener on the other side of the fence' but also, everything unknown is thought to be more difficult than it really is
OMNES DETERIORES SVMVS LICENTIA too much freedom debases us
OMNE TRINVM EST PERFECTVM everything [in] threes is perfect old proverb reflecting the mystical power of the number three; source of the doctrine of the Trinity?
OMNE TVLIT PVNCTVM QVI MISCVIT VTILE DVLCI [he] has gained every point who has combined [the] useful [with the] agreeable
OMNIA MVTANTVR NOS ET MVTAMVR IN ILLIS all things change and we change with them
OPERE CITATO in the work cited scholarly footnote, abbreviated op. cit.
ORATVR FIT, POETA NASCITVR an orator is made [but] a poet is born
O TEMPORES, O MORES! Oh the times, oh the customs! these are bad times
PANEM ET CIRCENSES bread and circuses nowadays, welfare and TV
PAR PARE REFERO I return like for like tit for tat retaliation
PARES CVM PARIBVS like persons with like persons birds of a feather flock together
people will seek out their own kind
PARI PASSV with equal pace
PARTVRIENT MONTES, NASCETVR RIDICVLVS MVS mountains will be in labor [and a] ridiculous mouse will be born all that work and nothing to show for it
PARVA LEVES CAPIVNT ANIMAS small things sieze light minds petty things for petty minds
PASSIM here and there
PATRIS EST FILIVS he is his father's son 'chip off the old block' see also qualis pater talis filius
PAVPERTAS OMNIVM ARTIVM REPERTRIX poverty [is the] inventor of all the arts necessity is the mother of invention
PAX VOBISCVM [may] peace [be] with you
PECCAVI I have sinned the shortest and cleverest military dispatch of all time, see also Caesar's veni vidi vici. British general Sir Charles Napier wrote the single word peccavi as a pun to communicate his victory at the city of Miani in the Indian region of Sindh in 1843, i.e. 'I have Sindh.'
PECVNIAE OBEDIVNT OMNIA all things obey money money makes the world go round
PECVNIA NON OLET money doesn't smell 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth'
PENETRALIA MENTIS the innermost recesses of the mind 'heart of hearts'
PER ACRIA BELLI through the harshness [better: bitterness or savagery] of war
PER DIEM by the day as opposed to a fixed price, nowadays used to mean the daily living allowance on business travel
PER FAS ET NEFAS through right or wrong
PER IMPOSSIBILE as is impossible a way to qualify a proposition that cannot ever be true
PER SE by itself
PERICVLVM IN MORA danger in delay
PERMITTE DIVIS CETERA [when you have done all that is prudent] leave the rest to the gods 'you pays your money and you takes your chances'
PERSONA NON GRATA person not pleasing or unwelcome person a declaration used in diplomacy prior to deporting someone, occasionally abbreviated P.N.G.
PLVRES CRAPVLA QVAM GLADIVS drunkeness [kills] more than the sword as true today on the road as it ever was
PONS ASINORVM bridge of asses bridge of fools an insoluble problem
PONTIFEX MAXIMVS great bridge-builder high priest more specifically the Bishop of Rome, i.e. the Pope
POSSE COMITATVS the power of a county "posse" as in American Western movies, a group of people enlisted on the spot by the law to pursue a criminal also means the proscription in America against the use of the military for internal police matters, from 1878.
POSSVNT QVIA POSSE VIDENTVR they can because they seem to be able to the appearance of power bestows power also, perception of power can be as important as the power itself
POST EQVITEM SEDET ATRA CVRA behind the horseman sits black care no one is free of worry
POST HOC ERGO PROPTER HOC after this therefore because of this a logical fallacy; things that follow one another are not always related
POST MORTEM after death nowadays, the autopsy performed by a coroner
POST PARTVM after childbirth
POST SCRIPTVM written afterward abbreviated P.S.
POTIVS MORI QVAM FOEDARI rather to die than to be dishonored death before dishonor old Roman mother's sendoff: with your shield or on it
PRAEMONITVS, PRAEMVNITVS forewarned [is] forearmed
PRIMA FACIE on the face of it in law, an obvious case that requires no further proof
PRIMVS INTER PARES first among equals a paradox meaning leader of a council or oligarchy
PRO BONO PVBLICO for the public good nowadays means not charging for services, abbrev. pro bono
PRO FORMA for form but not in reality meaningless formality
PRO RATA in proportion
PRO TEMPORE for time temporarily abbrev. pro tem
PROBITAS LAVDATVR ET ALGET virtue is praised [and then] left to freeze society approves of goodness but won't reward it
PROPRIVM HVMANI INGENII EST ODISSE QVEM LAESERIS [it is] human nature to hate a person whom you have injured
PROSIT may it benefit you a drinking toast which has passed unchanged to the German prosit
QVAE NOCENT DOCENT things that hurt, teach 'School of Hard Knocks'
QVAERENDA PECVNIA PRIMVM EST, VIRTVS POST NVMMOS money is the first thing to be sought [then] virtue after wealth another motto for the oligarchs, apparently
QVALIS ARTIFEX PEREO such an artist dies in me Emperor Nero's famous last words, or novissimus verba
QVALIS PATER TALIS FILIVS like father like son 'the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree'
QVANDOQVE BONVS DORMITAT HOMERVS sometimes [even the] good Homer sleeps you win some, you lose some
QVEM DI DILIGVNT, ADOLSECENS MORITVR whom the gods love dies young 'only the good die young'
QVI BENE AMAT BENE CASTIGAT who loves well castigates well 'spare the rod and spoil the child'
'honesty is the best policy'
QVI DESIDERAT PACEM PRAEPARAT BELLVM who desires peace [should] prepare [for] war antecedent of the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command motto: 'Peace is our profession'.
QVI DOCENT DISCIT [he] who teaches, learns Truer words were never spoken, George Bernard Shaw notwithstanding. See also qui scribit bis legit.
QVI FVGIEBAT RVRSVS PROELIABITVR [he] who has fled will do battle once more 'he who fights and runs away may live to fight another day'
'discretion is the better part of valor'
but this advice cuts both ways, as in 'don't let your enemies escape alive'. It would seem that Stalin wasn't listening to the Romans when he penned Order No. 227 ('ne shagu nazad!').
QVI ME AMAT, AMAT ET CANEM MEAM who loves me loves my dog as well 'love me love my dog'
you must take me as I am
QVI NESCIT DISSIMVLARE NESCIT REGNARE [he] who doesn't know how to lie doesn't know how to rule
QVI SCRIBIT BIS LEGIT [he] who writes reads twice
QVI TACET CONSENTIT [he] who remains silent consents principle behind the statute of limitations in civil law
QVI TIMIDE ROGAT DOCET NEGARE he who asks timidly teaches to refuse he who asks timidly invites refusal
QVID FACIENDVM? what is to be done? One of Lenin's works, no?
QVID NOVI? what's new? 'what's up?'
'what's happening?'
Irish 'what's the rumpus?'
QVID PRO QVO something for something an [even] exchange
QVIS CVSTODIET IPSOS CVSTODES who will guard those selfsame guardians? 'don't assign a fox to guard the henhouse' the perennial question in civics, see nil novis sub solus
QVOD CIBVS EST ALIIS, ALIIS EST VENENVM what is food to some is poison to others 'one man's meat is another poison'
'one man's garbage is another man's treasure'
QVOD CITO ACQVIRITVR CITO PERIT [that] which is quickly acquired [is] quickly lost 'easy come, easy go'
QVOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDVM [that] which has been demonstrated a statement of logical proof, especially in mathematics and law, abbreviated Q.E.D.
QVOD VIVE which see a scholarly cross-reference, abbreviated q.v.
QVOMODO VALES? what way [are] you going? Roman greeting, see also salve
QVONDAM former
QVOS DEVS VVLT PERDERE PRIVS DEMENTAT whom God wishes to destroy he first makes mad
QVO VADIS? whither goest thou? Biblical; similar translation to above, but philosophical not a greeting
RADIX OMNIVM MALORVM EST CVPIDITAS the love of money is the root of all evil note: not the money itself, nor the vegetable 'radish'
RARA AVIS rare bird extraordinary, a special or unique person
REDDITE QVAE SVNT CAESARIS CAESARI, ET QVAE SVNT DEI DEO render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, unto God that which is God's basis of separation of Church and State in the West, a lesson Muslims have yet to learn
REDIME TE CAPTVM, QVAM QVEAS MINIMO pay when taken prisoner as little as you can [to buy] your [freedom] only give the enemy your name, rank, and serial number
REDOLET LVCERNAM [it] smells of the lamp critical remark that one worked too hard on something, or too late the night before
REDVCTIO AD ABSVRDVM reduction to absurdity take to the extreme a form of logical argument
REPENTE DIVES NEMO FACTVS EST BONVS : no one rich is made suddenly good another motto more the noviye Russkiye
REQVIESCAT IN PACE rest in peace epitaph on a gravestone, or generally an indication that someone has died, abbreviated R.I.P.
RES IN CARDINE EST the matter is on a door hinge things are balanced on a knife's edge
things can go either way
we're in a crisis
RES INTER ALIOS a matter between others it's not our business
RES IPSA LOQVITVR the thing speaks for itself the facts are obvious or beyond dispute
RES PVBLICA the affairs of the people basis of the word 'republic', and unchanged in Russian
RESPONDEAT SVPERIOR let the superior answer 'the buck stops here' principle of accountability
REX NON POTEST PECCARE the king cannot sin
SALVS VBI MVLTI CONSILIARII [there is] safety where [there are] many advisors two heads are better than one not an apology for bureaucratic dilution of blame
SANCTVM SANCTORVM holy of holies most private, off limits
SAPIENS NIHIL AFFIRMAT QVOD NON PROBAT a wise man affirms nothing which he does not prove good advice for a student, or for the nation in a crisis
SCIENTIA EST POTENTIA knowledge is power
SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS the Senate and the people of Rome official Roman inscription meaning by the authority of the Roman Empire, usually on military standards, abbreviated SPQR
SEMPER FIDELIS always faithful also semper fi motto of the United States Marine Corps
SI REQUIRIS MONUMENTUM CIRCUMSPICE If you need [to see] a monument [to them][just] look around [yourself] Medieval Latin; anonymous; epitaph to those who have built great things in the real world
SIC thus editorial remark in square brackets [sic] used to indicate a verbatim quote or record without correcting the spelling or grammar
SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS thus always to tyrants a statement often accompanying a regicide
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MVNDI so passes the glory of the world usually said at the end or fall of some great thing
SINE DIE without a day closed for indefinite period
SINE QVA NON without which not the necessary or indispensable element
SISTE VIATOR wait, traveler inscription on Roman tombstones
SIT TIBI TERRA LEVIS may the earth be light upon you another tombstone epitaph
SOTTO VOCE in soft voice
SPECTATVM VENIVNT, VENIVNT SPECTENTVR VT IPSAE they come to see, they come that they themselves be seen 'to see and be seen'
STATVS QVO state of affairs [now]
STATVS QVO ANTE state of affairs before [now]
STVLTORVM CALAMI CARBONES MOENIA CHARTAE chalk [is] the pen of fools, the walls [their ] paper the perennial problem of graffiti and vandalism, (or today's equivalent, spam and computer viruses - see asinorum calami virii et spama, Retus chartae)
SVB POENA under penalty
SVB ROSA under the rose in confidence, secret
SVI GENERIS of its own kind unique
one of a kind
not to be treated the regular way
SVMMVM IVS, SVMMVM INIVRIA extreme law, extreme injustice a lesson for Inspector Javert
TABVLA RASA erased tablet empty
a clean slate
a mind ready for knowledge, a computer ready for programming
TE NOSCE know thyself
TEMPVS EDAX RERVM time [the] devourer of all [things]
TEMPVS FVGIT time flies
TEMPVS OMNIA REVELAT time reveals all [things] not according to the Official Secrets Act
TENERE LVPVM AVRIBVS to hold a wolf by the ears to deal boldly with danger
TERRA FIRMA solid ground
TERRA INCOGNITA unknown territory
TIMEO DANAOS ET DONA FERENTES I fear [the] Greeks and the gifts they bear famous warning ignored by the Trojans, source of phrase 'Trojan horse'
TV QVOQVE you also response to an accusation or insult
VBI BENE IBI PATRIA where there is good there is my fatherland I owe my allegiance to the country in which I prosper or as Lenin would say, vote with your feet
VBI SOLITVDINEM FACIVNT PACEM APPELLANT where they create a desert, they call it peace 'we had to destroy the village in order to save it' from the Third Punic War in which Carthage was destroyed; in general a criticism of militarism
VLTIMA RATIO REGVM the final argument of kings motto of Louis XIV on his cannon
VLTIMA THVLE beyond Thule the end of the earth
VLTRA VIRES beyond [one's] authority outside the jurisdiction
above one's pay grade
VNA SALVS VICTIS NVLLAM SPERARE SALVTEM the one safety for the vanquished is to abandon hope of safety hopelessness gives courage
VRBI ET ORBI to the city [of Rome] and to the world preface of Papal documents
VTI POSSIDETIS as you possess possession is nine tenths of the law we stole it fair and square; all property deeds can ultimately be traced to right of conquest
VADE IN PACE go in peace Roman goodbye
VADI MECVM come with me guide or handbook
VAE VICTIS woe to the vanquished it's tough to be the loser
VALE be well Roman goodbye
VANITAS VANITATVM, OMNIS VANITAS vanity of vanities, all is vanity everything man does is in vain
VENI VIDI VICI I came, I saw, I conquered Caesar's pithy remark to the Roman Senate about his victory at Pontus
VERBA VOLANT, SCRIPTA MANENT spoken words fly away, written words remain 'get it in writing' because verbal contracts get you verbal benefits
VERBVM SAPIENTI SAT a word to the wise is enough a verbal warning prior to real punishment
VERITAS VOS LIBERABIT the truth shall set you free motto of the C.I.A.
VIDELICET it is permitted to see to wit;
abbreviated viz.
VINCIT QVI SE VINCIT he conquers who conquers himself
VIRTVS PROBATA FLORESCIT manly excellence in trial flourishes
VIRTVTIS FORTVNA COMES good luck is the companion of courage
VIS CONSILI EXPERS MOLE RVIT SVA force without wise counsel falls by its own weight discretion is the better part of valor
VIS INERTIAE the power of inertia why things never change
VIVE HODIE live today [not tomorrow]
VIVE VT VIVAS live that you may live
VIXERE FORTES ANTE AGAMEMNONA brave men lived before Agamemnon heroism exists even if it's not recorded
we don't have a monopoly on good
VOLENS ET POTENS willing and able as opposed to volo non valeo
VOLENTI NON FIT INIVRIA to a willing [person] no injury [is] made it's not a crime between consenting adults
VOLVPTATES COMMENDAT RARIOR VSVS infrequent use commends pleasure moderation in all things
VOX CLAMANTIS IN DESERTO voice crying in the desert voice in the wilderness unheeded warning, an opinion not in the mainstream
VOX ET PRAETEREA NIHIL a voice and nothing more an empty threat
VOX POPVLI, VOX DEI the voice of the people [is] the voice of God democracy is divinely ordained ignore the will of the people at your peril


1. Beard, Henry, Latin for All Occasions, (HarperCollins, New York: 1992).

2. Blume and Freundlich, Review Text in Latin: Two Years (Amsco School Publications, New York: 1959).

3. Ehrlich, Eugene, Amo, Amas, Amat and More (Harper & Row, New York: 1987).

4. ed. Fargis & Bykofsky & Gold, et al The New York Public Library Desk Reference 2nd edition, (Prentice Hall, New York: 1993).

5. Hammond and Amory, Aeneas to Augustus: A Beginning Latin Reader for College Students 2nd edition, (Harvard U. P., Cambridge: 1967).

6. Hanson & Heath, Who Killed Homer? (Free Press, New York: 1998).

7. Humez & Humez, Latin for People/Latina pro Populo (Little, Brown & Co., Boston: 1976).

8. Jones & Wilson An Incomplete Education (Ballantine Books, New York: 1987).

9. Smith, F. Kinchin Latin: A Complete Course for Beginners 9th printing, (David McKay, New York: 1948).

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