Common Latin Phrases You Should Know About

Have you ever wondered where all those fancy jargon terms came from?

Yep, the answer can be found in the academic language that’s learned in most European schools till this day.

In the earlier days, Latin was considered the language of the elite, and it was an honor and a privilege to learn this beautiful jargon.


Latin Phrases You Should Know About


Nowadays, the situation has somewhat changed, but the truth is that Latin is still considered to be pretty fancy.

Ultimately, you’ve probably heard of the expression “quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur” – which roughly translates to “anything said in Latin sounds profound.”

Cannot argue with that statement. Let us take a look at some of the phrases commonly used till this day.


1.In vino veritas

While the direct translation would be „in wine there is truth“, that sentence can still sound pretty unclear to some people. It basically means that one can tell no lies when drunk out of his mind.

Yep, anyone who’s been there can testify that this statement is rather true. It’s not a coincidence that some of the strongest bonds and friendships happen to begin somewhere in a local pub.

Once wasted, people let their guard down, and lose all the unnecessary filters, which is a welcomed change, if I might add. If only one could somehow avoid that nasty hangover the morning after.

If you don’t drink, how will your friends know you love them at 2AM? Or like Real Money Robert says “Have you ever wondered if your friends truly like you? When they drunk dial at 2am just to tell you they love you, there’s your answer.”

2.Aut iveniam viam aut faciam


It translates to “I shall either find a way or make one.” Unlike a previous sentence, you don’t have to be a scholar to look into in and discover the hidden meaning.

Ultimately, it’s extremely similar to the famous line “my way or the highway”, but said in a more eloquent sorta way.

Here’s a fun fact for you.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the popular sportswear brand called ASICS that comes from Japan.

What you didn’t know is that it represents an acronym of the Latin phrase “Anima sana in corpore sano” which means “a healthy soul in a healthy body.”

Are you feeling inspired to go on that run you’ve been putting off for the last couple of months?


3.Memento Mori


In plain English, it sounds pretty menacing, as it stands for “Remember, you will die.” As it turns out, Latin people also had a thing for motivational quotes, Instagram gurus didn’t even it!

However, it would appear that they were a bit rough with their approach. Still, there’s nothing wrong with keeping this simple truth in the back of your mind, especially if it’s going to be the thing that drives you to live your life to the fullest.


4.Non est ad astra mollis e terris via


Which stands for: “No one has reached the stars without first walking the earthly path.”

Do you have a desire to change the world? Why don’t you start by taking care of your own backyard first?

Basically, in order to reach your dreams, you first have to pay your dues, as everyone else does, nothing in life comes as promised.


5.Cogito ergo sum


“I think, therefore I am.” What is the thing that separates us from other animals?

If you asked this question to a number of people walking the streets, most of them would point out our ability to think and reason.

Well, Rene Descartes even went one step beyond that, claiming that our ability to doubt our own existence is the thing that makes us so very unique.


6.Nemo dat non quod habet


“No one gives what he doesn’t have.”

You might want to remember this one when you get asked to borrow someone money.

It certainly seems that this tradition is as long as mankind.


7.Ego sum quod eris


Which means “I am what you will be.”

It’s an epic quote that was originally found on a tombstone in England.

Apparently, people around the world found it amusing, and to tell you the truth, I do as well.


8.Dum Spiro, Spero


“While I breathe, I hope.”

Here’s a one for all the hopeless optimists out there. Nah, I’m kidding, there’s nothing wrong with sometimes looking at the bright side of life.

I sincerely hope that you caught that reference. If not, I’m afraid to tell you, but you’re missing out, big time!


9.Vice versa


Is also a Latin quote, standing for “the other way around.”

Anything you can do, I can as well. Basically, it’s an eye for an eye principle, only without the “leaving the whole world blind” part.

If you ever had a boyfriend/girlfriend who treated you like dirt, and you returned the favor, you’ve followed the vice versa principle.


10.Acta non verba


“Actions not words.” Instead of sitting on the couch all day long, have you ever considered taking action instead?

Plenty of people have problems with figuring this simple concept out, and it seems that our Latin friends had their fair share of similar issues as well.


11.Ars longa, vita brevis


I’m sure that some of you who are into arts know the meaning of this phrase all too well. For the rest of you, it would translate to “art is long, life is short.”

Instead of leading a long and meaningless life, why not create something that can be admired for centuries to come?


12.Carpe diem


We’ve come full circle, only to once again finish off with a motivational quote. You’ve probably heard the sentence “seize the day” a thousand times, but you’ve never considered why it never lost its popularity for centuries.

Just because something is repeated thousands of times, it doesn’t mean it stops being true.

The good thing about seizing the day is that you can start whenever you want, and guess what, if you missed out today, tomorrow will come quicker than you think!

Don’t waste your opportunities.


Now, let us take a look at some of the common words that came from the Latin language.


Sure, you might call it common knowledge, but you’d be surprised to find out just how uncommon it might be. Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with refreshing our memory from time to time, so here we go.

i.e.” – It basically stands for “id est, meaning – that is.”

e.g.” – Which stands for “exempli data, or – for example.”

P.S.” – Everyone knows this stands for “post scriptum”, am I right?

A.D.” – “Anno Domini, which roughly translates to – in the year of our Lord.” Plenty of people confuse this term with “after death”, but that’s not what it stands for.

e.t.c.” = “et cetera, or in English – and the other things.” If you’ve ever read a book in your life, you’ve probably stumbled upon this term more than once.