Legal Latin Terms Explained For the Layman
Legal Latin Terms For the Layman
ab extra = from without; from outside: For example: i) Concerning a case, a person may have received some information from a 3rd party: ii) The assistance may have been considered ab extra
ab initio = from the beginning
actus reus = guilty act; the objective element of a crime; the external element of a crime
actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea = the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty
ad coelum/cuius est solum, eius est usque ad caelum et ad inferos = for whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell
ad colligenda bona = to collect the goods
ad damnum = According to the harm; appropriate to the harm; a measure of damage inflicted, and implying a remedy if one exists that ought to correspond specifically and only to the damage suffered.
ad hoc = for this (purpose); composed or designed for a particular purpose only
ad hominen = argument against the man; argument to the man: also see argumentum ad hominem
ad infinitum = to infinity; continue forever; without limit
ad litem = for the suit; a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party
administrator de bonis non cum testamento annexo = administrator of goods not administered with the will annexed
ad nauseam = repeated continuously or continuing to the point of boredom
Ad quod damnum = According to the harm; appropriate to the harm; a measure of damage inflicted, and implying a remedy if one exists that ought to correspond specifically and only to the damage suffered.
affidavit = declaration upon oath; a formal sworn statement of fact
alter ego = the other
a mensa et thoro = divorce a mensa et thoro; divorce from bed-and-board; a de facto separation while remaining legally married
amicus curiae/amici curiae = friend of the court/friends of the court
animus nocendi = animus-mind, noceo-to harm: the subjective state of mind of the author of a crime, with reference to the exact knowledge of illegal content of his behavior, and of its possible consequences.
ante = before
arguendo = for the sake of argument
a posteriori = after the fact; (logic) Involving deduction of theories from facts.
a priori = known ahead of time
argumentum a fortiori = even more so; from the stronger; with even stronger reason. For example: i) If it is illegal to steal one apple then it is also illegal to steal ten apples (from smaller to bigger, a minore ad maius): ii) If you can drink ten sodas then it follows that you can drink five (from bigger to smaller, a maiore ad minus).
argumentum ad hominem = argument against the man; argument to the man; attacking the person; replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim
audi alteram partem = hear the other side.
bona fide/bona fides = good faith; in good faith; A Bona Fide agreement is one entered into without attempt to fraud; It is a state in which the person is cognatively and morally committed to do the right thing. Opposite: mala fide/mala fides = bad faith; in bad faith.
bona vacantia = vacant goods: Indicates the absence of any known person entitled to the estate of a deceased person
cadit quaestio = the question falls; is a legal term used to indicate that a settlement to a dispute or issue has been reached, and is now resolved
casus belli = act of war; cause for war
c.a.v. = the court wishes to be advised: abbreviation for curia advisari vult
caveat = beware; take care; let him beware: An entry in the (court) records that effectively prevents action by another party without first notifying the party entering the Caveat
caveat lector = let the reader beware
caveat emptor = let the buyer beware
caveat venditor = let the seller beware
certiorari = to be shown: an action of certiorari was suggested in terms of reviewing a case
ceteris paribus = with other things the same; all other things being equal
circa; c. = around; approximately
clausula rebus sic stantibus = things thus standing : the legal doctrine allowing for treaties to become inapplicable because of a fundamental change of circumstances. It is essentially an escape clause that makes an exception to the general rule of pact sunt servanda; promises must be kept
coitus interruptus = interrupted sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation
compos mentis = of sound mind: Legally capable to conduct or defend proceedings: non compos mentis = not of sound mind
concensus facit legem = agreement makes the law; permission makes the law; consent makes the law
conditio sine qua non = a condition without which it could not be or without which there is nothing.
contra ius commune = against common law
contra ius gentium = against the law of nations
confer = bring together
consuetudo est altera lex = custom is another law
consuetudo pro lege servatur = custom is kept before the law
consuetudo vincit communem legem = custom overrules the common law
contra = against
contradictio in terminus = contradiction in terms
contra bonos mores = against good morals
contradictio in adjecto = contradiction in terms; contradiction in itself
contra legem = against the law
contra proferentem = against the one bringing forth;
cor (coram) = In the presence of
coram Deo = in the Presence of God
coram non judice = not in the presence of a judge; a legal proceeding without a judge; with improper venue; without jurisdiction.
coram populo = in the presence of the people; openly
curator ad litem = a party appointed by a court to act in a lawsuit on behalf of another party; legal representatives who are appointed by court when the court believes that the person lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
corpus = body
corpus delicti = body of the offence
Corpus Iuris Canonici = Body of Canon Law
Corpus Iurus Civilus = Body of Civil Law
Corpus Iuris Secundum = C.J.S; an encyclopedia of U.S. law: Full name; Corpus Juris Secundum: Complete Restatement Of The Entire American Law As Developed By All Reported Cases (1936- )
corpus vile = worthless body
corrigenda = things to be corrected
corruptio optimi pessima = the corruption of the best is the worst
corruptus in extremis = corrupt to the extreme
corruptissima re publica plurimae leges = When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous
Credo in Unum Deum = I Believe in One God
cucullus non facit monachum = The hood does not make the monk
cui bono = Good for whom?
cui prodest/cui prodest scelus is fecit = for whom it advances/for whom the crime advances, he has done it
cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos = Whose the land is, all the way to the sky and to the underworld is his; For whosoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths
cuius regio, eius religio = whose region, his religion: the religion of the king of the region is the religion of the people
cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare = Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his fault: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Philippica XII, ii, 5.
culpa = guilt; blame; mistake
cum gladiis et fustibus = with swords and clubs
cum gladio et sale = with sword and salt
cum grano salis = with a grain of salt
cum hoc ergo prompter hoc = with this, therefore on account of this: correlation does not imply causation
cum laude = with praise
cum mortuis in lingua mortua = with the dead in a dead language
cura personalis = care for the whole person
cura te ipsum = take care of your own self; take care of yourself first
curia advisari vult = the court wishes to be advised
cur. adv. vult = the court wishes to be advised: abbreviation for curia advisari vult
curriculum vitae = course of life
custodia legis = in the custody of law
custos morum = keeper of morals; a censor
cygnus inter anates = swan among ducks
da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius = give me the fact, I will give you the law
damnatio memoriae = damnation of memory: a custom in which disgraced Romans were pretended to have never existed.
damnum absque injuria = damage without injury: one is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another resulting from a lawful act, excluding unintended damage by negligence or foolishness.
data venia = with due respect; given the excuse
de bonis asportatis = carrying goods away: the traditional name for larceny
de bonis non administratis = of goods not administered: An appointed person who administer an estate following the death of the original administrator
de facto = concerning fact; In fact; As a matter of fact; in practice but not necessarily ordained by law; in practice or actuality, but without being officially established; The de facto standard is a formal or informal standard that has a dominant position by cultural acceptance, market dominance, tradition or enforcement.
defalcation = embezzlement; bad acts that changes a particular debt so it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy
de fideli = with faithfulness
de futuro = regarding the future
de integrow = again, a second time
de jure/de iure = By right; concerning law; in principle
de lege ferenda = from law to be passed; what the law should be
de lege lata = from law passed; by law in force; the law as it exists
de minimus non curat lex = The law does not bother with the smallest things; The law does not concern itself with trifles
de minimis non curat praetor = The commander does not bother with the smallest things.
de mortuis aut bene aut nihil = about the dead, either well or nothing
de mortuis nil nisi bonum/de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est = no one can speak ill of the dead; let nothing be said of the dead but what is good; of the dead, speak no evil
de nobis fabula narratur = about us is the story told
de novo = afresh; anew; beginning again
dictum/dicta (plural) = is a statement of opinion or belief considered authoritative because of the dignity of the person making it.
dictum probium = A personal or individual dictum that is given by the judge who delivers an opinion but that is not necessarily concurred in by the whole court and is not essential to the disposition.
gratus dictum = an assertion that a person makes without being obligated to do so, or also a court's discussion of points or questions not raised by the record or its suggestion of rules not applicable in the case at bar.
judicial dictum = an opinion by a court on a question that is directly involved, briefed, and argued by counsel, and even passed on by the court, but that is not essential to the decision.
obiter dictum = something said in passing: a comment made while delivering a judicial opinion, but it is unnecessary to the decision in the case and therefore not precedential (although it may be considered persuasive).
simplex dictum = an unproved or dogmatic statement.
doli incapax = Incapable of deceit; Incapable of crime: conclusive presumption or irrebuttable presumption: in English law it is a presumption of law that cannot be rebutted by evidence and must be taken to be the case whatever the evidence to the contrary.
dolus specialis = special intent; specific intent
duces tecum = Bring with you: Order to produce document to court: see subpoena duces tecum
ergo = therefore
erratum = error; mistake: errata (plural); errors; mistakes
et ux = and wife
Exempli Gratia (eg) = For example: Used when explaining a statement through a relevant example
ex gratia = from grace; from kindness: (without legal obligation)
ex libris = from the library; from the books
ex officio = by right of office; from the office
Ex Parte = by a party: An ex parte application is when an apllpication is made to the Court during proceedings by one party in the absence of another or without notifying the other party
Ex Post Facto = by a subsequent act: Something that occurs after the event but also have a retrospective effect
factum - an act; a deed
felo de se = felon of himself; suicide: an adult who committed suicide was considered a felon. The crime was punishable by forfeiture of property to the king. The felon would get a shameful buria
ferae naturae = wild animals of nature: unowned property: English property law and English tort law case about rights to wild animals; Keeble v Hickeringill, 11 East 574, 103 Eng. Rep. 1127 OR 3 Salk. 9 (as Keeble v Hickeringhall) Queen's Bench, 1707: American law; Pierson v. Post (3 Cai. R. 175, 2 Am. Dec. 264) (Supreme Court of New York 1805)
fiat justitia ruat caelum = do justice, let the sky fall: justice should be done regardless of the consequences
fiduciary = trustee: also fiduciary duty; someone who acts for and on behalf of another person in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence: A fiduciary (fid) is expected to be highly loyal to the person (principal) to whom he owes the duty: he should not put his personal interests before the duty, and he should not profit from his position as a fiduciary, unless the principal consents (however the question remains; when can a principal consent?)
fides = faith
fiducia = trust
fieri facias = that you cause to be made: a writ of execution after judgment obtained in a legal action for debt or damages caused by a person/party
flagrante delicto = in the progressing offence or misdeed: caught in the act of committing an offence: caught red-handed
Forum Conveniens = At a convenient place: The Court have jurisdiction in a particular case
forum non conveniens = inappropriate forum: when a court refuse to hear a case that has been brought before it
fructus naturales - plants and trees which grow naturally without cultivation.
functus officio = having performed his office; having discharged duty: an official institution, statute or government office that has no more legal authority because his or its duties and functions have been completed: A person in a judicial or official position prevented from taking a matter or case further because of limitation by certain regulations
gravamen = the essential element of a lawsuit
guardian ad litem = legal guardian
habeas corpus = You (shall) have the body; Produce the body: a court order instructing that a person under arrest be brought before a judge; A document or instruction which directs a person to produce someone held in custody before the court; legal action to seek relief from unlawful detention. It is a legal instrument to protect the individual against arbitrary state action.
hostis humani generis = enemy of mankind
Ibid = In the same place: Used in a document or text to refer to a page previously mentioned
Id Est (ie) = That is to say: Used with an explanation: Used as a description to explain a statement
Ignorantia Juris non excusat = Ignorance of the law is no excuse: When committing an offence guilty parties cannot use as a defence the fact that they did not know that they were breaking the law
In Camera = In the chamber: The hearing of a case in private with selected participans, without the facts being reported to the public: Often used when minors are involved.
In Curia = In open court: The hearing of a case before an open public court: The hearing of a case before a court sitting in public.
In flagrante delicto = in the progressing offence or misdeed: caught in the act of committing an offence: caught red-handed
in limine = at the threshold
in loco parentis = in the place of a parent
In Personam = Against the person: Proceedings issued against a specific person: Proceedings issued with reference to a specific person: an "admiralty action" in personam would be issued against the owner of a ship
In Re = In the matter of: Concerning...........: A heading in legal documents which introduces the title of the matter or proceedings
in situ = inits original place
inter alia = among other things: The details given are only an extract from the whole
Intra = Within
intra vires = within the powers; within the power of: An act that falls within the jurisdiction of the Court: Opposite: ultra vires = beyond the powers
in vitro = taking place outside a living organism: in vitro fertilization
Ipso Facto = By the fact: The dependance upon facts that together prove a point
ius/jus = justice
ius ad bellum/jus ad bellum = justice to war; just war
ius civile = civil law
ius cogens/jus cogens = compelling law: it is a fundamental principle of international law which is accepted by the international community of states as a norm from which no derogation is ever permitted (preremptory norm).
ius commune/jus commune = common law
in limine = at the threshold
jura novit curia =
juris et de jure =
jus/ius = justice
jus ad bellum/ius ad bellum = justice to War; just war
jus civile = civil law; also ius civile
jus cogens/ius cogens = compelling law: it is a fundamental principle of international law which is accepted by the international community of states as a norm from which no derogation is ever permitted (preremptory norm).
Jus commune/ius commune = common law
locus delicti or lex loci delicti commissi = law of the place where the tort was committed
Locus in quo = The place in which: may be used as reference to subject matter during proceedings ie scene of accident
magna carta or Magna Carta Libertatum = great charter; Great Charter of Freedoms
magnum opus/ plural magna opera = a great work; great work
mala fide/mala fides = bad faith; in bad faith.
malum in se = wrong or evil in itself
malum prohibitum/ plural mala prohibita = wrong (as or because) prohibited
mandamus = we command
mare clausum = closed sea
mare liberum = the free sea; the freedom of the sea
mea culpa = my fault, or my own fault
mea maxima culpa = my big mistake; my most grievous fault
mens rea = guilty mind: The intention to commit an offence whilst knowing it to be wrong or against the law
motion in limine = at the threshold
mutatis mutandis = with those things having been changed which need to be changed; the necessary changes having been made
Non Compos Mentis = Not sound in mind: A person proven/classed as unfit to conduct or defend legal proceedings
Nota Bene (nb) = Note well: An abbreviation denoting/indicating that the reader of an article or writing should make a specific note of the article/writing mentioned.
Nulla Bona = No effects: The defendant has no goods of any value to remove; usually a notice of a sheriff to a High Court writ of execution indicating that the defendant possesses nothing of value that can be removed
obiter dictum (singular) or obiter dicta (plural) = said by the way. A remark or observation made by a judge that, although included in the body of the court's opinion, does not form a necessary part of the court's decision: Words said/mentioned in passing by a Judge on a legal point however not constituting part of the evidence or judgment
onus probandi = burden of proof
opinio juris = an opinion of law
opinio juris sive necessitatis = an opinion of law or necessity
pacta sunt servanda = promises must be kept
per = for each; As stated by
per capita = for each head; for each person; By heads: eg the cost is $20 per capita - $20 each person
Per Pro (pp) = For another/through another: A person delegated/ordered to act for another
per se = intrinsically; in itself/by itself; in themselves: Indicating that the topic should be taken alone
persona non grata = person not allowed; unacceptable person; unwelcome person
Post = After: after something; to refer to something to be found further on in time or place
post-mortem = after death; examination of a body after death; autopsy
Prima Facie = First sight: Prima Facie evidence would be considered enough/sufficient to prove a case unless disproved or rejected; if no Prima Facie evidence can be shown or offered, there is no case to answer/continue
pro bono or pro bono publico = for the public good; The term is generally used to describe legal representation undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. Pro bono service uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.
Pro Forma = As per form; A matter of form: Pro Forma procedure is performed following an agreed manner; Pro Forma procedure is executed subject to a prescribed set of rules
pro rata = proportional; In proportion: The investor will receive his dividend Pro Rata to his investment
quaere = inquire; query
quantum meruit = as much as he has deserved; reasonable value of services
quasi = as if: A person exercising powers similar to those of a judge is sitting in a Quasi-Judicial capacity
quid pro quo = something for something; a favour given or expected in return for something; tit for tat
qui tam/qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur = he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself
qui facit per alium facit per se = the one who acts through another, acts in his or her own interests
quo warranto = by what warrant?
ratio decidendi/rationes decidendi = the reason/the reasons; the rationale for the decision; the point in a case which determines the judgment; the principle which the case establishes; The principles of law applied by a Court upon which judicial decisions are based
ratio scripta = written reason
re = about; regarding; concerning
rebus sic stantibus/clausula rebus sic stantibus = things thus standing
res gestae = things done
res ipsa loquitur = the thing itself speaks; the thing speaks for itself: Because of the obvious negligence of the defendant, the onus of proof would not be on the plaintiff
res iudicata/res judicata = a matter already judged; A thing ajudged: Once a case has been finally decided upon by a Court the decision stands, the same parties cannot attempt to raise the issue again, by or during further proceedings
res nullius = nobody's thing
res publica = public issue; public matter
res publica christiana = the worldwide community of Christianity
respondeat superior = let the master answer
restitutio in integrum = restoration to original condition
Semble = It appears
Sine Die = Without a day: A hearing adjourned sine die stands open indefinitely without a further hearing having been decided on
sine qua non = a condition without which it could not be or without which there is nothing; essential condition; something that is absolutely necessary
status quo = the existing state of affairs
Sub Judice = In the course of trial: The case is under consideration. Proceedings are sub-Judice and details cannot be released
subpoena = a written command/order to a person to testify before a court or be punished.
Subpoena ad Testificum = To produce evidence: A document directed to a person commanding him or her, under a threat of penalty, to appear before a Court and give evidence
subpoena duces tecum = bring with you under penalty of punishment
supra = beyond; over; more than; in charge of, in authority over; on top; more; above; before; formerly;
tabula rasa = blank slate; plank paper; blank mind
terra firma = dry land; ground as opposed to the air or sea
terra nullius = nobody's land; no-mans land; empty land; land belonging to no one; also see res nullius.
trail do novo = a new trail
ultra vires = beyond the powers: An act that falls outside or beyond the jurisdiction of the court: Opposite: intra vires = within the powers.
uberrima fides/fidei = utmost good faith; most abundant faith.
uno flatu = in one breath. Used in criticism of inconsistent pleadings, ie. "one cannot argue uno flatu both that the person is dead and also that he is responsible for wrong actions.
unus multorum = one of many; an average person
uti possidetis = as you possess
uxor (ux) = wife; et ux = and wife
vel non = or not
vera cause = true cause
verbatim = in exactly the same words
versus; vs.; v. = against
veto = I forbid
vice versa = the other way around
videlicet = namely; that is to say; as follows: Used in text to show examples
videre licet = it is permitted to see
Vigilantibus non dormientibus aequitas subvenit = equity aids the vigilant, not the negligent; equity aids the vigilant, not the negligent who sleep on their rights.
vis major = an act of God; a superior force
viz. = namely; that is to say; as follows
volenti non fit injuria = no injury is done to a person who consents; to a willing person, no injury is done.
Other Latin phrases you might find in legal documents.
a fortiori = with yet stronger reason.
a posse ad esse = from possibility to actuality.
a posteriori = derived by reasoning from observed facts.
a priori = from what was before.
ab incunablis = from the origin.
ab initio = from the beginning.
ab intra = from within.
ab urbe condita (AUC) = from the founding of the city (Rome in 753 BC).
ad absurdum = to the point of absurdity.
ad eundem = to the same level.
ad eundem gradum = to the same level.
ad hoc = for this special purpose.
ad hominem = denoting an argument made personally against an opponent, rather than logically against an issue (literally, "to the person").
ad idem = of the same mind.
ad infinitum = without limit.
ad libitum = according to pleasure.
ad litem = for the suit.
ad locum (ad loc.) = at the place.
ad nauseam = to a disgusting extent.
ad valorem = according to value.
addenda = things to be added.
advocatus diaboli = devil's advocate.
affidavit = a sworn written statement usable as evidence in court.
agenda = things to be done (used especially for a list of items to be discussed at a meeting).
alea iacta est = the die is cast (Caesar).
alma mater = one's old school or university.
alter ego = other self.
amicus curiae = friend of the court.
amicus omnibus, amicus nemini = a friend to all is a friend to none.
anno domini (AD) = in the year of the Lord.
annus horribilis = a terrible year.
annus mirabilis = a wonderful year.
ante bellum = before the war.
aqua fortis = nitric acid.
aqua pura = pure water.
ars gratia artis = art for art's sake.
aude sapere = dare know.
audi alteram partem = hear the other side (a principle of natural justice).
bella gerant alii = let others wage war.
bona fide (adjective) = genuine, sincere.
bona fide (adverb) = genuinely, sincerely.
bona fides (noun) = honest intention.
cadit quaestio (cq) = the question falls; the matter admits no further argument (the facts have been double checked).
caret = it is lacking (used in editing to indicate that something is to be inserted).
carpe diem = seize the day.
casus belli = the circumstances justifying war.
cave canem = beware of the dog.
caveat emptor = let the buyer beware.
caveat lector = let the reader beware.
caveat venditor = let the seller beware.
ceteris paribus = other things being equal or unchanged.
circa (c, followed by a date) = about.
cogito, ergo sum = I think, therefore I am (Descartes).
compos mentis = sane.
cor unum = one heart.
corpus delicti = the facts of a crime.
corrigenda = a list of things to be corrected (in a book).
cui bono? = who benefits?
cui malo? = who suffers a detriment unjust?
cum grano salis = with a grain of salt (not literally).
curriculum vitae = a summary of a person's career and working life.
de facto = in fact (especially in contradistinction to "de jure").
de gustibus non est disputandum = there is no accounting for taste.
de jure = by right
de minimis = with respect to trifles.
de novo = anew.
delectatio morosa = peevish delight.
deo duce = with God for a leader.
deo gratias = thanks be to God.
deo volente = God willing.
deus ex machina = a god from a machine, a contrived, artificial event that resolves a problem at the last moment.
dictum meum pactum = my word is my bond.
dictum sapienti sat est = a word to the wise is sufficient.
dramatis personae = the list of characters in a play.
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori = it is sweet and proper to die for one's country (Horace).
dum spiro, spero = as long as I breathe, I hope (Cicero).
dum vires annique sinunt, tolerate labores = while strength and years permit, endure labor (Ovid).
dura lex, sed lex = the law is harsh, but it is the law.
ecce homo = behold the man.
ego = consciousness of one's own identity.
eiusdem generis = of the same kind.
emeritus = retired after distinguished service and holding an honorary title (for example, emeritus professor).
ergo = therefore.
errata = a list of errors (in a document or book).
et alia = and other things.
et cetera (etc.) = and so on.
et sequentes (et seq. or seqq.) = and those that follow.
et uxor (abbreviated et ux.) = and wife.
ex cathedra = formally, with official authority.
ex curia = out of court.
ex gratia = purely as a favour.
ex libris = from the library of.
ex nihilo = out of nothing.
ex officio = by virtue of his office.
ex parte = by only one party to a dispute in the absence of the other.
ex post facto = retrospectively.
excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta = he who excuses himself, accuses himself (qui s'excuse, s'accuse).
exeat = permission for a temporary absence.
exempli gratia (e.g.) = for example.
fama nihil est celerius = nothing is swifter than a rumour.
fiat = let it be done.
floruit = he flourished.
functus officio = having discharged his duty and thus ceased to have any authority over a matter.
gaudeamus igitur = so let us rejoice.
habeas corpus = you may have the body. (The opening words of a prerogative writ requiring a person holding another person to bring that person before a court.)
hic jacet = here lies.
honoris causa = as a mark of esteem.
ibidem (ibid. in citations, etc.) = in the same place.
id est (i.e.) = that is.
idem = the same.
imperator = emperor.
imprimatur = let it be printed.
in absentia = while absent.
in camera = in private session.
in casu = in this case.
in casu extremae necessitatis = in case of extreme necessity.
in curia = in court.
in deo speramus = in God we trust.
in extenso = at full length.
in extremis = near death.
in flagrante delicto = in the very act of committing an offence.
in illo tempore = at that time.
in loco extremis = in the farthest place.
in loco parentis = in place of a parent.
in medias res = in the midst of things.
in memoriam = in memory.
in re = in the matter of.
in silico = by means of a computer simulation.
in situ = in its original situation.
in specie = in kind; (a) in its own form and not in an equivalent (b) in coins and not in paper money.
in toto = entirely.
in vino veritas = in wine there is truth.
in vitro = observable in a glass test tube; outside the living body and in an artificial environment.
in vivo = happening within a living organism.
index librorum prohibitorum = official list of the books not to be read by Catholics.
infra = below or on a later page.
infra dig = unbecoming (slang).
inter alia = among other things.
inter se = among themselves.
inter vivos = during life.
intra muros = within the walls.
intra vires = within the power.
ipso facto = by that very fact.
latine dictum = spoken in Latin.
loco citato (loc. cit.) = in the passage just quoted.
locum tenens = one occupying the place. assistent, deputy
locus sigilli (l.s.) = the place of the seal.
locus standi = the right to be heard in court.
magna carta = Great Charter
magna cum laude = with great honour or academic distinction.
magnum opus = great work.
me judice = I being the judge; in my opinion
mea culpa = by my fault
memento mori = remember that you have to die.
memorandum = a note of a something to be remembered.
mens rea = guilty mind.
mens sana in corpore sano = a sound mind in a sound body.
mirabile dictu = wonderful to relate.
modus operandi = the manner of working.
monumentum aere perennius = an immortal work of art or literature (literally, "a monument more lasting than bronze") (Horace).
multi multa; nemo omnia novit = many know many things; no one knows everything.
multum in parvo = much in a small compass.
multus amicus, nullus amicus = a friend to all is a friend to none.
mutatis mutandis = the necessary changes being made.
ne plus ultra = the highest standard of excellence.
nemine dissentiente (nem. dis.) = unanimously.
nihil obstat = nothing stands in the way.
nil desperandum = there is no cause for despair (Horace).
nisi = unless.
nolens volens = whether one likes it or not; willing or unwilling.
nolle prosequi = to be unwilling to prosecute.
non compos mentis = insane.
non sequitur = it does not follow, a conclusion which does not accord with the premises".
noscitur a sociis = the meaning of a word can be known from the context.
nota bene (NB) = note well, important
numero pondere et mensura deus omnia condidit = God created everything by number, weight and measure (Isaac Newton).
o tempora, o mores! = oh, the times! oh, the morals! (Cicero).
obiter dictum = a saying by the way.
omne ignotum pro magnifico est = all things unknown seem grand (Tacitus the Elder).
omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis = all things are changing, and we are changing with them.
omnia vincit amor, nos et cedamus amori = love conquers all things, let us too yield to love (Virgil).
pari passu = equally.
parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus = the mountains are in labour; a ridiculous mouse will be born (Horace); great promises, but no result or only a insignificant result
passim = in various places (in a quoted work).
pax intrantibus = peace to those who enter.
pax vobiscum = peace be with you.
pedente lite = pending the suit.
per annum = per year.
per ardua ad alta = through difficulties to the heights.
per ardua ad astra = through difficulties to the stars.
per capita = by the head.
per centum = per hundred.
per diem = per day.
per mensem = per month.
per omnia saecula saeculorum = for ever and ever.
per se = taken alone.
persona non grata = a non-acceptable person.
post hoc ergo propter hoc = after this, therefore because of this (a logical fallacy).
post mortem = after death (also figuratively).
prima facie = on a first view.
primus inter pares = first among equals.
pro bono publico = in the public good.
pro bono = done without charge in the public interest.
pro forma = for the sake of form.
pro hac vice = for this occasion.
pro rata = according to the rate.
pro se = on one's own behalf.
pro tanto = to that extent.
pro tempore (pro tem) = for the time being.
qua = in the capacity of.
quantum in me fuit = I have done my best.
quasi = as if.
qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum = let him who desires peace prepare for war (Vegetius).
quid pro quo = something for something.
quis custodiet ipsos custodes? = who is guarding the guards?
quo in casu = in which case.
quo vadis? = where are you going?
quod erat demonstrandum (QED) = which was to be proved.
quod erat faciendum (QEF) = which was to be done.
quod vide (q.v.) = which see.
ratio decidendi = the reason for the decision.
ratio legis est anima legis = the reason of the law is the soul of the law.
re = in the matter of.
reductio ad absurdum = reduction to the absurd (proving the truth of a proposition by proving the falsity of all its alternatives).
regina = queen.
requiescat in pace = rest in peace.
res ipsa loquitur = the thing speaks for itself.
res tantum valet quantum vendi potest = a thing is worth only what someone else will pay for it.
rex = king.
rigor mortis = the stiffening of a body after death.
salve, salvete = be greeted, hail, welcome.
semel in anno licet insanire = one can act the fool once a year.
semper fidelis = always faithful.
senatus populusque Romanus (SPQR ) = the Senate and the people of Rome.
sensu stricto = in a narrow or strict sense.
seqq = and those that follow.
seriatim = one after another in order.
si vis pacem, para bellum = if you want peace, prepare for war.
sic = thus, used in quoted passages to indicate that an error
sic transit gloria mundi = thus passes the glory of the world.
silentium est aureum = silence is golden.
silva rerum = an assorted collection of facts.
simpliciter = naturally; without qualification.
sine anno (s.a.) = year not known.
sine die = without stipulating a day.
sine qua non = an indispensable condition.
status quo = the existing condition.
stet = let it stand
sub judice = before a court.
sub rosa = in confidence.
sub verbo = under the word, heading
sui generis = of its own kind.
supra = above or on an earlier page.
suum cuique = to each his own.
tabula rasa = a clean paper
tempus fugit = time flies.
tempus fugit, mors venit = time passes, death advances.
terra firma = dry land.
terra incognita = unknown land.
terra nullius = uninhabited land.
timeo danaos et dona ferentes = I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts (Virgil).
uberrimae fidei = of the utmost good faith.
ultra vires = beyond the power.
vade mecum = a constant companion.
vale, valete = farewell.
velle est posse = where there is a will, there is a way.
veni, vidi, vici = I came, I saw, I conquered (Caesar).
verbatim = exactly as said.
verbum sat sapienti (verb.sub) = a word to the wise is sufficient.
versus = against.
vi et armis = by force and arms.
vice = in place of.
vice versa = the order being reversed.
vide = see.
videlicet (viz.) = namely.
vires acquirit eundo = we gather strength as we go (Virgil).
virgo intacta = virgin.
volenti non fit injuria = that to which a man consents cannot be considered an injury.
vox populi = voice of the people.
First the abbreviation, then the word or phrase followed by the translation/meaning
N.N. nomen nescio I do not know the name
Ph.D. Philosophiæ Doctor Teacher of Philosophy
p.m.a.post mortem auctoris after the author's death
Re in re in the matter of, concerning
s.o.s. si opus sit if there is need, if occasion require, if necessary
sic, thus (not an abbreviation)
stet let it stand (not an abbreviation)