Latin words in everyday English

Did you know that there are lots of words used in English that are actually borrowed from other languages? 

In this blog post, we’re going to review Latin words that you can use in everyday English.

Carpe diem

Carpe diem means seize the day. Here’s an example of how you could use it:

‘I saved a lot of money this week, so Carpe diem, I’m just going to buy those new Prada’s.’

Et cetera

et cetera means, and so on. Remember it’s et cetera, and not et cetera. There’s no x there.


Ergo means therefore or consequently. Now, remember that ergo is a high-level English word. You cannot use it in an everyday situation or context, for example, you can’t say:

‘I’m hungry, ergo, I’m going to order a pizza.’

That’s not very natural.

Status quo

Status quo means the current situation. Now, it is used in political contexts, however, unlike ergo, it can also be used in everyday situations. For example:

‘Who’s the queen bee in this school? What’s the status quo?’


Alibi refers to an excuse. So, when someone asks you for an alibi they’re saying, what is your excuse? It’s often used in a law or court trial setting, for example:

Person A: ‘Where were you at the time of the murder? What’s your alibi?’

Person B: ‘I was at the Beyonce concert.’

Per se

Per se means, in itself. For example:

‘I’m not a fan of the new Drake album, per se, but I love him as an artist.’

What I’m trying to say here is, I don’t really like that particular album, but overall, I like Drake. 

Vice versa

Vice versa means the other way around. For example:

I’m helping her improve her English, and vice versa, She’s helping me improve my French.

Next time you speak in English, try and listen out for words that might have been borrowed from Latin, or even other languages. You might even notice a few that have been borrowed from your own language!

You can read more about how English has borrowed words from other languages in this fascinating blog article. 

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