This locution comes from Latin and represents the origin, the beginning; it means “from the egg”, signifying from the conception. It is used as a synonym “from the start”, from the furthest point. This locution arrives from Roman times, which had a particular order for lunches: first, some eggs, served as appetizers, afterward fruits and all the rest; the full locution was “Ab ovo usque ad mala”, “from the egg to apples”. This sequence at the table has arrived until our days, where Italian traditions serve first appetizers, then first and second plates, and at the very end desserts and fruits.
It is an old Latin expression, which means: “words fly, writings remain.” It is used when a need to express prudency on writing down one's thought because if words fly, it can be forgotten or otherwise can be mistakenly remembered by others, while what is written remains that way and cannot be neglected. A similar meaning to another Latin expression “carta canta”. It has its origins from the Roman senate Caius Titus. At that time, it had almost the opposite significance, because most people were analphabets, didn’t know how to write or read, so most messages were spreading by words (“words fly”), not written down. However, if most people had been able to read, these words would have remained an inert and unnecessary message.
From the Latin, it means “I came, I saw, I won”. These words are used to express a situation where obtained a quick victory, an incontestable, and effortless success. The history says these were the words of Giulio Cesare (100-44 B. C.) to comment on the lightning victory obtained over Farnace II, the son of the King Ponto Mitridate in 47 B. C. at Zela Ponto. It is what Plutarco wrote in his books, the Greek biographer, who wrote the life of many, including Caesar's. Svetonio, in his work “Life of the caesars”, used this sentence as an autobiography of Caesar to describe his victory in the senate.
“If you want peace, prepare war.” This is the translation from Latin of the saying “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum”, which means “aiming for peace, preparing for war”. The phrase is taken from the III Book “Epitoma rei militaris” of Publio Flavio Vegezio Renato, a Latin writer who lived at the end of the IV century and the first half of the V century A.D. The four books of this treaty expose the Roman military culture. Substantially the author was trying to revive the greatness of the Roman army, lost in the latest times. Among the advice revealed, this one is mostly used to justify the existence of the military institutions and the escalation of weaponry.
It means “divide and rule”. It describes the type of political attitude widely diffused in history, which is to stir up divisions between peoples to avoid their coalition against the established power. It is hard to tell with precision the paternity of motion, that according to some sources go back to Philippe Macedone, but according to others it comes from different Roman imperators (which may seem more plausible, since the expression is in Latin indeed, and moreover it was the political rule that Roman Empire pursued on colonized territories). Another powerful example comes from the times of Louis XI in France, which used to say “diviser pour règner” (French), which put in the contrast between each other the feudatory in France to keep better control over them.
With this curious locution, it is used to express a post-factum useless resentment: just like a crocodile, that tears up after eating, regretting a meal just taken. The same is when someone is saying to be sorry after doing foolishness without having the possibility to turn back and is dimmed to useless repentance. The origin of this expression is not certain: it could result from misunderstood acts of crocodile eyes that tear up (even if not necessary after taking the meal). The lachrymation is useful to these animals to clean up their eyes and it is physiological: the fact that it increases while it is out of water for a longer period (that coincide with the time of the stack on a prey) could have originated the misunderstanding.
This expression is used to induce others the courage to face up to their problems and let behind their negative experiences. It is a sort of mantra of confidence in the future, that it will be better than in the past. It is the concluding sentence in the movie Gone with the wind, from 1939, based on the romance written by Margaret Mitchell: through tears, the capricious Rossella O’Hora (Scarlett) – the protagonist, who just lost by pride and narcissism, her charming husband Rhett – pronounce this phrase by so reaffirming the typical strong and untamed southern women of United States.
This is a way to say about particularly lucky people, those who get everything they want from the day they were born. This expression comes from Medieval times: when newborns were born inside their amniotic sac, people used to consider them particularly lucky in life. Maybe it’s just a superstition, but since ancient times this remained a strong belief that people say it is proven to be the truth.
This is a way to name a persecutory attitude towards a political fraction or a group of people. This attitude is usually based on simple suspects, not real facts. The first origin of this term arrives from Mediaeval, where it was used for every opportunity to define women suspected of witchcraft practice. Later it’s interpretation became diffused in politics, especially during the Fifties, following the campaign of the USA Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957). It was addressed against everybody, who was suspected to be communist or even a simple supporter of this party. In turn, this term was associated to refer to persecutory attitudes without foundation.
This means, that when it gets tough, really tough, you shall know that a man who has courage will not stop, instead will get till the end, completely involved, pulling out the best of his character. This expression comes from the American movie “Animal House” (1978), directed by John Landis, having as protagonist the brilliant John Belushi. Bluto, the protagonist, gets involved in the most grotesque situations, in a fiercely and determined research for most unrestrained fun (the tough play, so to speak). The film has become a cult and had an impact not only on the American cinematography but also influenced the lifestyle of a young American generation.
This expression is used to define a relationship, sentimental or not, that involves very intensive feelings to the point to make it harmful. The adjective “fatal” defines a negative aspect of a relationship, as it is confirmed by the original locution, originated from the successful movie from 1989 "Fatal Attraction" interpreted by Michael Douglas and Glen Close. In the film, Douglas finds himself having to make accounts with a one-night lover, Glen Close, which is not willing to accept the idea of being only a “diversion” and pretends the official role. So she's persecuting emotionally and physically her lover until the tragic conclusion.
This is a malicious definition used to identify intellectual persons, particularly referring to those, who are too absorbed by their thoughts and get distracted. The definition was minted by Richard Nixon in 1952, the Republican candidate at Presidency. He used this expression to contemptuously refer to Adlai Ewina Stevenson II (1900-1965), the US Democratic politician of high influence and remarkable cultural background. His had was almost completely bald (indeed, it is used to describe a large forehead), which is considered to be the sign of a person with particular intelligence. Stevenson was undoubtedly an enlightened Governor of Illinois. He reformed the State Police and fought to gamble. He also declared himself against nuclear experiments during the Cold War, which cost him one of the two defeats against Eisenhower in the race to the White House.