150+ English vocabulary words which come from Latin

English is a Germanic language which means that unlike the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian) the English language does not originate from Latin.

There are however hundreds of English vocabulary words which come from Latin. Many of these have entered the English language as loanwords from French (a large part of French vocabulary words come from Latin)

List of English words which come from Latin

Here is a list of 160 English vocabulary words which come from Latin:

  1. Alien: from Latin aliēnus (which means “outsider” or “foreigner” )
  2. Senior: from Latin senior (meaning “older”), which is the comparative form of senex (meaning “aged”, “old”)
  3. Election : from Latin ēlectiō (meaning “choice” or “selection”)
  4. Extreme: from Latin extrēmus which is the superlative of the Latin word exter (which means “outward”)
  5. Senate: from Latin senātus (meaning “council of elders” or “senate”) itself from the Latin adjective from senex (meaning “old”)
  6. Amateur: from Latin amātōr (meaning “lover”), itself from the Latin verb amāre (which means “to love”)
  7. Aquatic: from Latin aquaticus (meaning “relating to the water”) itself from the Latin word aqua (meaning “water”)
  8. Beneficial: from Latin beneficium (meaning “kindness”, “service” or “favor”)
  9. Claim: from Latin clāmō (which means “to cry out” or “to proclaim””)
  10. Extraordinary: From Latin extrāōrdinārius, itself from extrā ōrdinem (meaning “outside the order”)
  11. Absence: from latin absentia
  12. Family: from Latin familia
  13. City: from Latin cīvitās
  14. General: from Latin generālis
  15. Public: from Latin pūblicus
  16. College: from Latin collēgium
  17. President: from Latin praesidēns
  18. Common: from Latin commūnis
  19. Education: from Latin ēducātiō
  20. Similar: from Latin similis
  21. Single: from latin singulus
  22. Council: from Latin concilium
  23. Final: from Latin fīnālis
  24. Region: from latin regiō
  25. Addition: from Latin additiōnem
  26. Music: from Latin mūsica
  27. Special: from Latin speciālis
  28. Union: from Latin ūniō
  29. Position: from Latin positio
  30. Royal: from Latin rēgālis
  31. Information: from Latin īnfōrmātiō
  32. Male: from Latin masculus
  33. Social: from Latin sociālis
  34. Act: from Latin ācta
  35. Division: from Latin dīvīsiō
  36. Air: from Latin āēr
  37. Active: from Latin activus
  38. Civil: from Latin cīvīlis
  39. Human: from Latin hūmānus
  40. Population: from Latin populatio
  41. Culture: from Latin cultūra
  42. Province: from Latin prōvincia
  43. Structure: from Latin structūra
  44. Station: from Latin statiōnem
  45. Native: from Latin nātīvus itself from the Latin nātus (meaning “birth”)
  46. Professor: from Latin professor
  47. Certain: from Latin certus (meaning “fixed” or “certain”)
  48. Industry: from Latin industria (meaning “activity”, “diligence”)
  49. Distribution: from Latin distributio
  50. Section: from Latin sectiō (meaning “cutting”)
  51. Space: from Latin spatium
  52. Source: from Latin surgō (meaning “to rise”)
  53. Variety: from Latin varietās (meaning “diversity, difference”)
  54. Create: from Latin creātus
  55. Capital: from Latin capitālis (meaning “of the head”)
  56. Operation: from Latin operātiō, itself from the Latin opus which means “work”
  57. Separate: from Latin sēparātus
  58. Museum from Latin mūsēum (meaning “library”, or “study”)
  59. Person: from Latin persōna ( meaning “mask used by actor” or “role”)
  60. Administration: from Latin administratio
  61. Secretary: from Latin secrētārius (meaning “person entrusted with secrets”)
  62. Edition: from Latin ēditiō, itself from the Latin verb ēdere ( meaning “to publish”).
  63. Complex: from Latin complexus
  64. Empire: from Latin imperium, itself from the Latin verb imperare (meaning “to command”)
  65. Competition: from Latin competītiō
  66. Student: from Latin studēns
  67. Increase: from Latin increscere
  68. Conference: from Latin cōnferēns
  69. Cause: from Latin causa
  70. Money: from Latin monēta
  71. Police: from Latin polītīa (meaning “the state”, or “the government”)
  72. Evidence: from Latin evidentia
  73. Justice: from Latin iūstitia
  74. Valley: from Latin vallēs
  75. Experience: from Latin experientia
  76. Material: from Latin māteriālis
  77. Influence: Latin īnfluēns (which means “flowing in”)
  78. Decision: from Latin dēcīsiō itself from the Latin verb dēcīdō (maning “to decide”)
  79. Feature: from Latin factūra itself from the Latin verb faciō (“to do” , “to make”)
  80. Formation: from Latin fōrmātiō
  81. value : from Latin valēre
  82. Continue: from Latin continuāre
  83. Congress: From Latin congressum which is the past participle of the Latin verb congredior ( which means “to come together”)
  84. Creation: from Latin creātiō
  85. Potential: from Latin potentia (meaning “power”)
  86. Marine: from Latin marinus (meaning “of the sea”), itself from the Latin noun mare (meaning “sea”)
  87. Mountain: from Latin montānus, itself from the latin word mōns (meaning “mountain”)
  88. Face: from Latin faciēs (meaning “appearance” )
  89. Ability: from Latin habilitās, itself from the Latin word from habilis (meaning “fit” or “able”)
  90. Necessary: from Latin necessārius (meaning “inevitable”, or “required”)
  91. Distance: from Latin distantia
  92. Double: from Latin duplus (meaning “twofold”)
  93. Figure: from Latin figūra (meaning “shape” or “form”)
  94. Peace: from Latin pāx (meaning “peace”)
  95. Festival: from Latin fēstīvus (meaning “festive”)
  96. Victory: from Latin victōria
  97. Urban: from Latin urbanus
  98. Mayor: from Latin maior (meaning “bigger, greater”), which is the comparative form of the Latin asjective magnus ( meaning “big, great”)
  99. Supreme: from Latin supremus, which is the superlative of the latin word superus (which means “which is above”)
  100. Tradition: from Latin trāditiō
  101. Normal: From Latin normālis (which means “according the rules”)
  102. Generation: from Latin generātiō, itself from generō ( meaning “to generate”)
  103. Liberal: from Latin līberālis
  104. Equal: from Latin aequālis
  105. Institution: from Latin institūtiō
  106. Positive: from Latin positivus
  107. Machine: from Latin māchina
  108. Naval: from Latin nāvālis
  109. Religion: from Latin religiō
  110. Labour: from Latin laborare
  111. Metal: from Latin metallum
  112. Selection: From Latin sēlēctiō
  113. Doctor: from Latin doctor
  114. Mobile: from Latin mōbilis (meaning “moveable”)
  115. Translation: from Latin trānslātiō
  116. Medieval: from the combination of two Latin words, medium (which means “middle”) & aevum ( which means “age”)
  117. Couple: from Latin cōpula
  118. Opinion: from Latin opīniō
  119. Element: from Latin elementum
  120. Exception: from Latin exceptiō
  121. Sequence: from Latin sequentia (“a following”) itself from the latin verb sequi ( which means “to follow”)
  122. Coalition: from Latin coalitiō
  123. Credit: from Latin crēditum
  124. Reputation: from Latin reputationem
  125. Legend: from Latin legenda (meaning “a thing worth reading about”) itself from the Latin verb lego (meaning “to read”)
  126. Merchant: from Latin mercātus (meaning “market”)
  127. Session: from Latin sessiō (meaning “a sitting”)
  128. Diverse: from Latin diversus ( meaning “various”, “different”)
  129. Offensive: from Latin offensivus, itself from the Latin verb offendere (meaning “to offend”)
  130. Ordinary: from Latin ōrdinārius (meaning “regular” or “orderly”) iself from the Latin word ōrdō (meaning “order”)
  131. Noble: from Latin nōbilis
  132. Spiritual: from Latin spiritus
  133. Intention: from Latin intentiō
  134. Regime: from Latin regimen (meaning “direction” or “government”)
  135. Copy: from Latin cōpia
  136. Procedure: from Latin procedere (meaning “to go forward”)
  137. Instrument: from Latin īnstrūmentum
  138. Charity: from Latin cāritās
  139. Variable: from Latin variare (meaning “to change”)
  140. Conclusion: from Latin conclūsiō
  141. Excellent: from Latin adjective excellēns which is the present participle of the latin verb excello (which means “to be eminent” or “to excell”)
  142. Ideal: from Latin ideālis (which means “existing in idea”)
  143. Moral: from Latin mōrālis
  144. Liberty: from Latin lībertās (meaing “freedom”, or “liberty”)
  145. Neutral: from Latin neutralis
  146. Statue: from Latin statua, which itself comes from the Latin verb statuō ( which means “to set up” or “to erect”)
  147. Fortune: from Latin fortūna (which can mean “fate”, “luck”, “prosperity” or “wealth”)
  148. Proportion: from Latin prōportiō
  149. Assume: From Latin assūmō (which means “to accept” or “to take”)
  150. Inclusion: from Latin inclusio, itself from the Latin verb inclūdō
  151. Precise: from Latin praecisus
  152. Destination: From Latin dēstinātiō, itself from the Latin verb dēstinō (which means “to destine”)
  153. Passion: from Latin passio (meaning “suffering”)
  154. Feminine: from Latin fēminīnus, itself from the Latin word fēmina (meaning “woman”)
  155. Glory: from Latin glōria
  156. To compare: from Latin comparare
  157. Color: from latin color
  158. Innocent: from Latin innocens
  159. Examine: from Latin exāmināre
  160. Intelligent: from Latin intellegēns

The reason there are so many English words which come from Latin

As a Germanic language, English did not originate from Latin. The large number of Latin words in English is remarkable given that other Germanic languages (such as German or Norwegian) contain far fewer Latin words.

This linguistic phenomenon has a simple historical explanation.

Many of the Latin vocabulary words found in English have entered the English language as loanwords from French. As a Romance language which is derived from Latin, a large majority (about 80%) of French words come from Latin.

The presence of so many French vocabulary words in the English language is in part due to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 .

At the time, Old Norman (which is a dialect of French) became the language of the Anglo-Norman government in England. This lasted for several centuries.

During that time this French dialect was widely used in the royal court as well as in the church and the justice system of England.

This historical event had wide ranging linguistic effects on the English language and is the reason why English contains so many words originating from Latin.

How to identify English vocabulary words which come from Latin?

The most reliable way to know if an English vocabulary word originates from Latin is use a dictionary which provides etymological information (information on the origin of words).

Heuristics to determine whether an English word is likely or not to have originated from Latin can be obtained from a basic knowledge of Latin. This is because some letters are not used (or rarely used) in Latin.

For instance, the letter 'w' was not part of the classical Latin alphabet, so an English word which contains that letter most likely doesn't come from Latin.

In addition, the presence of the letter ‘k’ in an English word indicates that the word is unlikely to have come from Latin.

Although the classic Latin alphabet contains the letter 'k', it hardly ever appears in Latin vocabulary words. The reason is that in Latin the letter 'c' is pronounced like a 'k' (There is no soft 'c' in Latin). This made the letter 'k' redundant and hardly ever used in Latin.

The letter 'z' is typically not found in Latin vocabulary words. Although the letter 'z' was part of the early forms of the Latin alphabet it disappeared because of sound changes in the Latin language. Later, it was reintroduced to accommodate loanwords from Greek.

An English word which contains the letter 'z' is unlikely to have originated from Latin.

English words which end “-ion” are likely to have come from French and previously from Latin.

To learn more about Latin, see this comparison of Italian and Latin.

Modern English words which come from Latin

Latin is considered to be a dead language which means that it's no longer the native language of any community. This has been the case for several centuries now.

In spite of this, Latin has been used to create new words especially in scientific and technical fields.

For example, the word “casein” which refers to a protein which is found in milk comes from the Latin word “caseus” meaning cheese.

Another example is the word “lactose” which refers to the sugar found in milk and comes from the Latin word “lac” which means ‘milk’.

Conclusion

There are many English words which are derived from Latin, and most of these have come as loanwords from French.

Understanding the Latin roots of those English vocabulary words, provides linguistic insights and enables us to understand the vocabulary in English and in several other languages.

PS: you can use our free language tool, VocabChat to record your own vocabulary and phrase lists.