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annuit cœptis
He (God) nods at things being begun -- or "he approves our undertakings," motto on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of the United States one-dollar bill
ante bellum
before the war -- commonly used in the Southern United States as antebellum to refer to the period preceding the American Civil War
ante meridiem
before noon -- A.M., used in timekeeping
aqua vitae
water of life -- used to refer to various native distilled beverages, such as whisky (uisge beatha) in Scotland and Ireland, gin in Holland, and brandy (eau de vie) in France
arte et marte
by skill and valour
astra inclinant, sed non obligant
the stars incline us, they do not bind us -- refers to the strength of free will over astrological determinism
audemus jura nostra defendere
we dare to defend our rights -- state motto of Alabama
audere est facere
to dare is to do -- motto of Tottenham Hotspur F.C
audio
I hear
aurea mediocritas
golden mean -- refers to the ethical goal of reaching a virtuous middle ground between two sinful extremes
auribus teneo lupum
I hold a wolf by the ears -- a common ancient proverb; indicates that one is in a dangerous situation where both holding on and letting go could be deadly; a modern version is, "to have a tiger by the tail"
aut cum scuto aut in scuto
either with shield or on shield -- do or die, "no retreat"; said by Spartan mothers to their sons as they departed for battle
aut neca aut necare
either kill or be killed
aut viam inveniam aut faciam
I will either find a way or make one -- said by Hannibal, the great ancient military commander
barba non facit philosophum
a beard doesn't make one a philosopher