Set 14 – Five New Words for Jan 14

Theme: Latin

1. corpus delicti (KOR-puhs di-LIK-ty, -tee)

noun: The concrete evidence that shows that a crime has been committed, for example, the body of the victim in the case of a murder.

“The fact that the State was unable to produce a corpus delicti was a very strong point in favor of the defendants.”

2. ex officio (EKS uh-FISH-ee-oh)

adverb, adjective: By virtue of one’s official position. For example, the US Vice President is the ex officio president of the US Senate.

“The governor of New Jersey was an ex officio trustee of the University.”

3. ne plus ultra (NE ploos OOL-trah, NEE/NAY pluhs uhl-truh)

noun: The ultimate or the perfect example of something.

It’s said that the Pillars of Hercules at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar had this Latin phrase inscribed. It served as a warning to sailors not to go beyond the limit of the known world. The national motto of Spain, on the other hand, is “Plus ultra”.

“The greatest car in the world, the automotive ne plus ultra.”

4. ex post facto (EKS post FAK-toh)

adjective, adverb: After the fact; retroactively.

“One of the ex post facto justifications for the Iraq war: that the invasion was necessary on humanitarian grounds.”

5.  cui bono (KWEE BOH-noh)

noun: To whose benefit?

Cui bono is the idea that the responsibility for an act can usually be determined by asking who stands to gain as a result of the act. It’s first recorded in a speech by Cicero attributing it to the Roman consul Lucius Cassius. If he were speaking today he would say: Follow the money.

“Cui bono? Surprise, surprise, it’s the banks.”


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