Our Latin Roots

If you think you do not know Latin, think again. Many of the everyday phrases and words in our English language are Latin and those phrases and words are familiar and trill off our tongues with ease.

In legal speak we have many more Latin phrases that are less familiar.  Perhaps that is one reason that people think lawyers ‘speak a different language’.

Here are some common and not so common phrases: (Note that I will not be offering you the English translation – consider it ‘homework’!)

Alma mater

Quid pro quo

A priori

Vox populi and the less known vox nihili

Ad Litem

Carpe diem and the less well known Carpe noctem

Tempus Fugit

Semper Fidelis – (motto of the U.S. Marines)

Ultra Vires

Vice versa

Mea culpa and the less well known Felix culpa

Cui bono?

Brutum Fulmen

E Pluribus Unum – this one should sound very familiar – it is the motto of the U.S.

In vivo and In vitro

Curriculum vitae

Pro rata

Pro bono

Compis mentis

In vivo veritas – for those wine drinkers


Persona non grata

Terra firma

In toto


I could go on about this ‘ad nauseam’ (check off another Latin word), since there are literally hundreds of Latin words in use in the English language particularly in the fields of science, medicine and law. *

In terms of Estate Planning, there is one motto/saying that seems to stand out for me:

Semper Partus which might be translated as… Be Prepared. (It also happens to be the song of the U.S. Coast Guard)

To me…Semper Partus highlights the essence of Estate Planning –the preparation for the inevitable as well as for the unforeseen.


* For more interesting reading, seek out the book:

A Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases. Morwood, James. Oxford Univ. Press, 1998


Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

   Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  http://www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and informative infographics



About Attorney Barbara Ann Dalvano

Attorney in Denver, Colorado with extensive practice experience in the areas of Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Business Succession Planning, Probate, Contract Law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: