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Boost Your Vocab: Common Latin Terms Still Used in Modern English

Common Latin Terms Still Used in Modern English
Latin is one of the ancient Italic languages, which is no longer spoken primarily by any country. However, you will find bits and pieces of this language in modern English. So, while you needn't learn to read and write Latin, it's always good to know the common Latin terms still used.
Neha Deshpande
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
Did You Know?
According to a survey published in Ordered Profusion by Dieter Wolff and Thomas Finkenstaedt, 29% of the modern English words are derived from Latin.
Genealogically if we see, there is no such close relation between English and Latin. Many of us have the misconception of English descending from either Latin or Greek. However, this is not the truth; to an extent, English has been quite influenced by Latin. In the period of 43 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius invaded Britain and culminated with the Norman Conquest. During this time, many of the Latin words and phrases entered English language, some directly and some through French. Although, Latin is no longer spoken as a primary language in any country, some part of it still exists in our daily speaking and writing. You will find many scholars, students, and Roman Catholic clergies using this language fluently.
Some Common Latin Terms
Check out the list provided below, and you will come across half the words that you already use in your daily conversation, not knowing that they are of Latin origin. And if you don't know the following terms, then you can start using it to improve your lexicon.

Latin TermsIn Literal English
ab extrafrom outside
ab ovofrom the beginning
ad hocfor the specific purpose
ad hominemto the man, to the person
ad infinitumto infinity, forevermore
ad nauseamto [the point of] nausea
affidavithe has declared upon oath
alma materbountiful mother
alter egothe other I
bona fidein good faith
carpe diemseize the day
caveat emptorlet the customer beware
ceteris paribusother things being equal
circaabout, around
cogito, ergo sumI think, therefore I am
compos mentisin control of the mind
curriculum vitaecourse of (one's) life
de jureaccording to law, concerning law
Dei gratiaby the grace of God
de factofrom the fact
de novoanew
erratummistake, error
et aliiand others
ex cathedrafrom the seat
et ceteraand so on, and so forth
exempli gratiafor the sake of an example
ex gratiafrom kindness
ex librisfrom the books, from the library of
habeas corpusthat you have the body
homo sapienswise men
in absentiain absence
in actuin act
id estthat is (to say)
infrabelow, beneath
in memoriamin memory
inter aliaamong other things
in situin place
in totoin total, completely
in vino veritasin wine there is the truth
in vitroin glass
in vivowithin the living
ipso factoby the fact itself
magnum opusgreat work
mea culpamy fault, my mistake
mens reaguilty mind
modus operandimode of working
nota benenote well, note carefully
pari passuwith an equal step, on equal footing
perfor each
per annumfor each year
per capitaby heads, for each head
per centumfor each one hundred
per diemper day, for each day
per sein itself, by itself
persona non grataan unwelcome person
prima facieon the first appearance
pro bonofor the public good
pro formaas a matter of form
pro rataproportionally
postmortemafter death
quasiwith some resemblance
quid pro quothis for that
requiescat in pacerest in peace
rigor mortisstiffness of death
sine qua nonwithout which [it could] not
status quothe state in which
subpoenaunder penalty, under punishment
sui generisof its own kind
tabula rasaclean slate, blank slate
veni, vidi, viciI came, I saw, I conquered
verbatimword for word, in exactly the same words
vice versathe other way round
Learning and speaking Latin fluently may not be necessary, but knowing some of these terms will help you in improving your language and comprehension skills.