Canis Latinicus

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Mike: Lots of multi-syllabic non-words in this story?
Kevin: Yeah, see they simply took Latin... and ruined it.

In a show rife with magic users or scientific terminology, Latin is the gear of choice. It's exotic-sounding, it has a word for almost everything, and it's fairly well-known. With Latin by your side, you can spout off any string of awesomeness you want, and easily throw in a few less-than-Latin bits—want to name your New World Monkey "Callithrix dubyabush?" Go for it!

But what happens when you run out of Latin? Or if your spell or radioactive element has some attribute that you don't know how to name? Well, just make up some new Latin! It's easy: take an English word—any will do—drop any vowels from the end, and add -us, -icus, or -ium. If you're naming a town, use the extension -opolis (although the extension is actually Greek, not Latin. Real Latin would have you using the extension -ium or -ia). Ta-daa! Instant Latin! This use of Latin, as the trope name should indicate, is called "dog Latin." (Incidentally, the trope title is in fact real Latin...for "Latin dog." No, it doesn't make much sense, but that's rather the point. Plus, it sounds less like a porn actress than (Lingua) Latina Canina, which is how "Dog Latin" would sound in real Latin.)

Greek is often used interchangeably with Latin for such purposes (as in the -opolis example above); few writers bother to make a distinction.

May be used in comedic versions of the Pretentious Latin Motto. Also comes in handy for Ominous Latin Chanting or a Parody Magic Spell.

Sometimes a result of As Long as It Sounds Foreign and Did Not Do the Research (or Did Not Care With Research) A subtrope of Gratuitous Foreign Language. Compare with Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe. Don't confuse it with Igpay Atinlay. See also El Spanish-O.




  • Played both ways in the Asterix series, where Roman names are mostly in fake Latin, but the Latin phrases are legitimate, even though a phrase like "cena canis" (dog's dinner) may be identified as "dog Latin" for the sake of the pun.
    • That's because latin phrases are famous quotes copied letter by letter.
  • Donald Duck
    • The classic "The Golden Helmet" introduces an alleged lawyer who supports all his claims with Latin-sounding phrases. For instance, when challenged to prove that his client is who he says he is, he replies nonchalantly, "Flikkus flakkus fumlidium," which he claims to mean "Can you prove he isn't?" And it's catching: later in the story one of Donald's nephews asks the others if they've had enough of this Dog Latin nonsense, to which his brother replies, "Yeppus yappus yubettus."
    • In Don Rosa's sequel, it's Donald who gets the last word (in Dog Latin) when he advises the defeated villains to "in aqua concus dipporum" which he claims to mean "go jump headlong in the sea."
  • In the X-Men books, the precognitive mutant Destiny wrote down several volumes of prophecy given the title Libris Veritatus, probably an attempted back-formation from the word "exlibris" (ex libris = "from the books") combined with the misspelled genitive veritatis ("of truth"). In proper Latin it would be libri veritatis.
  • Whenever The Beano does something involving the Romans, this trope comes into effect, especially with regards to character names. Also notable in the strip Nero and Zero which appeared in The Wizard and later Buzz, both these comics where published by the same publisher as The Beano.
  • Le Collège Invisible takes it Up to Eleven, with album titles like Lostum and spells like "Youtubem", which allow you to see events happening elsewhere.


  • In the Mad parody of Mark Trail, Mark Trade is assigned to hunt down a "Canis Bernardus Saintus." Looking it up, he finds that it means a St. Bernard dog, and can't believe he'd be asked to kill his Canine Companion Sandy, who is one. He has Sandy stuffed anyway, since there's a $5000 reward.
  • Once in Doonesbury, while Duke was ruling Al-Amok, he let it go to his head and demanded that Honey speak to him "in Latinum!" To which she replied, "Yessius, sirrus!"


  • Potter Puppet Pals featured both Ronnicus explodicus and Pantiloonius poopicus. Also Pituitarius shrinkidinkius. And the words "lorem ipsum" appear in the Elder Swear.



  • Monty Python's Life of Brian gives us another round of punny names, such as Biggus Dickus and his wife Incontinentia Buttocks. The trope as a whole, though, is parodied in the scene where a Roman centurion makes Brian painstakingly correct the grammar of his "Romans Go Home" graffiti. It is a perennial favorite among cool high-school Latin teachers (though he uses the term "locative" incorrectly).
  • The Addams Family motto from the 1991 film, Sic gorgiamus allos subjectos nunc, allegedly meaning "we gladly feast on those who would subdue us". The correct Latin version of that motto would be something like Eīs quibus nōs doment, libenter epulēmur.
  • The Big Bad in Enchanted makes all her magical incantations in something Latinesque.
  • The mission scene in Beavis and Butthead Do America has background music whose text, the score's composer admits in a DVD feature (and demonstrates in the manuscript score), runs: "Scrotum agitato, Ignoramus, Genitilis longuis, Hemorrhidus burnum all day long."
  • The Stoner Flick J-Men Forever! has the motto of the G-Men J-Men as "U Cannabis Smokem."
  • The original version of Disney film The Shaggy Dog and its sequel The Shaggy DA had the incantation "in canis corpore transmuto" — which in real Latin would mean "I change into the body of a dog".
  • The beginning of the escape sequence from Johnny Dangerously has one of his Mooks pretending to be a priest giving him the last rites:

Charley: Dominus vobiscum nabisco. Espiritu sanctum. De gustibus. Me gustibus. You gustibus. We missed the bus. They missed the bus. When's the next bus? Summa cum laude. Magna cum laude. The radio's too laude. Adeste fidelis. Centra fidelis. High fidelis. Post meridian. Ante meridian. Uncle meridian. All of the little meridians. Magna carta. Master charga. Dum procellas. Lotsa Vitalis.


  • Most of the spells in Harry Potter were (loosely) based on Latin ("Expelliarmus", "Wingardium Leviosa", etc.) Most of them sounded decent, but occasionally one more obvious would enter the mix, such as "Petrificus Totalus"—the Full Body Bind, or "Riddikulus", the spell to turn a Boggart into something hilarious. This becomes especially amusing in the audiobooks read by Stephen Fry, who actually knows Latin. It's funny to hear him giving real pronunciation to fake words.
  • The eponymous wizard in The Dresden Files straight up admits he's using quasi-Latin or pseudo-Latin, in so many words, with spells like "Fuego!" for fire (when he needed More Dakka with it, we even got "Fuegoso! Pyrofuego!"), "Forzare!" for force and "Ventas servitas" for wind. They're his three favourite standby spells. The Faux-Latin words apparently are helpful foci for concentrating the energy that allows magic to happen. (Other wizards have been described as using Japanese, Sumerian, Greek, and Egyptian-based spell invocations in the books, but the exact words are not given.) In this particular case, it's important that he not use proper Latin words, because the words of a spell become inextricably bound with the use of magic in a wizard's mind—and while he wouldn't run the risk of accidentally casting spells when simply speaking Latin[1]), Harry says that words in foreign, unfamiliar languages provide a sort of insulation from the raw power of a spell for a wizard's mind. One time in Fool Moon he cast a spell when he couldn't speak: The spell worked fine, but he was badly disoriented for some time after. Dresden's spell to light a roomful of candles was "Flickum bicus," a dog Latinization of the old "Flick a Bic" lighter jingle.
    • On top of that, his actual Latin is horrible. And if he learned it better, using actual Latin for spells would no longer work, as the buffer would no longer be provided. No one uses spells in real languages that they actually know, mostly to protect themselves from that backlash.
  • Finding a mysterious fossil of a never-before-seen organism, one of the protagonists of Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor's Boundary names it Bemmius secordi. The secordi is for the Secord family, on whose land it was found. Only a few people catch on that the Bemmius is her covert reference to "Bug Eyed Monster", as she's convinced it's the fossil of an alien but dares not to say so openly.
  • Averted in H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy, where the narration specifically discusses how the scientific nomenclature of The Future no longer requires Latin or Greek terminology (or, evidently, several other established rules), and the newly-discovered aboriginal life-form on the colony world is officially designated Fuzzy sapiens.
  • The Discworld novels are primarily set in or around Ankh-Morpork, where Latatian, or "very bad doggy Latin", was the former language. As a result, the books have so many examples it almost qualifies for its own sub-page. A favorite joke of Pratchett's is to present English expressions in Latin, where they make no sense literally.
    • For starters, the city's mottos are: Quanti canicula ille in fenestra, or "How much is that doggie in the window," and Merus in pectum et in aquam, or "Pure in heart and water", for a city whose river is so polluted you could skateboard across it (especially in the summer).
    • The City Watch's motto is Fabricati Diem Pvnc, apparently an abbreviated form of a previous motto (Fabricati Diem, Pvncti Agvnt Celeriter -- "make the day, the moments will pass quickly"), which LOOKS as though it means "make my day, punk", but doesn't - but one the members is convinced it means "To Protect and Serve". Since at least one of them seems to be able to translate Latatian quite well otherwise, it's possible they're just fooling themselves.
    • This became a plot point in Feet of Clay, where the old-fashioned villain announced all of his plans through heraldry mottos that contained very bad Latin puns. If anyone on the Watch had been of a more punny disposition, they might have figured it out fifty pages in.
    • The motto of Lord Vetinari is "Sic non confectus, non reficiat" which is said to translate as "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
    • Making Money says that he rules the city by the law of Quia ego sic dico, or "Because I say so." (Vetinari firmly believes in the "One Man, One Vote" system. He is The Man, so he has The Vote.)
    • Occult uses of Canis Latinicus include the Tome of Eldritch Lore Liber Paginarum Fulvarum, which translates as "The Book of Yellow Pages".
    • The motto for Unseen University is Nunc id Vides, Nunc ne Vides, or "Now you see it, now you don't."
    • The Fool's Guild has Dico, Dico, Dico, or "I say, I say, I say"—a classic stage performer's line.
    • In Jingo, a character received an honorary degree from Unseen University entitled Doctorum Adamus cum Flabello Dulci. "Doctor of Sweet Fanny Adams", British slang for "nothing at all". Possibly a reference to Private Eye's honorary degrees (see below).
    • Elsewhere in the same book, Vimes comes upon the remains of a statue of General Tacticus (an ancient Morporkian war hero, better at conquering than Alexander the Great), the plinth of which bears the motto "Ab hoc possum videre domum tuum," or "I can see your house from up here." This is noted to have been both a boast and a threat.
    • The motto of the extended Death family is Non Timetis Messor. The literal translation is Have No Timidity Towards He Who Gathers The Harvest, or in plain English, Don't Fear The Reaper.
    • The Ecksian version of Unseen University has Nullus Anxietas ("No Worries") written over the front gates.
    • Also "Nulli Sheilae sanguineae" : No bloody Sheilas.
    • Lovable Coward Rincewind has, on separate occasions, been heard to exclaim "Stercus, stercus, stercus, moriturus sum" (Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, I am about to die!) and "Morituri Nolumus Mori" (we who are about to die, don't want to).
    • Albert's "Sodomy non sapiens" ("buggered if I know")
    • In a similar vein, Nanny Ogg translates her favorite Bawdy Song, for Casanunda's benefit, as "Il Porcupino Nil Sodomy Est" ("The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered"). Naturally, the full lyrics are never given.
    • Quoting this stuff is, of course, a favorite pastime of the Lawyers Guild and by extension, its head Mr Slant. Amusingly a lot of what he says sounds like complete nonsense, like citing someone should be released from prison on the grounds of something that translates as "pockets full of fish", but it always has actual precedent in Ankh-Morpork law. (In that case, someone was thrown into a lake, but since their pockets filled with fish, the judge determined that the whole experience had been a net benefit and the thrower could not be prosecuted.) This is a thematic reference to real-world legal examples known by funny names, such as the "fertile octogenarian", the "unborn widow", and the "magical gravel pit". A technicality of inheritance law, known as the "rule against perpetuities", has spawned a number of such seeming absurdities.
    • In Night Watch, Slant also has the line: "Ave! duci novo, similis duci seneci" ("Meet the new boss, same as the elder boss"). Which he then jokingly repeats as: "Ave! Bossa nova, similis bossa seneca". Yeah, that's right: Dog Latatian.
    • Jingo has him quote the doctrine of "acquiris quodcumque rapis" ("you get what you grab") in relation to the territorial dispute at the heart of the novel's plot.
    • One of the books is titled Carpe Jugulum ("get the jugular" or "go for the throat") after the motto of a family of Vampires.
    • In The Wee Free Men, the talking toad translates the Feegles' Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liners into Latatian legalese to defend them from spectral lawyers conjured by the Queen of the Elves (entering a plea of vis-ne faciem capite repletam, "would you like a face full of head?" and citing potest-ne mater tua suere, amice, "can your mother sew, pal?")
    • In Interesting Times, we get a dodgy etymology of "teleport": "It comes from tele, meaning 'I see,' and 'porte,' meaning 'to go,' the whole meaning 'I see it's gone.'"
  • The poem "The Motor Bus" by A.D. Godley declines "motor bus" in every possible way as if it actually were a Latin noun phrase. Which, technically, it is, except bus is a contraction of "omnibus", which is dative plural already—the nominative singular would be "omnis". Chalk it up to poetic license.
  • Being set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the Ciaphas Cain novels are similarly lousy with the stuff:
    • Caves of Ice takes place on the frozen planet of Simia Orichalchae (which roughly translates as "brass monkey", as in "cold enough to freeze the balls off..."). There's also a reference to the planet Nusquam Fundumentibus ("arse end of nowhere").
    • Duty Calls takes place on Periremunda ("lost world") and includes a plateau named Aceralbaterra, which translates as Maple White Land, the name of the plateau in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Bonus points because after being discovered by Acer Alba, Periremunda was rediscovered by "Magos Provocare," a name that could be rendered as "Professor Challenger."
    • An undescribed type of food mentioned more than once is "soylens viridiens".
  • "Archaic" in Megan Whalen Turner's novels appears to be a mix of this and kyneio:s hellenizesthai.
  • Used deliberately in The Handmaid's Tale, when Offred discovered a scratched phrase in Latin -- "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"—in her room left by the previous Handmaid, a super big thing because women in Gilead aren't allowed to read or write. When she asks Fred what it means, he identifies it as an old Dog Latin joke—translated roughly as "Don't let the bastards grind you down"—and makes reference to a couple of other similar jokes. Of course, the meaning is far from a joke to Offred.
  • The Dr. Seuss character Thidwick the moose is labeled as Moosus antlerus. (For the record, the real scientific term for moose is Alces alces.)


  • In Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, the Ancient language is quasi-Latin—for instance, the Ancient term for "Stargates" is "Astria Porta". The in-universe explanation is that it is actually Latin's mother tongue, even though the Ancients on Earth supposedly died out by 3,000 BC -- long before Latin began to form. Although, one learns quickly to avoid thinking too hard about anything scientific when watching these shows.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel Subverted this by using (mostly) accurate Latin as the language of magic.
  • Charmed started out as an Aversion, since the spells in the Book of Shadows were all in English and the sisters created their own spells in English as well. It was rife with it in later seasons, though. The episode "A Witch in Time" features a warlock whose spells are invented Latin words. ("Consilio"? (for "Conceal") "Incendiares globus"? "TELEPORTATO"?)
  • The Red Green Show uses this as a Running Gag. Before each meeting begins in Possum Lodge, the lodge members sit, stand, salute and state in unison, "Quando omni flunkius, moritati".[2] Then they sit back down.
  • The theme song to Mr. Bean is "Ecce homo qui est faba", which basically means "Behold the man who is a bean."
  • One episode of music-centric Panel Game Never Mind the Buzzcocks lead to panellist Bill Bailey, on answering a question incorrectly, responding with "Quiz Poppius Trivialis". After which, Mark Lamarr re-responded "Buzzcockius No Pointata".
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force is surprisingly good about using actual Latin, Greek, and Welsh words (if not proper use of either grammar or Magic A Is Magic A to match), but a few stinkers got by, such as "Hilarium Shenolia".
  • The Colbert Report's motto for Stephen going to Iraq? What else: Veritasiness.
  • Speaking of Iraq, Generation Kill has a kinda mixed up one: "semper Gumby", "always flexible".
  • Wizards of Waverly Place's many spells that are just normal phrases with Latin suffixes slapped on. According to Word of God most of the spells are based off crew members' names.
  • Doctor Who
    • Lampshaded when the Doctor and Martha help Shakespeare defeat the Carrionite witches by an adlibbed spell:

Shakespeare: "Banished like a tinker's cuss, I say to thee..." (he again looks to the Doctor)
The Doctor: Uh... (he looks to Martha)
Martha Jones: Expelliarmus!
The Doctor: Expelliarmus!
Shakespeare: "Expelliarmus!"
The Doctor: Good old J.K.!

    • In "The Almost People", the Doctor calls Rory "Roranicus Pondicus" in reference to his time as "Rory the Roman".
  • The Worst Witch was using this to make spells sound cool before Harry Potter was a gleam in J.K.'s eye. The show lampshades it every now and then as one episode had Charlie pronouncing a word wrong and it turned Ethel into a duck. Another had Enid try to come up with a spell to get them food, "send us some snacks and make it hasty" and bales of hay fell down on them. It's worth noting that in the original books the actual spell words were not given.
  • Averted on Merlin, since it's Old English instead of Latin used for the magic.


  • The French MithrilPop band ERA uses a fictional Latin / Romanesque-sounding language in practically all their songs.
  • One Blue Oyster Cult album is titled "Cultosaurus Erectus".
  • The debut album of the doom metal band Candlemass is titled "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus".
  • Toward the fade-out of XTC's "Towers of London", Andy Partridge repeatedly sings "Londinium," interspersed with vocalizing. The song being something of a tribute to London's wonderfulness (nonetheless acknowledging certain brutal realities), Andy said he imagined it could be a fitting word for the magical substance of which London was made.
  • "Vincebus Eruptum", title of a Blue Cheer album.
  • According to The Other Wiki, composer Karl Jenkins had no idea that his Adiemus albums were (almost) named "we shall approach" in Latin. There are no actual lyrics on the albums, but vocalizations meant to function as part of the instrumental background.
  • The progressive metal band "Pain of Salvation" has lots of pseudo-Latin song names. Daniel Gildenlöw explains: "I'd say the trick is not to see the titles as pure Latin, but a connecting thread woven by words in Latin. Thus, Lilium Cruentus is formed by the words for lily and stained by blood and is preferably interpreted as a loss of innocence and virginity, see? There are no rules here, just triggers to the mind."


  • Older Than Steam: The first recorded use of "fuck" in the English language is a poem, "Flen flyys" ("Fleas and flies"). It's Bowdlerized by making the last two lines Canis Latinicus: "Non sunt in celi/quia fuccant uuiuys of heli" ("They are not in heaven / Who fuck the wives of Ely.") Believe it or not, some of the lesser known poems in the Carmina Burana use this form of Bowdlerization as well. (They didn't make it into the Orff version.)


  • This New York Times op-ed.


  • The Imperium of Man in the Warhammer 40,000 universe uses Dog Latin as a Translation Convention[3] for High Gothic, an archaic language mainly used in formal settings.
    • Some examples include the Administratum, the Ecclesiarchy (priests), the Senatorum Imperialis, Departmento Munitorum (Military command & logistics) and Adeptus Mechanicus. Place names show this too, along with what seems to be a healthy dose of gallows humour among the harried explorers and colonists who found themselves stuck on the nastier ones in ancient times. Examples include the ice worlds Simia Orichalchae and Nusquam Fundumentibus (respectively, Dog Latin for "Brass Monkey" and "Arse End of Nowhere").
    • Not all of the examples go down quite so easy, though — there are Astra Militarum (aka Imperial Guard), the Adeptus Astartes (Space Marines). Then there are the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition, such as Ordo Hereticus, and Ordo Xenos (hunting heresy and aliens respectively), Ordo Excorium - (oversees Exterminatus), Ordo Redactus (censorship), and so on - and then there's Ordo Malleus, ostensibly named after "hammer"; the non-indicative name allowed to hide its true purpose, but it's also a reference to Malleus Maleficarum (the Hammer of the Witches), even though "Witchhunters" are Ordo Hereticus. Orders of Adepta Sororitas (nun sisterhoods) themselves are named colloquially (and even tastefully), but main types of those Orders are Militant, Hospitaller (medics), Dialogous (linguists and translators) and Famulous (diplomats and advisors).
  • Vampire: The Requiem
    • The game features some odd Latin. "Lancea Sanctum"? "Ordo Dracul"? You can kind of tell they stuck random inflections (or no inflections, as the case may be) to words.
    • Requiem in Rome puts a small Retcon on the former—in the Roman Empire, the Lancea Sanctum were Lancea et Sanctum, but time and non-Latin-speaking vampires eventually warped the words. Except "Lancea et Sanctum" is even stranger, as the they're supposed to be the the order of Longinus' sacred spear—that is, his lancea sancta. Lancea et Sanctum literally means "the lance/spear and the holy thing".
      • Interstingly in the German version of the game, the name of the Lancea Sancta is spelled correctly, ie Lancea Sancta. So no need for a justification. This could be due to the fact that Latin classes are still quite common in German High Schools so chances are high that one of the translators knew his Latin.
    • "Ordo Dracul" is stranger still: Dracul is not Latin, but Romanian for "the dragon" or "the devil"; the -ul ending translates as the article "the".
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The original "Monster Manual" included Dog Latin versions of taxonomic names for its ten varieties of dragon (genus Draco). Some of these were puns, particularly the Draco Comes Stabuli, the "constable" or "copper" dragon.
    • The third edition undead manual is called Libris Mortis, a name which sounds pretty good, but doesn't actually work because of the similarity of the words for "book" and "free". Liber Mortis would be Book of the Dead, but Libris Mortis works out to "of the Dead Book". The much of the community even calls it the "Book of Bad Latin"
  • Third edition RuneQuest has this for nearly every monster. A notable example is Anatanthropus Donaldii, or "duck man from/of Donald", for the Gloranthan race known as ducks.


  • The Troggles in the MECC's Munchers games have the genus name "Trogglus" and species names such as "smarticus", "normalus", and "timidus".
  • The unofficial "motto" of arcane casters on the Khyber server in Dungeons and Dragons Online is "Vene Vidi Igni"—which they translate as "I came, I saw, I set it on fire."
  • Escape from Monkey Island has a bit of gratuitous Latin (the inscription on one pirate statue reads something like "Where is the booty?") This frustrates the main character, who eventually mutters something about wishing he had bought the Latin for Scummies book.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has some fun with this. During The Quest for the Holy MacGuffin, you get a number of clues for various obstacles, some of which follow this trope. Such as:

 "We don't need no water, let the motherfucker burn."

  • The Sims
    • The Sims 2: University has a cowplant with the taxonomic label of Laganaphyllis simnovorii. No taurus or bovinae in sight, oddly enough. This is still a Meaningful Name, as when the cowplant gets hungry, it eats Sims (i.e. it is a simnovore).
    • The Apartment Life expansion pack (re-)introduces magic into the series. The spells are Latin-sounding things like "Appello Simae", which summons other sims.
    • Bizarrely, The Sims Medieval, which you'd expect to use Dog Latin, hardly uses any.
  • The 1989 release Keef the Thief featured such spells as "Flickus Bickus" and "Bandus Aidus."
  • Neverwinter Nights plays it more straight, spellcasters mutter one of three or four different phrases that don't appear to mean anything. It's not even entirely clear whether they're meant to be Latin or just Latin-sounding. They are tied to schools of magic, though, so Bull's Strength and Meteor Storm wouldn't have the same phrase, but Meteor Storm and Fireball would. Neverwinter Nights 2 uses the same exact incantation soundbites.
  • In the Halo universe, all the Covenant species, in addition to having a nickname (e.g., "Elites") and a formal name ("Sangheili"), also have a faux-Latin scientific name ("Macto cognatus"). You can read all the names and the meanings behind them in this forum post.
  • The names of the skills in Donkey Kong 64 have dog-Latin translations.
  • BlazBlue mixes actual Latin with Latin-sounding gibberish and oddly spelled words that might be Latin to provide us with "Nox Nyctores" (a type of weapons system) and "Arcus Diabolus Bolverk" (a variant of same). By contrast, "Novus Orbis Librarium" earns bonus points for being passable Latin for "New World Library".
  • Lost: Via Domus is an egregious example. In the game, Locke translates the Title Drop as "The Way Home," which is apparently what the game creators meant, except that it would be Via Domum. This is actually pretty funny when you realize that it's the same mistake as in Life of Brian above. Most people just call it Lost: The Game though, because that's funny too.
  • There's an online game called Gladiatus: Hero of Rome. It (ostensibly) involves playing as a Gladiator in Ancient Rome. The title is nothing short of weird, considering it seems to be a "Latinized" version of the word "gladiator." Especially considering that the Latin word for "gladiator" is, (surprise!) "gladiator". While gladiator essentially means sword-user (swordsman), gladiatus would be closer to someone on whom a sword is used, which fits, but probably not in the way they were hoping.
  • Black Sigil uses this to differentiate spells from regular ol' abilities. "Nox Ico" and "Curo Orbis" may sound like Latin, but... at least in those two examples, the only mistake is leaving object nouns (which should be accusative) in the nominative.
  • Lost Souls MUD has lots of this flying around, especially in the names of the mage guilds—Ordo Ignis Aeternis, Ordo Zephyrius Mutatoris, and the like.
  • The background music in the world map phase of Rome: Total War contains actual Latin words as lyrics, but strung together with no regard for anything besides how they sound.
  • In both Dungeon Keeper games, clicking on any one of your spells causes an evil sounding voice to mutter what at first sounds like utter gibberish. However if you listen closely the words are actually real-world words that somehow relate to the spell being cast. Examples of such incantations: Aggressum Attractus - call to arms ("attract aggressors"), Otus Diabolus - evil sight, Electrodius - lightning, Vitae - heal, Mortis - disease, (from the 2nd game) Impius Factoria - create imp, Expressus Americanus - create money.
  • Of all the Pokémon, only Oddish has a confirmed scientific name: "Oddium Wanderus".
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, the opening song is called "Liberi Fatali", intended to mean "children of fate" or "fated children". "Liberi" is a nominative plural noun meaning "children", which they got right. "Fatali" is a singular dative/ablative adjective whose root is "fatalis," or "fated," and while the word is right, the case and number are wrong, the proper phrase should be "Liberi Fatales" or "Liberi Fati." Word of God says that this was an oversight.
  • Jet Set Willy includes a room called "Nomen Luni". The correct Latin would be "Nomen Lunae", since Luna is a feminine noun.
  • The manual for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun - Firestorm includes "scientific" notes of Dr. Boudreau. These notes have information on the new tiberium-based lifeforms that have "evolved" in contaminated areas. One of these is commonly known as the tiberium fiend. The eggheads felt the need to label it Canis Tiberius, even though Boudreau herself points out that the fiend has nothing in common with canines, except looking vaguely similar. Dogs aren't generally known for shooting Green Rock spikes at you from their backs. They also aren't horse-sized.
  • The Piranicus Giganticus (a giant Piranha Plant) from the Super Mario Bros. series games.
  • Beyond Good and Evil is full of these. All the Petting Zoo People have taxonomical names that end in Sapiens but are of different genus; For example, Jade's "uncle", Pey'j, is a "Sus Sapiens" or "Wise Pig". Given that every single one of the Petting Zoo People are humanoid(two-handed bipeds), a more appropriate terminology would be in the vicinity of "Homo Sapiens Sus", or "Wise Pig Man".
  • In Dragonsphere, the members of the race called the "Soptus Ecliptus" (aside from their caliph) tend to speak in a Latinate language (e.g. PE KA DOLI MEKRATUM, EP KA LI ABRASTUM, which means "If you don't prepare, you will be late"); the caliph, however, speaks excellent English.



Devilbear: "Ignoramus" to you too!



  • The American translation of Winx Club, probably trying to inspire comparisons to Harry Potter, uses a Latin-based spell system (notably absent in both the Italian original and the British translation), giving us many such gems, including a one-time spell whose sole purpose was to turn a motorcycle into a pig. The incantation? "Oinkus Interceptus".
  • The educational but mind-blowing cartoon Cyberchase includes a recurring location called Radopolis (rad), ruled over by King Dudicus (dude). In case you couldn't guess, they were a Totally Radical Planet of Hats.
  • Many of Wile E Coyote and The Road Runner cartoons in Looney Tunes introduce the pair with fake scientific names usually derived in this manner. Examples include Speedometrus Rapidus for the Roadrunner, and Famishus Famishus for the Coyote.
    • Tiny Toon Adventures had one short which introduced Fifi le Fume as "Sexius Skunkus". Amazing that the censors let that pass...
    • Subverted in 2003's "Whizzard of Ow" in which the actual binomial names were used: Canis Latrans for the Coyote (Noisy dog—ironic when you realize Wile E. almost never speaks), Geococcyx Californianus for the Road-runner (Californian Cuckoo that runs on land).
  • The Simpsons
    • "You are, as they say in Latin, a dorkus malorkus."
    • One episode gave a direct nod to the Road Runner series by having a freeze-framed Bart and Homer identified as "Bratus Donthaveacowious", and "Homo Neadrathalus" respectively.
    • The seal of the mayor's office reads "Corruptus In Extremis".
  • Kid Icarus of Captain N: The Game Master establishes his overwhelming Roman-ness (Greek-ness?) by ending random words with "-icus".
  • South Park
    • "Rectus! Dominus! Cheesy Poofs!" Additionally, a secret group surrounding the ancestor of Peter Rabbit, the true pope, introduced him by chanting "Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail" in Dog Latin (which become obvious when they get to "Hippitus, Hoppitus").
    • The motto of the Planetarium reads: "Transmitte Me Sursum Caledoni"
  • In King of the Hill Bobby was (nearly!) forced to drink Caninus Spiritus or "Dog Blood" by a cult. There is also "Destroyus Bobbyus Hillus" as he leaves the group.
  • One episode of Teen Titans begins by identifying Control Freak (Couchus Potaticus) and Beast Boy (Animalus Switcheroonium). And then it just keeps on going like that.
  • Transformers tend to have names with Latin influences. Examples include Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Fortress Maximus, and Bruticus Maximus. Others are faux-Latin, such as "Jhiaxus" and "Rodimus Prime". The name "Jhiaxus" was originally a stealth gag. When writer Simon Furman was tasked to write the Transformers Generation 2 comic book, he suspected (rightly) that the series would be canceled shortly due to unrealistic sales expectations. He therefore named the main Decepticon Big Bad after the pun "Gee, axe us!"
  • Sheep in The Big City parodies the Roadrunner and Coyote with subtitles showing Sheep as "Sheepious Zipius" and Private Public as "A Latin joke about Private Public".
  • In an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, with the activity of the day in class being rope-climbing and Harry too busy talking to Harry to pay attention, at one point Peter has to tell him, "Carpe ropum".
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
    • In one episode, Twilight Sparkle attempts to study Pinkie Pie's strange abilities, and dubs her subject "Pinkius pieicus" (based on the humor of the episode, most certainly another Wile E Coyote and The Road Runner Homage).
    • Season 2 baddie Discord is a "Draconequus". While this usage is on a number of RPG forums, it's clearly an example of mashing together the Latin words for dragon and horse.


  • The VST synthesizer Synplant is supposed to represent an "organic" mode of creating sounds—hence, randomly-generated patches are created with a randomly-generated name made out of random Latin words, to sound like plants. The one on the website is "Quorum Inedicabilis", both of which are real words, but have little to do with the sound of a synthesizer.
  • Scientists, when naming new species, will often name them after famous scientists or political figures, though instead of "us," they often add "-i" (for the genitive case) instead. This gets really silly when the person being honored is named "Ishii".
    • An example that makes Aussies' skin crawl - a species of land snail now known by the scientific name Crikey steveirwini.
    • Strigiphilus garylarsoni, a biting louse named for the cartoonist of The Far Side, is only one example.
    • Larson also got another honor, but not in a species' name. See the Thagomizer on That Other Wiki.
    • Terry Pratchett has an extinct species of turtle (what else?) (Psephophorus terrypratchetti) named after him, and keeps a fossil of it on his desk.
    • Gingoites nannyoggiae, (at least, as reported by the Art of Discworld), the scientific name of a particular Mesozoic plant.
    • Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits has the Masiakasaurus knopfleri named after him (prompting many jokes about being an aging rock dinosaur)
    • At first, Jurassic Park's movie looked a bit odd to palaeontologists, as the "velociraptors" were far too large. Then along came a discovery of a raptor-family dinosaur in Utah, every bit as big as the raptors in the movie and even bigger. It was dubbed Utahraptor spielbergi. Technically, the animal is now called Utahraptor ostrommaysorum. Another scientist, however, named a species of pterosaur (flying reptiles related to the dinosaurs) of the genus Coloborhynchus, "Coloborhynchus spielbergi", although its validity as a separate species of Coloborhynchus is currently under debate.
    • John Cleese has a lemur named after him. As far as cuteness goes, he wins.
    • Archeologists excavating a Mayan artifact site found a pictographic collection containing a carving of a very large, stylized snake; which they unofficially named "montypythonidies".
    • On hearing about the newly discovered spider Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, Stephen Colbert demanded that he get an animal, too. The biologist in question duly named "Aptostichus stephencolberti".
    • Musician Sting has an Amazonian tree frog named after him—Dendropsophus stingi.
    • And then there's Calponia harrisonfordi, which is a primitive spider.
    • A species of mushroom has been named Spongiforma squarepantsii in homage to SpongeBob SquarePants.
    • There is a genus of dinosaur known as Gojirasaurus. Yes, named after that Gojira.
    • Same goes for Dracorex hogwartsia (which has been suggested in recent years to be just a juvenile Pachycephalosaurus), whose name roughly means "Dragon King of Hogwarts."
  • There is an entire website devoted to proving that scientists have a sense of humor. Among others:
    • The fossil fly Carmenelectra shechisme (pronounced "she-kiss-me")
    • The three species of spider once thought to be members of the genus Nops, reclassified as Notnops, Taintnops, and Tisentnops
    • Another fly called Phthiria relativitae (the "ph" is silent)
    • And several species of fungus beetle called Gelae baen, Gelae belae, Gelae donut, Gelae fish, and Gelae rol
  • Elements get "ium." A number of naturally-occuring elements, plus all of the transuranic elements—elements with atomic numbers higher than uranium's 92, which are mostly synthesized in laboratories—fit this: einsteinium, californium, berkelium... the list goes on. Most famously, two different groups of scientists synthesized elements 93 and 94 independently, and both independently came up with the names "neptunium" and "plutonium" (to follow element 92, uranium, as Pluto was the ninth planet at the time).
    • 19th-century British chemist Humphry Davy settled first on "alumium," then on "aluminum," for the element he was trying to isolate. The Other Wiki quotes the Quarterly Review as being the first to insist on calling in aluminium, "in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound." But "aluminum" had already taken off in some circles, and today it keeps us Separated by a Common Language. The spelling "aluminium" was made standard by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (which is the international body about, well, chemistry) in exchange for accepting the American spelling "sulfur" as opposed to the British "sulphur."
    • On The Other Wiki, the argument over whether "aluminum" or "aluminium" is correct has spawned more hate-filled diatribes and edit wars than even the George W. Bush page. Word has it that even bringing it up in any online conversation anywhere will cause secret cabals of incensed editors to use reverse DNS methods to find out where you live, hunt you down and3w587fuN^NO&*IULYBvilu£%b6viaby5i+++NO CARRIER+++
  • Various current brands of natural yoghurt contain bacterial cultures with "marketing names" such as Bifidus Digestivum, Bifidus Activo or Digestivum Essensis. This can also get a bit silly.
  • Scientology, the name of which is derived from both the Latin (scīre) and Greek (lógos) words for knowledge, has the same story attached to it.
    • The same goes for "automobile"—the name ought to have been either "ipsomobile", or "autokineton". In Modern Greek, it is indeed a αυτοκίνητο.
    • Amusingly, the same is true for the brown bear, Ursus Arctos. Ursus is Latin for bear, and arctos is Greek for... bear. Considering that Everything Is Worse With Bears, C.P. Scott may have been on to something indeed.
    • Or take the black rhinoceros. Both parts of its scientific name (Diceros bicornis) mean "Two Horns", in Greek and Latin respectively.
  • In centuries past, when Latin was the language of scholarship, it was common for scholars and scientists to "Latinize" their names, adopting either translations or suffixes. This practise was spoofed by Norwegian 1700s author Ludvig Holberg, who invented a character called Rasmus Berg (meaning Hill), who went off and got educated, and returned calling himself "Erasmus Montanus".
    • Charles Lutwidge Dodgson translated his first two names into Latin to get Carolus Lodovicus. He swapped the order of the names and re-Anglicized them to get his pen name: Lewis Carroll.
    • Jean Cauvin's last name was Latinize to Calvinus (despite being a Francozation of Calvus) befor being Anglicized to Calvin.
    • Mikołaj Kopernik penning his name as Nicolaus Copernicus is another example, although he himself seemed to use many different variations in official documents.
    • René Descartes Latinized his name as Renatus Cartesius. Hence the term "Cartesian" for anything to do with him.
    • Carl von Linne Latinized his name as Carolus Linnaeus. He started the binomial nomenclature system in Latin, since Latin was a dead language that did not evolve.
    • Christopher Columbus' name was a Latin/Greek-ification of Cristoforo Colombo. Same for Americus Vespucius (Amerigo Vespucci).
  • Lorem Ipsum was originally actual Latin, but the present form has bits removed, in order to create a homogeneous-looking text with as little actual content as possible. This is so typesetters can concentrate on the layout of the text without being distracted by the meaning.
  • Nil Illegitimi Carborundum, and many of its other variants, crop up in fiction from time to time; but the phrase dates back to the real World War II. This is somewhat annoying, since the actual Latin for a similar expression would be Noli nothi permittere te terere, which is actually kind of catchy (particularly if you try saying it with a vaguely Italian accent).
    • or another meaningless doggerel known to generations of schoolboys, which HAS a Latin meaning completely different from its quasi-phonetic one... "Caesar adsum iam forte, Brutus aderat; Casar sic in omnibus, Brutus sic in at"
  • Intel processors: "Pentium" is half Greek-ish ("Penta" = five) and half Latin-ish ("-ium"). "Celeron" is the opposite ("Celer" = fast in Latin, "-on" is a Greek-ish suffix) It became a joke among computer geeks that the "Celer" actually refers to celery, as in "light"/"stripped down", since its often outperformed by it's more powerful sibling, the Pentium series of CPUs.
  • The motto of the University of Washington is "Lux sit" (Let there be light), which should be "Fiat lux".
  • Fun to be had in the Netherlands. "Fallus Agraricus" is used to describe someone of being a 'Boerenlul' (Lit.: Farmer's Dick). Loose translation: a stupid dick.
    • In German, there is the variant "Penis Rusticus", which, yes, is also supposed to mean "farmer's dick".
      • Actually means Country Dick. Or Dick and Adjoining Farm.
  • Polyamory is wrong. It should be polyphilia or multiamory.
    • Photomorphing is also wrong; it should be metagraphing, if anything.
  • A common phrase that Latin scholars will hear from many non-Latin scholars is "Semper ubi sub ubi", which is jibberish when translated directly. The English translation is "Always where under where", but obviously sounds like "Always wear underwear." However, to many a Latin lover, this gets really old after awhile.
  • For some reason, Russian schoolchildren memorize "Fortuna non phallus, manus non receptum" and "Per anum astrae non opticum". And "Lingua Latina non penis canina". The supposed translations are "Good luck is not a penis, you cannot hold on to it with your hand", "Stars are not visible through an asshole" and "Latin language is not a (thing of low importance) dog's penis".
    • The last one is technically correct,[4] but "penis" is a surprisingly non-obscene word in Latin, not to mention that it can mean a lot of other things as well, so the phrase falls somewhat short of its intended meaning. For it to be true to its intent it should be "verpa canina", which indeed means "dog's dick".
  • Japanese artist Yuki Kajiura uses faux Latin (amongst other languages) in many of her songs, filtered through her Japanese accent and the general rule of making it sound lyrically appropriate above all else, to the point that a fan nickname has been made for it—the "Kajiuran" language. It's complete gibberish and not an actual Con Lang per se, but sounds cool and gives her songs a distinct sound.
  • The South African legal term of "crimen injuria": what it's intended to mean is "crime of unlawful damage [to dignity]," i.e., criminal racism, but "injuria" is nominative, and "crimen" means "charge," not "crime." Translated faithfully, it could only mean "unlawful damage to a criminal charge."
  • In the history of the Modern Greek language, there was a period called Katharevousa, which sought to purify the language of non-Greek influences and to adequately hellenize foreign place names. However, this was done in a rather haphazard manner, sometimes in ignorance of the actual Greek names that places already had. One of simplest ways to adapt place names was to calque Latin script spellings to Greek letters (actual letter pronunciation differences be damned), and add the feminine suffix -η (-i), or to change a feminine-looking -a to -η. Barcelona, Spain was rehellenized as Βαρκελώνη (Varkeloni), in ignorance that the classical language already had a name for this—Βαρκινών (Barkinōn). It could get rather silly with place names of much more recent origin; Boston became Βοστώνη (Vostoni), Frankfurt became Φραγκφούρτη (Fragkfourti), etc. Katharevousa Greek ceased being an official language anywhere by 1982, and now the more usual practice is to adapt foreign names phonetically in pronunciation and spelling, such as Tόκυο for Tokyo. Meanwhile, many naturally-evolved Greek words for (now-)foreign place names are kept, such as Ἀγκυρα (Agkyra) for Ankara, Turkey, which was Ankūra in classical times.
  • And then there is the old, old joke perpetrated on generations of Latin students by their teachers:

Si bili, si ergo.
Fotibus es in ero.
Nobili, demis trux.
Sevat sinim -- causen dux.[5]

  1. which is the lingua franca of the wizarding community
  2. "When all else fails, play dead."
  3. Word of God has stated that it's not actually Dog Latin, but used to simulate what High Gothic would sound like to a Low Gothic speaker
  4. Except for the dropped copula, but that's acceptable in Vulgar Latin
  5. See, Billy, see her go.
    Forty buses in a row.
    No, Billy, them is trucks.
    See what's in'em -- cows and ducks.

    The spelling may vary from version to version, but almost never the "true" meaning.