Altum Videtur

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Quidquid latine dictum (sit),[1] altum videtur."[2]

Latin is a mysterious language. It's been effectively dead for one-and-a-half-thousand years, yet somehow, it is still being used, even omnipresent in popular culture. Maybe it's that distinct, laconic sound of it unlike anything else. Maybe it's the association with the greatest Vestigial Empire of the Western world. Maybe it's the fact that it is still the official religious language of the Roman Catholic Church. Or it's just because Latin makes you sound and feel smart and badass, with all the scientific terminologies and Ominous Latin Chanting. Whatever the reason, Latin sounds awesome to most people. And that's enough of a reason to gratuitously stick it onto any work of fiction out there.

It could also be that some people (especially in the parts of North America without sizable Spanish- or French-speaking populations) understand only one language, and the ability to use a second seems, well, awesome. But remember, if someone does know more than one language, only one language to them will remain primus inter pares [3] to them. (Cue rimshot for Incredibly Lame Pun here.)

There's also a significant tendency to mix Latin and Gratuitous Greek together. Someone who is unfamiliar with one or both could easily mistake one for the other just based on sound, which probably has to do with a great portion of Latin vocabulary being derived from Greek in the first place. Real Life science's tendency for this, especially in the field of Taxonomy (Xiphias gladius)[4] doesn't help.

More charitably, coining a new word in Canis Latinicus (or Cynos Hellenika) allows the creation of a legitimate-sounding new word with a subconscious link to its meaning, since new words trigger our minds to think about similar-sounding words we know already. "Wingardium Leviosa" might be gobbledegook in any language, but the similarity to the words "wing" and "levitate" connects it to flight rather well, without being as obvious as "Wingyup Airyfly".

Compare Everything Sounds Sexier in French for other languages. See also Canis Latinicus for when Latin-sounding language is used instead of proper Latin. Very few get their Latin right anyway, especially if they use an online translation service, or the only have a partial knowledge of the grammar. Blind Idiot Translation and Translation Train Wreck are very common results.

See also Gratuitous Foreign Language.


Exempla linguae Latinae gratuitae in fictione:

Librī Comicōrum

Comic Books

  • Asterix has lots of gratuitous Latin phrases, mostly in the form of classical proverbs. Canis Latinicus is averted except in names.
  • Watchmen uses "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes," which literally means "who will watch the watchmen themselves?" and is generally translated as "Who watches the watchmen?"
  • In Carl Barks' classic The Golden Helmet, Donald Duck runs afowl of a dubious lawyer who goes around spouting mock Latin phrases like "Flickus flackus fumlidium" (allegedly meaning "Can you prove that [my client] isn't who he claims to be?") At the end of the story Huey declares that they have had enough nonsense, to which Dewey answer with the obvious affirmative "Yeppus yappus youbettus!"
    • Later Don Rosa wrote a sequel, "The Lost Charts of Columbus", where Donald finally got the chance to tell the lawyer and his client "Aqua concus dipporum" ("Go soak your head").
  • In Grant Morrison's JLA Earth Two when the Flash asks about the Crime Syndicate's motto "Cui Bono," the good Lex Luthor from the evil universe naturally knows its means "Who profits?" which prompts him to begin wondering who could profit from their current predicament his train of thought is cut short by an attack the not-so-enslaved-as-we-thought Brainiac who realizes that Lex is about to figure out what he's up to.



  • Top Secret!. While Nick Rivers is in prison, he's taken out of his cell and led to an execution room by a priest speaking common Latin phrases such as "corpus delicti" and "quid pro quo". It eventually derails into Pig Latin, and translates literally as "You're going to get fried in the chair".
    • Of course, it's the priest who gets fried, which makes sense, given that East Germany was a Communist state.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As a group of Catholic monks are walking along, they repeatedly chant the phrase "Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem" [5] and hit themselves on the head with boards. Watch it here.
  • Life of Brian - Some rather doggy Latin is used for graffiti, and the Roman soldier who stumbles on it takes the time to correct the graffiti's grammar.
  • The Running Man. While Richards is being led to the arena, a lawyer reads his contract to him. It includes a Latin phrase in its legalese, "Ad hoc de facto".[6]
  • The captain of the Event Horizon signed off his logs with Latin phrases. We learn this after we learn that the only transmission from the ship since it reappeared appears to be garbletrash, but with "save me" spoken in Latin amid the static, and the reasonable assumption is that the captain spoke this as well. He did. But the static distorted the message, so we only later learn that he was actually saying "Save yourself, from Hell."
  • Edward Rutledge in 1776 likes to speak Latin, much to Colonel McKean's annoyance.
  • The dog funerals in A Fish Called Wanda all feature a choir singing "Miserere dominus, canis mortus est."[7]
  • In Tombstone, there is a dialog between Ringo and Doc Holliday with common latin quotations.
  • Johnny Dangerously has the eponymous protagonist being led down death row by a phony priest, who begins his "last rites" by muttering common Latin phrases, then rapidly degenerates into Canis Latinicus.

Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, The Radio's Too Loud-y. Dominus, Festivus, Missed the bus.

  • As people in the Imperium are wont to do, various characters in Damnatus utter a few phrases of Latin High Gothic during situations of appropriate gravitas.
  • In Leviathan, the Doc is thoughtful enough to give an English version of his commentary on radical genetic engineering: "Natura non confundenda est. Loosely translated: don't fuck with Mother Nature."
  • In Priest, after Father Greg's Crisis of Faith escalates (and his arrest for having gay sex in a car ends up in the newspaper), he flees to a remote parish, headed by a priest who dresses him down in Latin.
  • The Polish short film Imperator is done entirely in Classical Latin, right down to the narration text. And much like in Fallout: New Vegas, the filmmakers definitely did their research in how Latin was actually spoken at the time the film takes place in.



  • Jim Butcher likes Latin, apparently. The Codex Alera is heavily sprinkled with Gratuitous Latin thanks to its cast mostly consisting of "magical Romans." Perhaps most notably, Aleran names all tend to mean something, be it ironic (Fidelias the Wild Card with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder) or appropriate (Invidia the evil, overly-ambitious bitch).
    • Also, The Dresden Files mostly has Canis Latinicus in the form of spells and Harry's butchering of the language, but occasionally, there will be a bit of real Latin. Mostly when Michael Carpenter is wielding one of the holy swords. The White Council of wizards uses Latin during formal Council meetings, which mostly serves the purpose of indicating to the reader that it's run by a bunch of very old-fashioned and hidebound people; Harry, as already mentioned, speaks it only poorly.
      • The Canis Latinicus is justified in the text by the fact that picking a magic word to go with a spell forges a link between the two in the caster's mind, so they try to use dead or fake languages that they won't use in normal life (which could lead to an accidental discharge). Harry uses dog-Latin and some dog-Spanish; other wizards are shown using dog-Sumerian, dog-Egyptian, and dog-Japanese.
  • Discworld often has Latin sprinkled about, usually in situations where people are trying to sound pretentious. Examples include the City Watch's motto (Fabricati Diem, Pvnc) to a joke played by the Unseen University's wizards on a foreign diplomat by awarding him an honorary doctorate in "Adamus cum Flabello Dulci".[8]
    • Bugarup U's motto "Nullus Anxietas" isn't even trying.
  • The spells of Harry Potter, as noted above, fall between this and Canis Latinicus
    • There's also the school motto "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus" (Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon), which appears on the Hogwarts seal and is never translated in the books.
  • Older Than Steam: Don Quixote: This trope is lampshaded and even defined by Cervantes, a Spanish writer in the seventeenth century. At the time, Latin and Greek were languages that must be known by government bureaucrats and any people with literacy pretenses, but certainly there were a lot of books where this trope was not justified.

"As to references in the margin to the books and authors from whom you take the aphorisms and sayings you put into your story, it is only contriving to fit in nicely any sentences or scraps of Latin you may happen to have by heart, or at any rate that will not give you much trouble to look up; so as, when you speak of freedom and captivity, to insert Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro; and then refer in the margin to Horace, or whoever said it...With these and such like bits of Latin they will take you for a grammarian at all events, and that now-a-days is no small honour and profit."

    • Another example is lampshaded in Part II, chapter LI. Sancho has been made governor of the "Island of Barataria". In the seventeenth century, it was expected that members of the government and the aristocracy would be well educated, and this education included Latin. Don Quixote never uses Latin in his sentences with Sancho because he is not interested in impressing him with his superior knowledge, but he expects that Sancho will learn Latin now that he is a governor:

"... amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas.[9] I quote this Latin to thee because I conclude that since thou hast been a governor thou wilt have learned it."

In "Laura Gay," another novel of the same school, the heroine seems less at home in Greek and Hebrew, but she makes up for the deficiency by a quite playful familiarity with the Latin classics– with the "dear old Virgil," "the graceful Horace, the humane Cicero, and the pleasant Livy;" indeed, it is such a matter of course with her to quote Latin. . . It is as little the custom of well-bred men as of well-bred women to quote Latin in mixed parties; they can contain their familiarity with "the humane Cicero" without allowing it to boil over in ordinary conversation, and even references to "the pleasant Livy" are not absolutely irrepressible

  • In the Space Trilogy of CS Lewis, the character of Merlin speaks only in Latin. Because Lewis was a brilliant Latinist, it's all correct. It also makes sense, since Merlin has been in suspended animation since the Low Middle Ages, and has had no opportunity to learn English (which he'd probably associate with the hated Saxon invaders, anyway.)
  • All the spells in Rivers of London are in Gratuitous Latin, but only because they were all codified and written down by Sir Isaac Newton during the time Latin was the language of choice for Gentlemen Scientists. Just no one ever got around to updating them into English.
  • Henry Beard's Latin for All Occasions runs on this trope. It's a Latin phrasebook for when you need to know how to say things like "Look! Cheese Whiz!" in Latin.
  • A little Latin booklet called Quips and Quiddities runs on this trope, Pretentious Latin Motto and Canis Latinicus all at the same time. It's basically an Affectionate Parody.
  • Random Latin phrases appear in the mouths of clergy (and people pretending to be clerics) in Ivanhoe. A brawl between Friar Tuck and Prior Aymer is particularly memorable for loud threats delivered in bad Latin.

Friar Tuck: Ossa ejus perfringam, I shall break your bones, as the Vulgate hath it. (Referring to the Vulgate Bible, the translation used by the Church in those days).

  • In addition to the title, the web-novel Domina [12] uses Latin in a number of other places. Every chapter title is a Latin word, and one of the major gangs is Necessarius.[13]
  • In 1991, Winnie the Pooh was translated into Latin and published as Winnie Ille Pu.

Televisio Vīva

Live-Action TV

Bartlet: Twenty-seven lawyers in the room, anyone know post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Josh?
Josh: Uh... post, "after," after hoc; ergo, "therefore"; "after hoc, therefore something else hoc."
Bartlet: Thank you. Next. Leo?
Leo: "After it, therefore because of it."
Bartlet: After it, therefore because of it. It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other, but it's not always true. In fact, it's hardly ever true. We did not lose Texas because of the hat joke. Do you know when we lost Texas?
C.J.: When you learned to speak Latin?

  • In Lost there's "Ille qui nos omnes servabit" which is the answer to the coded phrase "What lies in the shadow of the statue?". It means "He who will preserve/save/keep us all" when correctly translated, or "He who will serve us all" if a common translation error is made.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, where Howard and Sheldon argue over the type of the cricket they found:

Howard: (shows a page in a book) See it? The common field cricket, AKA Gryllus assimilis which is Latin for "suck it, you lose."
Sheldon: Hang on! (searches in the book) Voilà! The snowy tree cricket, AKA Oecanthus fultoni, which is Latin for "I will suck nothing." I'm joking, of course, because the Latin for that is "Nihil exsorbebo."

  • On Better Off Ted, Veronica claims that the company motto, which is engraved on the lobby floor, translates to "Money Before People", but it sounds much more heroic in Latin.
  • Parodied in the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code," when Martha, realizing that for once William Shakespeare is at a loss for words on how to finish the speech that will banish the Carrionites, dredges up "Expelliarmus" from Harry Potter, which she, Shakespeare and The Doctor all shout with gusto.
    • "Lupus Deus Est" from "Tooth and Claw"
    • The Ood's songs in the episodes "Planet of the Ood" (which turned into a full choir for a reprise "Journey's End") and The End of Time are in Classical Ood, but translated by the TARDIS into ridiculously bad Latin for human ears.
  • Any time a Star Trek episode from any series uses a Latin title, you can be assured that the title, when translated, carries significant meaning to the plot of the episode.
    • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”[14] is concerning the usage of underhanded methods to change the political structure of the Romulan empire in the Federation's favor (with a war going on, no less). One of the characters even does a Title Drop during the episode.
    • The Star Trek: Voyager episode “Ex Post Facto”,[15] concerning a race that extracts memory engrams from murder victims and uses that as evidence against a Voyager crew member. The term is an actual legal term, referring to laws that are retroactively binding to cases before the law was enacted.
    • And since you can't mention Deep Space Nine on the internet without someone bringing up Babylon 5: there was an episode of the latter show titled Sic Transit Vir [16] (a Latin pun on a character's name, no less).
      • Kinda makes you wonder how long he had been waiting to use that one.
  • Mr. Bean has an opening theme tune consisting of a choir intoning, "Ecce homo qui est faba."[17] The same choir closes each episode with, "Vale homo qui est faba."[18]
    • Even the show's commercial breaks are denoted with Latin singing: "Finis partis primae"[19] and "Pars secunda"[20]
  • Many of the magic spells used on Buffy the Vampire Slayer happen to be in Latin. Evidently one of the more challenging things for Alyson Hannigan was memorizing all of the Latin that the writers kept flinging at her. In the final season, a minor Crowning Moment of Awesome happens when Willow stops halfway through a spell and shouts "Screw it! I suck at Latin, OK?! and proceeds to make the spell work in English by pure force of will.
  • In Kaamelott, King Loth is fond of meaningless Latin quotes. The Latin language (in the quotes) is mostly legitimate, but Loth's translations are always inaccurate.
  • House did this in a conversation with Amber-slash-Cutthroat Bitch: (episode is "Don't Ever Change")

Amber: Hello, Greg. And I call you Greg because we're now social equals.
House: And I call you Cutthroat Bitch because, well, quod erat demonstratum.[21]

  • Stephen Colbert's Latin motto is "Videri Quam Esse",[22] which sums up his character pretty well.

Mangae Et Picturae Animatae Iaponenses

Manga and Anime

  • Simoun features a small dictionary worth of Latin and Latin-sounding terms to designate various technologies and concepts: from the deity Tempus Spatium ("Time Space"); through country names Simulacrum ("likeness, similarity"), Argentum ("silver"), and Plumbum ("lead"); to pilot roles auriga ("charioteer", the primary pilot) and sagitta ("arrow", the navigator and gun controller). These last two terms are also constellations, for additional Theme Naming fun.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, the spells and attack names that aren't in Japanese are generally in Latin, sometimes Greek (and once or twice Sanskrit). They're pretty good, too.
    • As an example, the incantation for one of Negi's favorite attack spells:

Negi: "Veniant Spiritus Aeriales Fulgurientes! Cum Fulguratione Flet Tempestas Austrina! Jovis Tempestas Fulguriens!" [23]

    • The series title is sometimes translated into Latin as "Magi Magister Negi," with magi magister having a rather convenient double meaning as either "magic teacher" or "master of magic"—both of which describe him quite well.[24]
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, they bring us the "Memento Mori" "Remember you will die" It's a killsat that royally messes up the Middle East before it is destroyed, along with its commander. The Innovators have another, just in case.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica,[25] the terms "Magical Girl" and "Puella Magi" are used interchangeably, for good reason. Puella[26] also may additionally mean "a young slave" due to it being derived from Puerulus. Magi[27] can also mean derogatorily, "charlatan", which means "one who deceives". Applying this terminology, the Latin title actually averts Department of Redundancy Department: the real English title to the anime is actually Slave to the Deceiver: Magician Madoka. The Japanese title, however, averts the Latin title altogether.[28] Still, either way, it's certainly an example of gratuitous Latin (although Latin isn't the only language this anime brings in, for obvious reasons).



  • The German neo-medieval band Corvus Corax parodies this trope on one of its shirts with the words, "Omnia dicta fortiora, si dicta latina" which means, "Everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin."
    • Actually Latin was heavy on simplifications, the Romans elided everything they could from their sentences, perhaps in an effort to sound more laconic and no-nonsense, perhaps they had more pressing things to do (like building an empire) than wasting time uttering too many words. They often elided the subject of a phrase when it was apparent who was taking the described action and they hadn't a fixed word for 'yes' but made 'hoc' double for it, other examples could take several pages. This tendency was not merely a quirk of spoken tongue, but had literary dignity and was taken to extremes by people like Julius Caesar, who famously sent the Roman Senate an iconic three words message about his Gallic Campaign: "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered); hence Corvus Corax motto could be better rendered as: "Omnia dicta fortiora, si latina".
  • Latin is a favorite language of many classical and modern choral composers. For a singer, it may seem difficult to learn the pronounciations at first - anyone who's ever tried to teach Latin pronunciation to an Anglican church choir can tell you that it is difficult to learn properly after you've been singing it wrong for your entire life. "Veh-night-ee," indeed.[29] It's called "Church Latin," and while the words are there, its pronunciation is something akin to Canis Latinicus.
    • Church Latin is based off of how Italians would pronounce the Latin words. As the Church is based in Rome, it's to be expected. It does, however, grate upon the ears of those who know how to pronounce it properly.
  • One section of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" is titled "Con mortuis in lingua mortua," meaning "with the dead in a dead language" (though the first word should be "cum", rather than "con" as it would be in Italian).
  • Carmina Burana has a lot of Latin songs in it, mingling with courtly French and mediaeval German.
  • E Nomine not only names itself in Latin, it laces its work thoroughly with Ominous Latin Chanting.

Lūdī Lūsī In Mensā

Tabletop Games

Lūdī Scaenicī


  • In Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel, the witch chants, "Hocus pocus, bonus jocus, malus locus, hocus pocus." Though "hocus pocus" is meaningless, the rest translates as "good joke, bad place."
    • Ironically, "Hocus Pocus" does have a Latin root; It's a corruption of "Hoc est corpus meum."[30] To a medieval Englishman, the Latin mass must have seemed more like a mystical incantation than a prayer.
  • Cyrano De Bergerac:
    • After Jodelet notices that Mountfleury has fallen from grace with the Burgundy's theater public, Bellerose cites the first two words of "Sic transit gloria mundi" [31]

(Cries are heard outside.)
Jodelet (who has looked out): They hoot Montfleury!
Bellerose (solemnly): Sic transit!...

    • Act II Scene VII, when a cadet shows the hats of the thugs Cyrano defeated, Captain Carbon says: Spolia opima! [32]
  • A running gag in Love's Labour's Lost is that a couple of blowhard characters are full of this, and love to correct each other for using grammar incorrectly and such. This annoys Moth, the local Servile Snarker, who remarks, "They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps."

Lūdī Ēlectronicī

Video Games

  • The Judicians in 2027.
  • Eternal Darkness: "Hanc mitte ad dominum et imperatorem nostrum, Carolum Magnum Francum." ("Deliver this to our lord and emperor, Charles the Great the Frank." Charles the Great is more widely referred to by his French name, Charlemagne).
  • The character Doctus from Xenosaga Episode III tends to use Latin sayings for no apparent reason, such as "errare humanum est" (to err is human).
  • In The Elder Scrolls, natives of Cyrodiil, the capital province of The Empire, all have Latin-sounding names. The actual amount of Roman influence on their culture varies from game to game.
  • Final Fantasy VII: :One-Winged Angel", Sephiroth's theme:

Estuans interius, ira vemehenti. (Burning inside with vehement anger.)
Sors immanis, et inanis (Fate - empty, and cruel.)
Veni veni venias, ne me mori facias. (Come, come, O come, do not let me die.)

    • All of them from Carmina Burana, which is a good source of this sort of thing.
  • Gunstar Heroes: Absilio Mundus!
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Ragnarok de Dies Irae
  • Legacy of Kain: Vae Victus!
  • Lost: Via Domus
  • Caesar's Legion from Fallout: New Vegas uses a lot of Latin. Latin names, ranks, currency, uniforms, punishments, etc. They also pronounce Latin the way most scholars believe it was actually pronounced, using no soft Cs (so that "See-zer" becomes "Kai-zar") and pronouncing Vs as Ws. Arcade Gannon also speaks some Latin, but he's quick to assure you that he didn't learn it from the Legion.
  • Ezio Auditore's Bond One-Liner Catch Phrase from Assassin's Creed II: Requiescat in pace (Rest in Peace[33]). And some Ominous Latin Chanting on the soundtrack as well (but moreso in the sequel, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood). It also appears in speech at times, such as Rodrigo Borgia holding mass in the Sistine Chapel right before Ezio attempts to assassinate him.
    • Pretty sure that Requiescat in pace is Italian. The Latin is admittedly the same, but it's probably much more likely that he's speaking Italian.
      • This Italian troper assures that it IS Latin. In Italian it's "riposi in pace" (fortunately, the first, second and third persons of the subjunctive mood of the verb riposare are the same, unlike Latin requiesco).
  • The final mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies features the utterly epic song Megalith-Agnus Dei as the soundtrack for destroying the Megalith superweapon [34]
    • Ace Combat 05: The Unsung War's final mission theme, fittingly named The Unsung War, is also in latin. This time the lyrics are a vulgate translation of the Razgriz poem that recurrently appears through the game, with a lot of repetitions.
  • In the background of Sword of the Stars, Latin has become one of humanity's main languages.
    • This is mostly due to the Catholic Church becoming the dominant religion on Earth and its colonies (but not the only one). In The Deacon's Tale novel (which features a lot of gratuitous Latin and few translations), the Pope has enough power to threaten the Director of SolForce, the most powerful man in human space. The protagonist of the novel is a Chinese man who is in charge of one of [[[[[Sol Force]]]]]'s intelligence branches but who is secretly a Catholic deacon (it's kinda frowned upon to serve 2 masters).
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy uses the trope multiple times. Dissidia itself is derived from the Latin word for discord. The prequel is called Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy, where in 012 is officially pronounced "Duodecim", which is Latin for twelve. The prequel's final secret character, Feral Chaos has Latin names for his HP attacks, such as Deus Iratus,[35] Ventus Irae,[36] and Lux Magnus.[37] This also applies to his EX Burst: Regnum Dei[38] and its followup: Nex Ultimus.[39]
  • Durandal of Marathon has some fun with this: after killing his greatest enemy, he carves the following epitaph into a moon: "Fatum Iustum Stultorum" ("The Just Fate of Fools"; in other words, "These idiots got what was coming to them.")
  • Kingdom of Loathing parodies this trope. The IOTM Loathing Legion Knife has a tattoo needle, and when used, it will give you a tattoo inscribed with the Loathing Legion's unofficial motto: "Tardis Pro Cena", which you should never call a Loathing Legionnaire. Apparently, you should never call them "late for dinner".
  • The opening theme of Final Fantasy VIII, "Liberi Fatali" ("Fated Children," though more properly it should be "Liberi Fatales"). Additionally, all of the paintings in the art gallery in Ultimecia's castle have Latin titles which are part of a minor sidequest.
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia uses latin extensively in the glyph (weapon) names and even some of the stages.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z 2: Saisei-Hen, During Uther's final attack, he chants a spell to cast a curse on his opponent. The translated version of the spell chant Uther recites during the attack is Latin for: The sun shines upon all creation. The king's love is for his subjects. You who tread the path of the Fool. By the light of Salvation. Thou shalt be saved.
  • Age of Mythology averts Canis Latinicus creating scientific names for myth units - any Half-Human Hybrid is Homo x (centaur = equus, minotaur = bull, valkyrie = valkyria), any giant is Atlas x, others take the genus of the animal it's inspired in and add a sufix (the Nemean Lion is Leo biaxomus, the Fenris Wolf is Canis fenrir).
  • Rhea of Dark Souls will say "Vereor Nox" as a farewell to the player. It means "fearfully respect the night/dark."
  • Super Smash Bros Brawl begins with an an epic Latin chorus.

Libellī Pictī De Interrete


Quentyn: Well, you know why Latin is called the "Scholars'" tongue...? It's a dead language. Never changes, very specific and all that stuff... So scholars can use it to write to one another, and no matter what language they speak they can understand one another, exactly. ...So the Fey are always pulling tricks, right? Getting out of agreements by playing dumb, deliberately misunderstanding words or using double-meanings... But Latin is one of the only languages that they can't do that. In fact, they say that you should only make deals with Fey in Latin for that reason.

Opera De Interrete

Web Original

Picturae Animatae Occidentales

Western Animation

  • In Gargoyles, all the mortal spells were in Latin. Because anything said in Latin sounds profound and Ominous. Word of God says that the book containing most of those spells was written by a magus working for Emperor Augustus; naturally, Latin was his first language.[40]
  • In The Venture Brothers, 21 tries to be intimidating by yelling "Semper Fidelis, Tyrannosaurus Rex!" upon which he is informed he just said "Always faithful, terrible lizard king", which he still thinks is pretty cool.
  • Mysterio in The Spectacular Spider-Man uses Latin to make his Evil Sorcerer guise seem more dramatic and arcane. In fact, many of his phrases are quite funny, thanks to some subtle Author Appeal.
  • In the episode of South Park where Damien (Satan's son) visits the Earth, all of his evil spells are accompanied by some Ominous Latin Chanting that goes "Rectus! Dominus!" before shifting abruptly to "Cheesy Poofs!" (The first two words, by the way, literally translate to "Ass Master.")


literally: Hodgepodge

  • There's an old joke about this: «the reason Latin is a dead language is because they kept accidentally summoning demons during regular conversations».


Real Life

  • All Roman Catholic Church records are in Latin, so this leads to them creating Latin words for things that just weren't around when the Romans were, such as "Interrēte", which means "Internet" as seen in the folder headings on this page.
  • Nova Roma, an international organization "dedicated to the study and restoration of ancient Roman culture". Including the Cultus Deorum Romanorum.
  • Nuntii Latini, the Latin news report.
  • Many Badass Creeds are in Latin, such as Semper Fidelis (USMC), Semper Paratus (USCG), Per Mare, Per Terram (Royal Marines), Ad Astra Per Aspera (NASA), Citius, Altius, Fortius (The Olympics), and so on.
  • The "Audi" car brand was named after a direct translation from the German "Horch" (Listen) to its Latin counterpart. One has to wonder if a person ever exclaimed "Hey! Audi!"
  • Volvo, Latin for I roll
  • There is a little town in northeast Georgia named Subligna. A certain Dr. Underwood suggested the name when it was founded.[41]
  • The Canadian province of Nova Scotia - "New Scotland" wouldn't have been as impressive a name.
  1. As noted below, Latin is big on ellipsis, so this word can be elided without any problem, but retained because that's by far the most widespread form of this quote.
  2. "Anything said in Latin seems profound". Much more literally: Whatever it would be that has been said in Latin is seen highly.
  3. "first among equals" More literally: The first between equals.
  4. Swordfish
  5. "Kind Lord Jesus, grant them rest.
  6. Literally, it's "for this, in fact"; but in legal use, both are standard terms and it means "for this purpose; in practice, but not by law"
  7. Lord have mercy, the dog is dead.
  8. Sweet Fanny Adams
  9. Plato is my friend, but truth is more my friend
  10. Thus passes the world
  11. Thus passes the glory of the world
  12. "the lady," as in the mistress of a house or city
  13. "necessary"
  14. "In times of war, laws fall silent."
  15. "after the fact"
  16. "Thus passes Vir" or "Thus passes man", since "vir" can mean "man"
  17. "Behold the man who is a bean."
  18. "Farewell, man who is a bean."
  19. "End of part one"
  20. "Part two"
  21. Which was to be proved.
  22. to seem to be rather than to be
  23. "Come, Spirits of Air and Lightning! Southern Storm Which Blows with Lightning! Jupiter’s Storm of Thunder!"
  24. Amusingly, it is also exactly the double meaning implicit in the original Japanese word "Sensei".
  25. Literally, Magical Girl Magician Madoka
  26. "a young girl"
  27. "Magician", or, more accurately, as it's a genitive form of the word Magus, "of the magician".
  28. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, which is elaborated in the anime. See the Main page for that description -- the Japanese title offers the similar possibility of interpretation.
  29. That's how they'll give you Venite (Pronounced correctly: Wen-ee-tay). Seriously.
  30. This is my body
  31. Thus passes the glory of the world
  32. rich spoils/trophies, refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single, hand-to-hand combat.
  33. Actually, "requiescat" is the active subjunctive third-person singular present tense (of "requiesco") that means "he/she/it may/must/should rest". "May you rest in peace" would be Requiescas in pace.
  34. Which appears to simply be a heavily-fortified ICBM base.
  35. Angered God
  36. Wind of Wrath
  37. Great Light, should be "Lux Magna," as "lux" is feminine
  38. Kingdom of God
  39. Final Slaughter, should be "Nex Ultima," as "nex" is feminine
  40. Word of God also adds that any language can be used for magic, provided the spell is composed by a magus and pronounced correctly. Indeed, in the show some are in Hebrew and at least one is cast in English.
  41. Subligna meaning, of course, "Under wood."