Latin Abreviations & Quotations

Through the course of your studies, you have probably come across many latin abreviations. Some you might know, others maybe not. Here are a few of the more common ones for your reference.


cf. = confer, compare

cp. = compara, compare

e.g. = exempli gratia (for the sake of example)

et. al. = et alii / aliae (and others (of people))

etc. = et cetera (and others (of things))

i.e. = id est = that is

n.b. = nota bene (note carefully (i.e. pay attention))

v.i. and v.s. = vide infra and vide supra (see below and see above)

q.v. = quod vide (which see (i.e. see this item))

QED = quod erat demonstrandum (that which was to be proved)

q.e. = quod est (which is)

QEF = quod erat faciendum (which was to be done)

sine qua non = indispensable


While Latin is considered a "dead" language, it has given us many words and expressions that crop up in our
movies, tv shows, and even our everyday speech. Below are just a few expressions that you might have come

• Carpe Diem. – "Seize the day." This is probably the most commonly used expression, but don't forget the rest of it: Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero. – "Seize the day, trust least to the future."

• Persona grata – "A welcome guest." It's more common to hear, especially when talking of diplomats, Persona non grata. – "An unwelcome guest."

• Veni, vidi, vici. – "I came, I saw, I conquered."

• Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. – "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." This was said by Sean Connery in the film "The Rock."

• Casus belli. "The source of dispute."

• Ars longa, vita brevis. – "Art is long life is short." This applicable to more than just art.

• Splendide mendax. – "A magnificent liar." This has been applied to President Clinton on more than one occasion, by his opponents.

• Fama nihil est celerius. – "Nothing is swifter than rumor."

• Tempus edax rerum. – "Time, consumer of all things."

• Ipso facto. – "By the very fact." Commonly used in law.

• Fortes Fortuna adjuvat. – "Fortune favors the brave."

• Falsus in uno, falsus in omnius. – "False in one thing, false in all."

• Alea jacta est. – "The die is cast." This is often said when someone takes a course of action from which there is no turning back. ("Die" is the singular of "dice.")

• Ad nauseum. – "To a disgusting extent." Sometimes used when referring to people who go on about the stomach problems ad nauseum.

• Si vis pacem, para bellum. – "If you want peace prepare for war."

• Pax vobiscum. – "Peace be with you." Heard at Latin mass before Vatican II.

• Sui generis. – "In a class of its own."

• Errare humanum est. – "To err is human."

• Caveat emptor. – "Let the buyer beware." This probably ties with Carpe diem as the most commonly used phrase.

• Prima facie. – "On the face of it."

• Vade in pace. – "Go in peace."

• Ex nihilo, nihil fit. – "From nothing, comes nothing."

• Sic trnasit gloria mundi. – "Thus passes the glory of the world." Also heard, Sic transit vir. – "Thus passes man."

• Omnia vincit amor. – "Love conquers all."

• Sub rosa. – "In secret."

• Modus operendi. – "Means of operation." Often heard in tv cop shows, usually abbreviated as MO.

• Quis custodiet ipos custodes? – "Who will guard the guards themselves?"

• Semper paratus. – "Always ready."

• Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant. – "Hail, Caesar, those about to die salute you." What the gladiators said before their games in the Coleseum.

• Flagrante delicto. – "Committing the crime."

• E pluribus unum. – "From many, one." One of two mottos on US coins.

• Tempus fugit. – "Time flies."