Common Latin, Greek, and French expressions used in English     Complied by Jack Kettler


Common Latin expressions used in English:


Ante Bellum: “Before the war”


Ad Hoc: “For this purpose”


Ad hominem: “Against the man”


Ad infinitum: “To Infinity; having no end”


Ad Litem: “For a lawsuit or action”


Alibi: “Elsewhere”


Ad Nauseam: “To a sickening extent”


A Posteriori: “Reasoning from effects to causes”


A Priori: “Reasoning from causes to effects”


Ars Gratia Artis: “Art for art's sake”


Bona fide: “With good faith”


Bonus: “Good”


Carpe diem: “Seize the day"


Caveat emptor: “Let the buyer beware”


Cogito ergo sum: “I think, therefore I exist am”


Compos mentis: “Of sound mind”


De Facto: “In fact”


E.g.: “For example”


I.e.: “That is to say"


Ego: “I”


Ergo: “Therefore”


E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one”


Et cetera: “And so on”


Ex libris: “From the library of”


Extra: “In addition to”


Ex Post Facto: “After the fact”


Habeas Corpus: “Literally that you have a body”


Ibid. “In the same place in a book”


Imprimatur: “Let it be printed”


Impromptu: “Spontaneous”


In Absentia: “In their absence”


Intro: “Within”


In Vino Veritas: “Truth comes out under the influence of alcohol”


In Vitro: “In a test tube”


In Vivo: “Within the living organism”


Magnum opus: “A great work”


Mea Culpa: “Through my own fault”


Multi: “Many”


Nihil obstat: “Nothing stands in the way”


Non sequitur: “It does not follow”


Nosce te ipsum: “Know thyself”


Nota bene: “Take notice” 


Pax Romana: “Roman Peace”


Pax voviscum: “Peace unto you”


Per Accidens: “By Accident”


Per Annum: “By the Year”


Per se: “In itself”


Post hoc, ergo propter hoc: “After this, therefore because of this”


Prima Facie: “At first sight; on the face of it”


Pro bono: “For the public good”


Post Mortem: “After death”


Post Tenebras, Lux: “After darkness, light”


Quid pro quo: “Something for something”


Quod Erat Demonstrandum: “Which was to be demonstrated”


Re: “About”


Sic et non: “Yes and no”


Semi: “Half”

Semper Fi: "Always loyal"


Sic semper tyrannis: “Thus always to tyrants”


Sine qua non: “Indispensable”


Status quo: “Existing state of affairs”


Stet: “Let it stand”


Tabula rasa: “Blank slate”


Tempus Fugit: “Time flies”


Ut humiliter opinor: “In my humble opinion”


Verbatim: “In exactly the same words”


Versus: “Against”


Vice versa: “The other way around”


Common Greek expressions used in English:


Achilles’ heel: “weakness”


Acrobat: “someone who walks on the edge”


Atlas: “book of maps”


Cemetery: “dormitory for the dead”


Chronology: “order of time”


Cynicism: “distrust of others' motives"


Democracy: “Power to the People”


Dinosaur: “bad lizard”


Echo: “replication of sound”


Ethnic: “race”


Europe: “a mythological princess who rode on a bull”


Fortune: “good luck”


Galaxy: “literally milky”


Harp: “nonstop complaining”


Jovial: “cheerfulness”


Marathon: “long-distance footrace”


Marmalade: “sweet fruit”


Mega: “large, powerful”


Melancholy: “feeling gloomy”


Mentor: “trusted advisor”


Midas touch: “good fortune”


Mono: “referring to one”


Music: “art of the Muses”


Neuron: “referring to the nerve”


Narcissism: “in love with himself”


Nemesis: “mortal enemy”


Nomo: “law”


Pan” “referring to all”


Panic: “terror”


Phobia: “irrational fear”


Plutocracy: “government run by wealthy”


Psychology: “science of mental behavior”


Planet: “wandering stars”


Sarcasm: “cutting remark”


Schizophrenia: “mental disorder”


Sycophant: “insincere flatterer”


Tele: plus the word – “telephone”


Thespian:  “actor”


Zoo: “referring to animals”


Common French expressions used in English:


À la carte: “on the menu, with each dish priced”


Agent provocateur: “a spy, an instigator”


Avant-garde: “vanguard”


Carte blanche: “unlimited authority”


Cliché: “an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work that has become overused”


Clique: “a small exclusive group of friends”


Crème: “cream of the cream”


Communiqué: “official communication”


Concierge: “receptionist at a hotel”


Déjà vu: “already seen”


Façade: “front view of an edifice”


Femme fatale: “a dangerously attractive woman”


Gaffe: “blunder”


Grand prix: “a premier event”


Hors d'œuvre: “appetizer”


Laissez-faire: “economic policy”


Liaison: “a connection”


Lingerie: “female underwear”


Mardi gras: “the last day of the Carnival or pre-Lenten season”


Pot-pourri: “a mixture of dried petals”


Par excellence: “ultimate or quintessential”


Vis-à-vis “face to face”


Vinaigrette: “salad dressing”


Voyeur: “Peeping Tom”


“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: