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 R. See List of Latin phrases for the main list.
Latin Translation Notes
radix malorum est cupiditas the root of evils is desire Or "greed is the root of all evil". Theme of "The Pardoner's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales.
rara avis (rarissima avis) rare bird (very rare bird) An extraordinary or unusual thing. From Juvenal's Satires VI: rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno ("a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan").
rari nantes in gurgite vasto Rare survivors in the immense sea Virgil, Aeneid, I, 118
ratio decidendi reasoning for the decision The legal, moral, political, and social principles used by a court to compose a judgment's rationale.
ratio legis reasoning of law A law's foundation or basis.
ratione personae by reason of his/her person Also "jurisdiction ratione personae" the personal reach of the courts jurisdiction.[1]
ratione soli by account of the ground Or "according to the soil". Assigning property rights to a thing based on its presence on a landowner's property.
ratum et consummatum confirmed and completed in Canon law, a consummated marriage
ratum tantum confirmed only in Canon law, a confirmed but unconsummated marriage (which can be dissolved super rato)
re [in] the matter of More literally, "by the thing". From the ablative of res ("thing" or "circumstance"). It is a common misconception that the "Re:" in correspondence is an abbreviation for regarding or reply; this is not the case for traditional letters. However, when used in an e-mail subject, there is evidence that it functions as an abbreviation of regarding rather than the Latin word for thing. The use of Latin re, in the sense of "about", "concerning", is English usage.
rebus sic stantibus with matters standing thus The doctrine that treaty obligations hold only as long as the fundamental conditions and expectations that existed at the time of their creation hold.
recte et fortiter Upright and Strong Motto of Homebush Boys High School
recte et fideliter Upright and Faithful Also "just and faithful" and "accurately and faithfully". Motto of Ruyton Girls' School
redde rationem to give an account Taken from the Gospel of Luke 16:2.
reductio ad absurdum leading back to the absurd A common debate technique, and a method of proof in mathematics and philosophy, that proves the thesis by showing that its opposite is absurd or logically untenable. In general usage outside mathematics and philosophy, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. Translated from Aristotle's "ἡ εις άτοπον απαγωγη" (hi eis atopon apagogi, "reduction to the impossible").
reductio ad Hitlerum leading back to Hitler A term coined by German-American political philosopher Leo Strauss to humorously describe a fallacious argument that compares an opponent's views to those held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party. Derived from reductio ad absurdum.
reductio ad infinitum leading back to the infinite An argument that creates an infinite series of causes that does not seem to have a beginning. As a fallacy, it rests upon Aristotle's notion that all things must have a cause, but that all series of causes must have a sufficient cause, that is, an unmoved mover. An argument which does not seem to have such a beginning becomes difficult to imagine. If it can be established, separately, that the chain must have a start, then a reductio ad infinitum is a valid refutation technique.
reformatio in peius change to worse A decision from a court of appeal is amended to a worse one. With certain exceptions, this is prohibited at the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office by case law.
regem ego comitem me comes regem you made me a Count, I will make you a King Motto of the Forbin family [fr]
reginam occidere to kill the queen Written by John of Merania, bishop of Esztergom, to Hungarian nobles planning the assassination of Gertrude of Merania. The full sentence, Reginam occidere nolite timere bonum est si omnes consentiunt ego non contradico, has two contradictory meanings depending on how it is punctuated: either Reginam occidere nolite timere; bonum est; si omnes consentiunt, ego non contradico (do not fear to kill the queen, it is right; if everyone agrees, I do not oppose it) or Reginam occidere nolite; timere bonum est; si omnes consentiunt, ego non; contradico (do not kill the queen; it is good to fear [doing so]; [even] if everyone agrees, I do not; I oppose it). The queen was assassinated as the plotters saw the bishop's message as an encouragement.
regnat populus the people rule State motto of Arkansas, adopted in 1907. Originally rendered in 1864 in the plural, regnant populi ("the peoples rule"), but subsequently changed to the singular.
Regnum Mariae Patrona Hungariae Kingdom of Mary, the Patron of Hungary Former motto of Hungary.
regressus ad uterum return to the womb Concept used in psychoanalysis by Sándor Ferenczi and the Budapest School.
rem acu tetigisti You have touched the point with a needle i.e., "You have hit the nail on the head"
renovatio urbis urban renewal a period of city planning and architectural updating in Renaissance Italy, i.e. the vast architectural programme begun under Doge Andrea Gritti in Venice[2]
repetita iuvant repeating does good Lit: "Repeated things help". Usually said as a jocular remark to defend the speaker's (or writer's) choice to repeat some important piece of information to ensure reception by the audience.
repetitio est mater studiorum repetition is the mother of study/learning
requiem aeternam dona ei(s), Domine give him/her (them) eternal rest, O Lord From the Christian prayer Eternal Rest, said for the dead. Source of the term requiem, meaning the Mass for the Dead or a musical setting thereof.
requiescat in pace (R.I.P.) let him/her rest in peace Or "may he/she rest in peace". A benediction for the dead. Often inscribed on tombstones or other grave markers. "RIP" is commonly reinterpreted as meaning the English phrase "Rest In Peace", the two meaning essentially the same thing.
rerum cognoscere causas to learn the causes of things Motto of the University of Sheffield, the University of Guelph, and London School of Economics.
res derelictae abandoned thing Voluntarily abandoned property; a form of res nullius that can thereby be acquired principally through occupatio, or by other means in their specific contexts.
res firma mitescere nescit a firm resolve does not know how to weaken Used in the 1985 film American Flyers where it is colloquially translated as "once you got it up, keep it up".
res gestae things done A phrase used in law representing the belief that certain statements are made naturally, spontaneously and without deliberation during the course of an event, they leave little room for misunderstanding/misinterpretation upon hearing by someone else (i.e. by the witness who will later repeat the statement to the court). As a result, the courts believe that such statements carry a high degree of credibility, and may admit them as an exception to the rule against hearsay.
res ipsa loquitur the thing speaks for itself A phrase from the common law of torts meaning that negligence can be inferred from the fact that such an accident happened, without proof of exactly how.
res judicata judged thing A matter which has been decided by a court. Often refers to the legal concept that once a matter has been finally decided by the courts, it cannot be litigated again (cf. non bis in idem and double jeopardy).
res, non verba "actions speak louder than words", or "deeds, not words" From rēs ("things, facts") the plural of rēs ("a thing, a fact") + nōn ("not") + verba ("words") the plural of verbum ("a word"). Literally meaning "things, not words" or "facts instead of words" but referring to that "actions be used instead of words".
res nullius nobody's property Goods without an owner. Used for things or beings which belong to nobody and are up for grabs, e.g., uninhabited and uncolonized lands, wandering wild animals, etc. (cf. terra nullius, "no man's land").
res publica Pertaining to the state or public source of the word republic
respice adspice prospice look behind, look here, look ahead i.e., "examine the past, the present and future". Motto of CCNY.
respice finem look back at the end i.e., "have regard for the end" or "consider the end". Generally a memento mori, a warning to remember one's death. Motto of Homerton College, Cambridge, Trinity College, Kandy, Georgetown College in Kentucky, Turnbull High School, Glasgow, and the London Oratory School.
respondeat superior let the superior respond Regarded as a legal maxim in agency law, referring to the legal liability of the principal with respect to an employee. Whereas a hired independent contractor acting tortiously may not cause the principal to be legally liable, a hired employee acting tortiously will cause the principal (the employer) to be legally liable, even if the employer did nothing wrong.
restitutio ad (or in) integrum restoration to original condition Principle behind the awarding of damages in common law negligence claims
resurgam I shall arise "I shall rise again", expressing Christian faith in resurrection at the Last Day. It appears, inter alia, in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, as the epitaph written on Helen Burns's grave; in a poem of Emily Dickinson: Poems (1955) I. 56 (" 'Arcturus' is his other name"), I slew a worm the other day – A 'Savant' passing by Murmured 'Resurgam' – 'Centipede'! 'Oh Lord – how frail are we'!; and in a letter of Vincent van Gogh.[3] The OED gives "1662 J. Trapp, Annotations upon the Old and New Testament, in five distinct volumes (London, 1662), vol. I, p. 142: "Howbeit he had hope in his death, and might write Resurgam on his grave" as its earliest attribution in the English corpus.
retine vim istam, falsa enim dicam, si coges Restrain your strength, for if you compel me I will tell lies An utterance by the Delphic oracle recorded by Eusebius of Caesarea in Praeparatio evangelica, VI-5, translated from the Greek of Porphyry (c.f. E. H. Gifford's translation)[4] and used by William Wordsworth as a subtitle for his ballad "Anecdote for Fathers".
rex regum fidelum et king even of faithful kings Latin motto that appears on the crest of the Trinity Broadcasting Network of Paul and Jan Crouch.
rigor mortis stiffness of death The rigidity of corpses when chemical reactions cause the limbs to stiffen about 3–4 hours after death. Other signs of death include drop in body temperature (algor mortis, "cold of death") and discoloration (livor mortis, "bluish color of death").
risum teneatis, amici? Can you help laughing, friends? An ironic or rueful commentary, appended following a fanciful or unbelievable tale.
risus abundat in ore stultorum laughter is abundant in the mouth of fools excessive and inappropriate laughter signifies stupidity.
Roma invicta Unconquered Rome Inspirational motto inscribed on the Statue of Rome.
Roma locuta, causa finita Rome has spoken, the case is closed In Roman Catholic ecclesiology, doctrinal matters are ultimately decided by the Vatican.
Romanes eunt domus People called Romans they go the house An intentionally garbled Latin phrase from Monty Python's Life of Brian. Its intended meaning is "Romans, go home!", in Latin Romani ite domum.
rorate coeli drop down ye heavens a.k.a. The Advent Prose.
rosam quae meruit ferat She who has earned the rose may bear it Motto from Sweet Briar College
rus in urbe A countryside in the city Generally used to refer to a haven of peace and quiet within an urban setting, often a garden, but can refer to interior decoration.


  1. ^ Blakesley, Christopher L. (2009). "18. Jurisdiction Ratione Personae or the personal reach of the courts jurisdiction". The Legal Regime of the International Criminal Court. Martinus Nijhoff. pp. 421–454. ISBN 9789004180635.
  2. ^ Hopkins, Andrew (June 1998). "Architecture and Infirmitas: Doge Andrea Gritti and the Chancel of San Marco". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 57 (2): 182–197. doi:10.2307/991378. JSTOR 991378.
  3. ^ "228 (227, 193): To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, on or about Tuesday, 16 May 1882. – Vincent van Gogh Letters". Retrieved 2013-09-25.
  4. ^ E.H. Gifford. "Eusebius of Caesarea: Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel). Tr. E.H. Gifford (1903) – Book 6". Retrieved 2013-09-25.

Further reading