List of Latin phrases (I)

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 I. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.


I, Vitelli, dei Romani sono belliGo, oh Vitellius, at the war sound of the Roman godPerfectly correct latin sentence usually reported as funny from modern Italians because the same exact words, in Italian, mean "Romans' calves are beautiful", which has a ridiculously different meaning.
ibidem (ibid.)in the same placeUsually used in bibliographic citations to refer to the last source previously referenced.
id est (i.e. (US English) or ie (UK English))that is"That is (to say)" in the sense of "that means" and "which means", or "in other words", or sometimes "in this case", depending on the context; may be followed by a comma and a full stop (period), or not, depending on style (American English and British English respectively).[1] It is often erroneously used as an abbreviation for "for example" (for which the correct abbreviation is e.g.).
id quod plerumque acciditthat which generally happensA phrase used in legal language to indicate the most probable outcome from an act, fact, event or cause.
idem (dito) (id.)the sameUsed to refer to something that has already been cited. See also ibidem.
idem quod (i.q.)the same asNot to be confused with an intelligence quotient.
Idus Martiaethe Ides of MarchIn the Roman calendar, the Ides of March refers to the 15th day of March. In modern times, the term is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC; the term has come to be used as a metaphor for impending doom.
Jesu juva J.J.Jesus, help!Used by Johann Sebastian Bach at the beginning of his compositions, which he ended with "S.D.G." (Soli Deo gloria). Compare Besiyata Dishmaya.
Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (INRI)Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews
From Vulgate; John 19:19. John 19:20 states that this inscription was written in three languages—Aramaic, Latin and Greek—at the top of the cross during the crucifixion of Jesus.
igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellumTherefore whoever desires peace, let him prepare for warPublius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De Re Militari; similar to si vis pacem, para bellum and in pace ut sapiens aptarit idonea bello.
igne natura renovatur integrathrough fire, nature is reborn wholeAn alchemical aphorism invented as an alternate meaning for the acronym INRI.
igni ferroquewith fire and ironA phrase describing scorched earth tactics. Also rendered as igne atque ferro, ferro ignique, and other variations.
ignis aurum probatfire tests goldA phrase referring to the refining of character through difficult circumstances, it is also the motto of the Prometheus Society.
ignis fatuusfoolish fireWill-o'-the-wisp.
ignorantia juris non excusat(or ignorantia legis non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat) ignorance of the law is no excuseA legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability.
ignoratio elenchiignorance of the issueThe logical fallacy of irrelevant conclusion: making an argument that, while possibly valid, doesn't prove or support the proposition it claims to. An ignoratio elenchi that is an intentional attempt to mislead or confuse the opposing party is known as a red herring. Elenchi is from the Greek elenchos.
ignotum per ignotiusunknown by means of the more unknownAn explanation that is less clear than the thing to be explained. Synonymous with obscurum per obscurius.
ignotus (ign.)unknown
imago Deiimage of GodFrom the religious concept that man was created in "God's image".
imitatio deiimitation of a godA principle, held by several religions, that believers should strive to resemble their god(s).
imperium in imperioan order within an order1. A group of people who owe utmost fealty to their leader(s), subordinating the interests of the larger group to the authority of the internal group's leader(s).
2. A "fifth column" organization operating against the organization within which they seemingly reside.
3. "State within a state"
imperium sine finean empire without an endIn Virgil's Aeneid, Jupiter ordered Aeneas to found a city (Rome) from which would come an everlasting, never-ending empire, the endless (sine fine) empire.
impossibilium nulla obligatio estthere is no obligation to do the impossiblePublius Juventius Celsus, Digesta L 17, 185.
imprimaturlet it be printedAn authorization to publish, granted by some censoring authority (originally a Catholic Bishop).
in absentiain the absenceUsed in a number of situations, such as in a trial carried out in the absence of the accused.
in absentia luci, tenebrae vincuntin the absence of light, darkness prevails
in actuin actIn the very act; in reality.
[Dominica] in albis [depositis][Sunday in Setting Aside the] White GarmentsLatin name of the Octave of Easter.
in articulo mortisat the point of death
in camerain the chamberIn secret. See also camera obscura.
in casu (i.c.)in the eventIn this case.
in cauda venenumthe poison is in the tailUsing the metaphor of a scorpion, this can be said of an account that proceeds gently, but turns vicious towards the end — or more generally waits till the end to reveal an intention or statement that is undesirable in the listener's ears.
in com. Ebor.In the county of YorkshireEboracum was the Roman name for York and this phrase is used in some Georgian and Victorian books on the genealogy of prominent Yorkshire families.
in Christi lumine pro mundi vitain the light of Christ for the life on the worldMotto of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
in Deo speramusin God we hopeMotto of Brown University.
in dubio pro reoin doubt, on behalf of the [alleged] culpritExpresses the judicial principle that in case of doubt the decision must be in favor of the accused (in that anyone is innocent until there is proof to the contrary).
in duploin doubleIn duplicate
in effigiein the likenessIn (the form of) an image; in effigy (as opposed to "in the flesh" or "in person").
in essein existenceIn actual existence; as opposed to in posse.
in extensoin the extendedIn full; at full length; complete or unabridged
in extremisin the furthest reachesIn extremity; in dire straits; also "at the point of death" (cf. in articulo mortis).
in fide scientiamTo our faith add knowledgeMotto of Newington College.
in fideminto faithTo the verification of faith.
in fieriin becomingIn progress; pending.
in fine (i.f.)in the endAt the end. The footnote says "p. 157 in fine": "the end of page 157".
in flagrante delictoin a blazing wrong, while the crime is blazingCaught in the act (esp. a crime or in a "compromising position"); equivalent to "caught red-handed" in English idiom.
in florein blossomBlooming.
in foroin forumIn court (legal term).
in girum imus nocte et consumimur igniWe enter the circle at night and are consumed by fireA palindrome said to describe the behavior of moths. Also the title of a film by Guy Debord.
in harmonia progressioprogress in harmonyMotto of Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.
in hoc sensu or in sensu hoc (s.h.)in this senseRecent academic abbreviation for "in this sense".
in hoc signo vincesby this sign you will conquerWords Constantine the Great claimed to have seen in a vision before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
in hunc effectumfor this purposeDescribes a meeting called for a particular stated purpose only.
in ictu oculiin the blink of an eye
in illo ordine (i.o.)in that orderRecent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient "..., respectively."
in illo temporein that timeAt that time, found often in Gospel lectures during Masses, used to mark an undetermined time in the past.
in inceptum finis estlit.: in the beginning is the endor: the beginning foreshadows the end
in limineat the outset/thresholdPreliminary, in law, a motion in limine is a motion that is made to the judge before or during trial, often about the admissibility of evidence believed prejudicial.
in locoin the place, on the spotThat is, 'on site'. "The nearby labs were closed for the weekend, so the water samples were analyzed in loco."
in loco parentisin the place of a parentAssuming parental or custodial responsibility and authority (e.g., schoolteachers over students); a legal term.
in luce Tua videmus lucemin Thy light we see lightMotto of Valparaiso University. The phrase comes from the book of Psalms 36:9 "For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light."
in lumine tuo videbimus lumenin your light we will see the lightMotto of Columbia University, Presbyterian Boys' Secondary School and Ohio Wesleyan University. Also, it is the motto of the South African University of Fort Hare.
in manus tuas commendo spiritum meuminto your hands I entrust my spiritAccording to Luke 23:46, the last words of Jesus on the cross.
in medias resinto the middle of thingsFrom Horace. Refers to the literary technique of beginning a narrative in the middle of, or at a late point in, the story, after much action has already taken place. Examples include the Iliad, the Odyssey, Os Lusíadas, Othello, and Paradise Lost. Compare ab initio.
in memoriaminto the memoryEquivalent to "in the memory of". Refers to remembering or honoring a deceased person.
in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritasin necessary things unity, in doubtful things liberty, in all things charity"Charity" (caritas) is being used in the classical sense of "compassion" (cf. agape). Motto of the Cartellverband der katholischen deutschen Studentenverbindungen. Often misattributed to Augustine of Hippo.
in nocte consiliumadvice comes over nightI.e., "Tomorrow is a new day." Motto of Birkbeck College, University of London.
in nomine diaboliin the name of the devil
in nomine Dominiin the name of the LordMotto of Trinity College, Perth, Australia; the name of a 1050 papal bull
in nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sanctiin the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit invocation of the Holy Trinity
in nucein a nutin a nutshell; briefly stated; potential; in the embryonic phase
in omnia paratusReady for anything.Motto of the United States Army's 18th Infantry Regiment
in omnibus amare et servire DominoIn everything, love and serve the Lord.The motto of Ateneo de Iloilo, a school in the Philippines
in omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libroEverywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a bookQuote by Thomas à Kempis
in ovoin the egg or in the embryoAn experiment or process performed in an egg or embryo (e.g. in ovo electroporation of chicken embryo).
in pace ut sapiens aptarit idonea belloin peace, like the wise man, make preparations for warHorace, Satires 2/2:111; similar to si vis pacem, para bellum and igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.
in pace requiescatin peace may he restAlternate form of requiescat in pace ("let him rest in peace"). Found in this form at the end of The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe.
in pari materiaupon the same matter or subjectIn statutory interpretation, when a statute is ambiguous, its meaning may be determined in light of other statutes on the same subject matter.
in partibus infideliumin the parts of the infidels"In the land of the infidels"; used to refer to bishoprics that remains as titular sees even after the corresponding territory was conquered by Muslim empires.
in pectorein the heartA cardinal named in secret by the pope. See also ab imo pectore.
in personaminto a personDirected towards a particular person
in possein potentialIn the state of being possible; as opposed to in esse.
in propria personain one's own personAbbreviated pro per; For one's self, For the sake of one's 'Personhood'; acting on one's own behalf, especially a person representing himself in a legal proceeding; see also litigant in person, pro se legal representation in the United States.
in principio erat Verbumin the beginning was the Word (Logos)Beginning of the Gospel of John
in rein the matter [of]A legal term used to indicate that a judicial proceeding may not have formally designated adverse parties or is otherwise uncontested. The term is commonly used in case citations of probate proceedings, for example, In re Smith's Estate; it is also used in juvenile courts, as, for instance, In re Gault.
in rebusin the thing [itself]Primarily of philosophical use to discuss properties and property exemplification. In philosophy of mathematics, it is typically contrasted with "ante rem" and, more recently, "post res" structuralism. Sometimes in re is used in place of in rebus.
in regione caecorum rex est luscusIn the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.A quote of Desiderius Erasmus from Adagia (first published 1500, with numerous expanded editions through 1536), III, IV, 96.
in remto the thingLegal term indicating a court's jurisdiction over a piece of property rather than a legal person; contrast with personal (ad personam) jurisdiction. See In rem jurisdiction; Quasi in rem jurisdiction
in rerum naturain the nature of thingsSee also Lucretius' De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things).
in retentisamong things held backUsed to describe documents kept separately from the regular records of a court for special reasons.
in saecula (saeculorum), in saeculum saeculiroughly: down to the times of the timesforever (and ever), liturgical
in saeculoin the timesIn the secular world, esp. outside a monastery, or before death.
in salvoin safety
in scientia opportunitas
(Dog Latin)
In Knowledge, there is OpportunityMotto of Edge Hill University.
in scientia et virtueIn Knowledge, and VirtueMotto of St. Joseph's College, Colombo. Sri Lanka.
in se magna ruuntgreat things collapse of their own weightLucan, Pharsalia 1:81.
in silico
(Dog Latin)
in siliconCoined in the late 1980s for scientific papers. Refers to an experiment or process performed virtually, as a computer simulation. The term is Dog Latin modeled after terms such as in vitro and in vivo. The Latin word for silicon is silicium, so the correct Latinization of "in silicon" would be in silicio, but this form has little usage.
in situin the placeIn the original place, appropriate position, or natural arrangement.
in somnis veritasIn dreams there is truth
in spein hope"future" (My mother-in-law in spe", i.e., "My future mother-in-law), or "in embryonic form", as in "Locke's theory of government resembles, in spe, Montesquieu's theory of the separation of powers."
in specialibus generalia quaerimusTo seek the general in the specificsThat is, to understand the most general rules through the most detailed analysis.
in statu nascendiin the state of being bornJust as something is about to begin.
in totoin allTotally; entirely; completely.
in triploin tripleIn triplicate.
in umbra, igitur, pugnabimusThen we will fight in the shade
in uteroin the womb
in utrumque paratusprepared for either (event)
in vacuoin a voidIn a vacuum; isolated from other things.
in varietate concordiaunited in diversityThe motto of the European Union and the Council of Europe
invidiae prudentia victrixprudence conquers jealousy
in vino veritasin wine [there is] truthThat is, wine loosens the tongue (referring to alcohol's disinhibitory effects).
in vitroin glassAn experimental or process methodology performed in a "non-natural" setting (e.g. in a laboratory using a glass test tube or Petri dish), and thus outside of a living organism or cell. Alternative experimental or process methodologies include in vitro, in silico, ex vivo and in vivo.
in vivoin life/in a living thingAn experiment or process performed on a living specimen.
in vivo veritasin a living thing [there is] truthAn expression used by biologists to express the fact that laboratory findings from testing an organism in vitro are not always reflected when applied to an organism in vivo. A pun on in vino veritas.
incepto ne desistamMay I not shrink from my purpose!Westville Boys' High School and Westville Girls' High School's motto is taken directly from Virgil. These words, found in Aeneid, Book 1, are used by Juno, queen of heaven who hated the Trojans led by Aeneas. When she saw the fleet of Aeneas on its way to Italy, after the sack of Troy by the Greeks, she planned to scatter it by means of strong winds. In her determination to accomplish her task she cried out "Incepto Ne Desistam!"
incertae sedisof uncertain position (seat)A term used to classify a taxonomic group when its broader relationships are unknown or undefined.
incredibile dictuincredible to sayA variant on mirabile dictu.
intus et in cuteInwardly, under the skin [intimately, without reservation]Persius, Satire 3:30.
Index Librorum ProhibitorumIndex of Prohibited (or, Forbidden) BooksA list of books considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church.
indigens Deobeing-in-need-of-God, beggar before GodFrom Augustine, De Civitate Dei XII, 1.3: beatitudinem consequatur nec expleat indigentiam suam, "since it is not satisfied unless it be perfectly blessed."
indignor quandoque bonus dormitat HomerusI too am annoyed whenever good Homer nods offHorace, Ars Poetica 358
indivisibiliter ac inseparabiliterindivisible and inseparableMotto of Austria-Hungary before it was divided and separated into independent states in 1918.
Infinitus est numerus stultorum.Infinite is the number of fools.
infirma mundi elegit DeusGod chooses the weak of the worldThe motto of Venerable Vital-Justin Grandin, the bishop of the St. Albert Diocese, which is now the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton
infra dignitatem (infra dig)beneath one's dignity
ingenio stat sine morte decusThe honors of genius are eternalPropertius, Elegies Book III, 2
iniuriae qui addideris contumeliamYou who have added insult to injuryPhaedrus, Fables 5/3:5.
inopiae desunt multa, avaritiae omniaTo poverty many things are lacking; to avarice, everythingPublilius Syrus.
insita hominibus libidine alendi de industria rumoresMen have an innate desire to propagate rumors or reportsTitus Livius, (XXVII, XXIV); Michel de Montaigne, (Essays).
instante mense (inst.)in the present monthUsed in formal correspondence to refer to the current month, sometimes abbreviated as inst; e.g.: "Thank you for your letter of the 17th inst." — ult. mense = last month, prox. mense = next month.
Instrumentum regniinstrument of governmentUsed to express the exploitation of religion by State or ecclesiastical polity as a means of controlling the masses, or in particular to achieve political and mundane ends.
Instrumentum vocaleinstrument with voiceSo Varro in his De re rustica (on agriculture) defines the slave: an instrument (as a simple plow, or etc.) with voice.
intaminatis fulget honoribusUntarnished, she shines with honorFrom Horace's Odes (III.2.18). Motto of Wofford College.
integer vitae scelerisque purusunimpaired by life and clean of wickednessFrom Horace. Used as a funeral hymn.
intelligenti paucaFew words suffice for he who understands
inter alia (i.a.)among other thingsA term used in formal extract minutes to indicate that the minute quoted has been taken from a fuller record of other matters, or when alluding to the parent group after quoting a particular example.
inter aliosamong othersOften used to compress lists of parties to legal documents.
inter arma enim silent legesin a time of war, the law falls silentSaid by Cicero in Pro Milone as a protest against unchecked political mobs that had virtually seized control of Rome in the 60s and 50s BC. Famously quoted in the essay Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau as "The clatter of arms drowns out the voice of the law". This phrase has also been jokingly translated as "In a time of arms, the legs are silent."
inter caeteraamong othersTitle of a papal bull
inter mutanda constantiaSteadfast in the midst of changeMotto for Rockwell College in Ireland and Francis Libermann Catholic High School in Ontario, Canada.
inter spem et metumbetween hope and fear
inter urinas et faeces nascimurwe are born between urine and fecesAttributed to St Augustine.
inter vivosbetween the livingRefers to property transfers between living persons, as opposed to a testamentary transfer upon death such as an inheritance; often relevant to tax laws.
intra muroswithin the wallsNot public; source of the word intramural. See also Intramuros, Manila.
intra vireswithin the powersWithin one's authority
invenias etiam disiecti membra poetaeYou would still recognize the scattered fragments of a poetHorace, Satires, I, 4, 62, in reference to the earlier Roman poet Ennius.
inveniet quod quisque velitEach shall find what he desiresAttributed to Petronius[2] or Prudentius. Motto of Nature in Cambridgeshire:[3]
Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.
("Each shall find what he desires; no one thing pleases all; one gathers thorns, another roses.")
invictaUnconquered Motto of the English county of Kent and the city of Oporto.
invictus maneoI remain unvanquished Motto of the Armstrong Clan.
Iohannes est nomen eiusJohn is his name Motto of the Seal of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
ipsa scientia potestas estknowledge itself is powerFamous phrase written by Sir Francis Bacon in 1597.
ipse dixithe himself said itCommonly said in Medieval debates and referring to Aristotle. Used in general to emphasize that some assertion comes from some authority, i.e., as an argument from authority, and the term ipse-dixitism has come to mean any unsupported rhetorical assertion that lacks a logical argument. A literal translation by Cicero (in his De Natura Deorum 1.10) of the Greek «αὐτὸς ἔφα», an invocation by Pythagoreans when appealing to the pronouncements of the master.
ipsissima verbathe very words themselves"Strictly word for word" (cf. verbatim). Often used in Biblical Studies to describe the record of Jesus' teaching found in the New Testament (specifically, the four Gospels).
ipsissima vocein the very 'voice' itselfTo approximate the main thrust or message without using the exact words.
ipso factoby the fact itselfBy that very fact
ira deorumwrath of the godsLike the vast majority of inhabitants of the ancient world, the ancient Romans practiced pagan rituals, believing it important to achieve a state of pax deorum (peace of the gods) instead of ira deorum (wrath of the gods): earthquakes, floods, famine, etc.
ira furor brevis estWrath (anger) is but a brief madness
ita verothus indeedA useful phrase, as the Romans had no word for "yes", preferring to respond to questions with the affirmative or negative of the question (e.g., "Are you hungry?" was answered by "I am hungry" or "I am not hungry", not "Yes" or "No).
ite, missa estGo, it is the dismissalLoosely: "You have been dismissed". Concluding words addressed to the people in the Mass of the Roman Rite.[4]
iter legisThe path of the lawThe path a law takes from its conception to its implementation.
iucunda memoria est praeteritorum malorumPleasant is the memory of past troublesCicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum 2, 32, 105.
iugulare mortuosto cut the throat of corpsesFrom Gerhard Gerhards' (1466–1536) [better known as Erasmus] collection of annotated Adagia (1508). It can mean attacking the work or personality of deceased person. Alternatively, it can be used to describe criticism of an individual already heavily criticised by others.
iuncta iuvanttogether they strivealso spelled juncta juvant; from the legal principle quae non valeant singula, iuncta iuvant ("What is without value on its own, helps when joined")
iura novit curiathe court knows the lawA legal principle in civil law countries of the Roman-German tradition that says that lawyers need not to argue the law, as that is the office of the court. Sometimes miswritten as iura novat curia (the court renews the laws).
iure matrisin right of his motherIndicates a right exercised by a son on behalf of his mother.
iure uxorisin right of his wifeIndicates a right exercised by a husband on behalf of his wife.
iuris ignorantia est cum ius nostrum ignoramusit is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights
ius accrescendiright of accrualCommonly referred to as "right of survivorship": a rule in property law that surviving joint tenants have rights in equal shares to a decedent's property.
ius ad bellumlaw towards warRefers to the laws that regulate the reasons for going to war. Typically, this would address issues of self-defense or preemptive strikes.
ius cogenscompelling lawRefers to a fundamental principle of international law considered to have acceptance among the international community of states as a whole. Typically, this would address issues not listed or defined by any authoritative body, but arise out of case law and changing social and political attitudes. Generally included are prohibitions on waging aggressive war, crimes against humanity, war crimes, piracy, genocide, slavery, and torture.
ius in bellolaw in warRefers to the "laws" that regulate the conduct of combatants during a conflict. Typically, this would address issues of who or what is a valid target, how to treat prisoners, and what sorts of weapons can be used. The word jus is also commonly spelled ius.
ius primae noctislaw of the first nightThe droit de seigneur.
iustitia fundamentum regnijustice is the foundation of a reignMotto of the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office of the Czech Republic.
iustitia omnibusjustice for allThe motto of Washington, D.C.
iuventuti nil arduumto the young nothing is difficultMotto of Canberra Girls' Grammar School.
iuventutis veho fortunasI bear the fortunes of youthMotto of Dollar Academy.



  1. Does a comma go after i.e. or e.g.?, Word FAQs
  2. 74 Poet. Lat. Min. IV, ed. Baehrens.
  3. "Introduction". Nature in Cambridgeshire.
  4. "Ite Missa Est" from the Catholic Encyclopedia


  • 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. 
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