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Latin Phrases

Click on each clue for its answer.

  1. "spirit of place." The unique, distinctive aspects or atmosphere of a place, such as those celebrated in art, stories, folk tales, and festivals.

    genius loci

  2. "The Work of God." It is a Catholic institution founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá.

    Opus Dei

  3. "he asserted." A legal term from Medieval Latin referring to a sworn statement.


  4. "royal water." refers to a mixture of hydrochloric acid and nitric acid.

    aqua regia

  5. "Body of Christ." The name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the Eucharist.

    Corpus Christi

  6. "where are they?." Nostalgic theme of poems yearning for days gone by.

    ubi sunt

  7. "person not pleasing." An unwelcome, unwanted or undesirable person. In diplomatic contexts, a person rejected by the host government.

    persona non grata

  8. "to infinity." Going on forever. Used to designate a property which repeats in all cases in mathematical proof.

    ad infinitum

  9. "I came, I saw, I conquered." The message sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe his battle against King Pharnaces II near Zela in 47 BC.

    veni, vidi, vici

  10. "in good faith." In other words, "well-intentioned", "fairly."

    bona fide

  11. "things to be done." Originally comparable to a to-do list, an ordered list of things to be done.


  12. "from the former." Used in mathematics and logic to denote something that is known or postulated before a proof has been carried out.

    a priori

  13. "course of life." A résumé.

    curriculum vitae

  14. "first among equals." A title of the Roman Emperors (cf. princeps).

    primus inter pares

  15. "by the fact itself."

    ipso facto

  16. "to the man." Typically used on the mistaken assumption that the validity of an argument is to some degree dependent on the qualities of the proponent.

    ad hominem

  17. "guilty act." The actual crime that is committed, rather than the intent or thought process leading up to the crime.

    actus reus

  18. "voice of the people."

    vox populi

  19. "higher." "Ever upward!" The state motto of New York. Also a catch phrase used by Marvel Comics head Stan Lee.


  20. "under the rose." "In secret", "privately", "confidentially" or "covertly." In the Middle Ages, a rose was suspended from the ceiling of a council chamber to indicate that what was said in the "under the rose" was not to be repeated outside.

    sub rosa

  21. "I forbid." The right to unilaterally stop a certain piece of legislation.


  22. "word for word." Refers to perfect transcription or quotation.


  23. "other I." Another self, a second persona or alias.

    alter ego

  24. "Where are you going?." According to Vulgate translation of John 13:36, Saint Peter asked Jesus Domine, ___ ___ ("Lord, where are you going?") on the Appian Way in Rome. The King James Version has the translation "Lord, whither goest thou?"

    quo vadis

  25. "from the beginning." In literature, refers to a story told from the beginning rather than in medias res (from the middle).

    ab initio

  26. "under penalty." Said of a request, usually by a court, that must be complied with on pain of punishment.

    sub poena

  27. "My Fault." Used in Christian prayers and confession to denote the inherently flawed nature of mankind.

    Mea Culpa

  28. "with a turned thumb." Used by Roman crowds to pass judgment on a defeated gladiator.

    pollice verso

  29. "to this." Generally means "for this", in the sense of improvised on the spot or designed for only a specific, immediate purpose.

    ad hoc

  30. "always faithful." Motto of Exeter and several other cities; more recently has become the motto of United States Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

    semper fidelis

  31. "at first sight." Used to designate evidence in a trial which is suggestive, but not conclusive, of something (e.g., a person's guilt).

    prima facie

  32. "around." In the sense of "approximately" or "about." Usually used of a date.


  33. "towards." Literally "in the direction." Mistakenly used in English as "against."


  34. "before the war"

    ante bellum

  35. "in the Year of the Lord."

    anno domini (A.D.)

  36. "prime mover." Or "first moving one." A common theological term, such as in the cosmological argument, based on the assumption that God was the first entity to "move" or "cause" anything.

    primum movens

  37. "for the good." Said of work undertaken voluntarily at no expense, such as public services. Often used of a lawyer's work that is not charged for.

    pro bono

  38. "the state to which." The current condition or situation.

    status quo

  39. "scraped tablet." Thus, "blank slate." Romans used to write on wax-covered wooden tablets, which were erased by scraping with the flat end of the stylus. John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge.

    tabula rasa

  40. "let the buyer beware." The purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need.

    caveat emptor

  41. "veteran." Also "worn-out." Retired from office. Often used to denote a position held at the point of retirement, as an honor.


  42. "the law of retaliation." Retributive justice (cf. an eye for an eye).

    lex talionis

  43. "method of operating." Usually used to describe a criminal's methods.

    modus operandi

  44. "Roman Peace." A period of relative prosperity and lack of conflict in the early Roman Empire.

    Pax Romana

  45. "water of life." "Spirit of Wine" in many English texts. Used to refer to various native distilled beverages.

    aqua vitae

  46. "toward pleasure" Loosely, "according to what pleases" or "as you wish."

    ad libitum (ad lib)

  47. "lawfully." A legal term describing a "forced share", the portion of a deceased person's estate from which the immediate family cannot be disinherited.


  48. "I think, therefore I am.." A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.

    cogito ergo sum

  49. "it does not follow." In general, it is a comment which is absurd due to not making sense in its context.

    non sequitur

  50. "we have a pope." Used after a Roman Catholic Church papal election to announce publicly a successful ballot to elect a new pope.

    habeas papam

  51. "solid land." Often used to refer to the ground.

    terra firma

  52. "nourishing mother." Term used for the university one attends or has attended.

    alma mater

  53. "seize the day." An exhortation to live for today.

    carpe diem

  54. "great work." Said of someone's masterpiece.

    magnum opus

  55. "burden of proof"

    opus probandi

  56. "From many, (comes) One."

    e pluribus unum

  57. "a god from a machine." A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot.

    deus ex machina

  58. "in the place of a parent." A legal term meaning "assuming parental (i.e., custodial) responsibility and authority."

    in loco parentis

  59. "stiffness of death." The rigidity of corpses when chemical reactions cause the limbs to stiffen about 3-4 hours after death.

    rigor mortis

  60. "Great Paper." A set of documents between Pope Innocent III, King John, and English barons.

    Magna Carta

  61. "you may have the body." A legal term from the 14th century or earlier. Refers to a number of legal writs to bring a person before a court or judge.

    habeas corpus

  62. "Greatest High Priest." Or "Supreme Pontiff." Originally an office in the Roman Republic, later a title held by Roman Emperors, and later a traditional epithet of the pope.

    Pontifex Maximus

  63. "through a day." A specific amount of money an organization allows an individual to spend per day, typically for travel expenses.

    per diem

  64. "what for what." Also translated "this for that" or "a thing for a thing." Signifies a favor exchanged for a favor.

    quid pro quo