D. H. Mellor

Latin Tourist Phrase Book

compiled by Miles Kington in response to the Vatican's support for Latin as the European language and reproduced here with his permission.

Quid pro quo: the sterling exchange rate
Post hoc propter hoc: a little more white wine wouldn't hurt us
Ad hoc: wine not included
Adsum: small extras on the bill
Exempli gratia: token tip
Infra dig: terrible accommodation
Primus inter pares: the stove has fallen in the fire
Compos mentis: mint sauce
Carpe diem: fish frying tonight
Non anglii, sed angeli: fishing absolutely prohibited
Curriculum: Indian restaurant
Casus belli: gastro-enteritis
Sic transit gloria mundi: the nausea will pass away, and you'll be fine by Monday
O tempora o mores!: The Times is no more, alas!
Quis custodiet custodes ipsos: do you keep the Guardian?
Post meridiem: the Mail does not arrive until midday
Fiat lux: car wash
Rara avis: no car hire available
Volenti non fit injuria: the accident was caused by a badly fitted steering wheel
Reductio ad absurdum: road narrows
Nil obstat: River Nile impassable
Nil desperandum: River Nile overflowing
De minimis non curat lex: Lex garages cannot undertake to service small cars

Terminus ad quem: bus station for Quem (small Romanian town)
Caeteris paribus: restaurant facilities are available on the Paris coach
Post mortem: mail strike
Expostfacto: not known at this address
Sub rosa: rather unattractive Italian girl
Sal volatile: rather attractive Italian girl
Gloria in excelsis: very attractive Italian girl
Noli me tangere: I do not wish to dance with you
Ars longa, vita brevis: unsuitable bathing costume (literally: big bottom, small briefs)
Hic jacet: old-fashioned coat
Ecce homo: gay bar
Timeo Danaos et Dona Ferentes: that nice couple we met in Portugal
Mens sana: male massage parlour
Ex libris: dirty books
Ex cathedra: ruined church
Inter alia: an Italian airline
Summa cum laude: peak holiday period
In loco parentis: railway family compartment
Quondam: part of Holland reclaimed from the sea
Dum spiro: stupid Greek person
Festina lente: shops shut on Continent (literally: Lenten holiday)
Aut Caesar aut nihil: an Italian football result
Tertium quid: 33p


Restructured 9 December 2005