List of Latin phrases (R)

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


radix malorum est cupiditasthe root of evils is desireOr "greed is the root of all evil". Theme of "The Pardoner's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales.
rara avis (rarissima avis)rare bird (very rare bird)An extraordinary or unusual thing. From Juvenal's Satires: rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno ("a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan").
rari nantes in gurgite vastoRare survivors in the immense seaVirgil, Aeneid, I, 118
ratio decidendireasoning for the decisionThe legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose a judgment's rationale.
ratio legisreasoning of lawA law's foundation or basis.
ratione personaeby reason of his/her personAlso "Jurisdiction Ratione Personae" the personal reach of the courts jurisdiction.[1]
ratione soliby account of the groundOr "according to the soil". Assigning property rights to a thing based on its presence on a landowner's property.
ratum et consummatumconfirmed and completedin Canon law, a consummated marriage
ratum tantumconfirmed onlyin Canon law, a confirmed but unconsummated marriage (which can be dissolved super rato)
re[in] the matter ofMore literally, "by the thing". From the ablative of res ("thing" or "circumstance"). It is a common misconception that the "Re:" in correspondence is an abbreviation for regarding or reply; this is not the case for traditional letters. However, when used in an e-mail subject, there is evidence that it functions as an abbreviation of regarding rather than the Latin word for thing. The use of Latin re, in the sense of "about, concerning", is English usage.
rebus sic stantibuswith matters standing thusThe doctrine that treaty obligations hold only as long as the fundamental conditions and expectations that existed at the time of their creation hold.
recte et fortiterUpright and StrongMotto of Homebush Boys High School
recte et fideliterUpright and FaithfulAlso "just and faithful" and "accurately and faithfully". Motto of Ruyton Girls' School
reductio ad absurdumleading back to the absurdA common debate technique, and a method of proof in mathematics and philosophy, that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. In general usage outside mathematics and philosophy, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. Translated from Aristotle's "ἡ εις άτοπον απαγωγη" (hi eis atopon apagogi, "reduction to the impossible").
reductio ad Hitlerum leading back to Hitler A term coined by German-American political philosopher Leo Strauss to humorously describe a fallacious argument that compares an opponent's views to those held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party. Derived from reductio ad absurdum.
reductio ad infinitumleading back to the infiniteAn argument that creates an infinite series of causes that does not seem to have a beginning. As a fallacy, it rests upon Aristotle's notion that all things must have a cause, but that all series of causes must have a sufficient cause, that is, an unmoved mover. An argument which does not seem to have such a beginning becomes difficult to imagine. If it can be established, separately, that the chain must have a start, then a reductio ad infinitum is a valid refutation technique.
Regem ego comitem me comes regemyou made me a Count, I will make you a King Motto of the Forbin family
Reginam occidereFrom "Reginam occidere nolite timere bonum est si omnes consentiunt ego non contradico", a sentence whose meaning is highly dependent on punctuation: either the speaker wishes a queen killed or not.[2] Written by John of Merania, bishop of Esztergom, to Hungarian nobles planning the assassination of Gertrude of Merania. The queen was assassinated as the plotters saw the bishop's message as an encouragement.
regnat populusthe people ruleState motto of Arkansas, adopted in 1907. Originally rendered in 1864 in the plural, regnant populi ("the peoples rule"), but subsequently changed to the singular.
Regnum Mariae Patrona HungariaeKingdom of Mary, the Patron of HungaryFormer motto of Hungary.
regressus ad uterumreturn to the wombConcept used in psychoanalysis by Sándor Ferenczi and the Budapest School.
rem acu tetigistiYou have touched the point with a needlei.e., "You have hit the nail on the head"
repetita iuvantrepeating does goodUsually said as a jocular remark to defend the speaker's (or writer's) choice to repeat some important piece of information to ensure reception by the audience.
repetitio est mater studiorumrepetition is the mother of study/learning
requiem aeternameternal rest
requiescat in pace (R.I.P.)let him/her rest in peaceOr "may he/she rest in peace". A benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers. "RIP" is commonly mistranslated as "Rest In Peace", though the two mean essentially the same thing.
rerum cognoscere causasto learn the causes of thingsMotto of the University of Sheffield, the University of Guelph, and London School of Economics.
res firma mitescere nescita firm resolve does not know how to weakenUsed in the 1985 film American Flyers where it is colloquially translated as "once you got it up, keep it up".
res gestaethings doneA phrase used in law representing the belief that certain statements are made naturally, spontaneously and without deliberation during the course of an event, they leave little room for misunderstanding/misinterpretation upon hearing by someone else ( i.e. by the witness who will later repeat the statement to the court) and thus the courts believe that such statements carry a high degree of credibility.
res ipsa loquiturthe thing speaks for itselfA phrase from the common law of torts meaning that negligence can be inferred from the fact that such an accident happened, without proof of exactly how.
res judicatajudged thingA matter which has been decided by a court. Often refers to the legal concept that once a matter has been finally decided by the courts, it cannot be litigated again (cf. non bis in idem and double jeopardy).
res, non verba"actions speak louder than words", or "deeds, not words"From rēs ("things, facts") the plural of rēs ("a thing, a fact") + nōn ("not") + verba ("words") the plural of verbum ("a word"). Literally meaning "things, not words" or "facts instead of words" but referring to that "actions be used instead of words".
res nulliusnobody's propertyGoods without an owner. Used for things or beings which belong to nobody and are up for grabs, e.g., uninhabited and uncolonized lands, wandering wild animals, etc. (cf. terra nullius, "no man's land").
res publicaPertaining to the state or publicsource of the word republic
respice adspice prospicelook behind, look here, look aheadi.e., "examine the past, the present and future". Motto of CCNY.
respice finemlook back at the endi.e., "have regard for the end" or "consider the end". Generally a memento mori, a warning to remember one's death. Motto of Homerton College, Cambridge, Trinity College, Kandy, Georgetown College in Kentucky and Turnbull High School, Glasgow
respondeat superiorlet the superior respondRegarded as a legal maxim in agency law, referring to the legal liability of the principal with respect to an employee. Whereas a hired independent contractor acting tortiously may not cause the principal to be legally liable, a hired employee acting tortiously will cause the principal (the employer) to be legally liable, even if the employer did nothing wrong.
restitutio ad (or in) integrumrestoration to original conditionPrinciple behind the awarding of damages in common law negligence claims
resurgamI shall arise‘I shall rise again’, expressing Christian faith in resurrection at the Last Day. It appears, inter alia, in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, as the epitaph written on Helen Burns's grave; in a poem of Emily Dickinson: Poems (1955) I. 56 ("Arcturus" is his other name), I slew a worm the other day — A ‘Savant’ passing by Murmured ‘Resurgam’ — ‘Centipede’! ‘Oh Lord—how frail are we’!; and in a letter of Vincent van Gogh.[3] The OED gives "1662 J. Trapp Annotations Old & New Testament I. 142 Howbeit he had hope in his death, and might write Resurgam on his grave" as its earliest attribution in the English corpus.
retine vim istam, falsa enim dicam, si cogesRestrain your strength, for if you compel me I will tell liesAn utterance by the Delphic oracle recorded by Eusebius of Caesarea in Praeparatio evangelica, VI-5, translated from the Greek of Porphyry (c.f. E. H. Gifford's translation)[4] and used by William Wordsworth as a subtitle for his ballad "Anecdote for Fathers".
rex regum fidelum etking even of faithful kingsLatin motto that appears on the crest of the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul and Jan Crouch.
rigor mortisstiffness of deathThe rigidity of corpses when chemical reactions cause the limbs to stiffen about 34 hours after death. Other signs of death include drop in body temperature (algor mortis, "cold of death") and discoloration (livor mortis, "bluish color of death").
risum teneatis, amici?Can you help laughing, friends?An ironic or rueful commentary, appended following a fanciful or unbelievable tale.
risus abundat in ore stultorumlaughter is abundant in the mouth of foolsexcessive and inappropriate laughter signifies stupidity.
Roma invictaUnconquerable RomeInspirational motto inscribed on the Statue of Rome.
Roma locuta, causa finitaRome has spoken, the case is closedIn Roman Catholic ecclesiology, doctrinal matters are ultimately decided by the Vatican.
Romanes eunt domusPeople called Romans they go the houseAn intentionally garbled Latin phrase from Monty Python's Life of Brian. Its intended meaning is "Romans, go home!", in Latin Romani ite domum.
rorate coelidrop down ye heavensaka The Advent Prose.
rosa rubicundior, lilio candidior, omnibus formosior, semper in te gloriorredder than the rose, whiter than the lilies, fairer than all things, I do ever glory in theeFrom Veni, veni, venias (Carmina Burana).
Rosam quae meruit feratShe who has earned the rose may bear itMotto from Sweet Briar College
rus in urbeA countryside in the cityGenerally used to refer to a haven of peace and quiet within an urban setting, often a garden, but can refer to interior decoration.


  1. Blakesley, Christopher L. (2009). "18. Jurisdiction Ratione Personae or the personal reach of the courts jurisdiction". The Legal Regime of the International Criminal Court. Martinus Nijhoff. pp. 421–454. ISBN 9789004180635.
  2. Hetyey, Gabor. "Reginam occidere". University of Kansas. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  3. "228 (227, 193): To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, on or about Tuesday, 16 May 1882. - Vincent van Gogh Letters". Retrieved 2013-09-25.
  4. E.H. Gifford. "Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) - Book 6". Retrieved 2013-09-25.


  • 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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