Latin expressions

From Ganfyd

Jump to: navigation, search

Latin expressions. What are they and why are they still used?

Apart from the standard prescribing abbreviations, i.e and e.g. it is good practice not to use these in the medical record in these days of patient access and ever fewer understanding Latin, even such common ones as de novo.

Perhaps the most obvious Latin abbreviation is the capital R with a stroke across the downstroke of the R thus Rxsymbol.png . This is the abbreviation for “R.I.” = Recipe Jove = Take thou in the name of Jove. This prayer is said to have been the most powerful ingredient in many mediaeval medications. It was removed from the standard NHS prescription only in the 1990s. It is still to be seen in pharmacies, often as part of signage or advertising.

Greek was the language of international culture even after the Greek Empire fell to the Romans. It was the common language in the first and second centuries. It was the language in which the Greek philosophers and playwrights communicated. The New Testament was written in the common or “koine” Greek of the marketplace rather than the high “classical” of philosophers. With the spread of the Roman Catholic Church Latin became common throughout Europe.

For many centuries Latin was the language of science in which educated men (and some educated women) expressed their thoughts to others. [1]

We use many Latin and Greek words and phrases still. e.g. referendum, extortioner, bicycle, leucocyte . Many medical words in European languages are from the same root which can be of use to a British GP trying to understand a letter from a hospital doctor in Ibiza or Athens. Sometimes the numbers in laboratory reports can help to clear doubt.

The inside back cover of the British National Formulary gives a number of the commonest used for prescribing .

Why did they persist for so long?

The phrase "Sig tabs ii tid pc"

can be written in English as an instruction to the pharmacist.

Label this "Take two tablets three times daily after meals.”

If you have a large number of prescriptions to write which form would you choose.?

It is only with the widespread use of computers that this can be reduced to 2 or 3 key clicks – and be more legible.


Contents

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

a.c.ante cibum - before food

a.m.ante meridiem - before mid day i.e. in the morning

ab initio - from the beginning

actum est - it is finished

ad extremum - to extremes

ad hoc - with respect to this matter

ad infinitum - to infinity

ad nauseam - till disgust arises

alter ego - one's second half

a posteriori - from effect to cause, empirical reasoning

a priori - from cause to effect, from experience

B

b.d.bis die - twice daily

bona fide - in good faith

C

caveat emptor - the buyer must face the risk

compos mentis - of sound mind

cui bono ? - to whose benefit?

D

de novo - anew

durante vita - while life lasts

E

e.g. - exempli gratia - for the sake of example

ex offico - by virtue of his office


F

G

H

I

i.e. - id est - that is

in memoriam - to the memory of

in pertetuum - for ever

in silico – in silicon (Latin expression, modelled after in vitro and in vivo used in Bioinformatics to indicate the experiment was done using the computer alone.

ISQin statu quo - In status quo - in the same state, unchanged

inter alia - amongst other things

in vacuo - in empty space

in vitro – in glass i.e. in a test-tube, rather than in the living organism

in vivo - 'within the human body', as opposed to, say, in vitro

ipso facto - by that very fact

J

K

L

M

mane - morning

magnum opus - masterpiece

mea culpa - my fault

modo praescripto - in the manner directed

modus operandi - the manner of working

mutatis mutandis - after making the needful changes

N

N.B.Nota Bene - note well – this is important

non sequitur - it does not follow


nocte – at night

O

o.d. - omni die - daily

o.m.omni mane - every morning

o.n.omni nocte - every night

obiit - he died

odium medicum - professional hatred of rivals (could not resist despite rare use in medicine !)

P

p.c.post cibum -after food

p.m.post meridiem - after the middle of the day ie after noon

PR (sometimes written pr) – per rectum – implied is (“examination”). (May be used as noun or verb.)

p.r.npro re nata - as required

pace - by leave of

Q

q.d.s. - quater die summendus - four times daily

q.i.d - quarter in die - four times daily

q.q.h. - quarta quaque horas - every four hours, i.e 6 times daily.

quae nicent docent - we learn by painful experience

quid pro quo - something in return

R

S

statstatim -immediately

sine die - no day fixed

sine qua non - indispensible

sub judice - under consideration

T

t.d.ster die summendus - take three times daily

t.i.d.ter in die - three times daily

U

ultra vires - beyound one's powers

V

W

X

Y

Z

Roman counting ( I,II,III,IV,V etc) is seldom now seen outwith civic memorial tablets or Copyright notices at the end of films, books & TV programs: the use of lower case Latin numerals is seen in the preface to the BNF. It may be also seen in nursing notes e.g. “Bowel moved ii/o”. The advantage of this was that if the patient’s bowel moved again one simply added another i as a “hash mark” rather than score out a 2 and replace it with 3. This is also now frowned upon but older doctors and nurses may use it still. Since they are senior they tend to get away with it.


References

Personal tools