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English has lots of words of Latin origin. Some of these words have been changed to make them more like other English words-mostly by changing the ending (e.g., 'office' from the Latin officium)-, but other Latin words are kept intact in English. Of these words, there are some that remain unfamiliar and are generally italicized to show that they are foreign, but there are others that are used with nothing to set them apart as imported from Latin. You may not even be aware that they are from Latin.
Words and Abbreviations With the Latin Parts Italicized
- via - by way of
- in memoriam - in memory (of)
- interim - meanwhile, interval
- item - likewise, also, although it is now used in English as a bit of information
- memorandum - reminder
- agenda - things to be done
- & - et used for 'and'
- etc. - et cetera used for 'and so forth'
- pro and con - for and against
- a.m. - ante meridiem, before noon
- p.m. - post meridiem, after noon
- ultra- - beyond
- P.S. - post scriptum, postscript
- quasi - as if it were
- census - count of citizens
- veto - 'I forbid' used as a way of stopping the passage of a law.
- per - through, by
- sponsor - one who accepts responsibility for another
See if you can figure out which of these Latin words may be substituted for the italicized word in the following sentences:
- I read the bit of news about the Jesus tomb with more than a touch of skepticism.
- He emailed a reminder about the Discovery Channel program on Sunday.
- A regent will serve as substitute ruler in the meanwhile.
- He came to the study of Ancient Greek by way of Latin.
- Epitaphs can be written in memory of loved ones.
- A tribune had the power of preventing the law from being passed.
- This pseudo-test is more than easy.
- He sent a second email as a follow-up to the TV alert saying the time he listed was meant to be in the evening.
For more, see "Latin Expressions Found in English: A Vocabulary Unit for the First Week of Beginning Latin or General Language," by Walter V. Kaulfers; Dante P. Lembi; William T. McKibbon. The Classical Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1. (Oct., 1942), pp. 5-20.
For more on words imported from Latin into common and specialized areas of English, see
- Legal Latin Terms
- A Dozen Words From Psychology That Are Based on Greek or Latin Roots
- Latin Religious Words in English
- Latin Words in Newspapers That English Has Adopted
- Geometry Terms
- Where Do You Add the Ending?
- The Meaning of Confusing Pairs of Greek and Latin Roots