Word of the Day : June 10, 2011

mutatis mutandis

adverb myoo-TAH-tis-myoo-TAHN-dis


1 : with the necessary changes having been made

2 : with the respective differences having been considered


The points that the author of the study makes about the town's roads and bridges also apply, mutatis mutandis, to its schools and municipal buildings.

"On balance, the Otago settlement can probably be called a highly successful experiment in colonisation, but for reasons which have relatively little to do with the religious convictions of its founders. The same conclusion can be reached, mutatis mutandis, for the second major religious colony to be established in the south island of New Zealand." -- From Hilary M. Carey's 2011 book God's Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World, c. 1801-1908

Did You Know?

Unlike most English terms with Latin parentage, "mutatis mutandis" (which translates literally as "things having been changed that have to be changed") maintains its Latinate aspect entirely. It doesn't look like an English phrase, which is perhaps why it remains rather uncommon despite having functioned in English since the 16th century. Although the phrase is used in the specialized fields of law, philosophy, and economics when analogous situations are discussed, it appears in other contexts, too, where analogy occurs, as this quote from Henry James' The American demonstrates: "Roderick made an admirable bust of her at the beginning of the winter, and a dozen women came rushing to him to be done, mutatis mutandis, in the same style."

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