15 Latin expressions for you to learn and play smart

We know that playing smart is never the best way to show cleverness, because even the smart ones don't have to shout Nietzsche's phrases in the wind. On the other hand, there are those who have fun with that, and when it comes to joking, there is nothing wrong, right? Here are some Latin phrases for you to use in any conversation and surprise your friends:

1 - Auribus teneo lupum

Here is a proverb that was quite popular in ancient Rome. The term “auribus teneo lupum” was used when the situation was unsustainable, and particularly when doing nothing or doing something to solve a problem was equally risky. Bizarre, right? Literally, "auribus teneo lupum" means "holding a wolf by the ears."

2 - Beard tenus sapientes

A practical proof that the ancient Romans associated beard with intelligence is the expression above, which was used to refer to that "as wise as his beard." Judgment was given to those who looked smart, but who were really no big deal.

The expression "beard non facit philosophum" was more straightforward and said "a beard makes no philosopher." This is good! And yet in the field of the beard, we have "beard crescit caput nescit", which means "beard grows, but the head is no longer wise".

3 - Brutum fulmen

Saying “brutum fulmen” is the same as saying “meaningless lightning, ” which is what the Romans used when they meant a harmless or hollow threat. Weird.

4 - Caesar non supra grammaticos

It all started when Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg used the Latin word "schisma" which means "schism" in the wrong way. In Latin, the word is not female, but Sigismund used it as it were, and when corrected he raged that he was emperor and could do everything.

It was then that a council member intervened and released a "Ceasar non supra grammaticos", which is nothing more than "The emperor is not above grammar." The phrase quickly became a proverb commonly used in defense of "good grammar." If you're a bore who keeps correcting everyone, here's a hint of what to read and here, what to hear.

5 - Carpe Noctem

If “carpe diem” is “enjoy the day”, “carpe noctem” is “enjoy the night”. The sentence was used to encourage people to make the most of their time and even to do something good at night after a productive day.

6 - Carthago delenda est

The term was commonly used between 264 BC and 146 BC during the war period between Rome and Carthage. The translation would be something like "Carthage must be destroyed." Today, there are those who use the term to refer to something that needs to be done, to action that must be taken.

7 - Cartigat ridiculing mores

Meaning something like “morality corrects itself by smiling, ” the motto caught after it was used by poet Jean de Santeul, who wanted to show how useful satirical writing was for social change. He believed that the best way to change the rules would be by pointing out how absurd they were. Makes sense, doesn't it?

8 - Corvus oculum corvi non eruit

The phrase is very good when we notice the behavior of some politicians who, when they need to, smile alongside other politicians, even when both hate each other. The translation would be something like "a crow does not tear the eye of another crow" and refers to sympathetic behavior among people of similar groups, even if it is only pretense.

9 - Cui bono?

The Latin phrase means “who benefits?” And is often used in legal proceedings in an attempt to argue that the one who wins the most in a criminal situation is probably to blame.

10 - Ex nihilo nihil fit

If you want to tell someone that it takes hard work to get good results, ex nihilo nihil fit fits well. The translation is simple and straightforward: "Nothing comes from nothing."

11 - Felix Guilt

This expression is religious in nature and was used when the sermon was about Adam and Eve. The meaning is "happy guilt" and it represented a disaster that ended surprisingly and with benefits.

12 - Hannibal ad doors

During the Punic War, Commander Hannibal became known for wreaking havoc against the Roman Empire, and the "Hannibal ad doors" was commonly used by parents who wanted to scare their children and put order in the house. The expression means "Hannibal is at the gates".

13 - Homo sum humani a me nihil alienum kid

The phrase is originally from a play and means "I am a human being, so nothing human is foreign to me." After being said for the first time, it was used as a way of respecting different cultures.

14 - Ignotum per ignotius

Do you know when you don't understand something and someone gives an explanation that makes everything even more confusing? In this case you can say "ignotum per ignotius", which is nothing more than "the unknown for the most unknown."

15 - Vox nihili

The expression meaning “the voice of nothing” was used to describe something meaningless or even to point out a textual error, especially when one word was exchanged for another and distorted the meaning of the message.


So, did you already know any of these expressions? Which one makes the most sense to you? Tell us in the comments!

* Posted on 08/04/2014


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