What Latin words or expressions do we continue to use in Spanish?

What Latin words or expressions do we continue to use in Spanish?

Although it is known for being a dead language, the truth is that around 70% of the Spanish lexicon is made up of words derived from Latin. To a lesser extent, we have words of Greek, German or Arabic origin. We also have a number of Gallicisms, Italianisms, Greco-Latin neologisms, Americanisms, and Anglicisms.

What a rich and varied lexicon! Truth?

But, what are the words or expressions of Latin origin that are still used today ?

Agenda,  Curriculum vitae,  Free,  Incognito,  Red-handed or Vice versa are many of the words that we use practically every day, whose origin is Latin.

Besides these, there are others that are widely used in writing. For example: De facto (in fact), Ad hoc (for a certain purpose), Dixit (said), Erratum (error), Stricto sensu (in the strict sense) … among others.

And surely some Latin acronyms are not unknown to you, especially if you are preparing or have had to write a thesis or dissertation:

AA.VV : various authors.

Eg : exempli gratia, widely used by Anglophones, in Spanish it is used more “for example.”

Idem:  the same.

Nota bene:  means “observe well.” For the reader to pay attention to an aspect that the author draws attention to.

Sic:  Latin word that means “thus.”

Latin words and expressions are present in our everyday language.
Without even realizing it, we spoke using Latin words.

Finally, in addition to the previous examples, we cannot forget the large number of Latin words and expressions that are used in certain disciplines such as medicine or music.

Do these sound familiar to you?

Carpe diem:  literally “take the day”, or what is the same, “seize the moment without thinking about the future.”

In situ: means “on the spot  ” or “on the spot”.

In vitro:  literally, inside the glass. In vitro fertilization is a widely known example.

Modus operandi:  methodology, way of doing things.

Status quo: current state of affairs.


As we mentioned at the beginning of the section, our Spanish lexicon is full of Latin words. Without realizing it, you know and use many of them in your daily life, and many others in more specific contexts such as essays, newspaper articles or laws. This makes Latin, a dead language, more alive and present than ever. What Latin words or expressions do we continue to use in Spanish?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *