Learn English Online - Idiomatic Expressions

Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


What does art is long and life is short mean?

Meaning of idioms with examples...

art is long and life is short


The phrase art is long and life is short is a proverb that suggests that works of art last much longer than human lives.

The origin of the phrase

The phrase comes from the first two lines of an Aphorism by the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.

Ars longa, vita brevis

What he meant by these lines is:
"it takes a long time to acquire and perfect one's expertise (in, say, medicine) and one has but a short time in which to do it."


Jane: I think John spends too much time working on his new book.
Lisa: Yes, but art is long and life is short, you know.

This idiom is in the art category

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