Everyone knows that Italian comes from Latin. But do you also know that some Latin words and sentences are still intact and used in Italian language? In this class we will see them all!
Latin words and expressions used in Italian
This word means “the same”. It is used to confirm something of equal or to agree on something previously said.
– Adoro il Natale! E la sua atmosfera! E tu? (I love Christmas! And its spirit! And you?)
– Idem! (Same)
– Oggi ho studiato tutto il tempo! (Today I’ve studied all the time)
– Idem! (Same)
It means “double” and it is used when you want something for the second time. It is especially used to have another portion of a certain food or to ask, during a concert, to repeat a song.
La mia torta era così buona che tutti hanno fatto il bis! (My cake was so good that everybody had it twice!)
Quando sono andato al concerto di Eros Ramazzotti, tutti i fan hanno urlato “bis”, “bis” dopo la canzone “Più bella cosa”. (When I went to Eros Ramazzotti’s concert, all the fans shouted “repeat”, “repeat” after the song “Più bella cosa”)
3. SUI GENERIS
This expression indicates something unique, unconventional, out of the ordinary.
Il fidanzato di Marta è un tipo sui generis, si veste sempre con colori fluo! (Marta’s boyfriend is a unique guy, he always dresses with neon colors)
4. AD MAIORA (SEMPER)!
Formula that means “towards bigger things”, “towards better and better things”. It is used a lot as an auspicious sentence!
Quando Graziana e Rocco si sono laureati, tutti hanno augurato loro “Ad Maiora Semper!” nei bigliettini. (When Graziana and Rocco graduated, all wished them “Ad Maiora Semper!” in the cards)
5. DE GUSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM EST
If someone doesn’t agree with you, if someone hasn’t the same tastes as you, you can use this sentence to tell them that tastes are personal and, as such, they cannot be questioned!
– Ma dai! Che brutto colore questo maglione! Ma perché lo hai preso? (What a disgusting color this sweater has! Why did you buy it?)
– A me piaceva! De gustibus non disputandum est. (I liked it! De gustibus non disputandum est)
This short word simply means “so”, “therefore”, “as a consequence”. It is generally used to express a consequence or a logical conclusion. Why should we use it instead of the Italian equivalents? Because the Latin words have a higher prestige, they are cooler!
– Usciamo stasera? (Are we going out tonight?)
– No no! Sta diluviando! Ergo preferisco restare a casa a vedere un bel film! (No no! It’s raining cats and dogs! Therefore I prefer staying at home and watching a good film!)
7. IN EXTREMIS
Literally, it means “at the point of death”, but it is much more used in a metaphorical way, with the meaning of “at the last minute”, “as the last resort”.
Rischiavamo di non rispettare la scadenza ma siamo riusciti a finire il progetto in extremis! (We risked not respecting the deadline but we were able to finish the project at the last minute!)
8. SUPER PARTES
It means being above parties, therefore being neutral, objective. It is generally preceded by the verb “to be”.
Per giudicare in modo equo questi lavori serve una persona che sia super partes. (In order to judge equitably these works, it is needed a neutral person)
9. AVERE UN LAPSUS
It is said when someone makes an involuntary mistake or forgets about something, not because they don’t know it, but only because in that moment it doesn’t come.
– Aiuto! Come si dice quando rimandi sempre qualcosa? Com’era quel verbo? (Help! How do we say when we always postpone something? What’s that verb?)
– Ah si grazie! Ho avuto un lapsus! (Ah yes, thank you! It didn’t come to my mind!)
10. REPETITA IUVANT
This means that repetitions help… and that’s not something new!
Ripetete sempre le coniugazioni dei verbi irregolari italiani: anche se è noioso, è molto utile! Repetita iuvant! (Always repeat the conjugations of the Italian irregular verbs: although it’s boring, it is very useful! Repetitions help!)
11. VERBA VOLANT SCRIPTA MANENT
This expression means that the words fly off, while everything that is written remains for ever.
– Ok allora andata! Scommettiamo 5 euro. Se vince il Milan te li do io, se vince la Juve me li dai tu! (Alright! Challenge accepted! We bet 5 euros. If Milan wins, I give them to you, if Juve wins, you give them to me!)
– Va bene ma lo scriviamo! Non vorrei che ti dimenticassi come l’ultima volta! Verba volant, scripta manent! (Alright, but we must write this agreement! I don’t want you to forget like the last time! What is said flies off, what is written remains for ever!)
Now that you know these expressions, also learn the 10 weirdest Italian words!
Ora prova a scrivere una frase nei commenti usando la tua espressione latina preferita! 😆
Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!