Have you ever looked at a dollar bill and wondered what the phrase “E pluribus unum” means? Or if you know what this phrase means, did you know that this is Latin? E pluribus unum translates to “one from many.” Conceptually, this has become a de facto (another Latin phrase) motto for the United States, which emerged as one nation from thirteen colonies.
Latin is considered a dead language because no community uses it as a native language. However, Latin is a historical language now referred to as a classical language. It is still used today in the Church and in literature. Latin words are also commonly used in the courtroom. Romance languages derive directly from Latin. English is a Germanic language. However, many English words come from Latin roots. There are also many Latin terms used directly in English today.
Here are some common Latin phrases used in everyday English:
ad hoc – formed for a particular purpose
ad lib – improvised
alter ego – other self
bona fide – real, genuine
carpe diem – seize the day
caveat – a stipulation or condition
consensus – agreement
de facto – in reality
de jure – by law
ergo – therefore
et cetera (etc) – and so on
excelsior – ever upward
major – great
mea culpa – through my own fault
per capita – per person
per diem – per day
per se – specifically, by itself
status quo – the state in which, existing state of affairs
verbatim – in exactly the same words
vice versa – the other way around
How many of these common Latin phrases do you use in your everyday speech?