ars longa, vita brevis

[ ahrs lohng-gah wee-tah bre-wis; English ahrz lawng-guh vahy-tuh bree-vis, brev-is, vee-tuh, ahrs ]
/ ɑrs ˈloʊŋ gɑ ˈwi tɑ ˈbrɛ wɪs; English ɑrz ˈlɔŋ gə ˈvaɪ tə ˈbri vɪs, ˈbrɛv ɪs, ˈvi tə, ɑrs /


art is long, life is short.

Nearby words

  1. arru islands,
  2. ars,
  3. ars antiqua,
  4. ars est celare artem,
  5. ars gratia artis,
  6. ars nova,
  7. ars poetica,
  8. arsaces,
  9. arsaces i,
  10. arse


[ breev, brev ]
/ briv, brɛv /


a mark (˘) over a vowel to show that it is short, or to indicate a specific pronunciation, as ŭ in (kŭt) cut.
  1. an initial writ.
  2. a writ, as one issued by a court of law.
  1. the longest modern note, equivalent to two semibreves or whole notes.
  2. Also brevis. a note in medieval mensural notation equal to one-half or one-third of a longa.
Prosody. a mark (˘) over a syllable to show that it is not stressed.

Origin of breve

1250–1300; Middle English < Medieval Latin, Latin breve, neuter of brevis short; see brief Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brevis

British Dictionary definitions for brevis


/ (briːv) /


an accent, (˘), placed over a vowel to indicate that it is of short duration or is pronounced in a specified way
music a note, now rarely used, equivalent in time value to two semibreves
RC Church a less common word for brief (def. 7)

Word Origin for breve

C13: from Medieval Latin breve, from Latin brevis short; see brief

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for brevis



mid-15c., musical notation indicating two whole notes, from Latin breve (adj.) "short" in space or time (see brief (adj.)). The grammatical curved line placed over a vowel to indicate "shortness" (1540s) is from the same source.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper