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Seven Amusing But Useful Latin Phrases

It’s fun to know how to say something in another language, especially when you can use it in everyday conversation. These sayings in Latin are quirky but easily relevant, and if nothing else, they’re great conversation starters.

  1. Cave Canem

  2. What does it mean? Look at “canem”. Kinda looks like… “canine”. It means “Beware the dog.” A good conversation starter when your guests are greeted by a barking beast locked in your kitchen. Or trying posting it on your back fence instead of those boring English signs.

  3. Infinitus Est Numerus Stultorum

  4. One of my personal favorites, and a marvelous way of insulting people while making yourself sound smart. It means “Infinite is the number of fools.” And the best thing about this particular saying? It’s in the Bible.

  5. Ne Nuntium Necare

  6. Translation: Don’t kill the messenger. It’s used to preface bad news… but it usually only works if said bad news really isn’t your fault.

  7. Nomina Stultorum Scribuntur Ubique Locorum

  8. I bet you recognize a word here from number 2. More fools. This one pretty much says “Fools have a habit of writing their names everywhere.” Especially entertaining when said in the presence of a known vandal or two. They might not know what you said, but tone and sneaky glances can make the gist of it pretty clear. Or if that’s not really your style, create some irony by using it as vandalism. Not that I encourage defacing property.

  9. Senatores Boni Viri, Senatus Autem Mala Bestia

  10. “Senators are good men, but the Senate is a malicious animal.” Of course, you won’t want to use this one if you’re the down-with-politicians type.

  11. Ancilla Face Mea Leganum

  12. Say this one at your own risk: “Slavewoman, make me pancakes.” Could be really funny. Also has the potential to go horribly wrong.

  13. Quidquid Latine Dictum Sit, Altum Videtur

  14. I don’t think I have a completely correct translation for this one, but it gets the point across: “Anything said in Latin sounds profound.” And it’s true. Say something in Latin to a group of non-Latin speakers. Chances are at least someone will nod knowingly and pretend they understand, no matter how dumb the thing you said.

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