What did the Romans do for us? Well, apart from straight roads and central heating, they also left us the legacy of Latin.
Latin is an ancient language that risks dying out for good but you would be surprised at how often Latin words appear in everyday English usage. You have probably heard many phrases and perhaps wondered what some of them mean. Well, check out this list for the most common Latin phrases used in the English language.
Ad hoc - For this purpose, improvised, made up in an instant
She had to do the filing, photocopying and printing as well as lots of other ad hoc tasks.
Ad infinitum - Without a limit, endlessly
He talked ad infinitum about his holiday in Scotland.
Agenda - Things to be done
Right, let's look at the meeting's agenda.
Alias - Otherwise
John Brown's alias was John Smith.
Alibi - elsewhere
Her alibi was that on Saturday night she was at a friend's party.
Alter ego - Other, an alternative self
It was almost as if he had an alter ego when he played guitar.
Bona fide - Genuine, sincere
He said he was a bona fide plastic surgeon.
Carpe Diem - Seize the day
Their school motto was Carpe Diem.
Circa (c.) - About
He said it was circa fifty miles to London.
Ego - Consciousness of one's own identity
He has such a huge ego!
Et cetera (etc.) - And the rest
He likes chocolate - milk, dark, white, truffles, nougat, fondants, et cetera.
In flagrante delicto - In the act of committing some sort of offence
He was caught in flagrante delicto with the manager's wife.
In vitro - In a test tube (literally means "in glass")
They conceived their baby through in vitro fertilization.
Per annum - Per year
She gets paid only $20,000 per annum.
Persona non grata - A non-acceptable person
After his antics at the party, he really is persona non grata.
Pro bono - Without charge, for the public good
The plastic surgeon said he would do pro bono work for the charity.
Rigor mortis - The rigidity of death
The corpse was now in the state of rigor mortis.
Terra firma - Solid ground
After the boat trip she was glad to be on terra firm again.
Status quo - The current state of affairs
He was keen to keep the status quo at work.
Vice versa - The order being reversed
Cats hate dogs and vice versa.
So, as you can see, there are many Latin words still in use today when we write and speak English, showing that it has certainly greatly influenced the English language. Perhaps you might like to add a few Latin phrases here and there to your writing to help keep this fascinating language alive.
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