The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

Foreign Words & Phrases in Mahatma Letters

(Sanskrit and Tibetan philosophical terms, and reference terms, have not been included)

Key: Foreign phrase {Correct spelling}  Page (Language) Definition


À la lettre  411 (French) to the letter

A priori  143, 194, 218, 304, 362 (Latin) from the former. Presupposed independent of experience.

À quoi bon, A quoi bon  193, 517 (French) to what good

Ab initio  124 (Latin) from the beginning

Ad infinitum  9, 89, 141, 190, 192, 199, 514, 520 (Latin) to infinity. Forevemore

Ad libitum  265 (Latin) to pleasure. According to what pleases

Adversum flumen  193 (Latin) against the stream

Al piaccere {piacere} 345 (Italian) to pleasure

Alter ego  160, 296, 309 (Latin) other self

Anak 339 possibly (Indonesian) child, or (Hebrew) biblical father of a Canaanite race of giants

Après moi – le déluge  212 (French) after me – the deluge

Argumentum ad hominem  440 (Latin) fallacious personal "argument at the man" 

Assirvadam {Asirvadam}  398  (Telegu) blessings

Atmânam, âtmanâ paśya 339 (Sanskrit) See the self by the self

Au fond  247 (French) basically ("to the foundation")

Au naturel  20 (French) natural

Au pluriel  277 (French) in the plural

Avant couriers  84, 126, 134 (French) before couriers

Bakbak  439 (Hindi) incoherent talk, gibberish

Beau valseur  339 (French) handsome waltzer, charmer

Ber-chhén  28 (Tibetan) cloak, garment

Bona fide  188,300 (Latin) in good faith, genuinely

Braggadocios  442 (English-Italian) boastful or arrogant behavior; braggart

Bulbul  260 (Persian, from Arabic) songbird

Carte blanche  232, 299, 420 (French) blank document, full discretionary power

Cause célèbre, 324 (French) famous case, controversial issue

Censor elegantiarum  335 (Latin) censor of tastes

Con amore  232 (Italian) with love

Consummatum est  292 (Latin) it is completed

Conversazione  238 (Italian) A gathering for discussion, especially of literature or arts

Cooloted  374  (possibly from French culotte, shorts or pants resembling a divided skirt) adapted?

Coups d’état  390 (French) "blows" or overthrow(s) of state,

Coups de bec  50 (French) pecks, taps or bites with a beak

Cuneus cuneum trudit  156 (Latin) wedge drives wedge

Das Sollen  215 (German) moral duty

De facto  266, 415, 474 (Latin) from the fact, in reality

De haut en bas  223 (French) from top to bottom, in a condescending manner

De lunatico  339 (Italian) insane

De novo  93, 97 (Latin) anew

Delirium tremens  170 (Latin) A psychotic condition typical of withdrawal, involving tremors, hallucination, anxiety, and disorientation

Deus omnium  455 (Latin) God of all

Diminuendo  73 (Italian) Gradual decrease in loudness

Doppleganger {Doppelgänger}  43 (German) "double-walker," an apparition or double of a living person

Durbar  260 (Urdu) the court of an Indian ruler

En attendant  33 (French) waiting

En herbe  447 (French) budding

En passant  157, 311 (French) in passing, by the way

En relief  426 (French) in relief, embossed

Entente cordiale  214 (French) cordial agreement, friendly understanding

Entrée en matière  331 (French) entry into a matter, a way in

Et voici pourquoi nous n’irons plus au bois  19 (French) And here is why we will no longer go to the woods

Faculæ  164 (Latin) torch

Fata morgana  26 (Latin) A mirage

Faut de s’entendre  289 (French) need to agree or get along

Faute de mieux  146 (French) for lack of better

Fecit  26 (Latin) He/she made it

Felo de se  132 (Latin) felon from himself, suicide

Festina lente  329 (Latin) make haste slowly

Fiat  396 (Latin) "let there be," a command

Finis  282 (Latin) the end

Fortissimo  73 (Italian) Very loud

Glacé  34 (French) smooth, glossy, or highly polished surface like ice

Hakim  531 (Urdu) judge, ruler, or governor in India

Haute Magie  280 (French) High Magic

Havanas  165 (Spanish) famous cigars from Havana, Cuba

Hidalgos  269 (Spanish) a gentleman

Hukum  531 (Urdu) a ruling

Ici bas même  193 (French) even here

In abscondito  97, 520 (Latin) concealed, hidden

In actu  412 (Latin) in the very act, in reality

Inst. {Instante mense}  13 (Latin) date of the current month

Inter se  519 (Latin) Between or among themselves

Interregnum  351 (Latin) interval between two reigns or governments

Jeremiades  294 (French) lamentations

Jusqu’à nouvel ordre  403 (French) until further (new) notice

Kam mi ts’har  321 (Tibetan) sentence fragment implying the KH should "not complete this"  — the Chohan would do it

Kin-t-an, Na-lan-da, Dha-ra-ni  419 (Chinese & Sanskrit) codewords translated as "Gautama — ancient Buddhist university —'holder,' (i.e. a short sutra similar to but longer than a mantra)"

Lakh  380, 381, 383, 387 (fr Sanskrit lakṣa) a hundred thousand

Lapsus calami  177, 480 (Latin) a slip of the pen

Le néant ne laisse pas d’avoir du bon  196 (French) Nothingness doesn't stop having the good – Voltaire

Le quart d’heure de Rabelais  38, 387 (French) the quarter hour of Rabelais

Les esprits souffrants  109 (French) suffering spirits

Lex talionis  150 (Latin) law of retaliation; retributive justice, "an eye for an eye"

Literati  324 (Latin) the educated class, intelligentsia

Locus standi  108 (Latin) right to stand or be heard

Lusus naturae  104 (Latin) sport of nature, a freak

Mace  253 (Malay-Dutch) former Chinese monetary unit equal to 1/10th of a tael, approximately 3.78 grams of silver

Mage  399 (Chaldean) magician or learned person

Mala fides  313 (Latin) bad faith, intent to deceive or defraud

Materia prima  61, 93 (Latin) first matter, formless primeval substance regarded as the original material of the universe

Mea culpa  302, 460 (Latin) through my fault, acknowledgement of one’s errors

Mella  248 {melā}(Hindi) meeting, assembly

Mephitis  37 (Latin) poisonous stench

Mirabile dictu  113 (Latin) wonderful to relate

Missio in partis infidelium  31 (Latin) mission of the infidels

Modus operandi,  Modus operandus  144, 193, 318, 470 (Latin) mode of operation

Moi fluidique  183 (French) fluidic me

Morendo pianissimo  73 (Italian) dying very slowly, decreasing soft volume

Multum in parvo  19 (Latin) much in little

N’est-ce pas  240 (French) Isn’t it so

Nati  97 (Latin) son, child, children, young of pasture animals

Nazzur {Nazar} of "electron"  (Arabic and Greek)  164 amulet made amber

Nec plus ultra  112 (Latin) nothing more beyond, the acme, best, or most extreme example of something

Nihil  139, 142, 518 (Latin) nil; nothing

Nisus  56 (Latin) effort(s), to attain an end

Nolens volens  107, 230 (Latin) whether unwillingly or willingly

Nom de plume 275, 364 (French) pen name

Non possumus  281 (Latin) not possible, we cannot

Nosce te ipsum  175 (Latin) Know thyself

Nota bene  77 (Italian) note well, observe carefully or take special notice

Νους αυτοκρατης (Nous autokrates)  455 (Greek) the self-ruling Mind (Nous)

Nous verrons, nous verrons  184 (French) We shall see what we shall see

Padri(s’)  259, 318, 362, 468, 469, 473 (Spanish) Father(s’)

Pagri  533 (Hindi & Urdu) turban (variant of pugaree)

Par consequence  318 (French) consequently, therefore

Par contrebande  80 (French ) by smuggling

Par excellence  201 (French) ultimate, better than all others of the same kind

Pari passu  407 (Latin) with equal step, moving together, on equal footing

Per se  56, 141, 142, 158, 164, 196, 280 (Latin) intrinsically

Phanerosis  241 (fr. Greek) attaining visibility, shining forth of manifestation

Phlogiston  56, 164 (Greek) a substance said to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion

Pianissimo  73 (Italian) very quiet

Plât  339 (French) a plate, dish

Post mortem  xvii, 176, 199 (Latin) occurring or performed after death

Post nubila Phœbus  325 (Latin) after the clouds, the sun

Post scriptum (P.S.)  228 (Latin) written after; an afterthought added to a letter

Poste restante  467 (French) remaining post; general delivery

Pour mes beaux yeux  465 (French) for my beautiful eyes

Præter Deum nulla dari neque concipi potest substantia  53 (Latin) Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived (Spinoza’s Proposition XIV)

Pranams  431 (Hindi) Greetings

Prima facie  35 (Latin) at first sight, accepted as correct until proven otherwise

Pro bono publico  38, 417 (Latin) for the public good

Propria persona  35, 412 (Latin) for one’s self

Proteges {protogés}  260 (French) persons who are guided and supported by an older, more experienced, or influential person

Pucka {Pukka}  189, 297, 298, 299, 300 (Hindi) genuine; authentic, first-class

Pumo  315 (Tibetan bu-mo) girl, daughter, female human being

Qua  96 (Latin) in the capacity of; as being

Quart d’heure de Rabelais.  SeeLe quart d’heure de Rabelais

Que voulez vous  438, 532 (French) what do you want

Qui bono {Cui bono}  225, 529 (Latin) who benefits?

Quiproquo, Qui proquo {Quid pro quo}  213, 227, 297 (Latin) this for that, a favor exchanged for a favor

Quoad  520 (Latin) regarding, with respect to

Quondam  331, 372 (Latin) that once was; former

Raison d’être  19, 135, 389 (French) the reason for being

Rapport, En rapport  29,101, 102,229, 283, 509 (French) en harmony; in a state of accord

Rari nantes in gurgite vasto  518 (Latin) few swimmers (survivors) in a vast sea

Reliquiæ  108, 109, 275  (Latin) relics, remains of the dead

Roma ante Romulum fuit  2 (Latin) Rome existed before Romulus

Salams  {salaams} 202, 349, 374, 451 (Arabic) (Muslim) greetings, act of deference

Sancta simplicitas  295 (Latin) holy innocence, sacred simplicity

Scandalum magnatum  50 (Latin) the slander of a great man

Sifaten  533 (Indonesian) characteristics, qualities, attributes

Scin-lecca {Scín-læca}  476 (Anglo-Saxon) shining body; mayavi rûpa, astral or spiritual double

Sequelæ  124 (Latin) a secondary result, usually of a disease or injury

Seriatim  70, 77 (Latin) in a series, one subject after another in regular order

Sesam {Open Sesame} 273 (???) to open with a word, to bring about a desired end

Sin qua non {Sine qua non}  213 (Latin) 'without which not," an essential or necessary part of the whole

Soi-disant  185 (French) self-styled; so-called

Statu quo  67, 177 (Latin) the existing state of affairs

Sub rosa  281 (Latin) 'under the rose,' in secret, privately, confidentially, or covertly

Summum bonum  507 (Latin) the highest or supreme good

Suppressio veri, suggestis falsi {Suppressio veri, suggestio falsi}  386 (Latin) Suppression of the truth, suggestion of an untruth

Sutee  {satī, often anglicized suttee } 290 (Sanskrit) "chaste wife," the Hindu practice of a widow throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre

Tael  253 (Malay) Chinese monetary unit equal to approximately 50 grams of silver. See also Mace

Terra incognita  390 (Latin) unknown or unexplored territory

Tout chemin est bon qui mène à Rome  387 (French) every road is good which leads to Rome

Tout ou rien  439 (French) all or nothing

Tutti quanti  157 (Italian) all of them, everyone

Ultimo  495 (Latin) of last month (date) [here October 17, 1880]

Un loup garou  53 (French) q werewolf

Vakil, Vaquil  12, 13, 435, 527 (Hindi) legal counsel; lawyer

Vera pro gratis  31 (Latin) truly for free, truly given for thanks only

Vieille garde  485 (French) old guard

Ye-damma  127, 179 (Pali Ye-dhammā, Sanskrit Ye-dharmāḥ) generally the laws or established procedures in nature, meaning by extension the phenomenal world

Zemindars {Zamindar}  378, 388, 389, 390, 391, 395 (Persian) landowner or autonomous ruler of a state in India, especially one who leases land to tenant farmers