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

(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.

pomum Adami
Adam's apple.

The voice "box" in the throat.

pons asinorum
Bridge of donkeys [asses].

A test for beginners; problem that the slow-witted cannot solve. It is anything except a "bridge"; it is really pedica asinorum, the "dolt's stumbling block."

—Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable; revised by Ivor H. Evans; published by Harper & Row, Publishers; New York; 1981.
Pontifex Maximus
The chief or senior priest and head of the state religion of Rome; in this case, it is not a reference to the Roman Catholic Church but to classical Rome.

At first he was probably required to be a patrician, but by the middle Republic era he was more than likely to be a plebeian. He supervised all of the various members of the priestly colleges—augurs, pontifices, other minor priests, and the Vestal Virgins.

posse (posse comitatus)
1. In common law, posse comitatus (Latin for "the power of the county") referred to the authority wielded by the county sheriff to conscript any able-bodied male over the age of fifteen to assist him in keeping the peace or to pursue and arrest a felon; compare hue and cry. It is the law enforcement equivalent of summoning the militia for military purposes.
2. The body of persons that a peace officer of a U.S. county is empowered to call upon for assistance in preserving the peace, making arrests, and serving writs.
3. The assembled group is called a posse for short.
Possunt quia posse videntur.
They can because they think they can. -Vergil
post cibum; p.c.
After meals; after food.

Used in medical prescriptions as directions for proper consumption after meals.

Post cineres gloria sera venit.
After one is reduced to ashes, fame comes too late.

Too often fame comes after one's death.

post diem
After the [appointed or proper] day.

A term used in law.

Post hoc; ergo propter hoc.
After this, therefore because of this.

The logical fallacy that because one event follows another, the former must have caused the latter; or, the fallacy of arguing that something is the effect of a certain cause when there is no evidence of any connection.

post meridiem; p.m.
After the middle of the day; after noon.
post obitum
After death.
post partum
After birth.
post postscriptum; PPS
Written after that which was previously written afterward.

That which is written after a previous post script as an additional after thought.

post scriptum; PS, P.S.
A post script; written afterward.

Anything that is written [added] after the main message of a letter; an afterthought.

Praesis ut prosis.
Lead that you may serve.

Motto of Lancaster School, U.K.


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