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.

Advocatus diaboli. (Latin)
Translation: "Devil's advocate."

This term is generally used to describe someone who takes the unpopular or opposite side in an argument either out of contentiousness or out of a zeal for the truth.

aeger
Sick.

A noun that means "an invalid"; as an adjective, it means "sick". In British universities, aeger is the traditional term used on students' medical excuses for failing to appear for an examination, and a medical excuse itself may also be called an aeger.

Aegrescit medendo.
The disease worsens with the treatment.

This statement, by Virgil, is also translated as, "The remedy (cure) is worse than the disease."

Aegrotat.
He is sick.

Also translated as, "A note from the doctor." In British universities, an aegrotat is an official medical excuse. The meaning is extended to mean that an unclassified degree may be granted by a British university to a student who completes all academic requirements except final examinations, if the student is too sick to participate in the examinations.

Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem. (Latin motto)
Translation: "Remember to maintain a clear head when attempting difficult tasks."
aequam servare mentem
to keep an unruffled mind.

This recognizes the value of maintaining a clear head while participating in the activities of life; especially, when making special decisions.

aequo animo
with a calm mind [calmly]

Anyone who has composure or equanimity usually behaves aequo animo.

aere perennius (Latin phrase)
Literally, copper or bronze through the year; and by extension: durable, lasting: In the Bronze Age, aere perennius metal represented permanence, since bronze tools were so much less brittle than the stone implements of earlier times.

When a Roman spoke of something as being aere perennius, or "more durable than bronze", he meant that it would last forever.

Aerugo animi rubigo ingenii.
The rust of the mind is the destruction of genius.

Alfred Henderson, Latin Proverbs, page 10 (1869), quoting Seneca. An equivalent English proverb: "I had rather wear out than rust out." Written by George Whitfield in his Remark (c. 1770).

aes alienum
Debt; borrowed money.

Literally, "another's money". An opposite term is aes suum (one's own money).

aetatis; ae., aet.; aetatis suae
Aged; of age; in the year of his (or her) age.

These terms are shortened versions of the more proper anno aetatis suae, "In the year of his/her age.". Frequently found abbreviated on old tombstones, it appears variously as A.A.S., A.S., and most commonly aet; for example, if someone died in his 41st year, the marker might read "d. aet.41" or "ob. aet. 41". See obiit (a death list or an inscription found on tombstones) for further explanations.

Aeternum vale. (Latin statement)
Translation: "Farewell forever."

Appropriate for a tombstone.

Affavit Deus et dissipantur.
God breathed and they were put to flight.

This is one version of an inscription on a medal struck in commemoration of the destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The inscription was also given as Flavit Jehovah et dissipati sunt (Jehovah breathed and they were dispersed).

Although the Spanish were doing battle with the English fleet, under the leadership of Sir Frances Drake, it is recorded that powerful storms at sea during the period of the battle were of great assistance in destroying the Spanish fleet. So the idea of divine intervention had validity for them.

agape (Greek)
Love.

A love-feast. The early Christians held a love feast in conjunction with the Lord's Supper when the rich provided food for the poor. Eventually they became a scandal and were condemned by the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397.

Today it may be considered a feast or gathering characterized by friendliness and a good feeling for each other. For some people, it also represents God's love and is not considered to be on the same level as love between human beings.

This "love" unit about agape words goes beyond the well-known "Christian love" concept.

Age hoc.
Attend to this (pay attention to this).

During a sacrifice, the Roman crier repeated these words to get or to keep the attention of those in attendance.


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