Ars longa, vita brevis

Ars longa, vita brevis


Ars longa, vita brevis are the first two lines of a Latin translation of an aphorism written by ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. The words are referring to art of practicing medicine, acquired in a lifetime. The word - art is interpreted as a craft, a technique, and refers to the medical activity, importance of this activity and responsibility of doctor towards patient, difficult decisions that medical staff are facing when are treating a sick person. The English translation is: art is long, life is short. The full text in Latin is:

Ars longa,
Vita brevis,
Occasio praeceps,
Experimentum periculosum,
Iudicium difficile.

English Translation appears in two forms, first easier to understand and the second one is using words with Latin origin:

The art is long,
Life is short,
Fleeting opportunity
Dangerous experiment
Difficult judgment.

Art is long,
Vitality is brief,
Precipitous occasion
Perilous experiment
Difficult judgment.

Often the phrase is taken out of context referring to the availability we should have to experiment new things when the opportunity comes along. Some occasions are once in a lifetime that is why we should take advantage of them and live intensively.

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