This page lists English translations of notable Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before that of ancient Rome.
This list covers the letter I. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.
List of Latin phrases:
in the same place
Usually used in bibliographic citations to refer to the last source previously referenced.
id est (i.e.)
"That is (to say)" in the sense of "that means" and "which means", or "in other words", or sometimes "in this case", depending on the context; may be followed by a comma, or not, depending on style (American English and British English respectively). It is often misinterpreted as "in example". In this situation, e.g. should be used instead. There should be a period (.) after both letters, since it is an abbreviation of two words.
id quod plerumque accidit
that which generally happens
A phrase used in legal language to indicate the most probable outcome from an act, fact, event or cause.
idem (dito) (id.)
Used to refer to something that has already been cited. See also ibidem.
idem quod (i.q.)
the same as
Not to be confused with an intelligence quotient.
the Ides of March
In the Roman calendar, the Ides of March refers to the 15th day of March. In modern times, the term is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC; the term has come to be used as a metaphor for impending doom.
Jesu juva J.J.
Used by Johann Sebastian Bach at the beginning of his compositions, which he ended with "S.D.G." (Soli Deo gloria).
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI)
Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews
From Vulgate, John 19:19. John 19:20 states that this inscription was written in three languages--Aramaic, Latin and Greek--at the top of the cross during the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum
Therefore whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De Re Militari; similar to si vis pacem, para bellum.
igne natura renovatur integra
through fire, nature is reborn whole
An alchemical aphorism invented as an alternate meaning for the acronym INRI.
with fire and iron
A phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also rendered as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.
ignis aurum probat
fire tests gold
A phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances, it is also the motto of the Prometheus Society.
ignorantia juris non excusat
(or ignorantia legis non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat) ignorance of the law is no excuse
A legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability.
ignorance of the issue
The logical fallacy of irrelevant conclusion: making an argument that, while possibly valid, doesn't prove or support the proposition it claims to. An ignoratio elenchi that is an intentional attempt to mislead or confuse the opposing party is known as a red herring. Elenchi is from the Greek elenchos.
ignotum per ignotius
unknown by means of the more unknown
An explanation that is less clear than the thing to be explained. Synonymous with obscurum per obscurius.
image of God
From the religious concept that man was created in "God's image".
imitation of a god
A principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
imperium in imperio
an order within an order
1. A group of people who owe utmost fealty to their leader(s), subordinating the interests of the larger group to the authority of the internal group's leader(s).,
2. A "fifth column" organization operating against the organization within which they seemingly reside.,
3. "State within a state"
imperium sine fine
an empire without an end
In Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, never-ending empire, the endless (sine fine) empire.
let it be printed
An authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).
in the absence
Used in a number of situations, such as in a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
in absentia luci, tenebrae vincunt
in the absence of light, darkness prevails
In the very act; in reality.
Dominica in albis depositis
Sunday in Setting Aside the White Garments
Latin name of the Octave of Easter.
in articulo mortis
at the point of death
in the chamber
In secret. See also camera obscura.
in casu (i.c.)
in the event
In this case.
in cauda venenum
the poison is in the tail
Using the metaphor of a scorpion, this can be said of an account that proceeds gently, but turns vicious towards the end -- or more generally waits till the end to reveal an intention or statement that is undesirable in the listener's ears.
in com. Ebor.
In the county of Yorkshire
Eboracum was the Roman name for York and this phrase is used in some Georgian and Victorian books on the genealogy of prominent Yorkshire families.
in Deo speramus
in God we hope
Motto of Brown University.
in dubio pro reo
in doubt, on behalf of the alleged culprit
Expresses the judicial principle that in case of doubt the decision must be in favor of the accused (in that anyone is innocent until there is proof to the contrary).
in the likeness
In (the form of) an image; in effigy (as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person").
In actual existence; as opposed to in posse.
in the extended
In full; at full length; complete or unabridged
in the furthest reaches
In extremity; in dire straits; also "at the point of death" (cf. in articulo mortis).
in fide scientiam
To our faith add knowledge
Motto of Newington College.
To the verification of faith.
In progress; pending.
in fine (i.f.)
in the end
At the end. The footnote says "p. 157 in fine": "the end of page 157".
in flagrante delicto
in a blazing wrong, while the crime is blazing
Caught in the act (esp. a crime or in a "compromising position"); equivalent to "caught red-handed" in English idiom.
In court (legal term).
in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni
We enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire
A palindrome said to describe the behavior of moths. Also the title of a film by Guy Debord.
in harmonia progressio
progress in harmony
Motto of Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.
in hoc sensu or in sensu hoc (s.h.)
in this sense
Recent academic abbreviation for "in this sense".
in hoc signo vinces
by this sign you will conquer
Words Constantine the Great claimed to have seen in a vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
in hunc effectum
for this purpose
Describes a meeting called for a particular stated purpose only.
in ictu oculi
in the blink of an eye
in illo ordine (i.o.)
in that order
Recent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient "..., respectively."
in illo tempore
in that time
At that time, found often in Gospel lectures during Masses, used to mark an undetermined time in the past.
in inceptum finis est
lit.: in the beginning is the end
or: the beginning foreshadows the end
at the outset/threshold
Preliminary, in law, a motion in limine is a motion that is made to the judge before or during trial, often about the admissibility of evidence believed prejudicial.
in the place, on the spot
That is, 'on site'. "The nearby labs were closed for the weekend, so the water samples were analyzed in loco."
in loco parentis
in the place of a parent
Assuming parental or custodial responsibility and authority (e.g., schoolteachers over students); a legal term.
in luce Tua videmus lucem
in Thy light we see light
Motto of Valparaiso University. The phrase comes from the book of Psalms 36:9 "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light."
in lumine tuo videbimus lumen
in your light we will see the light
Motto of Columbia University, Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School and Ohio Wesleyan University. Also, it is the motto of the South African University of Fort Hare.
in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum
into your hands I entrust my spirit
According to Luke 23:46, the last words of Jesus on the cross.
in medias res
into the middle of things
From Horace. Refers to the literary technique of beginning a narrative in the middle of, or at a late point in, the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the Odyssey, Os Lusíadas, Othello, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
into the memory
Equivalent to "in the memory of". Refers to remembering or honoring a deceased person.
in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
in necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity
"Charity" (caritas) is being used in the classical sense of "compassion" (cf. agape). Motto of the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. Often misattributed to Augustine of Hippo.
in nocte consilium
advice comes over night
I.e., "Tomorrow is a new day." Motto of Birkbeck College, University of London.
in nomine diaboli
in the name of the devil
in nomine Domini
in the name of the Lord
Motto of Trinity College, Perth, Australia; the name of a 1050 papal bull
in nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sancti
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
invocation of the Holy Trinity
in a nut
in a nutshell; briefly stated; potential; in the embryonic phase
in omnia paratus
Ready for anything.
Motto of the United States Army's 18th Infantry Regiment
in omnibus amare et servire Domino
In everything, love and serve the Lord.
The motto of Ateneo de Iloilo, a university in the Philippines
in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro
Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book
Quote by Thomas à Kempis
in the egg or in the embryo
An experiment or process performed in an egg or embryo (e.g. in ovo electroporation of chicken embryo).
in pace requiescat
in peace may he rest
Alternate form of requiescat in pace ("let him rest in peace"). Found in this form at the end of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe.
in partibus infidelium
in the parts of the infidels
"In the land of the infidels"; used to refer to bishoprics that remains as titular sees even after the corresponding territory was conquered by Muslim empires.
in the heart
A cardinal named in secret by the pope. See also ab imo pectore.
into a person
Directed towards a particular person
In the state of being possible; as opposed to in esse.
in propria persona
in one's own person
Abbreviated pro per; For one's self; acting on one's own behalf, especially a person representing himself in a legal proceeding; see also litigant in person, pro se legal representation in the United States.
in principio erat Verbum
in the beginning was the Word (Logos)
Beginning of the Gospel of John
in the matter of
A legal term used to indicate that a judicial proceeding may not have formally designated adverse parties or is otherwise uncontested. The term is commonly used in case citations of probate proceedings, for example, In re Smith's Estate; it is also used in juvenile courts, as, for instance, In re Gault.
in regione caecorum rex est luscus
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
A quote of Desiderius Erasmus from Adagia (first published 1500, with numerous expanded editions through 1536), III, IV, 96.
to the thing
Legal term indicating a court's jurisdiction over a piece of property rather than a legal person; contrast with personal (ad personam) jurisdiction. See In rem jurisdiction; Quasi in rem jurisdiction
in rerum natura
in the nature of things
See also Lucretius' De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).
among things held back
Used to describe documents kept separately from the regular records of a court for special reasons.
in saecula (saeculorum), in saeculum saeculi
roughly: down to the times of the times
forever (and ever), liturgical
in the times
In the secular world, esp. outside a monastery, or before death.
in scientia opportunitas
In Knowledge, there is Opportunity
Motto of Edge Hill University.
in silico, (Dog Latin)
Coined in the late 1980s for scientific papers. Refers to an experiment or process performed virtually, as a computer simulation. The term is Dog Latin modeled after terms such as in vitro and in vivo. The Latin word for silicon is silicium, so the correct Latinization of "in silicon" would be in silicio, but this form has little usage.
in the place
In the original place, appropriate position, or natural arrangement.
in somnis veritas
In dreams there is truth
"future" (My mother-in-law in spe", i.e., "My future mother-in-law), or "in embryonic form", as in "Locke's theory of government resembles, in spe, Montesquieu's theory of the separation of powers."
in specialibus generalia quaerimus
To seek the general in the specifics
That is, to understand the most general rules through the most detailed analysis.
in statu nascendi
in the state of being born
Just as something is about to begin.
Totally; entirely; completely.
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimus
Then we will fight in the shade
in the womb
in utrumque paratus
Prepared for either (event)
in a void
In a vacuum; isolated from other things.
in varietate concordia
united in diversity
The motto of the European Union and the Council of Europe
in vino veritas
in wine there is truth
That is, wine loosens the tongue (referring to alcohol's disinhibitory effects).
An experimental or process methodology performed in a "non-natural" setting (e.g. in a laboratory using a glass test tube or Petri dish), and thus outside of a living organism or cell. Alternative experimental or process methodologies include in vitro, in silico, ex vivo and in vivo.
in life" or "in a living thing
An experiment or process performed on a living specimen.
in vivo veritas
in a living thing there is truth
An expression used by biologists to express the fact that laboratory findings from testing an organism in vitro are not always reflected when applied to an organism in vivo. A pun on in vino veritas.
incepto ne desistam
May I not shrink from my purpose!
Westville Boys' High School and Westville Girls' High School's motto is taken directly from Virgil. These words, found in Aeneid, Book 1, are used by Juno, queen of heaven who hated the Trojans led by Aeneas. When she saw the fleet of Aeneas on its way to Italy, after the sack of Troy by the Greeks, she planned to scatter it by means of strong winds. In her determination to accomplish her task she cried out "Incepto Ne Desistam!"
of uncertain position (seat)
A term used to classify a taxonomic group when its broader relationships are unknown or undefined.
incredible to say
A variant on mirabile dictu.
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
Index of Prohibited (or, Forbidden) Books
A list of books considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.
being-in-need-of-God, beggar before God
From Augustine, De Civitate Dei XII, 1.3: beatitudinem consequatur nec expleat indigentiam suam, "since it is not satisfied unless it be perfectly blessed."
indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliter
indivisible and inseparable
Motto of Austria-Hungary before it was divided and separated into independent states in 1918.
Infinitus est numerus stultorum.
Infinite is the number of fools.
infirma mundi elegit Deus
God chooses the weak of the world
The motto of Venerable Vital-Justin Grandin, the bishop of the St. Albert Diocese, which is now the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton
infra dignitatem (infra dig)
beneath one's dignity
instante mense (inst.)
in the present month
Formerly used in formal correspondence to refer to the current month, sometimes abbreviated as instant; e.g.: "Thank you for your letter of the 17th inst." -- ult. mense = last month, prox. mense = next month.
intaminatis fulget honoribus
Untarnished, she shines with honor
From Horace's Odes (III.2.18). Motto of Wofford College.
integer vitae scelerisque purus
unimpaired by life and clean of wickedness
From Horace. Used as a funeral hymn.
Few words suffice for he who understands
inter alia (i.a.)
among other things
A term used in formal extract minutes to indicate that the minute quoted has been taken from a fuller record of other matters, or when alluding to the parent group after quoting a particular example.
Often used to compress lists of parties to legal documents.
inter arma enim silent leges
in a time of war, the law falls silent
Said by Cicero in Pro Milone as a protest against unchecked political mobs that had virtually seized control of Rome in the 60s and 50s BC. Famously quoted in the essay Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau as "The clatter of arms drowns out the voice of the law". This phrase has also been jokingly translated as "In a time of arms, the legs are silent."
Title of a papal bull
inter mutanda constantia
Steadfast in the midst of change
Motto for Rockwell College in Ireland and Francis Libermann Catholic High School in Ontario, Canada.
inter spem et metum
between hope and fear
inter urinas et faeces nascimur
we are born between urine and feces
Attributed to St Augustine.
between the living
Refers to property transfers between living persons, as opposed to a testamentary transfer upon death such as an inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
within the walls
Not public; source of the word intramural. See also Intramuros, Manila.
within the powers
Within one's authority
Motto of the English county of Kent.
I remain unvanquished
Motto of the Armstrong Clan.
Iohannes est nomen eius
John is his name
Motto of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
ipsa scientia potestas est
knowledge itself is power
Famous phrase written by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597.
he himself said it
Commonly said in Medieval debates and referring to Aristotle. Used in general to emphasize that some assertion comes from some authority, i.e., as an argument from authority, and the term ipse-dixitism has come to mean any unsupported rhetorical assertion that lacks a logical argument. A literal translation by Cicero (in his De Natura Deorum 1.10) of the Greek «αὐτὸς ἔφα», an invocation by Pythagoreans when appealing to the pronouncements of the master.
the very words themselves
"Strictly word for word" (cf. verbatim). Often used in Biblical Studies to describe the record of Jesus' teaching found in the New Testament (specifically, the four Gospels).
in the very 'voice' itself
To approximate the main thrust or message without using the exact words.
by the fact itself
By that very fact
wrath of the gods
Like the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the ancient Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of pax deorum (peace of the gods) instead of ira deorum (wrath of the gods): earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.
ira furor brevis est
Wrath (anger) is but a brief madness
A useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes", preferring to respond to questions with the affirmative or negative of the question (e.g., "Are you hungry?" was answered by "I am hungry" or "I am not hungry", not "Yes" or "No).
ite, missa est
Go, it is the dismissal
Loosely: "You have been dismissed". Concluding words addressed to the people in the Mass of the Roman Rite.
The path of the law
The path a law takes from its conception to its implementation.
to cut the throat of corpses
From Gerhard Gerhards' (1466-1536) better known as Erasmus collection of annotated Adagia (1508). It can mean attacking the work or personality of deceased person. Alternatively, it can be used to describe criticism of an individual already heavily criticised by others.
together they strive
also spelled juncta juvant; from the legal principle quae non valeant singula, iuncta iuvant ("What is without value on its own, helps when joined")
iura novit curia
the court knows the law
A legal principle in civil law countries of the Roman-German tradition that says that lawyers need not to argue the law, as that is the office of the court. Sometimes miswritten as iura novat curia (the court renews the laws).
in right of his mother
Indicates a right exercised by a son on behalf of his mother.
in right of his wife
Indicates a right exercised by a husband on behalf of his wife.
iuris ignorantia est cum ius nostrum ignoramus
it is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights
right of accrual
Commonly referred to as "right of survivorship": a rule in property law that surviving joint tenants have rights in equal shares to a decedent's property.
ius ad bellum
law towards war
Refers to the laws that regulate the reasons for going to war. Typically, this would address issues of self-defense or preemptive strikes.
Refers to a fundamental principle of international law considered to have acceptance among the international community of states as a whole. Typically, this would address issues not listed or defined by any authoritative body, but arise out of case law and changing social and political attitudes. Generally included are prohibitions on waging aggressive war, crimes against humanity, war crimes, piracy, genocide, slavery, and torture.
ius in bello
law in war
Refers to the "laws" that regulate the conduct of combatants during a conflict. Typically, this would address issues of who or what is a valid target, how to treat prisoners, and what sorts of weapons can be used. The word jus is also commonly spelled ius.
ius primae noctis
law of the first night
The droit de seigneur.
iustitia fundamentum regni
justice is the foundation of a reign
Motto of the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office of the Czech Republic.
justice for all
The motto of Washington, D.C.
iuventuti nil arduum
to the young nothing is difficult
Motto of Canberra Girls' Grammar School.
iuventutis veho fortunas
I bear the fortunes of youth
Motto of Dollar Academy.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license