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. (Latin)
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 (Latin)
To which; to whom.

Opposite of a quo (from which).

Ad quem indicates "to which'" for the calculation of time or distance.
ad quod damnum (Latin)
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 issued from the English chancery, commanded the sheriff to make an inquiry "to what damage" a specified act, if done, would tend.

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

ad referendum (ahd reh feh REHN duum) (adverb) (not comparable) (Latin)
Translation: "For further consideration"
Ad referendum 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 (adverb) (Latin) (not comparable)
To the thing.

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

Ad summum. (Latin)
At the highest; at the utmost.

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

ad unguem (Latin)
Perfectly.

Literally, "to a fingernail": Ad unguem 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 (Latin)
Unanimously.

Literally, "all to one"; "unanimously": During the staff meeting at school all the teachers voted ad unum to have following day off!

ad usum; ad us. (Latin)
According to usage.

When Bill read the directions on the package, it mentioned to apply it ad unum for the plants and nothing else.

Ad utrumque paratus. (Latin)
Ready for either eventuality or alternative.

A mature person is ready to cope with any eventuality, including the final one; "Prepared for the worst."

Ad utrumque paratus is used as a motto on the seal of Lund University, for the Spanish Navy Submarine force, and is also located at the entrance of the Submarine School in Cartagena's Naval Station in Spain.

Compare with semper paratus.

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

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

Ad valorem also refers to taxes as "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.

ad verbum (Latin)
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)
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. (Latin)
Translation: "To virtue through wisdom."

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

ad vitam (Latin)
To or for life; to eternal 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.