In a scene from my favorite TV show, “Freaks and Geeks,“ teenager Lindsay Weir has been caught skipping class.
In trying to justify her delinquency, she says, “Daddy, I skipped Latin.” He replies, “Oh. Well, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to learn about that. It’s only the building block of our language.”
Whether we realize it or not, Latin terms are everywhere in business and corporate communications.
1. A priori: from the former
Something that is known beforehand; something that is true without proof; deductive.
2. Ad hoc: to this
Formed for a specific purpose; improvised or impromptu.
3. Ad hominem: to the man
Attacking a person instead of his or her ideas or arguments.
4. Alma mater: nourishing mother
The school, college or university that one attended.
5. Bona fide: good faith
Authentic, sincere, genuine.
6. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware
The buyer’s responsibility for evaluating products being purchased.
7. Curriculum vitae: course of life
A detailed account of your education, accomplishments, work history, publications, etc. most often used to apply for academic positions.
8. De facto: in fact
In reality, actually.
9. Emeritus: having served one’s time
A person who has retired but is allowed to keep his or her title as an honor.
10. Ergo: therefore
11. Ex libris: from the books
An inscription used to indicate ownership of a book, such as, “from the library of.”
12. Habeas corpus: you should have the body
A writ ordering someone to appear before a judge; an order that serves as protection against unlawful imprisonment.
13. Ibidem (ibid): in the same place
In the same source.
14. Ipso facto: by the fact itself
Because of that fact.
15. In situ: in position
Something that exists in its natural, original state.
16. In vitro: in glass
Performed or taking place in a test tube, culture dish or elsewhere outside a living organism.
17. Mea culpa: my fault
Acknowledgement of one’s fault or error.
18. Non sequitur: does not follow
Something that does not make sense in context; a statement that is not connected logically with anything said before it.
19. Per se: through itself
By, in or of itself; intrinsically.
20. Persona non grata: person not pleasing
An undesirable or unwelcome person.
21. Pro bono: for the good
Done without compensation.
22. Pro rata: for the rate
In proportion; something that can be calculated.
23. Stet: let it stand
A symbol used to indicate that a letter or word marked for omission or correction should remain as is.
24. Subpoena: under penalty
An order to appear in court and testify.
25. Tabula rasa: scraped tablet
A blank slate; the human mind before it gains knowledge.
26. Verbatim: word for word
To repeat using the same words
Ragan readers, what Latin words would you add to this list?