Is there a short phrase (one to three words), Latin or otherwise, that conveys "but consider the source"?

For example, "I heard that pigs fly on television (your phrase here)."

I'm thinking perhaps a phrase that begins with the Latin word "caveat".

  • Caveat auditor means 'Let the hearer beware'; any Latin verb can be made into an agentive noun by adding -tor to the infinitive stem. May 10, 2015 at 2:22
  • @JohnLawler Thanks. What would the appropriate phrase be for 'Let the reader beware'? May 10, 2015 at 2:54
  • Legere is the infinitive of 'to read'; its agentive form is lector -- the final /ɡ/ of the athematic infinitive stem leg- devoices to /k/ (spelled C in Latin) by assimilation with the /t/ of -tor. So Caveat Lector in the singular, and Caveant Lectores if you want to say 'readers'. May 10, 2015 at 14:46
  • I would say "Sez who?"
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 3, 2020 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


You are probably thinking of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.


This is reported as new Latin, dating back to the 16th century.

While it literally refers to purchases, it often is used more generally to mean, be wary.

  • That's the one that keeps popping in mind, but I was concerned I would be laughed out of here if I mentioned it. Doesn't that Latin phrase really apply to buying things and not to the more general "consider the source"? May 10, 2015 at 2:09
  • 1
    Consider the source is a pretty good phrase.
    – bib
    May 10, 2015 at 2:12
  • In this SE question ( health.stackexchange.com/questions/919/… ) would it have been appropriate to include "caveat emptor" after the words "television show"? May 10, 2015 at 2:13
  • Well, advertising based TV is in constant sell mode, whether it is promoting products or points of view. They want you to buy in to the offered wisdom.
    – bib
    May 10, 2015 at 2:15
  • Very true, but the average reader won't make that connection. Let's say it wasn't advertising-based TV (I don't recall where or how it was broadcast); would "caveat emptor" be appropriate? May 10, 2015 at 2:17

You can also use the figurative phrase "take it with a grain of salt," if you adjust the original sentence slightly:

"I heard that pigs fly, but the report was on television, so take it with a grain of salt."

The idiom is defined in Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997) as follows:

with a grain of salt Also, with a pinch of salt. Skeptically, with reservations. For example, I always take Sandy's stories about illnesses with a grain of salt—she tends to exaggerate. This expression is a translation of the Latin cum grano salis, which Pliny used in describing Pompey's discovery of an antidote for poison (to be taken with a grain of salt). It was soon adopted by English writers.

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