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This week we'll present phrases taken verbatim from Latin.

mutatis mutandis – (when comparing two or more cases) making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point; with respective differences taken into consideration
[Latin, 'things being changed that have to be changed'. Akin to mutate]
    The memo set off alarm bells in the State Department and among the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And for good reason. Legal counsel there realized a memo justifying the torture of others could be used just as readily, mutatis mutandis, to justify the torture of American prisoners.
    – Washington Times, Jan. 11, 2005
 
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mea culpa – an acknowledgement that one is at fault
[Latin, 'by my fault']
    [His] response to all this has been a model of blame-shifting, obfuscation and patently insincere mea culpas, apparently justified by his view that [he] has more important things to do than administer his own organization.
    – Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 2006 (today)
 
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ceteris paribus – other things being equal; if all other relevant factors remain unaltered
    China-India … the world's two fastest growing economies that, ceteris paribus, are expected to become the world's second and third largest economies by 2020.
    – Asia Times Online, Dec. 6, 2003
 
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caveat emptor – the principle that the buyer is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before purchase
[Latin, 'let the buyer beware']
    Caveat emptor: with any cool new technology, there's always a thing or two to keep in mind before you buy. Flat-panel monitors are no exception.
    – AV Video Multimedia Producer, Mar. 1, 2004
 
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Important to note that in the US, judicial innovation and expansion of tort liability have transformed that phrase into today's version: "caveat vendor."


RJA
 
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There's a lovely mosaic that was discovered in Pompei, which may still be seen in situ, of a dog straining at the leash with the words CAVE CANEM (beware the dog) below it.

caveat vendor

That should be caveat venditor for let the seller beware.

[Fixed formatting problem.]

This message has been edited. Last edited by: zmježd,


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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These are from a favorite little book, "Latin for all Occasions."
For the convenience store:
Ursuli Gummi = Gummy Bears
Manducabulla = bubble gum
fabae suaves = jelly beans
Lateres Martiales = Mars Bars
Crusta Lunares = Moon Pies
Scintillae = Twinkies
Sacci Laeti = Glad Bags
 
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sine qua non – an indispensible condition
[Latin, meaning 'without which, not'. This is feminine; sometimes you'll see masc. sine quo non; proper plural is sine quibus non.]
    An effective Nato [sic] is the sine qua non of democratic multilateralism.
    – Financial Times, Dec. 14, 2006
 
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vox populi – the opinions or beliefs of the majority
[Latin, ‘the people’s voice’]
    And no matter what the vox populi says, PF Chang's has no business being in a book called "America's Top Restaurants."
    – Arizona Republic, Dec. 7, 2005
de gustibus – a matter of personal taste
[Not in dictionaries, but occasionally used as a word. From Latin de gustibus non est disputandum 'There's no disputing about taste,' or 'There's no accounting for taste.']
    Some admirable people simply don't "get" P.G. Wodehouse. I concede this as incontrovertible fact, just one of those de gustibus things, yet somehow can't quite fathom the lapse in good judgment.
    – Washington Post, Mar. 30, 2003
 
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quote:
de gustibus non est disputandum
That was the phrase I used in my sig for several years. I still do use it in a couple of forums. Nowadays people say things like "YMMV" ("Your mileage may vary"). Frown


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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