Foreign Phrases >
Phrase
Meaning
Ach du lieber Oh my dear one
Acta non verba Deeds, not words
Ad hoc Just for this moment/purpose
Ad rem To the point / to the matter
Ad nauseam to a sickening degree
Advocatus diaboli Devil's advocate
Amicus curiae Friend of the court
Amor patriae Patriotism
Amor vincit omnia Love conquers all things.
Anno Domini In the year of the Lord
A priori Base on  theory rather than observation
Ars longa, vita brevis Art is long, life is short.
Au courant Up to date
Audere est facere To dare is to do
Au gratin Cheesy
Au revoir Till we meet again,
Till next time
Avant-propos Foreword or preface
Ave alque vale Hail and farewell
Avec plaisir With pleasure
Beau geste A noble gesture
Bel canto An operatic style considered beautiful
Bete noire Something a person dreads.
Billet-doux A love letter
Bona vacantia Ownerless property (in law)
Bon mot A witty remark
Bon voyage Have a pleasant journey
Carpe diem Sieze the day
Carte blanche Unrestricted action
Casus belli Event that provokes or
justifies war
Cause celebre A well known controversial case
Caveat emptor Buyer beware
C'est-a-dire That is, That is to say
C’est la vie That’s life.
C’est la guerre That's the war / that's how it goes
Cinema verité Film type that tells the truth (real life)
Comme ci comme ça Something is so so
Con brio With enthusiasm
Coup de grâce The finishing blow
Crepe de chine Fine dress fabric made of silk
Cri de ccoeur a passionate appeal, complaint, or protest.
Dies irae a Latin hymn sung in a Mass for the dead.
Deo gratis Thanks to God
Deo volente God willing !
Dernier cri The latest fashion.
De trop Too much
Dolce vita The sweet life
Ecce homo Behold the man
Enfant terrible A misbehaving child
En bloc As a whole
En masse In a large group
Entre nous Only between us
Esse est percipi To be is to be perceived- (idealist philosophy of Bishop George Berkeley)
Esse quam videri To be, rather than to seem
to be
Et seq. And the following
Ex post facto Retroactively
Fait accompli Something that is already done
Faux pas False step / a mistake
Habeas corpus Writ to ask for the body
Hoi polloi All the people / the masses
Ibid The same place (footnote use)
Ici on parle franais French spoken here
Idee fixe An obsession
Ignis fatuus something deluding or misleading
In situ In the original or natural position
In vino veritas In wine there is truth
Ipso facto For that very fact
Je ne sais quoi I don't know what
Jeu de mots A pun
Laisse faire Do it the easy way
Lapsus calami Slip of the pen
Lapsus linguae Slip of the tongue
Leit motif A short, constantly recurring musical phrase
Le mot juste Just the right word or phrasing
Lese majesty An offense that violates the dignity of a ruler
Lingua franca language between people who have no common language
Lis pendens a pending legal action
Mea culpa My fault
Mens rea Criminal intent, mind or knowledge.
Mens Sana In Corpore Sano A healthy mind in a healty body
Missa cantata
Mot juste A justly appropriate word
N'est-ce pas  Isn't this so !
nil nisi bonum  from 'de mortuis nil nisi bonum', nothing but good things !
Nisi prius The first court in which a case is heard by as judge or jury,
Noblesse oblige Obligation for nobles to treat their lessers nobly.
Noli me tangere Touch me not
Nol pros Short for 'nolle prosequi'- the client does not wish to proceed with the case.
Nom de guerre Pseudonym
Nom de plume Pen name
Non sequitor It does not reasonably follow what was spoken prior.
Non compos mentis Not of sound mind
Nota bene Note this well
Novus ordo seclorum New order of the ages
(motto on the great seal of the United States)
Onus probandi The burden of proof,
Op cit In the work cited (used in a footnote)
Ora et labora Pray and work
Ora pro nobis Pray for us
Pacem in terris Peace on earth
Pas du tout Not at all.
Per se By itself, intrinsically
Pied-a-terre A residence used only part time.
Plat du jour Daily special
Pommes frites or Pommes de terre frites French fries
Poste restante A post office service to hold mail for a certain period.
Pret-a-porter Ready to wear clothes
Prie-dieu A kneeling bench designed for praying
Prima donna A temperamental and conceited person
Prima facie Evident at first sight
Pro bono For free
Pro tem,
Pro tempore
For the time being / temporarily
Quid pro quo An exchange / this for that
Quod erat faciendum that which was to be done (QEF)
Raison d' etre Reason for being / purpose
Rara avis A rare or unique person or thing.
Res gestae Things done (law: as res gestae of a crime).
Res ipsa loquitor The thing speaks for itself.
RSVP Please respond (Respondez s'il vous plait )
Sans souci No wories, carefree
Sans facon Informal
Savoir faire Doing or saying the correct thing.
Sayonara Goodby, farewell
Sine mora Without delay
Sine qua non Indispensible
Soi-disant So-called
Sotto voce In a quiet voiuce
Stare decisis Legal doctrine
Status quo Current condition
Tabula rasa Blank slate
Tempus fugit Time flies.
Terra incognita Unknown land
Tete a tete Go head to head in some relation
Tour de force Skilled performance
Trompe l'oeil Fools the eye (a painting style)
Veni, vidi, vici I came, I saw, I conquered
Vis a vis Face to face / in relation to
Vaya con dios Have a safe trip (Go with god)
Vers libre Free form poetic verse
Voir dire A judical process- Attorney's examination of a potential juror.
Vox populi The voice of the people
Zeigezunt Farewell
Zut alors Holy Smoke, darn
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