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- 1651, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
- No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
- 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 3, ch. IX, Working Aristocracy
- The haggard despair of Cotton-factory, Coal-mine operatives, Chandos Farm-labourers, in these days, is painful to behold; but not so painful, hideous to the inner sense, as the brutish god-forgetting Profit-and-Loss Philosophy, and Life-theory, which we hear jangled on all hands of us […]
- 2013 June 1, “Towards the end of poverty”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 11:
- But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short.
Of, or in the manner of a brute
Bestial; lacking human sensibility
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