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Latin Phrases in English with Definitions and Examples

Published on May 26th, 2019 | Last updated on September 3rd, 2020 by | Category: English Vocabulary in Context | 99 Comments on Latin Phrases in English with Definitions and Examples | 313 Views | Reading Time: 8 minutes

Latin Phrases in English

Latin Phrases in English

ad hoc

done without any particular purpose, unplanned

The company failed due to making decisions on an ad hoc basis without considering long-term issues.

Usually unprecedented events might turn into ad hoc ones.

Do you think relying upon ad hoc methods reveals shortsightedness or creativity?


Do not invent an alibi. Any evidence is against you.

Being afraid of gaol, he commenced concocting alibis.

bona fide (adj)

genuine, authentic, true, real, valid, (antonym: bogus)

Any bona fide offers of help would be appreciated.

The true bona fide prayer for rain always carries an umbrella with him/herself.

Today, bona fide love is scarce and many prefer marrying into money.

carpe diem

The best advice you can give to those who are used to saving money is carpe diem.

Unfortunately, in underdeveloped countries, carpe diem is less practical.

de facto

actual, genuine

Sometimes we notice the subtle de facto consequences of our improper behavior towards people.

A de facto state of economic problems requires consideration in different terms.

Lack of democracy results in a condition in which people do not behave as per their own de facto thoughts.


The abbreviation e.g. is short for the Latin phrase exempli gratia, meaning “for example.”, for or as an example, let’s say

We need to eat healthier foods daily, e.g. meat, milk, fruits, eggs, vegetables, etc.

You can make a contribution to developing LELB society by participating in activities e.g. leaving comments, raising questions, etc.

I have an unquenchable thirst for new digital gadgets, e.g. cameras, cellphones, tablets, etc.


so, therefore

He already had a lot of experience and ergo seemed the best candidate for the job.

Today, life is so competitive, ergo more determination is needed.


Etc. is a Latin abbreviation which stands for et cetera. It is used after a list to show that there are many other examples of the same kind. In formal writing, people avoid using “etc.” and instead use “such as”, “and many others”, etc.

LELB Society is a platform for exchanging ideas, learning English, brainstorming, etc.


I.e. is an abbreviation for id est and means “that is to say” or “in other words”. We use it when we want to give a more precise description of the things mentioned before.

Have you ever talked with a nonagenarian who utters many tired clichés, i.e. the phrases which are not original and have been used so much?

An effective method of mastering vocabulary is to learn them in context, i.e. implementing and using them in a sentence.

inter alia /ˌɪn.təˈreɪ.li.ə/ US /-ţɚˈeɪ-/

among other things, et cetera, etc., among others, and so on:

I opted for hamburgers rather than other foods, inter alia, prawns, roast beef, sausages, and tuna steak.

Per capita

Per capita /pəˈkæp.ɪ.tə/ US /pɚˈkæp.ɪ.ţə/ (adv)
If you state an amount per capita, you mean that amount for each person, by or for each person, respectively, in proportion, per head, proportionately, pro rata:

The per capita number of our mistakes during a specific period of time reveals the level of our accuracy.

France and Germany invest far more per capita in public transport than Britain.

The per capita income in the country is very low.

per se 

by itself

The main reason to change careers is not money per se.

Having a profound effect on the society per se is a good reason to hold a commemorative ceremony for him.

Believe it or not, money, as a panacea, per se solves many problems.

postmortem (noun)

an examination of a corpse or dead body to investigate what has been the cause of death, autopsy, postmortem examination, medical examination, an investigation into the cause of failure in an unsuccessful task or project, analysis, inquest:

Forensic experts and medical doctors are performing a postmortem examination on the corpse to uncover the mysteries of the murder.

People can make progress if and only if they conduct postmortems on any condition in which they have barked up the wrong tree.

pro bono

One of the signs of equality in a society is the opportunity to have a pro bono service for those defendants who cannot afford to pay a lawyer in order to defend and acquit themselves in a court.

Nonprofit organizations which work on a pro bono basis should be supported by the governments.

quid pro quo /ˌkwɪd.prəʊˈkwəʊ/ US /-proʊˈkwoʊ/ (noun)

something that is given to someone in exchange for something they have done or a service they have provided, something done in exchange, deal, trade, agreement, exchange, tradeoff, tit for tat, an eye for an eye:

Our company is going to provide them with pro bono services as a quid pro quo for their generous donation.

sine qua non

Having a valid high school diploma is a sine qua non for participants of emergency first aid class.

Audacity, effrontery, persistence, and perseverance are some sine qua non for wrestling with problems.

status quo /ˌsteɪtəsˈkwəʊ/ (noun)

the current condition or state of affairs that exists at the moment, current situation, existing state of affairs, present circumstances:

The status quo will be maintained unless he concurs to adopt a boy from an orphanage.

terra firma /ˌter.əˈfɜː.mə/ US /-ˈfɝː-/ (noun)

Terra firma is used humorously in conditions where it is surprising to land or walk on earth again after a long time, dry land, when compared with the sea or air,

The passengers of the capsized boat reposed on terra firma after swimming a long distance towards the deserted island.

The astronaut was so grateful for walking on terra firma again when he came back to earth.

It was good to get back on terra firma again after that awful sea crossing.

verbatim /vɜːˈbeɪ.tɪm/ US /vɝːˈbeɪ.ţəm/ (adj & adv)

using identical words, corresponding word for word with something else, copied word for word, word for word, literal, using exactly the same words:

Verbatim reports of any scientific course can be beneficial in the future.

In dubbing process, conveying the whole concept and meaning is more essential than translating them in a verbatim way.

versus /ˈvɜː.səs/ US /ˈvɝː-/ (prep)

against, contra, alternative to, as opposed to, in competition with, contrasted with, as against,

An extravagant lifestyle versus a parsimonious one

Many years ago, there was a relentless battle between the indigenous inhabitants versus the alien invaders taking place on this island.

vice versa /ˌvaɪsˈvɜː.sə/ US /ˌvaɪ.səˈvɝː-/ (adv)

the other way around, conversely, on the other hand, in opposition, in contrast, contrariwise:

Not always does affluence effect jubilation, and vice versa, however.

The dilemma of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” denotes that having a chicken is a prerequisite for having an egg, and vice versa.

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99 comments on “Latin Phrases in English with Definitions and Examples”

    • Etc. is a latin abbreviation which stands for et cetera. It is used after a list to show that there are many other examples of the same kind. In formal writing, people avoid using “etc.” and instead use “such as”, “and many others” and etc.

      • Just remember that before “etc.”, you must NOT use “and” because “etc.” per se means “and others”. So, and before etc. would be redundant.

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