Reference Centre, Dictionnaires

Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases

Click here for a few tips and pointers for those of you who are new at deciphering Latin whether it be found in parish registers, on cemetery or church monuments or in documents.

      A - I

a.d., ante diem this phrase is usually followed by a specific number, e.g. ante diem quintum meaning 'five days before' the day of the event, and is used to record specific calendar dates.NB include both the day of the event and the day included, to reckon the correct date.Example:a.d. V Id. Mar. means ante diem quintum Idus Martias, which translates to 5 days before the 15th of March, or, the 11th of March.
adsum to be present at, appear before, support, assist
abavia, abavus a person's great-great-grandmother or great-great-grandfather
ad perpetuam rei memoriam As(for) a perpetual record of the matter
ad ultimum finally
admissa fuit tenens was admitted a tenant
admitti tenens to be admitted as a tenant
adolescens, adulescens young man or woman between 15 and 30 years
aequalis something or someone being of the same age as another
aetas; aetas suae age; his or her age
aetatum for life
aie., animae life, soul, spirit
aliquis tenens any tenant holding
aliter, and, alius otherwise, and, other
Am., Amen Amen
amicus humani generis a philanthropist, generous friend of man, friend of the human race
amita, amita magna, amita maior, amita maxima a person's aunt, grand-aunt, great-grandaunt, great-great-grandaunt on the male side of the family
ancillae young servants
animo imbecillus weak, frail
anno, annusof or for one year
anno predictoin the beforesaid/aforesaid year
annos natus esta term used to indicate the age of a person in years and will always be preceded by a numeral, ex. octo annos natus est, meaning he/she is eight years old, or was born eight years ago
annus bissextusleap year
anonyma, anonymusstillborn daughter (anonyma) or son (anonymus
armentacattle for ploughing
armentalesbelonging to a herd
armentuma herd
armigerarmour-bearer, used to denote an esquire
atavia, atavusa person's great-great-great-grandmother or great-great-great-grandfather
avia/avusa person's grandmother/grandfather
avunculus, avunculus magnus, avunculus maior, avunculus maximusa person's uncle, grand-uncle, great-granduncle, great-great-granduncle on the female side of the family
b.i.d., bis in dietwice a day
Beatae memoriaeof blessed memory
biduumtwo days
bienniumfor a period of two years
bis annotwice a year
boves iugalesox teams
caper, capra, capraemale goat, female goat
capitis damnarecondemn to death
casusaccident, fall, event, misfortune
collactaneafoster mother
colonicrofter, farmer, settler or colonist
comesused to denote an earl
coniugiumin a marriage, or, the state of being married
consobrina/consobrinusa person's female/male first cousin on mother's side
consuetudinariiscustomary tenant
consuetum pretiumcustomary price
contra legesillegally
conviviuma form of land tenure whereby the tenant was bound to provide meat and drink for his lord once per year
copiaa copy.Also an opportunity or means of access to some item.
corambefore or in the presence of
coram paribusbefore one's peers
cott idieevery day
contra legesillegally
convincereto prove guilty of an offence
Cui., or Ciu = cuiuswhose
Ciu aie ppict' ds Am = Cuius animae propicietur deus, amenmay God have mercy on his soul
conicereto commit to prison
cottidianus, cottidiedaily, everyday
croftuma croft
Cum ad curiawhereas at a court
cum haec ita sintunder the circumstances
cum suis per tinentibuswith their appurtenances
cumque etiamwhereas also
D., defunctdied
damnareto pass sentence for a crime
debetowes, as in owes money
debentshould, as in should perform a specific act
Dei gratiaby the Grace of God
denarius, denariuman English penny
Dns or dni, Dominus or DominiLord
ds., deusGod
d.s.p., decessit sine proledied without issue
d.s.p.l., decessit sine prole legitimadied without legitimate issue
d.s.p.m. and d.s.p.m.s., decessit sine prole mascula superstitedied without surviving male issue
d.s.p.s., decessit sine prole superstitedied without surviving issue
d.s.p.v.p., decessit sine prole vita patristhe individual died without issue during the lifetime of his/her own father
d.s.p.v.m., decessit sine prole vita matristhe individual died without issue during the lifetime of his/her own mother
DV, Deo volenteGod willing
d.v.m., decessit vita matrisan individual who dies during the lifetime of his/her own mother, implies that the individual had living children at the time of his/her own death
d.v.p., decessit vita patrisan individual who dies during the lifetime of his/her own father, implies that the individual had living children at the time of his/her own death
dextansa measure equal to five-sixths
diem de die, diem ex diefrom day to day
diem obiredie
dimidiaone-half of a measurement, such as one-half of one acre
diurnasby day
dodransa measure equal to three-fourths, or, three-quarters
durante termino vite sueduring the term of her life
durante vitaduring life
durat usqueextends to, as in a description of property e.g. the land extends to the roadway.
elapso temporethe time having passed
episcopi, episcopoa Bishop of a church
equaliterequal, as in equal proportions
errare humanum estto err is human
et sequentes (sequentia)to those that follow
et sic de ceterisand so of the rest
ex sursum redditioneby the surrender
excipereto inherit
expositio, narratioan account or story
exsequito act upon
faber suae fortunaea self-made person
familiaritasto be acquainted with a person
faveo linguiskeep silence
fecitmade, executed, completed
feodo, pro feodoa fee, for the fee of
fidei defensordefender of the faith
fieribe made
filia/filio vinca et heresthe only surviving child (daughter/son) and heir of ....
FiliolusA godson
Filius mulieratusThe eldest legitimate son of a woman who was illicitly connected with that son's father before their marriage.
Filius populi; filius terrae
filius nullius
Each of these expressions were used to represent an illegitimate child: filius populi being a son of the people; filius terrae being a son of the soil or earth; filius nullius being a son of no man.
fossorisa person who digs, a digger
frater or fratresa person's brother
frater consanguineasa person's step-brother sharing a common father
frater uterinusa person's step-brother sharing a common mother
fructusa tree crop
frumentum, frumentariuscorn, corn dealer
furtum facerecommit a theft
gallinaa hen
genera person's son-in-law
generosusused to denote a gentleman
germanusa term used to describe the fact that two people have the same parents - full brothers, full sisters - a true or full relationship
Gloria patriGlory be to the Father
hac, haecthis
hac voceunder this word/phrase, hereunder
haec aetasthis day, the present day
handanaa day's work
herbagiumpasture, right of pasture
heredipetathe next heir
hereditarieby inheritance
hereditariushereditary heir
hereditas, hereditatioinheritance
heres ex trientean heir to one-third (of an estate)
hic iacet (jacet)here lies dead
hinc indehereupon
horathe hour, the time of day, a season
hornusthis year, or, this year's
hsi or hse, hic sepultus, hic esthere is buried, here is
hui eccli'e, huius ecclesiaeof this Church
iam aderoI'll be back soon
Id., Idusthe 13th day of mosty months, but the 15th of March, May, July, October
Idem tenetthe same holds, as in '...the same holds true for...'
ignobilitasof low-standing birth
Ihs (Jhs)or Ihu (Jhu), Ihesus (Jhesus)Jesus
imprimisespecially, or firstly/primary when used in a Will e.g. "Imprimis, I recommend my soul...".
impubesunder age
in annumfor one year
in anteahenceforth, for the future
in articulo mortisat the point of death
in continuationein consideration
in curiam dominiin the Lord's (of the manor) Court
in diesdaily
in facie ecclesiaebefore the Church
in futurohenceforth
in manifestopublicly
in memoriamin memory of
in nomen Deiin the name of God
in nomine Dominiin the name of the Lord
in patriain one's home town or native land
in perpetuumforever
in saecula saeculorumfor ever and ever
incerti cognominisof uncertain surname
infansa child or infant
ingenus, ingenuusfreeholder, freeborn
inquillinustenant or inhabitor
inter diuduring the day
inter sicarios accusareto be charged with the crime of murder
interficereput to death
ita distinguituris thus described
iugam terraea yoke of land, containing half a plough-land
iugeruman acre of land, (240 feet by 120 feet)
iuvencae (juvencae)heifers
iuvenci (juvenci)young bulls
iuxta (juxta)next to or beside
iuxta ecclesiam denext to or beside the Church of

      K - Z

Kal., Kalendisthe first day of any month
lac mulgeremilk
legem doctoredoctor of laws
leges violarebreak the law
liber rusticusfree peasant
liberi, baro, franchilanusfreeman
lignaa piece of wood
maleficiummisdeed, a wrong, mischief
malignusunkind, ill-natured, spiteful
matertera, matertera magna, matertera maior, matertera maximaa person's aunt, grand-aunt, great-grandaunt, great-great-grandaunt on the female side of the family
matre orbusa child that is without a mother
matrimoniuma marriage
mercatoresmerchant or dealer in goods
metreta, metretaea liquid measure of about 9 gallons
mensisthe month of; of or for a month
mente captusimbecile, insane
mercatora merchant
milesused to denote a knight
modo ad hanc curiamnow to this court
modo venitnow comes
morens posuitsadly placed
moribundus, morienson one's death bed
mortem sibi consciscerecommit suicide
MS or ms, memoriae sacrumsacred to the memory of
multo dielate in the day
natu minimus, also, pullusyoungest child
natu minorto be younger than another but not to be the youngest
natus estwas born
navem conscendereto go abroad
nepos/neptiscolor="#300036" size="2" grandson/granddaughter
nex interitusviolent death
nobilitasof high-standing birth
nomina baptisatorumthe names of those baptised
nomina defunctorumthe names of those who have died
nomina nuptorumthe names of those married
nomina sepultorumthe names of those buried
nominein the name of, in respect of, or, under the heading of
Non., Nonaethe 5th day of most months but the 7th of March, May, July, October
nudius; nudius tertiusdays since, days ago; day before yesterday
nullus tunc venitno one came
nuptiaethe marriage ceremony
nurusa person's daughter-in-law
nutruisfoster child
obitusnatural death
olimat times, or, at one time; once, or, once upon a time; one day in the future
omnia et singla premissa predictusall and singular of the said premises
opificescraftsman, artisan or maker of things
"or 'p' aia", is, orate pro animapray for the soul of
orbuschildless; but, when used in relation to a child it indicates that the child is without a father
patruelisa person's first cousin on the male side of the family
patruus, patruus magnus, patruus maior, patruus maximusa person's uncle, grand-uncle, great-granduncle, great-great-granduncle on the male side of the family
pecuscows, can also imply a flock of sheep
per easdumby the same, as in 'by the same terms the tenancy is held'
perendieday after tomorrow
piscatoresa fisher
piscaria, pisceriisfishery, fisheries
pomariuman orchard
pos., posuitplaced
postea crescentibusotherwise due
postridiethe next day, or, the day after
ppict'., propitiusfavourable, gracious
praeutcompared with
pratameadow or grassland
presolvopaid for previously
prid., pridiethe day immediately before a specific day of any month
privigna, privignusa person's step-daughter, step-son
pro defalta tenentieby default of the tenancy
proavia/proavusa person's great-grandmother/great-grandfather
probatusapproved, such as the case of a Will having been probated or proved in Court
proutaccording as
prunetaplum trees
puellagirl or young wife
puellulalittle girl
puelluslittle boy
puerboy, child, son also a term for a slave
pueritia (puertia)childhood, youth
quadransa measure equal to one-fourth, or, one-quarter
quadragesimarepresenting the 40 days of Lent and therefor, taken as meaning Lent
quadrienniumfour years
quaestio inter sicariosto stand trial for the crime of murder
quaestoresmoney lender or treasury official
quando dominus uoluerit (voluerit)when the Lord (of the manor) shall wish
que fuit filia/fil et hereswho was the daughter/son and heir
quedama certain, as in referring to a certain piece of land or property
quemlibet terminumeach term, such as in calling for the dates of payment of monies due at certain times of the year
quicumque legerit hunc titulumwhoever reads this inscription
Quinctilisthe term used to describe the fifth month of the Roman calendar, which month we know as July
quincunxa measure equal to five-twelfths
quinquenniumfive years
quotannisevery year
R.I.P., requiescat in pacemay he/she rest in peace
redditrenders, as in renders service to another individual
redditionum et serviciirights and services
roda, rodea rod (land measurement)
sacerdosa priest
sciendum quod omnelet it be know that all....
scilicet or "scilt"that is
secundum consuetudemaccording to custom
seit fuitwas seized
segescornfield, or crops in general
semestre spatiumhalf of a year
semisa measure equal to one-half
senectusold age
senexa man or woman 45 years of age or older, old man, old woman
sepulcralisa funeral
sepulcruma grave or tomb
seruicium (servicium) militaremilitary service
servimaid servants
sextansa measure equal to one-sixth
Sextilisthe term used to describe the sixth month of the Roman calendar, which month we know as August
silvae, sylvaewoodlands or forests
sine, sine diewithout, without a date
socermother's father, a man's father-in-law
socrusmother's mother, a man's mother-in-law
solidisan English shilling
solutio, solutionisa payment made or to be made
solvere, solvi, solvo, solutumto pay
solviturreleased, set free
soror consanguineastep-sister sharing a common father
soror uterinastep-sister sharing a common mother
sororis maritusa wife's husband's brother, a woman's brother-in-law
sui iuris esthe is of age
suillus, suspigs
superannatoa livestock yearling
tempus fugittime flies
tenensa tenant
tenetto hold, such as in holding a piece of property
terminusa term as in the length of time of a lease
terra ista iacet (jacet) inthis land lies in, as in, this land lies in the parish of Melksham
terra vocatland called
tertio quoque annoevery other year
testim et ultime voluntatislast Will and Testament
triduumthree days
trienniumfor a period of three years
triensa measure equal to one-third
tritavia, tritavusa person's great-great-great-great-grandmother or great-great-great-great-grandfather
ubi suprawhere above mentioned
uirgatam (virgatam)a virgate (land measurement)
ultimooften found in early English parish registers to indicate the last day of a month rather than the more formal prid. Kal., or pridie Kalendis ...
unciaone-twelfth, or, one ounce
uxoris fratera man's wife's brother, a man's brother-in-law
uxoris sorora man's wife's sister, a man's sister-in-law
vaccae fetal (foetal)breeding cows
vaccae sterilesbarren cows
vinea, vinetumgrape vines, vineyard
virgrown man, also, a husband
vita brevislife is short
vitulus/vitulamale/female calf
vixit bene plenislived to be a good old age

Print Page