Latin words and abbreviations – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Latin words and abbreviations


Latin words and abbreviations

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Word or Phrase Abbreviation Meaning
a fortiori   with stronger reason
a latere   (of a legate sent by the Pope) confidential, (literally) from the side
a majori   from the greater
a majori ad minus   from the greater to the less
a minori   from the less
a minori ad majus   from the less to the greater
a natura rei   from the nature of the case
ab extra   from the outside
ab initio ab init from the beginning
ab intra   from the inside
ab origine   from the very first, from the source
ab ovo   literally, from the egg, from the beginning
ab urbe condita AUC from the founding of the city (of Rome) 753BC
absente reo abs re / abse re in the absence of the accused
Academiae Americanae Socius AAS Fellow of the American Academy
Acherontis pabulum   (of a bad person) food for Acheron
acta   official minutes of proceedings
acta sanctorum   deeds of the saints
ad hanc vocem ahv at this word
ad hunc locum ahl at this place
ad initium ad init at or to the beginning
ad locum ad loc at the place
ad majorem Dei gloriam AMDG to the greater glory of God
ad aperturam libri   as the book opens
ad arbitrium   at pleasure
ad astra   to the stars
ad avizandum   for further consideration
ad Calendas Graecas   at the Greek calends, i.e. never, as the Greeks had no calends
ad captandum / ad captandum vulgus   with the intention of pleasing or appealing to the emotions of the crowd
ad clerum   to the clergy
ad crumenam   to the purse
ad eundem   to or at the same level or status (as already attained, esp at another university)
ad finem  ad fin at, to, or towards the end
ad hoc   for this special purpose
ad hominem   addressed to the feelings or prejudices of the hearer or reader
ad infinitum ad inf to infinity
ad libitum ad lib extempore, impromptu
ad litem   (of a guardian, etc) appointed for a lawsuit
ad manum   at or to hand, ready
ad misericordiam   (of an argument, etc) appealing to pity
ad modum   after the manner (of)
ad nauseam   to the point of producing disgust
ad patres   (gathered) to his or her fathers, dead
ad referendum   to be further considered
ad rem   to the point, to the purpose
ad summum   to the highest point
ad unguem   to a nicety, (literally, to the nail)
ad unum omnes   everyone to the last man
ad valorem ad val according or in proportion to value
ad verbum   word for word (literally, to a word)
ad vivum   to the life, lifelike
adsum   I am present, here
adversus adv. against
advocatus diaboli   the devil’s advocate
aequo animo   with an equable mind
aes alienum   debt, (literally) another’s copper or brass
aes triplex   a strong defence, (literally) triple brass
aetatis / aetatis suae ae. / aet. of his or her age, aged (so many years)
Albanensis Alban. of St Albans
alma mater   benign mother, applied by alumni to their university, school or college
alternis vicibus   alternately
alterum tantum   as much more
altum silentium   profound silence
amor patriae   love of country
ancile   in ancient Rome, the shield believed to have fallen from heaven in the reign of Numa Pompilius, on the safety of which the prosperity of Rome depended
Anglice Ang. in English
anima mundi   the soul of the world
animal bipes   a two-footed animal, man
animal implume   a featherless animal
animal rationale   a reasoning animal
animal risibile   an animal able to laugh
animo et fide   by courage and faith
anno a / an. in the year
anno ante Christum AAC in the year before Christ
anno Christi   in the year of Christ
anno Domini AD in the year of the Lord
anno Hegirae AH (in dates) in the year of Hegira (i.e. from the flight of Mohammed on 13 September in 622AD)
anno humanae salutis AHS in the year of human salvation
anno mundi AM in the year of the world
anno post Romam conditam APRC in the year after the founding of Rome (753BC)
anno regni   in the year of the reign
anno regni regis (or reginae) ARR in the year of the king’s (or queen’s) reign
anno salutis AS in the year of redemption / salvation
anno urbis conditae AUC in the year from the building of the city (of Rome) 753BC
annos vixit av lived (so many) years
annus a year
annus horribilis   a year of horrors
annus mirabilis   a year of wonders
anta / antae   a pilaster / pilasters at either side of a doorway or the corner of a flank wall
ante a / an. before
Ante Christum AC before Christ
ante cibum ac in medical prescriptions etc., before food…
ante diem ad before the day
ante prandium ap before a meal (on prescriptions)
ante lucem   before light
ante meridiem a.m. before noon, i.e. in the morning
ante mortem   before death
aqua aq. water, solution, liquid (chemistry and pharmacy)
arbiter elegantiarum   a judge on matters of taste
arbitrium   power of decision
ardentia verba   words that burn, glowing language
argumenti causa   for the sake of argument
argumentum   argument, proof
argumentum ad baculum   the argument of the stick or rod, i.e. of force
argumentum ad crumenam   argument addressed to the purse (i.e. to the desire for money)
argumentum ad hominem   an appeal to the known prejudices and preferences or previous admissions of an opponent
argumentum ad ignorantiam   argument founded on the ignorance of an opponent
argumentum ad invidiam   an appeal to prejudices
argumentum ad judicium   an appeal to common sense or judgement
argumentum ad rem   argument to the purpose, directed at the real issue
argumentum ad verecundiam   an appeal to awe or reverence (towards a prestigious or authoritative name or figure)
argumentum baculinum   the argument of the stick or rod, i.e. of force
argumentum per impossibile   the proof from the absurdity of a contradictory supposition
arrectis auribus   with ears pricked up
Artium Baccalaureus AB Bachelor of Arts (US)
Artium Magister AM Master of Arts
aspersorium   a holy-water vessel
audax et cautus   bold and cautious
audita querela   the name of a writ giving leave to appeal (literally, the suit having been heard)
aula   a hall
aura popularis   popular favour (literally, the popular breeze)
aurea mediocritas   the golden (or happy) mean
aurum potabile   a former medicine or cordial containing a small quantity of gold, (literally, drinkable gold)
ave atque vale   hail and farewell
Ave Maria AM hail Mary
avizandum / avisandum   private consideration of a case by a judge before giving judgement
axioma medium   a generalization from experience


Word or Phrase Abbreviation Meaning
Baccalaureus in Arte Ingeniaria BAI Bachelor of Engineering
Baccalaureus Chirurgiae BCh Bachelor of Surgery
Baccalaureus Litterarum BLitt Bachelor of Literature
Baccalaureus Philosophiae BPhil Bachelor of Philosophy
balneum Mariae   bain-marie
Beata Virgo BV Blessed Virgin
Beata Virgo Maria BVM Blessed Virgin Mary
beatae memoriae   of blessed memory
beati pacifici   blessed are the peacemakers
beatus ille   happy the man (literally, happy he)
bellum internecinum   a war of extermination
bene merentibus   to the well-deserving
bene vale BV farewell
bene vobis   health to you
benedicite   bless you
bona   goods
bona mobilia   movable goods
bona peritura   perishable goods
bona vacantia   unclaimed goods
brachium civile   the civil arm
brachium seculare   the secular arm
brevi manu   offhand (literally, with a short hand)
brutum fulmen   an ineffectual threat (literally, random thunderbolt)

Word or Phrase Abbreviation Meaning
C   top


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Created 17 February 2014

Updated 22 February 2014