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I've been reading many opinions from the United State Supreme Court and discovered the phrase "inter alia," meaning "among other things." I have not encountered this phrase outside of these opinions.

Is the phrase "inter alia" primarily localized to legalese? Or would it be acceptable to use it in general writing?

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I like to drop ceteris paribus into my conversation once in a while, but that's just me. –  MT_Head Jul 4 '12 at 18:37
    
my 2C Ive never heard it outside of legalese –  Toby Jul 4 '12 at 18:41
    
ELU doesn't have text search facilities into comments, but I'm pretty sure I've used inter alia here at least once recently. And probably several other times less recently. My only problem is deciding whether to go to the trouble of italicising it or not. Particularly since we're always being told to use bold/italic sparingly, but in ELU comments we naturally use them more anyway because of the context (so I probably italicise here less than elsewhere, because I'm already using way too many font changes! :) –  FumbleFingers Jul 4 '12 at 21:02
    
@FumbleFingers: Try this –  Hugo Jul 4 '12 at 21:11
    
@Hugo: I never thought of that method - thanks! –  FumbleFingers Jul 4 '12 at 23:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The best course, undoubtedly, is to use "among others", a phrase that can refer to people or things.

It should be noted that "inter alia" is Latin for "among others" when "others" are things. If the others are persons, "alia" must be changed to "alios" (the OED quotes, from 1670, The lords produce inter alios John Duke of Lancaster); but when persons are meant, it is much better nowadays to use English.

Reference: A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, B.A. Garner, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, H.W. Fowler.

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It is certainly used more widely, but it says nothing that among other things doesn't say. The English version will be understood by all readers, and removes the risk that you will be perceived as someone who likes to show you know a bit of Latin.

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Inter alia looks as though it can bear its weight in business reporting and used as a throw-away phrase elsewhere, usually unitalicized. It seems to be a regular journalistic condiment at the Financial Times.

“...it has become increasing clear to us that top leadership had shaped a culture that lacks, inter alia, accountabiltly, transparency, and stock ownership,” Mr. Biglari said in letter to shareholders, which was filed this month with regulators. Cracker Barrel Adopts Poison Pill, NYT Sep 23, 2011

But there's more to the story, which involves inter alia speculating monks, unusual lending practices and a man called Andreas Vgenopoulos. Cyprus Popular Bank: ‘Money is gone (allegedly), FT Jun, 15, 2012

Boston is famous – inter alia I suppose – for tea parties, beans and a symphony orchestra. No one, however, talks about its coffee. Nor for that matter, talks too much about its ballet comparny ... Ballet: Bostonians in New York Debut at Hunter, Clive Barnes NYT Oct 22, 1967

... Jane Jacobs, a grand strategist of the Broome Street rebellion, whose triumph launched the age of neighborhood preservation and rehabilitation and with them the celebration of craftsmanship that helped make downtown Manhattan a world center of style and, inter alia, a culinary Parnassus. Food; Way Uptown, Jason Epstein, NYT Apr 11, 2004

Mixed alliums in a chilled pine fusion contained, inter alia, a cold consommé of such purity and balance that I’m still trying, hours later, to tell if it was sweet, savoury, simple or complex. Daddous, London, Tim Hayward FT Jun 8, 2012

Murder abounds in Leos Carax’s Holy Motors... Its Borgesian and bewitching fable of changing identity – Denis Lavant chauffered around Paris becoming, inter alia, a street beggar, leprechaun, millionaire businessman and hitman – has interludes for a Kylie Minogue production number and a riot of digitised monsters. Nigel Andrews, FT May 26, 2012

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