tempus fugit

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Tempus fugit in a sundial


Borrowed from Latin, from the verse Georgica which was written by the Roman poet Virgil which is sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus (but it flees meanwhile: irretrievable time flees) which has the less literal translation "while, the irreplaceable time escapes".


tempus fugit

  1. (phrasal, idiomatic) time flies (used as an alternative to this phrase).
  2. "Meanwhile, the irreplaceable time escapes", expressing concern that one's limited time is being consumed by something which may have little intrinsic substance or importance at that moment.


  • c. 1552–1618. Sir Walter Ralegh. The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd (poem)
  • 1859 "Two Years Before the Mast" (book), epilogue. By Richard Henry Dana Jr.
  • 1980. Tempus Fugit (song) by the progressive rock group Yes, from the album Drama.
  • 1992. Tempus Fugit (song) by Miles Davis, from the album The Capitol and Blue Note Years: The Best of Miles Davis.
  • 1997. Tempus Fugit (TV episode), The X-Files.
  • 1999. Relativity (TV episode), season 5 of Star Trek: Voyager, Lt. Ducane uses the phrase.

Derived terms[edit]





tempus fugit

  1. Time flies