Latin saying - tempus fugit

Any latin dopers out there can help me out with a latin saying I’m trying to remember?

It starts “tempus…” and roughly translates as “the times change and we must change with them,” but I can’t remember much more than that.

Probably not the one you’re thinking of, but a phrase used by the Roman orator Cicero in his speech against Catiline touches on time - more actually the times (as in ‘the times they are a-changing’):

o tempora, o mores!

which translates as ‘alas for the times and the customs/manners’ - or, indeed, mores.

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.

That’s the one - any idea of the origin?

Nope, no idea. Don’t worry though, someone else probably will.

Convenite, gentes,
Quaqua vagietis,
Agnosciteque ut fontes amplexi crescentes sint
Et confite ut mox penitus imbuebitis
Sicut tempus salvatiens
Incohate natare
Alioqui percorruitis
Tempora mutantur

So how do you say,

Time flies when you’re having fun?

The quote is by Andreas Cellarius from his Harmonia Macrocosmica, published in 1600. The full quote is:


“Time sure is fun when you’re having flies.” --The Way of the Frog

Time flies like an arrow,
fruit flies like a bannana.

Tempus fugit dum ludes?


what do you cal this kind of statement

:eek: :smiley:

An example of Marxism?

Time flies ? I can’t. They’re too fast.

Obviously, the second phrase is ambiguous. It can be ‘read’ in two ways. The first way is to take ‘fruit’ as the subject, ‘flies’ as the verb, and ‘like’ as a comparative linking word and ‘banana’ as the object of the comparison. The second way is to take ‘fruit flies’ as the subject, ‘like’ as the verb meaning ‘predisposed toward,’ and ‘a banana’ as the direct object.

Is there a word for this type of ambiguity? Depends on how you define the cause of the ambiguity. Is it because the words are ambiguous or the construction of the sentence is ambiguous?

If your take is that the words are ambiguous, then you have 'morphological ambiguity’ (i.e., the form of the word; the word can function as a verb or a noun, e.g.) or a **‘semantic ambiguity’ ** (i.e., the meaning of the word; the word can have several definitions). In logic, when you play upon morphological or semantical ambiguities, this is called equivocation or semantic shift. This often happens when one uses a particular meaning of a morphologically ambiguous word at the beginning of a discourse and by the end, one shifts the meaning of the word and is using a different meaning of the morphologically ambiguous word. In the above phrase in question, ‘flies’ and ‘like’ have undergone semantic shift and are being equivocated.

If your take is that the construction of the sentence is ambiguous, then you have syntactic ambiguity. Examples:

Now, there’s a special word for a syntactical ambiguity: Amphiboly (or amphibology). However, some sources I’ve checked define an amphiboly as any sort of grammatical ambiguity, not just a syntactical ambiguity. Since semantics is a subset of grammar (as is syntax), this would mean that a semantic or morphological ambiguity would also be an amphiboly.
So to answer the original question, what do we call the construction of ‘fruit flies like a banana’? Well, it seems that the ambiguity relies on morphological, semantic, and syntactical ambiguities. I would use the larger meaning of amphiboly in that any grammatical ambiguity can be called an amphiboly. If one nitpicks that only syntactical ambiguity can be amphibolous and not semantical ambiguities, then I’d say you’d be safe to call it “grammatically ambiguous” to cover all bases.


“Look, they are flying planes.”

“Who is?”

“No, they are.”

“Well, of course, they wouldn’t be planes if they didn’t fly.”

“Model planes don’t fly.”

“That’s because they’re just perfect geometrical constructs and don’t have wings.”