to each his own

It’s a saying many people use and I’ve often wondered where it came from. It originates from Marcus Tullius Cicero (died 7 December 43 BC), a Roman philisopher and lawyer noted for his oratory skills.

justitia in suo cuique tribuendo …. justice in attributing to each his own.

In a modern day context ‘to each what he deserves’ would be similar. I used it recently in a blog post on brown paper bag lunches. I noted that some people spend money on takeaway coffee, and ended it with the comment “to each his own”. My theory is that if you choose to spend your discretionary income on takeaway coffees as opposed to your bills, then that’s okay but you have to live with the consequences.

It’s surprising the number of latin words and phrases that continue to be used as part of modern day english.  Carpe Diem (seize the day), et cetera (and the rest), magna cum laude (with great praise), or circa (around) are just a few that spring to mind.

I heard a TV presenter the other morning ending her sentence with “et cetera et cetera”. I think one “and the rest” would have been sufficient. So when did you last use a latin phrase or word? I’m sure it is more recent than you think.


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