15 Latin Phrases Every Writer Should Know
- Persona Non Grata
“An unwelcome person” (lately defined by some as a literary agent)
- Habeas Corpus
“You have the body” (The legal right to appear before a judge.)
- Cogito Ergo Sum
“I think, therefore I am.” For a writer it would be – “Scribo ergo sum”
- E Pluribus Unum
“Out of many, one”
- Quid Pro Quo
“This for that” or in other words, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”
- Ad Hominem
“To the man” During an argument or discussion, when one party attacks their opponent’s reputation or expertise rather than sticking to the issue at hand.
- Soli Deo Gloria
“Glory to God alone” – a motto of the Reformation. Johann Sebastian Bach would sign his compositions with the initials S.D.G.
- Caveat Emptor
“Let the buyer beware” (before you use the “1-click” feature on Amazon.com)
- Memento Mori
“Remember your mortality” (also the name of an album by Flyleaf)
- Caveat Lector
“Let the reader beware” (be nice to your reading audience!)
- Sui Generis
“Of its own kind,” or “Unique” – a key principle in copyright or intellectual property law
- Veni, vidi, vici
“I came, I saw, I conquered” – A message supposedly sent by Julius Caesar to the Roman Senate to describe a battle in 47 BC. For the writer? “Veni, vidi, scripsi” (I came, I saw, I wrote)
- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
“For the Greater Glory of God” – see 1 Corinthians 10:31. Johann Sebastian Bach also used the initials A.M.D.G.
- Mea Culpa
“By my fault” – or in common language today, “My bad.”
- Pro Bono.
“Done without charge” – Incorrectly used by fans of U2.