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The meaning and origin of the expression: Life's too short

Life's too short

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Life's too short'?

Response to a request to do something that seems too petty to waste valuable time on.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Life's too short'?

We feel as though we are busy these days, but that's not new. This response goes back in print form to at least the late 19th century, and in people's minds probably much further. In May 1877, The Morning Oregonian included a story with this opinion:

"Oh I say, drawled Gerard; 'life's too short to be wasted talking about a woman. Let's go and get some beer."

In 1975, the English writer Shirley Conran published the book Superwoman, aimed at busy women, and coined the phrase 'Life is too short to stuff a mushroom'.

People seem to have got even busier since and 'life is too short to ...' has become just 'life's too short'. Note the apostrophe. Perhaps now 'life's to short to type is'?

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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