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.

@ (at)
1. Once thought to originate from: ad, meaning "at, toward, to".
2. Used in such sentences as, "I purchased two books @ $15.00 each."

Deciding what to call this @ symbol has become a problem for some internet users because prior to its use on the Web as a separator in e-mail addresses, it had a limited application in bookkeeping, invoicing, and related business uses. That’s why some people still refer to it as the “commercial at” or simply the “at” symbol; as in web sites; for example, [email protected].

It is also used in emoticons (representation of facial expressions); such as, :-@ is meant to express a scream when it is desired to say something loudly because of anger.

Additional information about the name of @ may be found at amphora.

A baculo. (Latin term)
Translation: "By means of the rod [with a big stick]."

It has the meaning of using a threat of force instead of logic or persuasion.

A bove majori discit arare minor. (Latin statement)
Translation: "From the older ox, the younger learns to plow."

Also translated as, "A young ox learns to plow from an older one." or "The young learn from their elders."

A capite ad calcem. (Latin phrase)
Translation: "From head to heel; thoroughly."

Equivalent to "from top to bottom".

A cruce salus.
Salvation comes from the cross.

Used in the Roman Catholic Church to mean that salvation comes from a personal commitment to the teachings of Christianity.

a datu (Latin phrase)
Translation: "From the date"; as in, This document will take effect a datu which is indicated at the top of the page.
a Deo et Rege
From God and the King.

Some monarchs saw themselves as direct representatives of God on earth, so documents issued by them were often signed a Deo et Rege.

a Deum
Towards God.

A Roman Catholic Church ritual, facing the altar with one's back to the congregation [referring to the celebrant].

a die
From the day.
a die datus (Latin phrase)
Translation: "Dated from a certain day"; as in, Jim's mother had her will legally established with the a die datus last year after she met with her lawyer.
a fortiori (a fohr" tee OH ee, ay fohr" tee OH righ") (adverb), more a fortiori, most a fortiori
Conveying all the more so; with an even greater or stronger reason: Literally, a fortiori means from the stronger point and it is used to introduce a statement that, assuming a previous statement is accepted as true, must be all the more true.

If statement "A" is true, then a fortiori statement "B" must be true; for example, if students can't or won't do twenty minutes of homework each night, then a fortiori, they can't or won't do sixty minutes each night.

A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi.
A precipice in front, wolves behind.

Equivalent to: "Between a rock and a hard place." "Between the devil and the deep blue sea."

A mari usque ad mare (Latin phrase)
From the sea all the way to the sea.

The motto of the Dominion of Canada; also meaning, "From sea to sea."

In fact, for both Canada and the United States, the "seas" are really oceans. Although the Romans had the word oceanus, which they borrowed from the Greek okeanos, in Homer, it was considered to be a river that surrounded the earth.

The word mare was used more often to mean "ocean". Who could know the difference between oceans, seas, and rivers back in ancient Rome or even in Homer's time? In fact, there are many, even in our current existence, who cannot explain the differences.

A maximis ad minima. (Latin)
Translation: "From the greatest to the least."
A minimis quoque timendum. (Latin)
Translation: "One ought to fear even the tiniest of creatures."

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