List of Latin phrases (C)

This page lists English translations of notable Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before the rise of ancient Rome.

This list covers the letter C. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.


cacoethes scribendiinsatiable desire to writeCacoēthes[1] "bad habit", or medically, "malignant disease" is a borrowing of Greek kakóēthes.[2] The phrase is derived from a line in the Satires of Juvenal: Tenet insanabile multos scribendi cacoethes, or "the incurable desire (or itch) for writing affects many". See hypergraphia.
cadavera vero innumeratruly countless bodiesUsed by the Romans to describe the aftermath of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.
Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.Kill them all. For the Lord knows those who are his.Supposed statement by Abbot Arnaud Amalric before the massacre of Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade, recorded 30 years later, according to Caesarius of Heisterbach. cf. "Kill them all and let God sort them out."
Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare curruntThose who hurry across the sea change the sky [upon them], not their souls or state of mindHexameter by Horace (Epistula XI).[3] Seneca shortens it to Animum debes mutare, non caelum (You must change [your] disposition, not [your] sky) in his Letter to Lucilium XXVIII, 1.
Caesar non supra grammaticosCaesar has no authority over the grammariansPolitical power is limited; it does not include power over grammar.[4]
caetera desuntthe rest is missingCaetera is Medieval Latin spelling for cētera.
calix meus inebriansmy cup making me drunk
calamus gladio fortiorThe pen is mightier than the sword
camera obscuradark chamberAn optical device used in drawing, and an ancestor of modern photography. The source of the word camera.
Cane Nero magna bella PersicaTell, oh Nero, of the great wars of PersiaPerfectly correct latin sentence usually reported as funny from modern Italians because the same exact words, in today's dialect of Rome, mean "A black dog eats a beautiful peach", which has a ridiculously different meaning.
canes pugnaceswar dogs or fighting dogs
canis canem editdog eats dogRefers to a situation where nobody is safe from anybody, each man for himself.
capax Deicapable of receiving GodFrom Augustine, De Trinitate XIV, 8.11: Mens eo ipso imago Dei est quo eius capax est,[5] "The mind is the image of God, in that it is capable of Him and can be partaker of Him."
capax infinitiholding the infiniteCapability of achieving goals by force of many instead of a single individual.
caput inter nubila (condit)(she plunges) [her] head in the cloudsSo aggrandized as to be beyond practical (earthly) reach or understanding (from Virgil's Aeneid and the shorter form appears in John Locke's Two Treatises of Government)
caput mortuumdead headOriginally an alchemical reference to the dead head or worthless residue left over from a reaction. Also used to refer to a freeloader or worthless element.
Caritas ChristiThe love of ChristIt implies a command to love as Christ loved. Motto of St. Francis Xavier High School located in West Meadowlark Park, Edmonton.
Caritas in VeritateCharity in TruthPope Benedict XVI's third encyclical.
carpe diemseize the dayAn exhortation to live for today. From Horace, Odes I, 11.8. Carpere refers to plucking of flowers or fruit. The phrase collige virgo rosas has a similar sense.
carpe noctemseize the nightAn exhortation to make good use of the night, often used when carpe diem, q.v., would seem absurd, e.g., when observing a deep-sky object or conducting a Messier marathon or engaging in social activities after sunset.
carpe vinumseize the wine
Carthago delenda estCarthage must be destroyedThe Roman senator Cato the Elder ended every speech after the Second Punic War with ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, literally "For the rest, I am of the opinion that Carthage is to be destroyed." Before the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon in the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan ended all his speeches in a similar way with Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est "The Treaty of Lisbon must be put to a referendum".
castigat ridendo moresOne corrects customs by laughing at themOr, "[Comedy/Satire] criticises customs through humour", is a phrase coined by French New Latin poet Jean-Baptiste de Santeul (1630–1697), but sometimes wrongly attributed to his contemporary Molière or to Roman lyric poet Horace.
casus bellievent of warRefers to an incident that is the justification or case for war.
causa latet, vis est notissimaThe cause is hidden, but the result is well known.Ovid: Metamorphoses IV, 287; motto of Alpha Sigma Phi.
causa mortiscause of death
cavebeware!especially used by Doctors of Medicine, when they want to warn each other (e.g.: "cave nephrolithiases" in order to warn about side effects of an uricosuric). Spoken aloud in some British public schools by pupils to warn each other of impending authority.
cave canemBeware of the dogEarliest written example is in the Satyricon of Petronius, circa 1st century C.E.
caveat emptorlet the buyer bewareThe purchaser is responsible for checking whether the goods suit his need. Phrases modeled on this one replace emptor with lector, subscriptor, venditor, utilitor: "reader", "signer", "seller", "user".
caveat venditorlet the seller bewareIt is a counter to caveat emptor and suggests that sellers can also be deceived in a market transaction. This forces the seller to take responsibility for the product and discourages sellers from selling products of unreasonable quality.
cedant arma togaelet arms yield to the gown"Let military power yield to civilian power", Cicero, De Officiis I:77. Former motto of the Territory of Wyoming. See also Toga
cedere nescio I Know Not How To Yield Motto of HMAS Norman
Celer - Silens - MortalisSwift-Silent-DeadlyMotto of United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Units - especially USMC FORCE RECON units - the Force Reconnaissance companies, also known as FORCE RECON, are one of the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Capable forces (SOC) that provide essential elements of military intelligence to the command element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF); supporting their task force commanders, and their subordinate operating units of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF).
celerius quam asparagi cocunturmore swiftly than asparagus [stem]s are cookedOr simply "faster than cooking asparagus". A variant of the Roman phrase velocius quam asparagi coquantur, using a different adverb and an alternative mood and spelling of coquere.
cepi corpusI have taken the bodyIn law, it is a return made by the sheriff, upon a capias, or other process to the like purpose; signifying, that he has taken the body of the party. See also habeas corpus.
certum est quod certum reddi potestit is certain, whatever can be rendered certainOr "... if it can be rendered certain." Often used in law when something is not known, but can be ascertained (e.g. the purchase price on a sale which is to be determined by a third-party valuer)
cessante ratione legis cessat ipsa lexwhen the reason for the law ceases, the law itself ceasesA rule of law becomes ineffective when the reason for its application has ceased to exist or does not correspond to the reality anymore. By Gratian.
cetera desuntthe rest are missingAlso spelled "caetera desunt".
ceteris paribusall other things being equalThat is, disregarding or eliminating extraneous factors in a situation.
charta pardonationis se defendendoa paper of pardon to defend oneselfThe form of a pardon for killing another man in self-defence (see manslaughter).
charta pardonationis utlagariaea paper of pardon to the outlawThe form of a pardon of a man who is outlawed. Also called perdonatio utlagariae.
Christianos ad leones[Throw the] Christians to the lions!
Christo et DoctrinaeFor Christ and LearningThe motto of Furman University.
Christus nos liberavitChrist has freed ustitle of volume I, book 5, chapter XI of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
Christus RexChrist the KingA Christian title for Jesus.
circa (c.) or (ca.)aroundIn the sense of "approximately" or "about". Usually used of a date.
circulus in probandocircle made in testing [a premise]Circular reasoning. Similar term to circulus vitiosus.
circulus vitiosusvicious circleIn logic, begging the question, a fallacy involving the presupposition of a proposition in one of the premises (see petitio principii). In science, a positive feedback loop. In economics, a counterpart to the virtuous circle.
citius altius fortiusfaster, higher, strongerMotto of the modern Olympics.
clamea admittenda in itinere per atturnatum A writ whereby the king of England could command the justice to admit one's claim by an attorney, who being employed in the king's service, cannot come in person.
clarere audere gaudere[be] bright, daring, joyfulMotto of the Geal family.
clausum fregit A legal action for trespass to land; so called, because the writ demands the person summoned to answer wherefore he broke the close (quare clausum fregit), i.e., why he entered the plaintiff's land.
claves Sancti Petrithe keys of Saint PeterA symbol of the Papacy.
clavis aureagolden keyThe means of discovering hidden or mysterious meanings in texts, particularly applied in theology and alchemy.
clerico admittendofor being made a clerkIn law, a writ directed to the bishop, for the admitting a clerk to a benefice upon a ne admittas, tried, and found for the party who procures the writ.
clerico capto per statutum mercatorum In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk out of prison, who is imprisoned upon the breach of statute merchant.
clerico convicto commisso gaolae in defectu ordinarii deliberando In law, a writ for the delivery of a clerk to his ordinary, that was formerly convicted of felony; by reason that his ordinary did not challenge him according to the privilege of clerks.
clerico intra sacros ordines constituto non eligendo in officium In law, a writ directed to the bailiffs, etc., that have thrust a bailiwick or beadleship upon one in holy orders; charging them to release him.
Codex Iuris CanoniciBook of Canon LawThe official code of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Corpus Iuris Canonici).
Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur"No one suffers punishment for mere intent."A Latin legal phrase. See, State v Taylor, 47 Or 455, 84 P 82.
cogito ergo sumI think, therefore I am.A rationalistic argument used by French philosopher René Descartes to attempt to prove his own existence.
coitus interruptusinterrupted congressAborting sexual intercourse prior to ejaculation—the only permitted form of birth control in some religions.
coitus more ferarumcongress in the way of beastsA medical euphemism for the doggy-style sexual position.
collige virgo rosaspick, girl, the roses
Exhortation to enjoy fully the youth, similar to Carpe diem, from "De rosis nascentibus" (also titled "Idyllium de rosis"), attributed to Ausonius or Virgil.[6] "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may", 1909, by John William Waterhouse
combinatio novanew combinationIt is frequently abbreviated comb. nov.. It is used in the life sciences literature when a new name is introduced, e.g. Klebsiella granulomatis comb. nov..
communibus annisin common yearsOne year with another; on an average. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary", but "common to every situation"
communibus locisin common placesA term frequently used among philosophical and other writers, implying some medium, or mean relation between several places; one place with another; on a medium. "Common" here does not mean "ordinary", but "common to every situation"
communis opiniocommon opinionprevailing doctrine, generally accepted view (in an academic field), scientific consensus; originally communis opinio doctorum, "common opinion of the doctors"
compos mentisin control of the mindDescribes someone of sound mind. Sometimes used ironically. Also a legal principle, non compos mentis (not in control of one's faculties), used to describe an insane person.
concilio et laboreby wisdom and effortMotto of the city of Manchester.
concordia cum veritatein harmony with truthMotto of the University of Waterloo
concordia saluswell-being through harmonyMotto of Montreal. It is also the Bank of Montreal coat of arms and motto.
concordia parvae res crescuntsmall things grow in harmonyMotto of Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood
condemnant quod non intelleguntThey condemn what they do not understand or
They condemn because they do not understand
The quod here is ambiguous: it may be the relative pronoun or a conjunction.
condicio sine qua noncondition without which notA required, indispensable condition. Commonly mistakenly rendered with conditio ("seasoning" or "preserving") in place of condicio ("arrangement" or "condition").
conditur in petrait is founded on the rockMotto of Peterhouse Boys' School and Peterhouse Girls' School
confer (cf.)[7][8]compareThe abbreviation cf. is used in text to suggest a comparison with something else (cf. citation signal).
Confoederatio Helvetica (C.H.)Helvetian ConfederationThe official name of Switzerland, hence the use of "CH" for its ISO country code, ".ch" for its Internet domain, and "CHF" for the ISO three-letter abbreviation of its currency, the Swiss franc.
Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris C.Ss.RCongregation of the Most Holy RedeemerRedemptorists
coniunctis viribuswith connected strengthOr "with united powers". Sometimes rendered conjunctis viribus. Motto of Queen Mary, University of London.
consensuwith consent
consuetudo pro lege servaturCustom is held as law.Where there are no specific laws, the matter should be decided by custom;[9] established customs have the force of laws.[10] Also consuetudo est altera lex (custom is another law) and consuetudo vincit communem legem (custom overrules the common law); see also: Consuetudinary.
consummatum estIt is completed.The last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30.
contemptus mundi/saeculiscorn for the world/timesDespising the secular world. The monk or philosopher's rejection of a mundane life and worldly values.
contra bonos moresagainst good moralsOffensive to the conscience and to a sense of justice.
contra legemagainst the lawEspecially in civil law jurisdictions, said of an understanding of a statute that directly contradicts its wording and thus is neither valid by interpretation nor by analogy.
contra proferentemagainst the proferrorIn contract law, the doctrine of contractual interpretation which provides that an ambiguous term will be construed against the party that imposed its inclusion in the contract – or, more accurately, against the interests of the party who imposed it.
contra spem speroI hope against hopeTitle of a poem by Lesya Ukrainka; also used in the Pentateuch with reference to Abraham the Patriarch.
contra vim mortis non crescit herba (or salvia) in hortisNo herb (or sage) grows in the gardens against the power of deaththere is no medicine against death; from various medieval medicinal texts
contradictio in terminiscontradiction in termsA thing or idea that would embody a contradiction, for example, payment for a gift, or a circle with corners. The fallacy of proposing such a thing.
contra principia negantem non est disputandum there can be no debate with those who deny the foundations Debate is fruitless when you don't agree on common rules, facts, presuppositions.
contraria contrariis curanturthe opposite is cured with the oppositeFirst formulated by Hippocrates to suggest that the diseases are cured with contrary remedies. Antonym of similia similibus curantur (the diseases are recovered with similar remedies.)
cor ad cor loquiturheart speaks to heartFrom Augustine's Confessions, referring to a prescribed method of prayer: having a "heart to heart" with God. Commonly used in reference to a later quote by Cardinal John Henry Newman. A motto of Newman Clubs.
cor aut morsHeart or Death(Your choice is between) The Heart (Moral Values, Duty, Loyalty) or Death (to no longer matter, to no longer be respected as person of integrity.)
cor meum tibi offero domine prompte et sinceremy heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerelyJohn Calvin's personal motto, also adopted by Calvin College
cor unumone heartA popular school motto. Often used as names for religious and other organisations such as the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.
coram Deoin the Presence of GodA phrase from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the Presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.
coram nobis, coram vobisin our presence, in your presenceTwo kinds of writs of error.
coram populoin the presence of the peopleThus, openly.
coram publicoin view of the public
Corpus ChristiBody of ChristThe name of a feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating the Eucharist. It is also the name of a city in Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas, the name of Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge universities, and a controversial play.
corpus delictibody of the offenceThe fact that a crime has been committed, a necessary factor in convicting someone of having committed that crime; if there was no crime, there can not have been a criminal.
Corpus Iuris CanoniciBody of Canon LawThe official compilation of canon law in the Roman Catholic Church (cf. Codex Iuris Canonici).
Corpus Iuris CivilisBody of Civil LawThe body of Roman or civil law.
corpus vileworthless bodyA person or thing fit only to be the object of an experiment, as in the phrase 'Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.'
corrigendathings to be corrected
corruptio optimi pessimathe corruption of the best is the worst
corruptissima re publica plurimae legesWhen the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerousTacitus
corvus oculum corvi non eruita raven does not pick out an eye of another raven
corruptus in extremiscorrupt to the extremeMotto of the fictional Mayor's office in The Simpsons
cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras ametMay he who has never loved before, love tomorrow; And may he who has loved, love tomorrow as wellThe refrain from the 'Pervigilium Veneris', a poem which describes a three-day holiday in the cult of Venus, located somewhere in Sicily, involving the whole town in religious festivities joined with a deep sense of nature and Venus as the "procreatrix", the life-giving force behind the natural world.
Cras es NosterThe Future is OursMotto of San Jacinto College.
creatio ex nihilocreation out of nothingA concept about creation, often used in a theological or philosophical context. Also known as the 'First Cause' argument in Philosophy of Religion. Contrasted with creatio ex materia.
Credo in Unum DeumI Believe in One GodThe first words of the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed.
credo quia absurdum estI believe it because it is absurdA very common misquote of Tertullian's et mortuus est Dei Filius prorsus credibile quia ineptum est (and the Son of God is dead: in short, it is credible because it is unfitting), meaning that it is so absurd to say that God's son has died that it would have to be a matter of belief, rather than reason. The misquoted phrase, however, is commonly used to mock the dogmatic beliefs of the religious (see fideism). This phrase is commonly shortened to credo quia absurdum, and is also sometimes rendered credo quia impossibile est (I believe it because it is impossible) or, as Darwin used it in his autobiography, credo quia incredibile.
crescamus in Illo per omniaMay we grow in Him through all thingsMotto of Cheverus High School.
crescat scientia vita excolaturlet knowledge grow, let life be enrichedMotto of the University of Chicago.
crescente luceLight ever increasingMotto of James Cook University.
crescit cum commercio civitasCivilization prospers with commerceMotto of Claremont McKenna College.
crescit eundoit grows as it goesState motto of New Mexico, adopted in 1887 as the territory's motto, and kept in 1912 when New Mexico received statehood. Originally from Lucretius' De rerum natura book VI, where it refers in context to the motion of a thunderbolt across the sky, which acquires power and momentum as it goes.
cruci dum spiro fidowhile I live, I trust in the cross, Whilst I trust in the Cross I have lifeMotto of the Sisters of Loreto (IBVM) and its associated schools.
cucullus non facit monachumThe hood does not make the monkWilliam Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Scene I, Act V 48–50
cui bonoGood for whom?"Who benefits?" An adage in criminal investigation which suggests that considering who would benefit from an unwelcome event is likely to reveal who is responsible for that event (cf. cui prodest). Also the motto of the Crime Syndicate of America, a fictional supervillain group. The opposite is cui malo (Bad for whom?).
cui prodestfor whom it advancesShort for cui prodest scelus is fecit (for whom the crime advances, he has done it) in Seneca's Medea. Thus, the murderer is often the one who gains by the murder (cf. cui bono).
cuique suumto each his own
cuius est solum eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferosWhose the land is, all the way to the sky and to the underworld is his.First coined by Accursius of Bologna in the 13th century. A Roman legal principle of property law that is no longer observed in most situations today. Less literally, "For whosoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to the sky and down to the depths."
cuius regio, eius religiowhose region, his religionThe privilege of a ruler to choose the religion of his subjects. A regional prince's ability to choose his people's religion was established at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.
cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his faultCicero, Philippica XII, 5.
culpafaultAlso "blame" or "guilt". In law, an act of neglect. In general, guilt, sin, or a fault. See also mea culpa.
cum gladiis et fustibuswith swords and clubsFrom the Bible. Occurs in Matthew 26:47 and Luke 22:52.
cum gladio et salewith sword and saltMotto of a well-paid soldier. See salary.
cum grano saliswith a grain of saltNot to be taken too seriously or as the literal truth.
cum hoc ergo propter hocwith this, therefore on account of thisFallacy of assuming that correlation implies causation.
cum laudewith praiseThe standard formula for academic Latin honors in the United States. Greater honors include magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
cum mortuis in lingua mortuawith the dead in a dead languageMovement from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky
cum privilegio ad imprimendum solumwith the exclusive right to printCopyright notice used in 16th-century England, used for comic effect in The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
cuncti adsint meritaeque expectent praemia palmaelet all come who by merit deserve the most rewardMotto of University College London.
cupio dissolvidesire to be dissolvedFrom the Bible, locution indicating a will to death ("I want to die").
cur Deus HomoWhy the God-ManThe question attributed to Anselm in his work of by this name, wherein he reflects on why the Christ of Christianity must be both fully Divine and fully Human. Often translated "why did God become Man?"
cura personaliscare for the whole person Motto of Georgetown University School of Medicine and University of Scranton.
cura te ipsumtake care of your own selfAn exhortation to physicians, or experts in general, to deal with their own problems before addressing those of others.
curriculum vitaecourse of lifeAn overview of a person's life and qualifications, similar to a résumé.
custodi civitatem, Domineguard the city, O LordMotto of the City of Westminster.
custos morumkeeper of moralsA censor.
cygnis insignisdistinguished by its swansMotto of Western Australia.
cygnus inter anatesswan among ducks


  1. cacoēthes. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  2. κακοήθης. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  3. "Epistula XI". Epistularum Q. Horatii Flacci Liber Primus. The Society for Ancient Languages. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
  4. Adeleye, Gabriel (1999). Sienkewicz, Thomas J., ed. World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Bolchazy-Carducci. p. 55. ISBN 0865164231.
  5. Saint Augustine. "Liber Quartusdecimus". Opera Omnia of St. Augustine. Rome: Città Nuova. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
  6. "De rosis nascentibus", Bibliotheca Augustina
  7. "Commonly used shorthand for dictionaries".
  8. "Guide to Punctuation".
  9. Jon R. Stone, More Latin for the Illiterati, Routledge, 1999, p. 53.
  10. Giles Jacob, A Law Grammar, W. Clarke & Sons, 1817, p. 3.


  • Adeleye, Gabriel G. (1999). Thomas J. Sienkewicz; James T. McDonough, Jr., eds. World Dictionary of Foreign Expressions. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0865164223. 
  • Hardon, John, Fr., Modern Catholic Dictionary 
  • Stone, Jon R. (1996). Latin for the Illiterati. London & New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415917751. 
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/28/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.