List of Latin phrases (T)

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


tabula gratulatoriacongratulatory tabletA list of congratulations.
tabula rasascraped tabletThus, "blank slate". Romans used to write on wax-covered wooden tablets, which were erased by scraping with the flat end of the stylus. John Locke used the term to describe the human mind at birth, before it had acquired any knowledge.
talis qualisjust as such"Such as it is" or "as such".
taliter qualitersomewhat
talium Dei regnumfor of such (little children) is the kingdom of Godfrom St Mark's gospel 10:14 "talium (parvuli) est enim regnum Dei"; similar in St Matthew's gospel 19:14 "talium est enim regnum caelorum" ("for of such is the kingdom of heaven"); motto of The Cathedral School, Townsville.
tanquam ex ungue leonemwe know the lion by his clawSaid in 1697 by Johann Bernoulli about Isaac Newton's anonymously submitted solution to Bernoulli's challenge regarding the Brachistochrone curve.
tarde venientibus ossaTo the late are left the bones
Te occidere possunt sed te edere non possunt nefas estThey can kill you, but they cannot eat you, it is against the law.The motto of the fictional Enfield Tennis Academy in the David Foster Wallace novel Infinite Jest. Translated in the novel as "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier".
technica impendi nationiTechnology impulses nationsMotto of Technical University of Madrid
temet nosceknow thyselfA reference to the Greek γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnothi seauton), inscribed on the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, according to the Greek periegetic writer Pausanias (10.24.1). Rendered also with nosce te ipsum, temet nosce ("thine own self know") appears in The Matrix translated as "know thyself".
tempora heroicaHeroic AgeLiterally "Heroic Times"; refers to the period between the mythological Titanomachy and the (relatively) historical Trojan War.
tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illisthe times are changing, and we change in them16th century variant of two classical lines of Ovid: tempora labuntur ("time labors", Fasti) and omnia mutantur ("everything changes", Metamorphoses). See entry for details.
tempus edax rerumtime, devourer of all thingsAlso "time, that devours all things", literally: "time, gluttonous of things", edax: adjectival form of the verb edo to eat. From Ovid, Metamorphoses, 15, 234-236.
tempus fugitTime flees.
Time flies.
From Vergil's Georgics (Book III, line 284), where it appears as fugit inreparabile tempus. A common sundial motto. See also tempus volat, hora fugit below.
tempus rerum imperatortime, commander of all things"Tempus Rerum Imperator" has been adopted by the Google Web Accelerator project. It is shown in the "About Google Web Accelerator" page.
tempus vernumspring timeName of song by popular Irish singer Enya
tempus volat hora fugittime flies, the hour flees
tendit in ardua virtusVirtue strives for what is difficultAppears in Epistulae ex Ponto
teneo te AfricaI hold you, Africa!Suetonius attributes this to Julius Caesar, from when Caesar was on the African coast.
tentanda viaThe way must be triedmotto for York University
ter in die (t.i.d.)thrice in a dayMedical shorthand for "three times a day".
terminat hora diem; terminat auctor opus.The hour finishes the day; the author finishes his work.Phrase concluding Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus.[1]
terminus ante quemlimit before whichIn archaeology or history, refers to the date before which an artifact or feature must have been deposited. Used with terminus post quem ("limit after which"). Similarly, terminus ad quem ("limit to which") may also refer to the latest possible date of a non-punctual event (period, era, etc.), while terminus a quo ("limit from which") may refer to the earliest such date.
terra australis incognitaunknown southern landFirst name used to refer to the Australian continent.
terra firmasolid landOften used to refer to the ground.
terra incognitaunknown land
terra novanew landLatin name of Newfoundland (island portion of Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, capital- St. John's), also root of French name of same, Terre-Neuve
terra nulliusland of noneThat is, no man's land. A neutral or uninhabited area, or a land not under the sovereignty of any recognized political entity.
terrae quis fructus appertaeFor whom are the fruits of a cultivated land?The motto of Royal College Curepipe, prestigious secondary school in Mauritius.
terras irradientlet them illuminate the landsOr "let them give light to the world". An allusion to Isaiah 6.3: plena est omnis terra gloria eius ("the whole earth is full of his glory"). Sometimes mistranslated as "they will illuminate the lands" based on mistaking irradiare for a future indicative third-conjugation verb, whereas it is actually a present subjunctive first-conjugation verb. Motto of Amherst College; the college's original mission was to educate young men to serve God.
tertium non daturno third (possibility) is givenA logical axiom that a claim is either true or false, with no third option.
tertium quida third something1. Something that cannot be classified into either of two groups considered exhaustive; an intermediate thing or factor. 2. A third person or thing of indeterminate character.
testis unus, testis nullusone witness is not a witnessA law principle expressing that a single witness is not enough to corroborate a story.
Tibi cordi immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramusWe consecrate to your immaculate heart and entrust to you (Mary) for safekeepingThe inscription found on top of the central door of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, otherwise known as the Manila Cathedral in the Philippines
timeo Danaos et dona ferentesI fear Greeks even if they bring giftsDanaos being a term for the Greeks. In Virgil's Aeneid, II, 49, the phrase is said by Laocoön when warning his fellow Trojans against accepting the Trojan Horse. The full original quote is quidquid id est timeo Danaos et dona ferentis, quidquid id est meaning "whatever it is" and ferentis being an archaic form of ferentes. Commonly mistranslated "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts".
timidi mater non fletA coward's mother does not weepproverb; occasionally appears on loading screens in the game Rome: Total War.
timor mortis conturbat methe fear of death confounds meRefrain originating in the response to the seventh lesson in the Office of the Dead. In the Middle Ages, this service was read each day by clerics. As a refrain, it appears also in other poems and can frequently be found inscribed on tombs.
totus tuustotally yoursOffering one's life in total commitment to another. The motto was adopted by Pope John Paul II to signify his love and servitude to Mary the Mother of Jesus.
transire benefaciendoto travel along while doing goodLiterally "beneficial passage." Mentioned in "The Seamy Side of History" (L'envers de l'histoire contemporaine, 1848), part of La Comédie humaine, by Honoré de Balzac, and Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.
translatio imperiitransfer of ruleUsed to express the belief in the transfer of imperial authority from the Roman Empire of antiquity to the Medieval Holy Roman Empire.
tres faciunt collegiumthree makes companyIt takes three to have a valid group; three is the minimum number of members for an organization or a corporation.
treuga DeiTruce of GodA decree by the medieval Church that all feuds should be cancelled during the Sabbath—effectively from Wednesday or Thursday night until Monday. See also Peace and Truce of God.
tria juncta in unoThree joined in oneMotto of the Order of the Bath
tu autem Domine miserere nobisBut Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon usPhrase said at the end of biblical readings in the liturgy of the medieval church. Also used in brief, "tu autem", as a memento mori epitaph.
tu fui ego erisI was you; you will be meThus, "what you are, I was; what I am, you will be.". A memento mori gravestone inscription to remind the reader that death is unavoidable (cf. sum quod eris).
tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior itoyou should not give in to evils, but proceed ever more boldly against themFrom Virgil, Aeneid, 6, 95.
tu quoqueyou tooThe logical fallacy of attempting to defend one's position merely by pointing out the same weakness in one's opponent.
tu stultus esyou are stupidThe motto for the satirical news organization, The Onion.
tueborI will protectFound on the Great Seal on the flag of the state of Michigan.
tunica propior est pallioA tunic is closer to the body than a cape
turris fortis mihi DeusGod is my strong towerMotto of the Kelly Clan
tutum te robore reddamI will give you safety by strengthMotto of the Clan Crawford
tuum estIt's up to youMotto of the University of British Columbia



  • 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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