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October 13, 2011

Thirteen Latin Phrases in Common Use

Thursday Thirteen

Latin phrases are common in the English language. In fact some of them are so deeply entrenched we think of them as English.

Here are Thirteen Latin Phrases

1. Curriculum vitae – a history of work and school qualifications.

2. Carpe diem – seize the day!

3. Circa – approximately

4. Versus – against. Often abbreviated to v or vs

5. Status quo – the existing state of affairs

6. Modus operandi – method of operation

7. Ergo – therefore

8. Post mortem – after death

9. Terra firma – solid ground

10. Persona non grata – an unwelcome person

11. Stet – let it stand. Most writers know this one.

12. In flagrante delicto – caught in the act. Often used in relation to sex.

13.Veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered. Said b y Julius Caesar after a rebellion in Greece.

Source: The Dangerous Book for Boys (NZ Edition) by Gonn Iggulden & Hal Iggulden

Are you familiar with these? Can you add any others?


  1. Maria Zannini

    Wow. I’ve used these so often, I’d forgotten they were Latin. It’s funny how we adopt words as part of our native vocabulary.

  2. Sidney

    It’s always crazy to realize how much of our language is pieced together from other languages.

  3. Darla

    I didn’t realize that number eight was Latin. Interesting! Thanks for this.

  4. Alice Audrey

    You mean it’s not all English? Oh.

  5. Kimberly Menozzi

    I love these posts! (I’m such a language geek!)

    Happy TT!

  6. Lydia K

    This was a fun post. I love Latin though I never studied it. Maybe I should find an online course…

  7. Heather

    Fun post, Shelley! And drat it, now I’m wanting to watch Dead Poets Society again. Carpe…Carpe Diem… :)

  8. Janice Seagraves

    The last one is the name of restaurant in Fresno.


  9. Angela Brown

    This list is like a humbling reminder of how our world, our language, the the way we communicate has changed and yet, in some ways, stayed the same.

  10. Xakara

    All of them still sound Latin to me, but I’m strange that way! :)

    Although Versus and Post Mortem are the two I would likely not have come up with if asked for Latin phrases in daily English, especially versus!

    Happy T13,

    Food For Breast Health

  11. Stephanie Adkins

    Great list, Shelley! I only recognized three of them. LOL I really need to study up on other languages. :) Happy Thursday!

  12. Shelley Munro

    Some of these surprised me too. I recognized all the words but had no idea they were actually Latin.

  13. angel

    I’m familiar with a few of them. Thanks for sharing Shelley.

  14. Robin L. Rotham

    LOL! The only one I didn’t know was stet. What kind of writer does that make me?

  15. Jennifer Leeland

    I think it’s interesting that a language that is that old still has words we use today.
    It’s fascinating that we’ve incorporated them into our daily language.
    Great TT, Shelley.

  16. Mary Kirkland

    I only recognized Carpe diem..and only because one of my friends had it in her forum signature.

  17. Sandra Cox

    So many of these we use everyday and I had no idea they were Latin.