List of Latin phrases (D)

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This page lists English translations of notable Latin phrases, such as veni vidi vici and et cetera. Some of the phrases are themselves translations of Greek phrases, as Greek rhetoric and literature reached its peak centuries before the rise of ancient Rome.

This list covers the letter D. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.
da Deus fortunaeO God, give fortune/happinessA traditional greeting of Czech brewers.
da mihi factum, dabo tibi ius Give me the fact, I will give you the lawAlso da mihi facta, dabo tibi ius (plural "facta" (facts) for the singular "factum"). A legal principle of Roman law that parties to a suit should present the facts and the judge will rule on the law that governs them. Related to iura novit curia (the court knows the law).
damnant quod non intelleguntThey condemn what they do not understandParaphrase of Quintilianus, De Institutione Oratoria, Book 10, chapter 1, 26: "Modesto tamen et circumspecto iudicio de tantis viris pronuntiandum est, ne, quod plerisque accidit, damnent quae non intellegunt." [Yet students must pronounce with diffidence and circumspection on the merits of such illustrious characters, lest, as is the case with many, they condemn what they do not understand. (translated by Rev. John Selby Watson)
damnatio ad bestias condemnation to [the] beastsColloquially, "thrown to the lions".
damnatio memoriae damnation of memoryThe ancient Roman custom by which it was pretended that disgraced Romans, especially former emperors, never existed, by eliminating all records and likenesses of them.
damnum absque injuriadamage without injuryMeaning a loss that results from no one's wrongdoing. In Roman law, a person is not responsible for unintended, consequential injury to another that results from a lawful act. This protection does not necessarily apply to unintended damage caused by one's negligence or folly.
dat deus incrementum, or, deus dat incrementumGod gives growthMotto of several schools.
data veniawith due respect / given the excuseUsed before disagreeing with someone.
datum perficiemus munusWe shall accomplish the mission assignedMotto of Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
de bene esseas well doneIn law, a de bene esse deposition is used to preserve the testimony of a witness who is expected not to be available to appear at trial and be cross-examined.
de bonis asportatiscarrying goods awayIn law, trespass de bonis asportatis was the traditional name for larceny, i.e., the unlawful theft of chattels (moveable goods).
de datoof the dateUsed, e.g., in "as we agreed in the meeting d.d. 26th May 2006".
de facto by deedSaid of something that is the actual state of affairs, in contrast to something's legal or official standing, which is described as de jure. De facto refers to "the way things really are" rather than what is officially presented as the fact of the matter in question.
de fideliwith faithfulnessA clerk of a court makes this declaration when he is appointed, by which he promises to perform his duties faithfully as a servant of the court.
de fideli administrationeof faithful administrationDescribes an oath taken to faithfully administer the duties of a job or office, like that taken by a court reporter. [1]
de futuroregarding the futureUsually used in the context of "at a future time".
de gustibus non est disputandum Of tastes there is nothing to be disputedLess literally, "there is no accounting for taste", because they are judged subjectively and not objectively: everyone has their own and none deserve preeminence. The complete phrase is "de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum" ("when we talk about tastes and colours there is nothing to be disputed"). Probably of Scholastic origin; see Wiktionary.
de integroagain, a second time
de jure by law"Official", in contrast with de facto; analogous to "in principle", whereas de facto is to "in practice". In other contexts, it can mean "according to law", "by right", and "legally".
de lege ferendaof/from law to be passed
de lege lataof/from law passed / of/from law in force
de minimis non curat lexThe law does not care about the smallest things.A court does not care about small, trivial things. A case must have some importance in order for a court to hear it. See "de minimis non curat praetor".
de minimis non curat praetorThe commander does not care about the smallest things.Also, "the chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles." Trivial matters are no concern of a high official; cf. aquila non capit muscas (the eagle does not catch flies). Sometimes rex (king) or lex (law) is used in place of praetor . De minimis is a legal phrase referring to things unworthy of the law's attention.
de mortuis aut bene aut nihilabout the dead, either well or nothingLess literally, "speak well of the dead or not at all"; cf. de mortuis nil nisi bonum.
de mortuis nil nisi bonum about the dead, nothing unless a good thingFrom de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est ("nothing must be said about the dead except the good"), attributed by Diogenes Laërtius to Chilon. In legal contexts, this quotation is used with the opposite meaning: defamation of a deceased person is not a crime. In other contexts, it refers to taboos against criticizing the recently deceased.
de nobis fabula narraturAbout us is the story toldThus: "their story is our story". Originally it referred to the end of Rome's dominance. Now often used when comparing any current situation to a past story or event.
de novo from the new"Anew" or "afresh". In law, a trial de novo is a retrial of the issues as though they had not been tried before. In biology, de novo means newly synthesized, and a de novo mutation is a mutation that neither parent possessed or transmitted. In economics, de novo refers to newly founded companies, and de novo banks are state banks that have been in operation for five years or less. (Cf. ex novo )
de omni re scibili et quibusdam aliisabout every knowable thing, and even certain other thingsThe Italian scholar Giovanni Pico della Mirandola of the 15th century wrote the De omni re scibili ("concerning every knowable thing") part, and a wag added et quibusdam aliis ("and even certain other things").
de omnibus dubitandumBe suspicious of everything / doubt everythingAttributed to the French philosopher René Descartes. It was also Karl Marx's favorite motto and a title of one of Søren Kierkegaard's works, namely, De Omnibus Dubitandum Est .
de oppresso liber free from having been oppressedLoosely, "to liberate the oppressed". Motto of the United States Army Special Forces. [2]
de praescientia Deifrom/through the foreknowledge of GodMotto of the Worshipful Company of Barbers.
de profundis from the depthsMeaning from out of the depths of misery or dejection. From the Latin translation of the Vulgate Bible of Psalm 130, of which it is a traditional title in Roman Catholic liturgy.
de re about/regarding the matterIn logic, de dicto statements regarding the truth of a proposition are distinguished from de re statements regarding the properties of a thing itself.
decessit sine proledied without issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p., to indicate a person who died without having had any children.
decessit sine prole legitimadied without legitimate issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p.l., to indicate a person who died without having had any children with a spouse.
decessit sine prole mascula legitimadied without legitimate male issueUsed in genealogical records in cases of nobility or other hereditary titles, often abbreviated as d.s.p.m.l. or d.s.p.m. legit, to indicate a person who died without having had any legitimate male children (indicating there were illegitimate male children)
decessit sine prole mascula superstitedied without surviving male issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p.m., to indicate a person who died without having had any male children who survived, i.e. outlived him.
decessit sine prole superstitedied without surviving issueUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.s.p.s., to indicate a person who died without having had any children who survived, i.e. outlived him.
decessit vita matrisdied in the lifetime of the motherUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.v.m., to indicate a person who predeceased his or her mother.
decessit vita patrisdied in the lifetime of the fatherUsed in genealogical records, often abbreviated as d.v.p., to indicate a person who predeceased his or her father.
decus et tutamenan ornament and a safeguardA phrase from Virgil's Aeneid . Inscription on British one-pound coins. Originally inscribed on coins of the 17th century, it refers to the inscribed edge of the coin as a protection against the clipping of its precious metal.
defendit numerusThere is safety in numbers
Defensor FortisDefender of the ForceOfficial motto of the United States Air Force Security Forces (Security Police).
Dei gratia By the grace of GodPart of the full style of a monarch historically considered to be ruling by divine right, notably in the style of the English and British monarch since 1521
Dei gratia regina By the Grace of God, QueenAlso Dei gratia rex ("By the Grace of God, King"). Abbreviated as D G REG preceding Fidei Defensor(F D) on British pound coins, and as D G Regina on Canadian coins.
Dei sub numine vigetUnder God's Spirit she flourishesMotto of Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States.
delectatio morosapeevish delightIn Catholic theology, pleasure taken in a sinful thought or imagination, such as brooding on sexual images. As voluntary and complacent erotic fantasizing, without attempt to suppress such thoughts, it is distinct from actual sexual desire.
delegata potestas non potest delegari Delegated powers can not be [further] delegatedA legal principle whereby one to whom certain powers were delegated may not ipso facto re-delegate them to another. A distinction may be had between delegated powers and the additional power to re-delegate them.
delirant isti RomaniThey are mad, those Romans[!]A Latin translation of René Goscinny's phrase in French ils sont fous, ces romains! or Italian Sono pazzi questi Romani. Cf. SPQR, which Obelix frequently used in the Asterix comics.
Deo ac veritatifor God and for truthMotto of Colgate University.
Deo confidimusIn God we trustMotto of Somerset College.
Deo domuiqueFor God and for homeMotto of Methodist Ladies' College, Melbourne.
Deo et patriaeFor God and countryMotto of Regis High School in New York City, New York, United States.
Deo gratias Thanks [be] to GodA frequent phrase in the Roman Catholic liturgy, used especially after the recitation of a lesson, the Last Gospel at Mass or as a response to Ite Missa Est / Benedicamus Domino.
Deo juvantewith God's helpMotto of Monaco and its monarch, which is inscribed on the royal arms.
Deo non fortunaby God, not fortune/luckMotto of the Epsom College in Surrey, England and Fairham Freemasons Lodge No.8002 in the province of Nottinghamshire.
Deo optimo maximo (DOM)To the best and greatest GodDerived from the pagan Iupiter optimo maximo ("to the best and greatest Jupiter"). Printed on bottles of Bénédictine liqueur.
Deo patriae litterisFor God, country, [and] learningMotto of Scotch College (Melbourne).
Deo regi vicinoFor God, king and neighbourMotto of Bromsgrove School.
Deo volenteGod willingThis was often used in conjunction with a signature at the end of letters. It was used in order to signify that "God willing" this letter will get to you safely, "God willing" the contents of this letter come true. As an abbreviation (simply "D.V.") it is often found in personal letters (in English) of the early 1900s, employed to generally and piously qualify a given statement about a future planned action, that it will be carried out, so long as God wills (see James 4:13–15, which encourages this way of speaking). The motto of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
descensus in cuniculi cavumThe descent into the cave of the rabbitDown the rabbit hole. See Alice's Adventures in Wonderland#Famous lines and expressions.
desiderantes meliorem patriamthey desired a better landFrom Hebrews 11: 16. Adopted as the motto of the Order of Canada.
Deus caritas est God Is LoveTitle and first words of the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. For other meanings see Deus caritas est (disambiguation).
deus ex machina a god from a machineFrom the Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēchanēs theós). A contrived or artificial solution, usually to a literary plot. Refers to the practice in Greek drama of lowering by crane (the mechanê) an actor playing a god or goddess onto the stage to resolve an insuperable conflict in the plot. The device is most commonly associated with Euripides.
Deus lux mea estGod is my lightThe motto of The Catholic University of America.
Deus meumque jusGod and my rightThe principal motto of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. See also Dieu et mon droit .
Deus nobis haec otia fecitGod has given us these days of leisureMotto of the city of Liverpool, England.
Deus nobiscumGod with usMotto of Methodist College Belfast
Deus nolens exitusGet results, whether God likes it or notLiterally: Results, God unwilling. Can also be rendered as "Deus Nolens Exituus".
Deus otiosus God at leisure
Deus spes nostraGod is our hopeThe motto of Sir Thomas de Boteler, founder of Boteler Grammar School in Warrington in 1526.
Deus vult God wills itThe principal slogan of the Crusades. Motto of Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey, United States.
Dicebamus hesterna die...[As] we were saying yesterday...Attributed to Fray Luis de León, the beginning of his first lecture after resuming his professorship at Salamanca University following four years of imprisonment by the Inquisition
dictatum erat (dict)as previously statedA recent academic substitution for the spacious and inconvenient phrase "as previously stated". Literally, has been stated. Compare also "dicta prius"; literally, said previously.
dicto simpliciter [from] a maxim, simplyI.e. "from a rule without exception." Short for a dicto simpliciter, the a is often dropped because it is confused with the English indefinite article. A dicto simpliciter occurs when an acceptable exception is ignored or eliminated. For example, the appropriateness of using opiates is contingent on suffering extreme pain. To justify the recreational use of opiates by referring to a cancer patient or to justify arresting said patient by comparing him to the recreational user would be a dicto simpliciter.
dictum factumwhat is said is doneMotto of United States Navy Fighter Squadron VF-194.
dictum meum pactummy word [is] my bondMotto of the London Stock Exchange.
diem perdidiI have lost the dayFrom the Roman Emperor Titus. Recorded in the biography of him by Suetonius in Lives of the Twelve Caesars .
dies irae Day of wrathReference to the Judgment Day in Christian eschatology. The title of a famous Medieval Latin hymn by Tommaso da Celano in the 13th century and used in the Requiem Mass.
dies non juridicumDay without judiciary Days under common law (traditionally Sunday), during which no legal process can be served and any legal judgment is invalid. The English Parliament first codified this precept in the reign of King Charles II.
Dies tenebrosa sicut noxa day as dark as nightFirst entry in Annales Cambriae , for the year 447. [3]
dirigo I directIn Classical Latin, "I arrange". Motto of the State of Maine, United States; based on a comparison of the State to the star Polaris.
dis aliter visumIt seemed otherwise to the godsIn other words, the gods have ideas different from those of mortals, and so events do not always occur in the way persons wish them to. Cf. Virgil, Aeneid , 2: 428. Also cf. "Man proposes and God disposes" and "My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways", Isaiah 55, 8–9.
dis manibus sacrum (D.M.S.)Sacred to the ghost-godsRefers to the Manes, i.e. Roman spirits of the dead. Loosely, "to the memory of". A conventional pagan inscription preceding the name of the deceased on their tombstone; often shortened to dis manibus(D.M.), "for the ghost-gods". Preceded in some earlier monuments by hic situs est(H. S. E.), "he lies here".
disce aut discede learn or depart / learn or leaveMotto of Royal College, Colombo and of King's School, Rochester.
disce ut semper victurus, vive ut cras moriturusLearn as if [you will] live forever; live as if [you will] die tomorrow.Attributed to St. Edmund of Abingdon. First seen in Isidoro de Sevilla
discendo discimuswhile learning we learnSee also docendo...(2).
discere faciendolearn by doingMotto of the three California Polytechnic State Universities of San Luis Obispo, Pomona, and Humboldt, United States.
disiecta membra scattered limbsI.e., "scattered remains". Paraphrased from Horace, Satires, 1, 4, 62, where it is written "disiecti membra poetae" (limbs of a scattered poet).
ditat Deus God enriches Motto of the State of Arizona, United States, adopted in 1911. Probably derived from the translation of the Vulgate Bible of Genesis 14: 23.
divide et impera divide and rule / "divide and conquer"A Roman maxim adopted by Roman Dictator Julius Caesar, King Louis XI of France and the Italian political author Niccolò Machiavelli.
dixiI have spokenA popular, eloquent expression, usually used in the end of a speech. The implied meaning is that the speaker has said all that had to be said and thus the argument is completed.
["...", ...] dixit["...", ...] saidUsed to attribute a statement or opinion to its author, rather than the speaker.
do ut des I give that you may giveOften said or written of sacrifices, in which one "gives" and expects a return from the gods.
docendo disciturIt is learned by teaching / one learns by teachingAttributed to Seneca the Younger.
docendo disco, scribendo cogitoI learn by teaching, I think by writing
dolus specialisspecial intent"The ... concept is particular to a few civil law systems and cannot sweepingly be equated with the notions of 'special' or 'specific intent' in common law systems. Of course, the same might equally be said of the concept of 'specific intent', a notion used in the common law almost exclusively within the context of the defense of voluntary intoxication." (Genocide scholar William A. Schabas) [4]
Domine dirige nosO Lord, guide usMotto of the City of London, England.
Domine salvum fac regemO Lord, save the kingPsalm 20, 10.
Domine salvam fac reginamO Lord, save the queenAfter Psalm 20, 10.
Dominica in albis [depositis]Sunday in [Setting Aside the] White GarmentsLatin name of the Octave of Easter in the Roman Catholic liturgy.
Dominus fortitudo nostraThe Lord is our strengthMotto of the Southland College, Philippines. Psalm 28, 8.
Dominus illuminatio mea The Lord is my lightMotto of the University of Oxford, England. Psalm 27, 1.
Dominus pastorThe Lord is [our] shepherdMotto of St. John's College and Prep School, Harare, Zimbabwe. After Psalm 23, 1.
Dominus vobiscum The Lord be with you.A phrase used in the Roman Catholic liturgy, and sometimes in its sermons and homilies, and a general form of greeting among and towards members of Catholic organizations. See also Pax vobiscum.
dona nobis pacemgive us peaceOften set to music, either by itself or as the final phrase of the Agnus Dei prayer of the Holy Mass. Also an ending in the video game Haunting Ground .
donatio mortis causaa donation in expectation of deathA legal concept in which a person in imminent mortal danger need not satisfy the otherwise requisite consideration to effect a testamentary donation, i.e., a donation by instituting or modifying a will.
draco dormiens nunquam titillandusa sleeping dragon is never to be tickledMotto of the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry of the Harry Potter series; translated more loosely in the books as "never tickle a sleeping dragon".
dramatis personae the parts/characters of the playMore literally, "the masks of the drama"; the cast of characters of a dramatic work.
duae tabulae rasae in quibus nihil scriptum esttwo blank slates with nothing written upon them Stan Laurel, inscription for the fan club logo of The Sons of the Desert.
ducimuswe leadMotto of the Royal Canadian Infantry Corps.
ducit amor patriaelove of country leads meMotto of the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, Australia.
ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahuntthe fates lead the willing and drag the unwillingAttributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Sen. Ep. 107.11).
ductus exemploleadership by exampleMotto of the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, at the base in Quantico, Virginia, United States.
dulce bellum inexpertiswar is sweet to the inexperiencedMeaning: "war may seem pleasant to those who have never been involved in it, though the experienced know better". Erasmus of Rotterdam.
dulce est desipere in locoIt is sweet on occasion to play the fool. / It is pleasant to relax once in a while. Horace, Odes 4, 12, 28. Also used by George Knapton for the portrait of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 6th Baronet in 1744.
dulce et decorum est pro patria mori It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland. Horace, Odes 3, 2, 13. Also used by Wilfred Owen for the title of a poem regarding World War I, Dulce et Decorum Est .
dulce et utilea sweet and useful thing / pleasant and profitable Horace, Ars Poetica : poetry must be dulce et utile, i.e., both enjoyable and instructive.
dulce periculumdanger is sweet Horace, Odes, 3 25, 16. Motto of the Scottish clan MacAulay.
dulcius ex asperissweeter after difficultiesMotto of the Scottish clan Fergusson. [5]
dum cresco speroI hope when I growMotto of The Ravensbourne School.
dum Roma deliberat Saguntum peritwhile Rome debates, Saguntum is in dangerUsed when someone has been asked for urgent help, but responds with no immediate action. Similar to Hannibal ante portas, but referring to a less personal danger.
dum spiro spero while I breathe, I hope Cicero. Motto of the State of South Carolina. Motto of the Clan MacLennan.
dum vita est, spes estwhile there is life, there is hope
dum vivimus servimuswhile we live, we serveMotto of Presbyterian College.
dum vivimus, vivamuswhile we live, let us live [6] An encouragement to embrace life." [7] Emily Dickinson used the line in a whimsical valentine written to William Howland in 1852 and subsequently published in the Springfield Daily Republican : [8]
duos habet et bene pendenteshe has two, and they dangle nicelyAccording to legend, the words spoken by the cardinal verifying that a newly-elected pope was a man, in a test employed after the reign of pope Joan.
dura lex sed lex[the] law [is] harsh, but [it is the] lawA shortening of quod quidem perquam durum est, sed ita lex scripta est ("which indeed is extremely harsh, but thus was the law written"). Ulpian, quoted in the Digesta Iustiniani, Roman jurist of the 3rd century AD. [9]
dura mater tough motherThe outer covering of the brain.
durante bene placitoduring good pleasureMeaning: "serving at the pleasure of the authority or officer who appointed". A Mediaeval legal Latin phrase.
durante munerewhile in officeFor example, the Governor General of Canada is durante munere the Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada.
dux bellorumwar leader

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  1. "Glossary – Help". Judiciary of Scotland. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  2. "Unit History for Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller – Medal of Honor Recipient".
  3. Annales Cambriae, English and Latin,
  4. Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea: An Investigation into the Treatment of Mens Rea in the Quest to Hold Individuals Accountable for Genocide Mens Rea: The Mental Element quoting and citing William A. Schabas, "The Jelisic Case and the Mens Rea of the Crime of Genocide", Leiden Journal of International Law 14 (2001): 129.
  5. Clan Fergus(s)on Society Archived 2010-07-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 14 December 2007
  6. "dum vivimus vivamus". Merriam-Webster . Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  7. "dum vivimus, vivamus". Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  8. Richard Benson Sewall (2003). The Life of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 450. ISBN   0674530802.
  9. "Digesta Iustiniani". The Roman Law Library. Retrieved 16 July 2022.

Additional sources