In English we can use "by the way" to introduce a topic that not related to the previous one. Or we can use "speaking of"/"apropos" when we are using a theme just mentioned to introduce a related topic.

I'm basically looking for Latin's equivalents to those two cases. I've seen obiter means "by the way", yet I'm not sure this can be used in the conversational-transition sense I'm seeking.

2 Answers 2


My suggestion for this purpose is ceterum. See part II.A in the L&S entry for the use of this adverb to introduce something new.

The entry in L&S comes with attestations in classical literature. For another kind of example, consider perhaps the most famous unattested phrase of classical Latin:

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.

There are different variants out there, as Cato's saying has not been preserved in writing. It is mentioned in texts but never as a direct quote.


There is "non solum...sed etiam" = "not only...but also", in a conversational gambit.

Thanks to Joonas and a supplement to his answer, Cato might have said--

non solum molestia sed etiam carthaginem esse delendam.

"Not only a nuisance but also Carthage must be destroyed".

(There is a full grammatical analysis of Cato's declaration on Wiki: "Carthago delenda est".)

  • How would you use that phrase to introduce a new topic? I take ceterum to be something similar in this context to the colloquial English "and, changing the subject,..." I don't see how non solum works that way at all.
    – C Monsour
    May 31, 2020 at 0:47
  • @C Monsour: Not only "that" but also "something tenuously, or otherwise, connected with it". What's the problem?
    – tony
    May 31, 2020 at 7:52
  • I think you could interpret what @CMonsour is saying so that it's the sed etiam that introduces the new thing. And that new thing ought to be related to the previous one. The whole pair non solum ... sed etiam is used to add one thing to another, whereas the OP was after moving to a new topic altogether. I agree that that's a problem with this suggestion. A good phrase, but not quite for this use.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 31, 2020 at 16:54
  • @tony In your quotation, Cato isn't changing the topic at sed etiam but at non solum. (He would say this whatever the topic had been.) Obviously, non solum sets up a contrast with whatever comes after sed etiam. It isn't related to the fact that Cato is changing the topic. He just is, without a segway, which was sort of his style.
    – C Monsour
    Jun 1, 2020 at 5:04
  • @Joonas llmavirta: Understood.
    – tony
    Jun 1, 2020 at 8:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.