Earlier this week the Daily Dawg included a Key Quote from a court case that included the words “inter alia.” You don’t have to have read Cicero in the original to figure out that this means “among other things.” So why do judges say “inter alia” when they could simply use the English words? I think they are showing off.
Here’s another one: “arguendo.” This means “for the sake of argument, or arguably.” Again, why use Latin?
But perhaps Loyal Daily Dawg readers would like to show off a bit. If so, here are a few other phrases you might want to sprinkle into your everyday prose:
Duces tecum: this means bring it with you. You see this attached to subpoenas sometimes, meaning bring the records with you. Or you may recall the famous line from The Godfather: “Leave the gun. Duces tecum the cannoli.”
Forum non conveniens: this means you brought the case in the wrong court. In the school setting it could refer to locker room talk in the classroom: “You are bringing that language into a forum non conveniens, buddy!”
In flagrante delicto: in the movies this always refers to someone being caught in “the act.” You know…..doing it. But actually, it refers to being caught in the act of any misdeed. There is something about “flagrante” and “delicto” that just sounds like it must be a sexual thing, but that’s not the original meaning. So, you can use this when you catch a teacher copping a cup of coffee in the lounge without dropping a quarter in the can: “In flagrante delicto!”
In loco parentis: no, it does not refer to the crazy parents. It means in the place of the parents.
Mea culpa: my bad. Catholics usually say it three times: “My bad. My bad. My very bad bad.”
Res ipsa loquitur: my all time favorite. It means “the thing speaks for itself.” The example they gave in law school was the sponge that was left inside the patient’s body after surgery. We don’t know how it happened or who left it there, but the thing sorta speaks for itself, no?
Hope you find that helpful.
DAWG BONE: JUST A FEW OBITER DICTUMS FOR YOU ON A FRIDAY.
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