from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. barbarous Latin; as, the dog Latin of pharmacy.
  • n. barbarous Latin; a jargon in imitation of Latin.


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  • from

    "Dog Latin or mock-Latin refers to the creation of a phrase or jargon in imitation of Latin, often by directly translating English words (or those of other European languages) into Latin without conjugation or declension. Unlike the similarly-named language game Pig Latin (a form of spoken code popular among young children), Dog Latin is more of a humorous device for invoking scholarly seriousness, especially when creatively used in nomenclature and naming conventions. Sometimes "dog Latin" can mean a poor-quality genuine attempt at writing in Latin.


    Dog Latin is rarely put to a serious purpose, but it is used in the temporary naming of undiscovered (or not yet officially named) chemical elements. For example, the name given to element 118 is "ununoctium", the IUPAC systematic element name, from unum, unum, octo, the Latin words for "one, one, eight".

    More often, correct Latin is mixed with English words for humorous effect or in an attempt to update Latin by providing words for modern items."

    My favorite dog latin, taught to me in latin class in high school is the verse:

    O sibile, si ergo

    Fortibus es in ero

    O nobile, deus trux

    Vatis enim?

    Causan dux

    August 3, 2009

  • Some sources simply define dog Latin as barbarous or mangled and others make it akin to a kind of pidgin Latin.

    It would appear to be not as much fun as ig-Pay atin-Lay and more like Pierre Escargot's fractured French. The Reader's Encyclopedia provides a wonderful example of the pretend or “mongrel�? version of dog Latin in Wallace Stevens' definition of a kitchen:

    As the law classically expresses it, a kitchen is “camera necessaria pro usus cookare; cum saucepannis, stewpannis, scullero, dressero, coalholo stovis, smoakjacko; pro rostandum, boilandum, fryandum et plum-pudding-mixandum…

    —A Law Report (Daniel v. Dishclout)

    July 11, 2009