Word of the Day : January 8, 2018

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

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."


"I know nothing more contemptible in a writer than the character of a plagiary; which he here fixes at a venture, and this not for a passage but a whole discourse taken out from another book, only mutatis mutandis." — Jonathan Swift, The Tale of a Tub, 1704

"And Knausgaard's abandonment of literary conceit is itself a literary conceit…. A given sentence may or may not shine, but in its riverine accumulations, 'My Struggle' is as purposefully shaped, as beautifully patterned and, yes, as artfully compressed as any novel in recent memory. The same is true, mutatis mutandis, of 'Autumn.'" — Garth Risk Hallberg, The New York Times, 1 Oct. 2017

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a word that means "the quality or state of being changeable": v _ _ is _ it _ _ e.



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