Latin terms used often
Latin is considered a “dead language” as no society uses it anymore. However, it’s still being studied academically, as many ancient texts are written in Latin and many modern languages are derived from it. Some Latin phrases are still being used today, especially as terminologies in the fields of law, philosophy, linguistics, medicine, and others. Here is a short glossary of common Latin terms you may come across.
- Et alia/alii
Better known as et al., it is used to cut short the names of multiple authors in a research publication. The term literally translates into “and others.”
- Id est
Abbreviated as i.e., “id est” literally translates to “that is.” Id est is often confused with e.g. (example gratia, “for the sake of example”). I.e. is used to replace the phrase “in other words,” while e.g. is used to replace “for example.”
- Anno Domini (AD)
This Medieval Latin term, which translates into “in the year of our Lord,” is the exact opposite of “Before Christ” or BC. AD and BC are used to describe historical periods and where they fall into the Christian era. The term is now being slowly replaced by BCE (Before Common Era), CE (Common Era), and ACE (After Common Era) as these are nonspecific to any religion.
- Ipso facto
Putting it simply, the term means that a certain occurrence is an effect of the action itself. It is an artistic term used in philosophy, law, and science.
- In memoriam
An In Memoriam is a printed obituary on a newspaper. It literally means “in memory of” and precedes the name of the deceased in obituaries or epitaphs.
- Ad hoc
Literally meaning “for this,” an ad hoc is a solution arranged, formed, or completed for a particular purpose only. Something that is created “ad hoc” is often an immediate need.
- Quid pro quo
This term has both legal and colloquial connotations. It literally translates into “this for that” in English. In common usage, it is the exchange of a valuable object or service for another. However, in legal terms, the meaning of “quid pro quo” may vary depending on context. In politics, quid pro quo can be the use of a political office for personal benefit. In the context of sexual harassment, quid pro quo is a form of sexual blackmail.
- Vice versa
This Latin term is used to the say that the opposite of a statement is also true. Often, it is accompanied by another Latin term, “et cetera.” The term literally means “the other way around.”
- Et cetera
Et cetera is used at the end of a sentence to indicate that a list is too long, tedious, or cliché to be given in full. It literally translates to “and the rest.”
- Pro bono
The full term is “pro bono publico,” which literally translates to “for the good of the public.” It is a term used often in public relations and other similar industries. A work that is done pro bono is not paid for and is done for the benefit of a cause.
By Paula Vern Apolonio