Latin may have passed into the silence of history as yet another dead language, though that doesn’t prevent echoes of it from creeping back into modern use. Today, intellectuals and lawyers continue to use Latin phrases as a sign of education and wisdom. Though it might seem dusty, using a bit of Latin can not only impress others but can also be pretty fun. Just try using these phrases in conversation. They’ll either sound badass, makeyou sound like a badass, or both.
1) Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
How it translates: Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?
What it means: Just like the old Mae West quote about the gun in the pocket, the scroll in the toga refers to a phallic protrusion from under the clothes.
How you can use it: Besides using the phrase as a way to call out flirty guys at toga parties, it can also be used as a coy tease or frisky greeting to a man who seems very happy to see you.
How it translates: The mother is always certain.
What it means: Roman courts often used the phrase “the mother is always certain” as a sort of declaration of incontrovertible evidence. In other words, just as everyone accepts the maternity of a woman who actually gives birth to a baby, it declares a principle accepted by all.
How you can use it: Since questioning paternity generally can lead to trouble, try applying the phase in a new way. The idea here is certitude: Use it when someone points out the obvious or when someone does something totally in character, as a sort of “of course!”
3) Vincit qui se vincit
How it translates: He conquers who conquers himself.
What it means: Just like the old adage “know thyself,” the phrase refers to the power of self-knowledge and control. In other words, success comes with self-awareness.
How you can use it: A number of colleges and universities around the world use the phrase as a motto, encouraging both personal growth and accrual of wisdom. In that regard, try using the phrase to encourage others to strive for discipline and to become better people.
4) Non ducor, duco
How it translates: I am not led, I lead.
What it means: In this case, the literal translation actually qualifies as the best one. It’s a statement of defiance and self-reliance.
How you can use it: Rebel, rebel! When rejecting orders from someone, utter this handy phrase in Latin. You’ll not only sport your attitude, but you’ll sound extra badass doing it.
How it translates: Congress in the way of beasts.
What it means: In this case, congress doesn’t refer to a governing body, so much as a meeting of more than one person in an animalistic, sexual way.
How you can use it: The Romans used the phrase similar to the way modern English speakers use a phrase like “doggy style,” complete with the sexual innuendo. When telling a dirty joke, substitute the Latin to sound extra smart or to avoid offending any virgin ears.
6) Acta deos numquam mortalia fallunt
How it translates: Mortal actions never deceive the gods.
What it means: Nobody can fool the all-knowing.
How you can use it: The next time someone tries to trick you into doing or believing something preposterous, use this phrase as a rebuke. The hyperbolic nature reeks of self-congratulation, so invoke it sparingly.
7) Te futueo et caballum tuum
How it translates: Screw you, and the horse you rode in on.
What it means: Exactly what it says.
How you can use it: The Romans may not have used this phrase quite as often as their modern, English-speaking decedents. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Use it to rebuke or dismiss someone, and impress with your intellect at the same time.
8) Bulla crustulum
How it translates: Masculine pastry.
What it means: A literal translation doesn’t quite do the phrase justice. The concept better translates as the English phrase “stud muffin.”
How you can use it: Use “bulla crustulm” to compliment a handsome, sexy fox, possibly including yourself. After all, who doesn’t want to sound virile and highbrow?
9) Fac ut gaudeam
How it translates: Make my day.
What it means: It’s a sarcastic dare, a way of warning someone not to challenge or defy authority.
How you can use it: Channel your inner Clint Eastwood and don’t take any harassment from anyone. Not only will your determination and courage come across, but the phrase will make you sound intellectually evolved.
10) Audaces Fortuna Juvat
How it translates: Fortune favors the bold.
What it means: To get a reward, one must take a risk.
How you can use it: Historians often attribute the phrase to Alexander the Great, who, in antiquity, amassed a large empire for the Macedonians. Even though he didn’t actually speak Latin, Alexander later became a hero to the Romans for spreading Hellenistic culture all over the world, and for his success at conquests. The Romans later occupied the same region with their own empire, and the phrase became synonymous with taking risks and growth, both personal and professional. Invoke the phrase before attempting a new challenge as a confidence booster.