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.

Absit invidia. (Latin phrase)
Translation: "Let there be no ill will."

Used as a formal apology, "Let there be no bad feelings." or "No offense intended." or "Let there be no envy."

Absit omen. (Latin phrase)
Translation: "May the omen be absent."

Interpreted to mean, "May this be no omen." or "May this not be an omen." "Let there be no evil omen [because of the word just used]."

A reference to the superstition that the mere mention of some evil could make it happen.

The Romans, who were strong believers in divination, had soothsayers who were available to interpret omens as a means of foretelling the future. In fact, soothsayers (diviners) were so popular that the Romans had many words for these practitioners, among them: auspex and haruspex.

An auspex relied on observation of birds and their behavior to foretell the future, and we have inherited this word as “auspices, auspicious,” and “inauspicious”.

A haruspex divined the future by examining the entrails of sacrificed animals and also made interpretations based on the observation of lightning and other natural phenomena.

Absolvo.
I acquit.

A judge acquitting a person after a trial may say, "Absolvo!" It's also a term employed by a jury when voting for the acquittal of the accused.

It was used in the Roman courts but not in the Roman Assemblies.

Absque argento omnia vana. (Latin proverb)
Translation: "Without money all efforts are useless."

George Bernard Shaw said, "The lack of money is the root of all evil."

Absque ulla conditione. (Latin slogan)
Translation: "Without any condition."

Also translated as, "No ifs, ands, or buts."

No excuses will be tolerated, no conditions, no reservations.

Abundans cautela non nocet. (Latin statement)
Translation: "Abundant caution does not harm."

Also translated as, "You can't be too careful."

Abusus non tollit usum.
Misuse does not nullify proper use.

Generally, this maxim says that the value of a procedure, an object, etc., is not destroyed by improper use. It is extended to mean that the improper use of a word does not destroy its proper use, and those who "misuse" the language are not given the right to abuse words because of their ignorance or carelessness.

Abut ad plures.
1. He has gone to the majority.
2. He is dead.
Abyssus abyssum invocat. (Latin)
Translation: "One misstep leads to another."

Literally, "Hell calls hell." A warning that the first step in the temptation to go astray from what is "right" (or "morally correct") is difficult to prevent; however, we must always be on guard to strive for what is ethical and honorable.

accentus (s) (noun) (no plural form found)
Tone, melody: "In Roman Catholic churches, The accentus is part of the church music, in which the liturgy of the Mass is chanted by the priest and his assistants at the altar."
accessit
Coming close.

A reference to a runner-up in an academic competition or for a medal or other honor; honorable mention.

Accipe hoc. (Latin statement)
Translation: "Take this."
Accusare nemo se debet.
No one is obliged to incriminate himself.

A legal maxim.

acetum
Vinegar.
acetum Italum
Italic vinegar.

The harsh, biting wit of the Romans; Roman sarcasm.


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