Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

In addition to mythology, religion, history, psychology, literature, gender issues, mathematics, cosmology, geography, and meteorology, I am also researching Latin for my work on The Crane Girl. Well, “researching” is probably too strong a word – I’m culling the list of Latin phrases on Wikipedia, looking for interesting bits I can use.

Here are my top five favorites so far:

abyssus abyssum invocat – “deep calleth unto deep” – from Psalm 42:7

feci quod potui, faciant meliora potentes – “I have done what I could; let those who can do better” – a nice little summary of life, IMO

hic sunt dracones – “here are dragons,” or “here there be dragons” – used on old maps to mark unknown regions of the world

ira deorum – “wrath of the gods”

in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni – “we enter the circle at night and are consumed by fire” – a cool but mysterious phrase, which I love mainly because (drum roll please) it’s a palindrome! Same thing forward and backward, check it out.

Got any favorite foreign phrases of your own?

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4 responses to “Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

  1. “Facilis descensus Averno” – the descent to hell is easy.

  2. Donde esta mi cervesa?

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