an argument for an idea; a reason why this is a good idea
One of the pros to this plan is that we’ll never have to work again.
‘extreme’. Usually used as a prefix / modifier for another adjective.
He always asks ultra-stupid questions.
This is an ultra-violent movie.
an argument against an idea; a reason why this is a bad idea
One of the pros to this idea is that we will never have to work again. However, there are many cons, such as being poor.
the current state of affairs; how things are
If you aren’t happy with the status quo, then do something. As Gandhi said: ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.
The government wants to maintain the status quo. They worry about a revolution.
‘post scriptum’; postscript. Used at the end of letters to add further information
(at the end of a letter)
Hope to see you soon,
Love Mum and Dad
p.s. Uncle Dave also says hi
The company makes $100m per annum.
He smokes 50 cigarettes per day. His breath smells like an ashtray.
‘ante meridiem’; before noon
He woke up at 5am. It was cold, dark, and horrible.
‘and the rest’
I like cakes, chocolate, sweets, toffee, etc.
‘post meridiem’; after noon
She woke up at 5pm. She is really lazy.
in the meantime
Mr Smith will be away for a while, so I am not the interim manager.
The interim manager was useless: they lost $400m in a month.
with the order reversed; also true the other way round
The students hate the teacher, and vice versa.
She loves him, and vice versa.
around (used for dates of things that are very old and the exact time isn’t known)
Nobody knows exactly when he was born, but it was probably c.100BC.
This painting was painted in c.550BC. Amazing!
by, through. Often used to describe a place through which a journey will go
I’ll be coming to your house via the shop. Want anything?
We’ll be traveling to Helsinki via Moscow.
a count of the population
Every ten years the UK conducts a census to see how many people live in the country.
The 2011 census said the population had grown by 1000%.
‘I forbid’; using over-ruling power to stop a proposal, plan or idea
The permanent members of the council have the power to veto plans they don’t like. It is why nothing ever happens, because they are all being selfish towards their own interests.
The boss vetoed my idea. I think he is still angry with me because I kissed his sister.
the stiffness that comes to a dead body
On television forensics shows the characters often talk about rigor mortis setting in.
Rigor mortis sets in 3 hours after death, and lasts for around 3 days.
Dr Jekyll’s alter ego was Mr Hyde. Superman’s was Clark Kent. Mine is Mr Duck.
At work he is completely different. It is as if one Mr Smith lives at home, and then his alter ego goes to the office.
|quid pro quo|
something for something; a favour for a favour; helping, but wanting something in return.
He is still offering to help, but is demanding quid pro quo.
In the movie ‘Silence of the Lambs’, Hannibal Lecter helps Agent Starling catch the killer ‘Buffalo Bill’, but on a quid pro quo basis.
one’s old school (often used when talking about one’s old university)
Harvard, my alma mater, is often seen as one of the best places to gain an education.
My alma mater is always asking me for money.
work done for the public good, not for money
He does a lot of pro bono work. What a nice man he is.
to a sickening extent; to do something until you, or everyone else, is sick of it
He has been telling people as nauseum how pretty his new girlfriend is.
mode of operating / working. A style of habits or doing something that is yours
They caught the criminal by studying his m.o.
‘to infinity’; never-ending
This class will go on ad infinitum.
You can count ad infinitum.
Time will continue ad infinitum.
a great piece of work; the best piece of work in a person’s life (usually used when talking about the arts)
After ten years I have finally finished my magnum opus.
Victor Hugo wrote many great works, but many say that ‘Les Miserables’ was his magnum opus.
1. used for only this
2. something made up on the spot
the lawyers have joined this case on an ad hoc basis.
London is too big a city to do everything ad hoc.
in one’s absence
There was a general election, but the soldiers had to be overseas, so they voted in absentia.
He couldn’t come to the ceremony due to being in prison, so the prize was awarded in absentia.
singing without music
They did a great a cappella version of ‘Unchained Melody’.
I’m afraid the electricity is out, meaning the keyboard won’t work. Sorry, but you’re going to have to sing this a cappella.
in fact; actually
She is the de facto boss around here, since the manager is just the owner’s son.
His title is Prime Minister, but he is de facto President.
|Et tu, Brute?|
‘And you, Brutus?’. Said when the last person you trust also goes against you.
“At least you still support me.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I agree with the staff. You should resign.”
“Et tu, Brute? Fine, I will go.”
‘seize the day’ / ‘enjoy the day’
It’s a big audition tonight. If we get this we might all be millionaires, so let’s go out and carpe diem.
My secret to life? Carpe diem. Enjoy every day, and live it like it is your last.
the voice of the people’; popular opinion
The vox populi says: stop the war.
‘my fault’; admitting a mistake
The teacher offered the teacher a mea culpa: he had taught the students the wrong meaning.
solid ground; the Earth beneath our feet.
After the 12 hour flight it was good to be back on terra firma.
in memory of
This poem is written in memoriam of my grandfather, who passed away last year.
In Memoriam: Mr. X.
“always faithful”. It is the motto of the US Marines, and often used in memoriam of family or pets (particularly dogs)
semper fidelis is more than a motto: it is a way of life.
The grave stone read: ‘Cujo: semper fidelis’.
known through logic, without experience. Usually used with the word ‘knowledge’
Examples of a priori knowledge are that 2+2=4, and that all the chickens in the whole world are birds.
at first sight (before a closer look); obvious (often used with the word ‘evidence’)
The prima facie evidence says that he killed her, but we should look for more details just to be sure.
a horrible year
2003 was my annus horribilis: dumped, broke, and unemployed, the feeling was the worst of my life.
This year has been an annus horribilis for this team: lost every game; the best players have been sold or quit; attendances are down. Hopefully things will improve next year.
‘time flies’. Used as an exclamation, rather than in a sentence.
“It seems like yesterday that we were students. How long has it been?”
a miracle year (either great or disasterous)
2002 was my annus mirabilis: love, money, success…2003, on the other hand, was very different.