14 Latin Words and Phrases for the Modern World

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Zoa-Arts/iStock via Getty Images Plus / Zoa-Arts/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Whether you’re just pretending to understand certain Latin phrases, thinking about how Latin influenced Harry Potter, or pointing out Latin words hiding in plain sight, you probably know one thing for sure: Even if Latin is considered a dead language, it’s everywhere. And now, you can learn a little more of it on Duolingo, which partnered with the Paideia Institute—a non-profit that promotes the study and appreciation of classical language—to create its new Classical Latin course. Along the way, they also came up with new Latin words for decidedly modern things. Here are 14 of them you can add to the other Latin phrases you should be using.

  1. Telephonum gestabile: As you may have guessed from the telephonum bit, this phrase is Latin for cellphone. An app you’d use on your cell is programma.
  1. Pila electrica: If your telephonum gestabile suddenly dies, you can blame its pila electrica, or battery.
  1. Rete omnium gentium: You’re reading this on rete omnium gentium, or … the internet. If you want to specifically shout-out Wi-Fi, say aditus sine filo.
  1. Nubes: That place where you might back up your phone or store data—the cloud.
  1. Teleorasis or televisio: Latin words for television. And what can you watch on your television’s screen (or album in Latin)? Cable, or filum.
  1. Prosopobiblion: Social media in general is Communicationis socialis media, but Facebook in particular is Prosopobiblion.
  1. Breviloquium: The Latin way to say what one does on Twitter—tweet.
  1. Homo potens et factiosus: Latin for people you sometimes find on social media—influencers.
  1. Raeda automata: A regular car is raeda; raeda automata is a self-driving car.
  1. Commeatus cottidianus: Getting to work sounds much fancier if you have a commeatus cottidianus instead of a commute.
  1. Tramen subterranum or vehiculum subterraneum: In New York, people get to work on the Tramen subterranum or vehiculum subterraneum—Latin for "subway"—while others might use a tolutorium, or scooter.
  1. Intellectus artificiosus: Some people can’t stop talking about artificial intelligence, or A.I., but in Latin, it’s I.A., or intellectus artificiosus.
  1. Una nox dormienda: Latin for You Only Live Once, or YOLO.
  1. Ille sensus cum …”: That feeling when you know how to say “that feeling when …” in Latin.