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]
– Washington Times, Jan. 11, 2005
mea culpa – an acknowledgement that one is at fault
[Latin, 'by my fault']
– Wall Street Journal, Dec. 14, 2006 (today)
ceteris paribus – other things being equal; if all other relevant factors remain unaltered
– Asia Times Online, Dec. 6, 2003
caveat emptor – the principle that the buyer is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before purchase
[Latin, 'let the buyer beware']
– AV Video Multimedia Producer, Mar. 1, 2004
Important to note that in the US, judicial innovation and expansion of tort liability have transformed that phrase into today's version: "caveat vendor."
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.
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.
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
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.]
– Financial Times, Dec. 14, 2006
vox populi – the opinions or beliefs of the majority
[Latin, ‘the people’s voice’]
– Arizona Republic, Dec. 7, 2005
[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.']
– Washington Post, Mar. 30, 2003
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").
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.