Guides to Latin Words used in English [ RE: ACLU Cyber-Liberties

Joe Barrera (
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 20:54:15 -0800

> Phil Agre writes:
> [...] The clunky RRE server seems to be working again, mirabile dictu,
> to the indefatigable Mike O'Hagan. Speaking of pretentious Latin phrases,
> I'm very pleased with my acquisition of a new reference book by Jon Stone,
> "Latin for the Illiterati: Exorcizing the Ghosts of a Dead Language". Its
> title is dumb on several counts, but never mind about that. It's simply a
> guide to Latin words and phrases that are commonly used in learned
> On the one hand, these words and phrases are an exclusionary code: if you
> don't travel in the right circles or own specialized reference works then
> you don't understand them. On the other hand, they're fun to use. So you
> can expect to see me sprinkling them through RRE messages in the future.

My favorite such book has been "Amo, Amas, Amat and More (How to Use Latin
to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others)" by Eugene Ehrlich.
It would be interesting to compare the two books - I'll see if I can get a
copy of "Latin for...."

- Joe

PS. One of my favorite Latin phrases (with no good equivalent in English) is
"mutatis mutandis". To quote from AAAM:

This phrase can be rendered as "when what must be changed has been changed,"
or translated more literally as "things having been changed that had to be
changed," in the sense "with alterations to fit the new circumstances."
Thus, we may write a sentence such as: "The new regulations governing our
men's athletic teams are to apply as well to our women's teams, mutatis

Joseph S. Barrera III <>
Phone, Office: (415) 778-8227; Cellular: (415) 601-3719; Home: (415)
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