So common yet so little known…

So common yet so little known…

Hello friends… feels good to come out in the sun from under the rock. I’ve been thinking of a topic to write, when I stumbled upon this one… we’ve been using these phrases since we learnt speaking… but do we know that these were Latin phrases, borrowed in English? I hear some ‘YES’es and see many blank faces. It’s OK, we’re not computers/savants to know everything. Here’s a low-down for your benefit…


ad hoc

Transliteration: For this

Translation: improvised, made up on the spot


alma mater

Transliteration: Nourishing mother

Translation: the university one attends/has attended

Note: The word “matriculation” is derived from “mater”. The term suggests that the students are “fed” knowledge and taken care of by the university.


a.m. (ante meridiem)

Transliteration: Before noon

Translation: the period from midnight to noon


A.D. (Anno Domini)

Transliteration: In the year of the lord

Translation: a year counted from the traditional date birth of Jesus Christ


Bona fide

Transliteration: In good faith

Translation: genuine; real


CV (Curriculum vitae)

Transliteration: Course of life

Translation: A résumé


etc. (Et cetera)

Transliteration: And the rest

Translation: and others/and so on/and more


E.g. (Exempli gratia)

Transliteration: For the sake of example, for example



Transliteration: He/she leaves

Note: used e.g. in theatrical stage directions


i.e. (Id est)

Transliteration: That is (to say), abbreviated as ‘i.e.’ – sometimes “in this case,” depending on the context.

Note: It is not equivalent to “e.g.”, in any context


Magnum opus

Transliteration: Great work

Translation: someone’s masterpiece


Modus operandi (M. O.)

Transliteration: Way of working

Translation: a criminal’s methods


N.B. (nota bene)

Transliteration: Note it well

Translation: please note, important note

Per annum

Transliteration: Per year


Per caput/per capita

Transliteration: Per head

Translation: per person


Per se

Transliteration: By itself/in itself

Translation: without referring to anything else, intrinsically, taken without qualifications, etc.; for instance, negligence per se


Post meridiem (p.m.)

Transliteration: After noon

Translation: in the period from noon to midnight

Post mortem

Transliteration: After death


P.S. (Post scriptum)

Transliteration: Post script

Translation: used to mark additions to a letter, after the signature

Pro rata

Transliteration: For the rate

Translation: per hour/per day/per month


Requiescat in pace (R.I.P.)

Transliteration: May he rest in peace

Translation: a benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers.


Versus (vs.)

Transliteration: Against

These were some of the most commonly used phrases. There are others too – however owing to the fact that we seldom use those in our routine lives – I chose to omit them from this blog. Let me know if interested, I could share some more of them. Bonne nuit!!!

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