Set 14 – Five New Words for Jan 14

Theme: Latin

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

MEANING:
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.

USAGE:
“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)

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

USAGE:
“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)

MEANING:
noun: The ultimate or the perfect example of something.

NOTES:
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”.

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

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

MEANING:
adjective, adverb: After the fact; retroactively.

USAGE:
“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)

MEANING:
noun: To whose benefit?

NOTES:
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.

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

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