Latin Proverbs, Mottoes, Phrases, and Words: Group A

(classical-language maxims, slogans, adages, proverbs, and words of wisdom that can still capture our modern imagination)

Expressions of general truths: Latin to English maxims, proverbs, and mottoes

Word entries are from Latin unless otherwise indicated.

Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora.
Eggs today are better than chickens tomorrow.

Like the English proverb: "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." It is considered more important to hold on to what one has than to risk everything in speculation.

ad quem
For which; to whom.

Opposite of a quo (from which).

ad quod damnum
To what damage.

A legal phrase used for assessing damages relating to privately owned land that is taken for public use. The name of a writ formerly issuing from the English chancery, commanding the sheriff to make an inquiry "to what damage" a specified act, if done, will tend.

This writ is of ancient origin, and could be issued as a writ of right when a landowner was dissatisfied with the assessment of damages as a result of a condemnation commission.

ad referendum (ahd reh feh REHN duum) (s) (noun); ad referenda (or) ad referendums
Translation: "For further consideration" which literally translates as "for referring" and is a diplomatic term: Diplomats who accept a proposal for their governments ad referendum indicate by their actions that final acceptance is dependent on the approval of the diplomats' governments.

The legal phrase ad referendum is also used for assessing damages relating to privately owned land that is taken for public use.

This writ of ad referendum is of ancient origin, and could have been issued as a writ of right when a landowner was dissatisfied with the assessment of damages to his property as a result of a condemnation commission.

ad rem
To the thing.

Translated as, "to the matter at hand; to the point; relevant" can be presented in various ways. This phrase contrasts with ad hominem in that debaters who argue ad rem address the matter at hand to score points in the debate; debaters who argue ad hominem personally attack their opponents to score points.

Ad summum.
To the highest.

Motto of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.

ad unguem
Perfectly.

Literally, "to a fingernail", this phrase is used to convey the thought of accomplishing something well or precisely.

In ancient times, a sculptor would test the smoothness of a finished surface by running a fingernail over it.

ad unum
Unanimously.

Literally, "all to one", where the meaning is "unanimously".

ad usum; ad us.
According to usage.
Ad utrumque paratus.
Ready for either [eventuality].

A mature person is ready to cope with any eventuality, including the final one; in other words: "Prepared for the worst." Compare with semper paratus.

ad valorem; ad val., ad v., a/v; ad valorem tax (Latin terms)
Translation: "According to value or per unit of value; that is, divided by the price."

Many states and federal governments tax energy extraction in this manner.

It also refers to taxes: "In proportion to invoiced value of goods." A term used when imposing customs and stamp duty, the duty increasing according to the value of the transaction of goods involved. Pronounced in English as: ad vuh LOH ruhm.

ad verbum
To the word.

This is the Latin equivalent of verbatim. There are several other Latin expressions for "word-for-word"; including: e verbo, de verbo, and pro verbo. These probably referred to the problems of making accurate copies before printing was invented.

Ad vindictam tardus, ad beneficientiam velox. (Latin motto)
Translation: "Punish slowly, do good quickly."

Motto of Henry I (918-936) who forced the dukes of Bavaria and Swabia to recognize his authority. He protected Saxony against the Slavs by building several fortresses and by creating a powerful cavalry which he used to defeat the invading Magyars on the Unstrut River in 933.

King Henry succeeded in annexing the key Carolingian realm of Lorraine to the east Franconian realm. He is regarded as the actual founder of the German Empire.

Ad virtutem per sapientiam.
Translation: "To virtue through wisdom."

Motto of Castle Jr. College, Windham, New Hampshire, USA.

ad vitam
To or for life.

A legal term found in some wills, meaning, "for use only during a person's life."


Pointing to a page about a kleptomaniac Units of mottoes and proverbs listed by groups: A to X.