Some Latin Literary Phrases

After a month of rather serious subjects, I thought I’d make a lighter post about some common Latin phrases used in writing today, as well as what they mean (courtesy of Latin Made Simple by Doug Julius 🙂 . So, without further fuss, here they are:

addenda et corrigenda (“things added and corrected”)-a supplement, usually to a book.

apparatus criticus (“critical apparatus”)-reference material used in the critical study of a literary work.

et alia (“and others”)-used in citing works with multiple authors (usually written et al.)

ex libris (“from the library of”)

ibidem (“in the same place”)-used in footnotes to refer to the same source mentioned in the citation immediately before the current one. (usually written ibid.)

id est (“that is”)-usually written i.e.

in medias res (“In the middle of things”)-starting a story in the midst of the action (after which the author usually goes back in time to explain how this situation came about–a favorite tool of mine).

lex sctipta (“written law”)-laws passed by a legislative body and put into effect.

lex non scripta (unwritten law”)-laws developed out of common practice or usage. Common law, in other words.

licentia poetica (“poetic license”)

nota bene (“note well”)-used to draw special attention to something in writing. (often written N.B.).

opere citato (“in the work cited”)-used in footnotes to refer to a title previously referred to. (often written op. cit.)

post scriptum (“written after”)-a note at the end of a letter making an addendum to the main body of material. (usually written P.S.)

verbatim ac litteratim (“word for word and letter for letter”)

videlicet (“namely”)-introduces further explanation. (often written viz.)

Published by J. S. Allen

J. S. Allen is a writer, linguist, historian, and nature-lover from Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of the young adult series Sauragia and Knights of Aralia, as well as the 'Woodland Tales' anthology for children. Several of his shorter works have also appeared in various print and online periodicals over the years. In between writing and publishing, he likes to draw, spend long hours outdoors, and read. His favorite authors include M. I. McAllister, Brian Jacques, and Alexandre Dumas.

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