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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".

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  • 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

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

Merriam-Webster

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.

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  • 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
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    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
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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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