A Good Home, LATIN

Always Where Under Where

Blog Photo Underwear - NYPL Digital Collection
Credit: New York Public Library

I hear it was national underwear day recently.  

Which made me think of this saying likely made up by mischievous students forced to study Latin: Semper ubi sub ubi.  “Always where under where”. 


A friend told me that when he started studying Latin in school, all his other grades shot up. Why? Well, think about it.

Whether it’s English literature or any of the Latin-based languages (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and some Romanian), words that hadn’t made sense before, suddenly did. Then there’s biology, botany, chemistry, law, etc… lots of Latin words.

Many countries, schools and other institutions have Latin words in their motto. My high school’s motto was Sic Luceat Lux: Let your light so shine. And Canada’s motto is A Mari Usque Ad Mare: From Sea to Sea.


Think how many Latin terms are still in common usage: 

Bona Fide In good faith
Carpe Diem Seize the day
Caveat Emptor Buyer beware

Scribes and bookworms will know these:

Deus Ex Machina Literally God from a machine. Describes a miraculous turn of events in fiction.
Ibid. In the same place (in a book).

And one of my favourites: Sic transit gloria mundi. How fleeting is fame.”

But I sympathize with the person who so disliked studying Latin, s/he made up this famous verse:

“Latin is a language

As dead as can be

First it killed the Romans

And now it’s killing me!”


If you’re wondering why I wrote this — the answer is, I was just in that kind of mood. 

And so I leave you with the immortal words: semper ubi sub ubi.

For more great Latin terms: http://users.accesscomm.ca/nsalway/latin.html