time flies

Definition: A subtle warning that time passes quickly

Example: “It seems like only yesterday that I gave birth to you,” Jim’s mother said to him. “Yes, time flies,” he agreed, looking down at the ‘Happy Fortieth’ birthday card she had given him.


This idiom is an English translation of ‘tempus fugit’, coined by Virgil in the first century BC. To be precise, he wrote ‘fugit inreparabile tempus’ which translates as  “it escapes, irretrievable time“. That wasn’t very snappy, so it has become shortened in the intervening centuries. It’s actually quite a sobering statement.

It is often used in the phrase ‘Time flies when you’re having fun‘. Iddy disagrees with that phrase. Time’s flying at him, but he’s not having any fun whatsoever!

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