12 Latin words (and expressions) used in Italian

Of the Romance languages , Italian is the closest language to Latin.

And so, it should not be surprising, that many Latin words or even entire Latin phrases have become so naturalized in Italian that we use them in full, without a second thought.

No need to mention, by learning (and using) them your Italian will sound more natural and fancier.

Crazy about Italian idioms? Read also this post! 15 well-known Italian saying and proverbs 

This is a list of some of the most common Latin expressions I hear on a day-to-day basis. Don’t forget to to throw them in in your next conversation! 

1. IDEM

Exclamation meaning  same /me too / I agree with what you said

  • Come ti senti oggi? Alla grande, e tu? Idem!
  • Qui c’è un tempo tremendo, da te? Idem!

2. BIS

Exclamation with whom one calls for a replication of a show or a song. Also, the sentence ‘fare il bis’ means repeating something for the second time.

  • Quella pasta era così buona che ho fatto il bis!

3. SUI GENERIS

It is a Latin sentence meaning of its (his, her, or theirs) own kind; something unique or constituting a class alone.

  • Un film sui generis
  • Un libro sui generis
  • Una canzone sui generis

4. AD MAIORA!

It’s a formula of greeting which is used to wish more success in life. It literally means towards greater things, success, in general, good things.

5. DEO GRATIAS

Simply Thanks to God! Or Grazie a Dio, in Italian.

6. DE GUSTIBUS

Very popular (and wise) latin maxim meaning in matters of taste, there can be no dispute or simply tastes differ and one can argue about it.

7. ERGO

Ergo is one of my favorite words. It means therefore or dunque, perciò, quindi  in Italian and implies a logical conclusion.

  • Non c’è più motivo di restare qui, ergo vado via
  • Non hai mantenuto la promessa, ergo non ti posso più credere
  • La mia azienda mi ha licenziato, ergo cercherò un nuovo lavoro

8. INTER NOS

Latin sentence meaning between you and me or in Italian tra di noi implying a sense of secrecy about the matter that one is talking about.

  • Te lo dico, ma che rimanga inter nos!
  • Inter nos, non lasciarti perdere quell’affare

9. IN EXTREMIS

Literally meaning at the point of death, in its figurative sense means at the last moment or all’ultimo momento in Italian.

  • Abbiamo preso l’aereo in extremis, stavamo per perderlo!

10. REPETITA IUVAT

Latin maxim meaning repeating things helps, which is so true when it comes to learning a foreign language!

11. AVERE UN LAPUS

An idiom you can use when you make an involuntary mistake while writing or speaking. A slip of the mind, in short.

12. SUPER PARTES

Literally above the sides or simply imperial.

  • E’ stato nominato un commissario super partes a tutela dell’azienda.

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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