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Altum Videtur
aka: Gratuitous Latin
"Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur."Lat. 

Latin is a mysterious language. It's been effectively "dead" for one thousand years (or more), nobody is born speaking Latin as the primary language, yet somehow, it is still being used, even omnipresent in culture. Maybe it's that distinct, laconic sound of it unlike anything else. Maybe it's the language of one of the greatest Vestigial Empires of the Western world, the Imperium Romanum. Maybe it's the fact that it is still the official ecclesiastical language of the Roman Catholic Church. Or it's just because Latin makes you feel intelligent and badass, with all the scientific terminologies and Ominous Latin Chanting. Whatever the reason, Latin sounds awesome to most people. And that's a satiable reason to introduce it gratuitously onto any work of fiction out there.

There's a long tradition of Stage Magicians using pseudo-Latin incantations like the clichéd phrase "hocus pocus," which according to a centuries-old urban legend is a corruption of "Hoc est corpus meum," Lat. , a post-Reformation stab at the ritual of Catholicism, though etymologists dispute this.

It could also be that many people understand one language solely, and the ability to be bilingual seems, well, awesome. But remember, if someone does know more than two languages, only one language will remain primus inter paresLat.  to them.

There's also a significant inclination to combine simultaneously both Latin and Gratuitous Greek. Someone who is unfamiliar with one or both could easily confuse one for the other fundamentally on sound, which probably has to do with a significant portion of Latin vocabulary being derived from Greek in the first place. Real Life science's obsession for this, especially in the field of Taxonomy (exempli gratiaLat. : Tyrannosaurus rex, both Greek Tyrannos and Latin Rex mean "King"note ) doesn't help (Science is also Latin for "knowledge").

More charitably, inventing a new word in Canis Latinicus (or Cynos Hellenika) permits the creation of a legitimate-sounding new word with a subconscious link to its meaning, since new words motivate our minds to think about similar-sounding words we recognize already. Latin is also an origin of etymologies for multiple words in the English vocabulary, and English itself imitated from the Latin vocabulary (mostly through French and science), giving Latinesque terms an air of familiarity for English speakers. "Wingardium Leviosa" might be delirious in any language, but the similarity to the words "wing" and "Levitation" connects it to flight rather well, without being as obviously ridiculous as "Wingyup Airyfly".

Compare Everything Sounds Sexier in French for the alternative version of this in other languages (French itself is Latin-derived). See also Canis Latinicus for when Latin-sounding language is used instead of legitimate Latin. Only a rare part of the population get their complete Latin accurately anyway, especially if they use an online translation service, or they only have a partial knowledge of the grammar. "Blind Idiot" Translation, Translation Train Wreck and As Long as It Sounds Foreign are very common results.

See also Gratuitous Foreign Language and Latin Pronunciation Guide.

Subtropī:


Exempla linguae Latinae gratuitae in fictione:

    open/close all folders 

    Librī Comicōrum 
  • Astérix has lots of gratuitous Latin phrases, mostly in the form of classical proverbs. Canis Latinicus is averted except in names.
  • Watchmen uses "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes," which means "who will watch the watchmen themselves?" and is generally translated as "Who watches the watchmen?"
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In Carl Barks' classic The Golden Helmet, Donald Duck runs afowl of a dubious lawyer who goes around spouting mock Latin phrases like "Flickus flackus fumlidium" (allegedly meaning "Can you prove that [my client] isn't who he claims to be?") At the end of the story Huey declares that they have had enough nonsense, to which Dewey answer with the obvious affirmative "Yeppus yappus youbettus!"
    • Later Don Rosa wrote a sequel, "The Lost Charts of Columbus", where Donald finally got the chance to tell the lawyer and his client "Aqua concus dipporum" ("Go soak your head").
  • In Grant Morrison's JLA Earth Two when the Flash asks about the Crime Syndicate's motto "Cui Bono," the good Lex Luthor from the evil universe naturally knows its means "Who profits?" which prompts him to begin wondering who could profit from their current predicament his train of thought is cut short by an attack the not-so-enslaved-as-we-thought Brainiac who realizes that Lex is about to figure out what he's up to.

    Devotoris Figmenti 

    Pelliculae 
= Film
  • Top Secret!!. While Nick Rivers is in prison, he's taken out of his cell and led to an execution room by a priest speaking common Latin phrases such as "corpus delicti" and "quid pro quo". It eventually derails into Pig Latin, and translates as "You're going to get fried in the chair". It's the priest who gets fried, which makes sense, given that East Germany was a Communist state.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As a group of Catholic monks are walking along, they repeatedly chant the phrase "Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem" Lat.  and hit themselves on the head with boards. Watch it here. This is a phrase from a longer work known as Dies IraeLat. .
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian - Some rather doggy Latin is used for graffiti, and the Roman soldier who stumbles on it takes the time to correct the graffiti's grammar.
  • The Running Man. While Richards is being led to the arena, a lawyer reads his contract to him. It includes a Latin phrase in its legalese, "Ad hoc de facto"Lat. .
  • The captain of the Event Horizon signed off his logs with Latin phrases. We learn this after we learn that the only transmission from the ship since it reappeared appears to be garbletrash, but with "save me" spoken in Latin amid the static, and the reasonable assumption is that the captain spoke this as well. He did. But the static distorted the message, so we only later learn that he was actually saying "Save yourself, from Hell."
  • Edward Rutledge in 1776 likes to speak Latin, much to Colonel McKean's annoyance.
  • The dog funerals in A Fish Called Wanda all feature a choir singing "Miserere dominus, canis mortus est."Lat. 
  • In Tombstone, there is a dialog between gunfighters Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday with common latin quotations that takes place after Holliday directly insults Ringo to his face.
    Wyatt Earp: (to Ringo, trying to defuse the situation) "He's drunk."
    Doc Holliday: "In vino, veritas."Lat. 
    Johnny Ringo: "Age quod agis."Lat. 
    Doc Holliday: "Credat judaeus Apella, non ego."Lat. 
    Johnny Ringo: (running a thumb across his revolver's chamber) "Eventus stultorum magister."Lat. 
    Doc Holliday: "In pace requiescat."Lat. 
  • Johnny Dangerously has the eponymous protagonist being led down death row by a phony priest, who begins his "last rites" by muttering common Latin phrases, then rapidly degenerates into Canis Latinicus.
    Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude, The Radio's Too Loud-y. Dominus, Festivus, Missed the bus.
  • As people in the Imperium are wont to do, various characters in Damnatus utter a few phrases of Latin High Gothic during situations of appropriate gravitas.
  • In Leviathan, the Doc is thoughtful enough to give an English version of his commentary on radical genetic engineering: "Natura non confundenda est. Loosely translated: don't fuck with Mother Nature."
  • In Priest, after Father Greg's Crisis of Faith escalates (and his arrest for having gay sex in a car ends up in the newspaper), he flees to a remote parish, headed by a priest who dresses him down in Latin.
  • The Raven. While casting his spells, Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre) says "Veni vidi vici", "De mortuis nil nisi bonum", "Cave canem" (beware of the dog), "Si vis pacem parabellum" ("If you want peace, prepare for war") and "Ceterum censio Carthaginem esse delendam" ("Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.")

    Līterae 
  • Jim Butcher likes Latin, apparently. Codex Alera is heavily sprinkled with Gratuitous Latin thanks to its cast mostly consisting of "magical Romans." Perhaps most notably, Aleran names all tend to mean something, be it ironic (Fidelias the Wild Card with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder) or appropriate (Invidia the evil, overly-ambitious bitch).
    • Also, The Dresden Files mostly has Canis Latinicus in the form of spells and Harry's butchering of the language, but occasionally, there will be a bit of real Latin. Mostly when Michael Carpenter is wielding one of the holy swords. The White Council of wizards uses Latin during formal Council meetings, which mostly serves the purpose of indicating to the reader that it's run by a bunch of very old-fashioned and hidebound people; Harry, as already mentioned, speaks it only poorly.
      • The Canis Latinicus is justified in the text by the fact that picking a magic word to go with a spell forges a link between the two in the caster's mind, so they try to use dead or fake languages that they won't use in normal life (which could lead to an accidental discharge). Harry uses dog-Latin and some dog-Spanish; other wizards are shown using dog-Sumerian, dog-Egyptian, and dog-Japanese.
  • Discworld often has Latin sprinkled about, usually in situations where people are trying to sound pretentious. Examples include the City Watch's motto (Fabricati Diem, Pvnc) to a joke played by the Unseen University's wizards on a foreign diplomat by awarding him an honorary doctorate in "Adamus cum Flabello Dulci"Lat. .
    • Bugarup U's motto "Nullus Anxietas" isn't even trying. Also, written over the secret students' entrance is "Nulli Sheilae Sanguinae"Lat. .
  • The spells of Harry Potter, fall between this and Canis Latinicus
    • There's also the school motto "Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus" (Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon), which appears on the Hogwarts seal and is never translated in the books.
  • Older Than Steam: Don Quixote: This trope is lampshaded and defined by Cervantes, a Spanish writer in the seventeenth century. At the time, Latin and Greek were languages that must be known by government bureaucrats and any people with literacy pretenses, but certainly there were a lot of books where this trope was not justified.
    "As to references in the margin to the books and authors from whom you take the aphorisms and sayings you put into your story, it is only contriving to fit in nicely any sentences or scraps of Latin you may happen to have by heart, or at any rate that will not give you much trouble to look up; so as, when you speak of freedom and captivity, to insert Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro; and then refer in the margin to Horace, or whoever said it...With these and such like bits of Latin they will take you for a grammarian at all events, and that now-a-days is no small honour and profit."
    • Another example is lampshaded in Part II, chapter LI. Sancho has been made governor of the "Island of Barataria". In the seventeenth century, it was expected that members of the government and the aristocracy would be well educated, and this education included Latin. Don Quixote never uses Latin in his sentences with Sancho because he is not interested in impressing him with his superior knowledge, but he expects that Sancho will learn Latin now that he is a governor:
    "... amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas Lat. . I quote this Latin to thee because I conclude that since thou hast been a governor thou wilt have learned it."
  • In A Canticle for Leibowitz the last words spoken are "Sic transit mundus"Lat. , which is a play on the Latin phrase "Sic transit gloria mundi" Lat. 
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham features Latin names which are then translated into the 'vulgar tongue'. Provides Bilingual Bonus since the translations are often not exact.
  • In The Space Trilogy of C. S. Lewis, the character of Merlin speaks only in Latin. Because Lewis was a brilliant Latinist, it's all correct. It also makes sense, since Merlin has been in suspended animation since the Low Middle Ages, and has had no opportunity to learn English (which he'd probably associate with the hated Saxon invaders, anyway.)
    • Hilariously, the person the bad guys think is Merlin and are trying to win over to their side is actually a bum who happened to be in the right place at the right time and has observed that whoever these people are they're sheltering him and feeding him, so when they occasionally speak to him in what (to him) is gibberish he happily obliges them by speaking gibberish back. For their part, they assume he's speaking some (probably Celtic) language/dialect they're unfamiliar with. He eventually figures out what's going on, but keeps up the act anyway because hey, free food. Also: bad guys; they'd probably kill him if they found out.
  • All the spells in Rivers of London are in Gratuitous Latin, but only because they were all codified and written down by Sir Isaac Newton during the time Latin was the language of choice for Gentlemen Scientists. Just no one ever got around to updating them into English.
  • Henry Beard's Latin for All Occasions runs on this trope. It's a Latin phrasebook for when you need to know how to say things like "Look! Cheese Whiz!" in Latin.
  • A little Latin booklet called Quips and Quiddities runs on this trope, Pretentious Latin Motto and Canis Latinicus all at the same time. It's an Affectionate Parody.
  • Random Latin phrases appear in the mouths of clergy (and people pretending to be clerics) in Ivanhoe. A brawl between Friar Tuck and Prior Aymer is particularly memorable for loud threats delivered in bad Latin.
    Friar Tuck: Ossa ejus perfringam, I shall break your bones, as the Vulgate hath it. (Referring to the Vulgate Bible, the translation (from Greek to Latin) used by the Church in those days).
  • In addition to the title, the web-novel Domina Lat.  uses Latin in a number of other places. Every chapter title is a Latin word, and one of the major gangs is Necessarius Lat. .
  • There is some Latin dialogue in Greek Ninja.
  • The Hunger Games has a Latin motif for the central Capitol of Panem. All the characters associated with the main city have Latin first names, usually appropriate to their role, including Coriolanus Snow and Seneca Crane. "Panem" itself is explicitly from the motto "Panem et Circenses", "Bread and Circuses", the central theme of the trilogy. (Although literally it just means "[doing something] to the bread." "Panem et Circenses" should be "Panis et Circenses" if it's on its own. The -em ending is accusative.)
  • In The Mark of the Lion trilogy, lots of Latin is dropped in as ordinary vocabulary, since the setting is Ancient Rome and it’s the everyday language. There’s a glossary of terms in the back.
  • A.D. Godley, a professor of Classics at Oxford in the 1900s, commemorated the arrival of buses in Oxford with his poem "Motor Bus". The poem achieves mock-gravitas by apostrophizing the eponymous vehicle in Latin, complete with declension of the titular phrase as though it were itself in Latin ("Yes, the smell and hideous hum / Indicat Motorem Bum!"), which overlaps a bit with Canis Latinicus.
  • Shadowhunters in the Mortal Instruments are quite into this, especially when trying to assert intellectual superiority over mundanes.
    Simon: "Basia coquum". Or whatever their motto is.
    Alec: It's "Descensus Averno facilis est." "The descent into hell is easy." You just said "Kiss the cook".
    Simon: Dammit, I knew Jace was screwing with me.
  • H.G. wells "The Food of the Gods" has the following:
    It was so evident that even now he had everything to learn. He did not know there were physical laws and economic laws, quantities and reactions that all humanity voting nemine contradicente cannot vote away, and that are disobeyed only at the price of destruction. (The phrase is perfect for the context being used, it means "absolutely without dissent".)
  • In Relativity, Michael is fond of using Latin quips. He gets in trouble for using one while in his superhero persona.
    Michael: Pfft. Like nobody ever uses Latin.
    Ravenswood: Um... they don’t. Not often, anyway, unless they’re a lawyer.

    Televisio Vīva 
  • In The West Wing, when President Bartlet conducts his Rage Against the Heavens in the National Cathedral, he starts yelling at God in Latin.
    • Also, from guess which episode:
      Bartlet: Twenty-seven lawyers in the room, anyone know post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Josh?
      Josh: Uh... post, "after," after hoc; ergo, "therefore"; "after hoc, therefore something else hoc."
      Bartlet: Thank you. Next. Leo?
      Leo: "After it, therefore because of it."
      Bartlet: After it, therefore because of it. It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other, but it's not always true. In fact, it's hardly ever true. We did not lose Texas because of the hat joke. Do you know when we lost Texas?
      C.J.: When you learned to speak Latin?
  • In LOST there's "Ille qui nos omnes servabit" which is the answer to the coded phrase "What lies in the shadow of the statue?". It means "He who will preserve/save/keep us all" when correctly translated, or "He who will serve us all" if a common translation error is made.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, where Howard and Sheldon argue over the type of the cricket they found:
    Howard: (shows a page in a book) See it? The common field cricket, AKA Gryllus assimilis which is Latin for "suck it, you lose."
    Sheldon: Hang on! (searches in the book) Voilà! The snowy tree cricket, AKA Oecanthus fultoni, which is Latin for "I will suck nothing." I'm joking, of course, because the Latin for that is "Nihil exsorbebo."
  • On Better Off Ted, Veronica claims that the company motto, which is engraved on the lobby floor, translates to "Money Before People", but it sounds much more heroic in Latin.
  • Parodied in the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code," when Martha, realizing that for once William Shakespeare is at a loss for words on how to finish the sonnet that will banish the Carrionites as he lacks a word to rhyme with cuss, dredges up "Expelliarmus" from Harry Potter, which she, Shakespeare and The Doctor all shout with gusto.
    • "Lupus Deus Est" from "Tooth and Claw"
    • The Ood's songs in the episodes "Planet of the Ood" (which turned into a full choir for a reprise "Journey's End") and The End of Time are in Classical Ood, but translated by the TARDIS into ridiculously bad Latin for human ears.
  • Any time a Star Trek episode from any series uses a Latin title, you can be assured that the title, when translated, carries significant meaning to the plot of the episode.
    • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"Lat.  is concerning the usage of underhanded methods to change the political structure of the Romulan empire in the Federation's favor (with a war going on, no less). One of the characters even does a Title Drop during the episode.
    • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto"Lat. , concerning a race that extracts memory engrams from murder victims and uses that as evidence against a Voyager crew member. The term is an actual legal term, referring to laws that are retroactively binding to cases before the law was enacted.
    • The title of the famous episode "Arena" literally means "sand" or "powder" in Latin, and gained its present meaning because of the sand sprinkled on the floor before a gladiator fight to give them traction. But apparently the title wasn't intended to be taken this way, even though it works, and just referred to...an arena.
  • In Babylon 5, there was an episode titled "Sic Transit Vir Lat  (a Latin pun on a character's name, no less).
  • Mr. Bean has an opening theme tune consisting of a choir singing, "Ecce homo qui est faba."Lat.  The same choir closes each episode with, "Vale homo qui est faba."Lat. 
    • Even the show's commercial breaks are denoted with Latin singing: "Finis partis primae"Lat.  and "Pars secunda"Lat. 
  • Many of the magic spells used on Buffy the Vampire Slayer happen to be in Latin. Evidently one of the more challenging things for Alyson Hannigan was memorizing all of the Latin that the writers kept flinging at her. In the final season, a minor Crowning Moment Of Awesome happens when Willow stops halfway through a spell and shouts "Screw it! I suck at Latin, OK?! and proceeds to make the spell work in English by pure force of will. Andrew also displays a knowledge of Latin several times in the show and comics.
  • In Kaamelott, King Loth is fond of meaningless Latin quotes. The Latin language (in the quotes) is mostly legitimate, but Loth's translations are always inaccurate.
  • House did this in a conversation with Amber-slash-Cutthroat Bitch: (episode is "Don't Ever Change")
    Amber: Hello, Greg. And I call you Greg because we're now social equals.
    House: And I call you Cutthroat Bitch because, well, quod erat demonstrandumLat. .
  • Stephen Colbert's Latin motto is "Videri Quam Esse"Lat. , which sums up his character pretty well.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Major Winchester defending Klinger at a court-martial for allegedly stealing a camera. At one point during the proceedings he objects on the grounds of "unum piliolae, acidus salicilicus tres in diem, post sabel"...which the presiding officer points out translates to "aspirin three times a day".
  • Many of the incantations and exorcisms in Supernatural are in Latin.
  • Deadwood: Merrick writes that a vaccine will be distributed gratis. Al insists that they clarify "free gratis" before deciding to ditch the Latin altogether. In a later episode, a town meeting agrees that the temporary town positions will be ad hoc. Al rolls his eyes, muttering, "Ad hoc... free gratis..."

    Mangae Et Picturae Animatae Nipponenses 
= Manga and Anime from Japan
  • Simoun features a small dictionary worth of Latin and Latin-sounding terms to designate various technologies and concepts: from the deity Tempus Spatium ("Time Space"); through country names Simulacrum ("likeness, similarity"), Argentum ("silver"), and Plumbum ("lead"); to pilot roles auriga ("charioteer", the primary pilot) and sagitta ("arrow", the navigator and gun controller). These last two terms are also constellations, for additional Theme Naming fun.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the spells and attack names that aren't in Japanese are generally in Latin, sometimes Greek (and once or twice Sanskrit). They're pretty good, too.
    • As an example, the incantation for one of Negi's favorite attack spells:
    Negi: "Veniant Spiritus Aeriales Fulgurientes! Cum Fulguratione Flet Tempestas Austrina! Jovis Tempestas Fulguriens!" Lat. 
    • The series title is sometimes translated into Latin as "Magister Negi Magi," with magister magi having a rather convenient double meaning as either "magic teacher" or "master of magic" — both of which describe him quite well.
  • In Gundam 00, they bring us the "Memento Mori" "Remember you will die" It's a Kill Sat that royally messes up the Middle East before it is destroyed, along with its commander. The Innovators have another, just in case.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka MagicaLat. , the terms "Magical Girl" and "Puella Magi" are used interchangeably, for good reason. PuellaLat.  also may additionally mean "a young slave" due to it being derived from Puerulus. MagiLat.  can also mean derogatorily, "charlatan", which means "one who deceives". Applying this terminology, the Latin title actually averts Department of Redundancy Department: the real English title to the anime is actually Slave to the Deceiver: Magician Madoka. The Japanese title, however, averts the Latin title altogether. Still, either way, it's certainly an example of gratuitous Latin (although Latin isn't the only language this anime brings in, for obvious reasons).
    • The titles of the series' music are all in Latin as well, although they did screw up one title: "Nux Walpurgis" was probably meant to be "Nox Walpurgis". That one letter is the difference between "Walpurgis Night" (the name of the final and most powerful Witch) and "Walpurgis Nut" (which doesn't make any sense).
  • The Future Diary combines this with Theme Naming — the first opening lists off the Dii Consentes, the twelve Roman gods and goddesses that were considered to be the highest deities. Each Diary keeper is named after one of them, adding Bacchus for John Balks, the Eleventh.

    Musica 
  • The German neo-medieval band Corvus Coraxnote  parodies this trope on one of its shirts with the words, "Omnia dicta fortiora, si dicta latina" which means, "Everything sounds more impressive when said in Latin."
    • Actually Latin was heavy on simplifications, the Romans elided everything they could from their sentences, perhaps in an effort to sound more laconic and no-nonsense, perhaps they had more pressing things to do (like building an empire) than wasting time uttering too many words. They often elided the subject of a phrase when it was apparent who was taking the described action and they hadn't a fixed word for "yes" but made "hoc" ("this") double for it, other examples could take several pages.note  This tendency was not merely a quirk of spoken tongue, but had literary dignity and was taken to extremes by people like Julius Caesar, who famously commented his campaign against Pharnaces II of Pontus with the three-word message "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered); hence Corvus Corax motto could be better rendered as: "Omnia dicta fortiora, si latina".
  • Latin, as the historical language of the Roman Catholic Church and the Academia, has a vast repertoire of both secular and religious music set to it. For a singer, it may seem difficult to learn the pronounciations at first - especially if you've been singing it wrong before. "Veh-night-ee" for Venite, indeed! Of course, any talk about pronunciation leads right into the huge argument between the "Ecclesiastical" or "Medieval" pronunciation versus the "Classical" or "Restored" pronunciation. "Ven-ee-tay" vs. "Wen-ee-tay", for starters. Most written music was written for Ecclesiastical Pronunciation, though.
  • One section of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" is titled "Con mortuis in lingua mortua," meaning "with the dead in a dead language" (though the first word should be "cum", rather than "con" as it would be in Italian).
  • Carmina Burana has a lot of Latin songs in it, mingling with courtly French and mediaeval German.

    Comicōrum Acta Diurna 
  • A 1965 Peanuts strip has Lucy giving Snoopy a hug:
    Lucy: Felicitas est parvus canis calidus. That's Latin for "Happiness is a warm puppy".
    Snoopy: I can't stand it!

     Etiam palaestrica 
  • "The Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses" Damien Sandow uses an elbow drop called the Cubito Aequet. WWE claims that it means "Elbow of disdain." The problem is that it actually translates to "Elbow of distain," meaning to "sully" or "discolor," which makes no sense in this context. The correct version would be Cubito Fastidia.

    Lūdī Lūsī In Mensā 
  • The word "Primarch" from Warhammer 40,000 is an example of Latin/Greek mixture: "primus" ("first") is a Latin word root, whereas "archon" ("ruler") is Greek (άρχον ). Still 40K offers a great deal of proper Gratuitous Latin. According to Word of God this is simply a Translation Convention meant to evoke the way "High Gothic" would sound to the common folk of .M41.
  • Vampire: The Requiem has a lot of terminology either directly imported from, or inspired by Latin, presumably related to the fact that vampire society is static, at best. Although justified, it is still amusing that Ancilla, a word used to refer to "middle-aged" vampires, translates quite readily as "slave woman."
  • Subverted in FATAL, which was kind enough to provide a translation for its pretentious Latin. Usually, this was some kind of crude sexual doggerel. The Latin is also often wrong. On the other hand, at least one part seems to be quoting (or paraphrasing) the crude sexual doggerel of Catullus (a real Roman poet) - see Catullus 16 on The Other Wiki for info on that (NSFW text there though).
  • The Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Libris Mortis is a double subversion: it looks fine to the layman. But the community calls it the "Book of Bad Latin" because they assume it's supposed to mean Book of the Dead (which should be Liber Mortis). But it's not: the book's introduction makes it clear that it's intended to mean From the Books of the Dead, which is exactly what it does mean.
  • BattleTech's Word of Blake uses this trope.
  • Ars Magica can have shades of this, but since it's a game of more or less scholarly wizards in medieval Europe, the use of Latin terms is quite justified.

    Lūdī Scaenicī 
  • In Humperdinck's opera Hansel and Gretel, the witch chants, "Hocus pocus, bonus jocus, malus locus, hocus pocus." Though "hocus pocus" is meaningless, the rest translates as "good joke, bad place."
  • Cyrano de Bergerac:
    • After Jodelet notices that Mountfleury has fallen from grace with the Burgundy's theater public, Bellerose cites the first two words of "Sic transit gloria mundi" Lat. 
    (Cries are heard outside.)
    Jodelet (who has looked out): They hoot Montfleury!
    Bellerose (solemnly): Sic transit!...
    • Act II Scene VII, when a cadet shows the hats of the thugs Cyrano defeated, Captain Carbon says: Spolia opima! Lat. 
  • A running gag in Love's Labour's Lost is that a couple of blowhard characters are full of this, and love to correct each other for using grammar incorrectly and such. This annoys Moth, the local Servile Snarker, who remarks, "They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps."
  • The Opening Chorus of The Vagabond King is sung in a mixture of English and Latin.

    Lūdī Ēlectronicī 
  • The Judicians in 2027.
  • Eternal Darkness: "Hanc mitte ad dominum et imperatorem nostrum, Carolum Magnum Francum." ("Deliver this to our lord and emperor, Charles the Great the Frank." Charles the Great is more widely referred to by his French name, Charlemagne).
  • The character Doctus from Xenosaga Episode III tends to use Latin sayings for no apparent reason, such as "errare humanum est" (to err is human).
  • In The Elder Scrolls, natives of Cyrodiil, the capital province of The Empire, all have Latin-sounding names. The actual amount of Roman influence on their culture varies from game to game.
  • In the Final Fantasy series:
    • Final Fantasy VII: "One-Winged Angel", Sephiroth's theme lyrics are mostly lifted from Carmina Burana, which is a good source of this sort of thing:
      Estuans interius, ira vehementi. (Burning inside with vehement anger.)
      Sors immanis, et inanis (Fate - empty, and cruel.)
      Veni veni venias, ne me mori facias. (Come, come, O come, do not let me die.)
    • The opening theme of Final Fantasy VIII, "Liberi Fatali" ("Fated Children," though more properly it should be "Liberi Fatales"). Additionally, all of the paintings in the art gallery in Ultimecia's castle have Latin titles which are part of a minor sidequest.
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy uses the trope multiple times. Dissidia itself is derived from the Latin word for discord. The prequel is called Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy, where in 012 is officially pronounced "Duodecim", which is Latin for twelve. The prequel's final secret character, Feral Chaos has Latin names for his HP attacks, such as Deus Iratus, Ventus Irae, and Lux Magnus. This also applies to his EX Burst: Regnum Dei and its followup: Nex Ultimus.
    • Final Fantasy XIII: Ragnarok de Dies Irae
    • Final Fantasy XV, God, just, Final Fantasy XV. If there was ever an example of using Latin just for Latin's sake, this game provides it.
      • The protagonist, Noctis Lucis Caelum, "Sky of the Night Light"
      • His father, King Regis Lucis Caelum, "Sky of the King's Light". That's right, the king's name is King.
      • His buddy, Ignis Stupeo Scientia, "Fire to be Stunned Knowledge".
      • His other buddy, Gladiolus Amicitia, "Little Sword Friendship". What kind of parent names his son "Little sword"?
      • His third buddy, Prompto Argentum "Silver for the quick man", an obvious attempt at translating "quicksilver".
      • His nemesis Stella Nox Fleuret, "Star Night Fencing Sword", the last word not even being gratuitous Latin but Gratuitous French.
      • Noctis's fourth buddy, Cor Leonis "Lion's heart", the first one to be grammatically correct.
  • Gunstar Heroes: Absilio Mundus!
  • Legacy of Kain: Vae Victus!
  • LOST: Via Domus
  • Caesar's Legion from Fallout: New Vegas uses a lot of Latin. Latin names, ranks, currency, uniforms, punishments, etc. They also pronounce Latin the way most scholars believe it was actually pronounced, using no soft Cs (so that "See-zer" becomes "Kai-zar") and pronouncing Vs as Ws. Arcade Gannon also speaks some Latin, but he's quick to assure you that he didn't learn it from the Legion.
  • Ezio Auditore's Post-Mortem One-Liner Catch Phrase from Assassin's Creed II: Requiescat in pace (Rest in Peace). And some Ominous Latin Chanting on the soundtrack as well (but moreso in the sequel, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood). It also appears in speech at times, such as Rodrigo Borgia holding mass in the Sistine Chapel right before Ezio attempts to assassinate him.
  • In the Ace Combat series:
  • In the background of Sword of the Stars, Latin has become one of humanity's main languages.
    • This is mostly due to the Catholic Church becoming the dominant religion on Earth and its colonies (but not the only one). In The Deacon's Tale novel (which features a lot of gratuitous Latin and few translations), the Pope has enough power to threaten the Director of SolForce, the most powerful man in human space. The protagonist of the novel is a Chinese man who is in charge of one of [~Sol Force~]'s intelligence branches but who is secretly a Catholic deacon (it's kinda frowned upon to serve 2 masters).
  • Durandal of Marathon has some fun with this: after killing his greatest enemy, he carves the following epitaph into a moon: "Fatum Iustum Stultorum" ("The Just Fate of Fools"; in other words, "These idiots got what was coming to them.")
  • Kingdom of Loathing parodies this trope. The IOTM Loathing Legion Knife has a tattoo needle, and when used, it will give you a tattoo inscribed with the Loathing Legion's unofficial motto: "Tardis Pro Cena", which you should never call a Loathing Legionnaire. Apparently, you should never call them "late for dinner".
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia uses latin extensively in the glyph (weapon) names and some of the stages.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z2: Saisei-Hen, During Uther's final attack, he chants a spell to cast a curse on his opponent. The translated version of the spell chant Uther recites during the attack is Latin for:
    As the sun shines upon all creation.
    a king's love is for his subjects.
    You who tread the path of the Fool.
    By the light of Salvation.
    Thou shalt be saved.
  • Age of Mythology averts Canis Latinicus creating scientific names for myth units - any Half-Human Hybrid is Homo x (centaur = equus, minotaur = bull, valkyrie = valkyria), any giant is Atlas x, others take the genus of the animal it's inspired in and add a sufix (the Nemean Lion is Leo biaxomus, the Fenris Wolf is Canis fenrir).
  • Rhea of Dark Souls will say "Vereor Nox" as a farewell to the player. It means "fearfully respect the night/dark."
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl begins with an an epic Latin chorus.
  • When Tsubaki Yayoi of BlazBlue: Continuum Shift finally got around to becoming a playable character, her English battle cries were all of this form, owing to her Adorkable love of historical dramas and Lawful Good self-image. Her moves include "Lux Aeterna" ("Eternal Light") and "Benedictus Rex" ("Blessed King").
    • She's joined by the mad scientist Relius Clover, who not only names his moves in Latin but also yells out various Latin phrases while executing them. Also an example of Smart People Know Latin.
  • In the Spanish language version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the boss names are in Latin.
  • In Portal 2, there's a song on the soundtrack (which only appears on the main menu when you're on a certain chapter in the game) called "PotatOS Lament" which is in Latin.
  • Yale does this a lot in Ambition.
  • Desktop Dungeons has a little scroll on the sidebar which says "Ut sic semper felicem terra timebat monstra." Lat 
  • Star Trek Online:
    • In the finest tradition of Star Trek, episode "Romulan Mystery", mission "Divide et Impera".Lat 
    • Appropriately, the Fan Sequel/Fix Fic for that mission is titled "Divide ut Regnes".Lat 
  • Spellcasting characters in Baldur's Gate chant short stock phrases in Latin when casting a spell, the Latin is appropriate to the type of spell being cast (summon, evocation, enchantment etc.).

    Libellī Pictī De Interrete 
  • A subversive example from Fluble (Death's Latin is incorrect: hystrix means "porcupine").
  • Tales of the Questor makes extensive use of Latin in deals with The Fair Folk.
    Quentyn: Well, you know why Latin is called the "Scholars'" tongue...? It's a dead language. Never changes, very specific and all that stuff... So scholars can use it to write to one another, and no matter what language they speak they can understand one another, exactly. ...So the Fey are always pulling tricks, right? Getting out of agreements by playing dumb, deliberately misunderstanding words or using double-meanings... But Latin is one of the only languages that they can't do that. In fact, they say that you should only make deals with Fey in Latin for that reason.
  • Breakfast of the Gods: Jarvis's final spell is in decent Latin, except for one word in English. Saying what the spell is would be a huge spoiler for the whole work.
  • Mullein Fields: Adeo mihi bardus bus! (Very loosely translated: "You stupid bus".)
  • Outrim: "Omnia Dicta Fortiora, Si Dicta Latina" is the motto of a mercenary company, and loosely translates as "everything sounds more badass if you say it in Latin".

    Opera De Interrete 
= Web Original
  • In Dept Heaven Apocrypha, the school and its four colleges have Latin names, and Nessiah's spellcasting tends to be in Latin and Greek.
  • Can there be any reason besides this trope that the TV Tropes main page has a Latin version?
  • In The Slender Man Mythos, there is the side-story of A Lack of Lexicon. Now, just look at that URL.
  • This trope is probably why message board posters wrongly use "Ad Hominem" synonymously with "personal attack".
  • In his list of top 11 Anime openings, the Banjo Kid (when talking about Elfen Lied) remarks on how anything can be made to sound elegent and beautiful in Latin, then begins singing a Latin explanation of why he's not wearing any pants. Later, he also does a Gregorian Chant version of Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady".
  • The Gungan Council featured several factions with Latin names, such as Regnum In Potestas and Sine Occasu, for no better reason than it was cool.
  • Stupid Mario Brothers used this lightly since Nox Decious's introduction.

    Picturae Animatae Occidentales 
  • In Gargoyles, all the mortal spells were in Latin. Because anything said in Latin sounds profound and Ominous. Word of God says that the book containing most of those spells was written by a magus working for Emperor Augustus; naturally, Latin was his first language.
  • In The Venture Bros., 21 tries to be intimidating by yelling "Semper Fidelis, Tyrannosaurus Rex!" when trying to say "Sic semper tyrannis". Upon which he is informed he just said "Always faithful, terrible lizard king", which he still thinks is pretty cool.
  • Mysterio in The Spectacular Spider-Man uses Latin to make his Evil Sorcerer guise seem more dramatic and arcane. In fact, many of his phrases are quite funny, thanks to some subtle Author Appeal.
  • In the episode of South Park where Damien (Satan's son) visits the Earth, all of his evil spells are accompanied by some Ominous Latin Chanting that goes "Rectus! Dominus!" before shifting abruptly to "Cheesy Poofs!" (The first two words, by the way, translate to "Ass Master.")
  • In the Rankin-Bass version of The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, the opening musical number that introduces the leaders of the immortals has a Latin title — Ora e Sempre ("edge of the measured"). It's the only Latin in the entire song — or even in the entire special.

    Veritas 
= Real Life
  • Vicipaedia Lat. .
  • All Roman Catholic Church records are in Latin, so this leads to them creating Latin words for things that just weren't around when the Romans were, such as "Interrēte", which means "Internet" as seen in the folder headings on this page.
  • Nova Roma, an international organization "dedicated to the study and restoration of ancient Roman culture". Including the Cultus Deorum Romanorum.
  • Nuntii Latini, the Latin news report of the Finnish Radio.
  • Many Badass Creeds are Pretentious Latin Mottoes, such as Semper FidelisLat.  (USMC), Semper ParatusLat.  (USCG), Per Mare, Per TerramLat.  (Royal Marines), Ad Astra Per Aspera (NASA for the Apollo missions - "ad lunam" would have been better),Lat. , Per Ardua Ad Astra (the RAF),Lat. , Per Ardua Ad Alta (Birmingham University),Lat. , Qualitas Potentia Nostra Lat.  (Finnish Air Force), Citius, Altius, Fortius (The Olympics),Lat.  and so on.
  • The "Audi" car brand was named after a direct translation from the German Horch ("Listen") to its Latin counterpart—the guy who started the company's surname was "Horch".note  One has to wonder if a person ever exclaimed "Hey! Audi!"
  • Volvo, Latin for I roll
  • There is a little town in northeast Georgia (the one in the US) named Subligna. A certain Dr. Underwood suggested the name when it was founded. Subligna meaning "Under wood."
  • In Bavaria, Austria, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, "Servus!" is a colloquial greeting. The fact that it means "[I am your] servant" is practically never thought of.
    • In English, "At your service" is occasionally used as a response to an introduction, rhetorically indicating deference to those one is being introduced to. Such phrasing seems archaic now, but was more commonly used in the past.
  • From an old high school Latin class: O sibili der dego fortibus es enero. O nobili demis trux. Vatis inem cowsen dux. Oh see Billy, there they go, forty busses in a row. Oh no Billy, them is trucks. What is in them? Cows and ducks.
    • There's also the very similar "Civile se ergo Fortibus es in ero O nobile deus trux Vadis enem causan dux"note , which looks a bit more like real Latin.
    • Caesar adsum jam forte, Brutus aderat. Caesar sic in omnibus, Brutus sic in at. Caesar had some jam for tea, Brutus had a rat. Caesar sick in omnibus, Brutus sick in hat.
  • A whole Japanese ninja clan was discovered and destroyed because of Latin language. They were about to infiltrate a Christian daimyo's castle at night. Too bad the password of the guards was Pax vobiscum Lat.  (containing three phonems which are very difficult for the Japanese to pronounce, namely ks, v and sk). The guards got suspicious and found 132 ninja at the dry moat...
  • If you find it useful in conversation use this Universal Translator here, apply a little inventiveness and you will have a Latin saying for whenever you want it.
  • While French was the lingua franca in most European countries around 17th century, the nobility of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth would still use Latin in that capacity. Even the most uncultured, backwater nobleman knew at least a few words and some basics of Latin grammar; Latin macaronisms were often used for emphasis in everyday conversations, and the more Latin you used, the more important you sounded...
  • The law in Western countries (as mentioned in a few of the examples) is in love with seemingly random uses of Latin, derived from the old days when that was the language the lawyers (being educated people) used to do their business. Seemingly random, as the Latinisms go from the more or less unnecessary to the slightly more justified to the indispensable. For instance:
    1. Basically unnecessary: Ignorantia juris non excusat, an old legal maxim, doesn't say anything the ordinary English phrase "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" couldn't say just as well.
    2. Semi-justified: Certiorari, which means a notice filed with a lower court that its decision is being appealed. "Certification" could work and is used in some jurisdictions—e.g. California—but since "certification" has other meanings in the lawnote  and the other alternatives (writ of review, leave to appeal, and other permutations on that) are a bit clunky and (more importantly) don't abbreviate to the traditional "cert.", the old Latin has a reason to stay.
    3. Completely necessary: Qui tam (short for Qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, "He who as much for our lord the King as much as for himself pursues this action"), a term for a particular kind of case in which (in essence) private parties sue someone to enforce government regulatory policy (common in "whistleblower" cases against contractors who defrauded the government, cases by shareholders against corporate managers where violation of securities laws is implicated, and private civil suits to enforce antitrust/competition law) and expects to receive some or all of the punitive damages imposed on the defendant should they, the plaintiffs, win the case.note  Obviously, this complex thing needs its own name; just as obviously, the literal translation of the Latin qui tam, "[he] who as much," and even the less literal "[he] who sues" is wholly inadequate as a name for anything, and more or less nothing else presents itself as a likely name.
    • If that's not enough, The Common Law seems to think this about Old French, and so there is a great deal of Gratuitous French among the lawyers of the English-speaking countries, ranging from words people don't even think of as being "not English" because they're heard so often in everyday conversation (e.g. "culprit," "attorney," and everybody's favorite, "mortgage") to things only lawyers can adequately explain (e.g. "estoppel," literally meaning "stopper," i.e. "You said that before, so no take-backs!").
  • Quite a few titles trace their roots back to Latin used by the Romans and continue to see use to this day, such as "Senator" (referred to members of the Senātus, or the Senate as we'd say in English), "Pastor" (now a title for a type of Christian clergyman, it's Latin for "Shepherd"), "Doctor" (means the same in Latin.), and of course the numerous variations on "Caesar", in reference to Gaius Julius Caesar, referring to the head of an empire (The German title of "Kaiser" comes as close as anyone does to pronouncing Caesar's name correctly.)
  • In 1845, a boy named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (who would later create his better-known Pen Name by translating the Latinization of his name back into English) inscribed the following on one of his schoolbooks:
    PRAEFATIO. Hic liber ad Carolum Ludrigum Dodsonum pertinet. O Lector! cave ne illum capias, nam latro Jovi est odius. Ecce!

all lowercase lettersThis Trope Name References ItselfArson, Murder, and Jaywalking
Adipose RexTrope Names from Other LanguagesCanis Latinicus
Stuff Blowing UpGarnishing the StoryBabies Make Everything Better
    Gratuitous Foreign LanguagePretentious Latin Motto
all lowercase lettersLanguage TropesAmbiguous Syntax
Gratuitous Foreign LanguageSelf-Demonstrating ArticleGratuitous Spanish

alternative title(s): Gratuitous Latin; Everythings Better In Latin
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