People say "flies by" to express how quickly time seems to pass, especially when one is busy or engrossed in something. This popular phrase is an integral part of the language, helping to convey the subjective nature of time perception. The main idea behind "flies by" is the accelerated passage of time when one is occupied or enjoying oneself.
The phrase "flies by" literally suggests something moving at a rapid pace, akin to a bird darting through the sky. However, its figurative interpretation holds more significance. It highlights the perception that time passes swiftly when we're immersed in enjoyable experiences or engrossed in intriguing or demanding tasks.
Key aspects of the idiom's meaning:
The idea that time "flies by" has been in use for centuries. Its earliest known appearance dates back to the Latin phrase "tempus fugit," which translates to "time flees," found in Virgil's Georgics, a poem written in 29 BCE.
"It flies by day, and destroys many mice."
- The History of the County of Derby, 1829
"But soon this time of ecstatic joy lapses; our vigor lags; the spirit sinks and time flies by unnoticed as we dismally gaze into empty air, seeking to understand the mystery which envelops us."
- The Coast, 1908
Here are ten examples of sentences using "flies by" in various contexts:
Given its relevance to the human experience of time, the phrase "flies by" often finds its way into pop culture, such as movies, TV shows, and music.
Some notable examples are:
While "flies by" is a widely used and understood phrase, other idioms in English communicate a similar meaning.
Here are a few examples:
The idiom "flies by" is used to describe the sensation of time passing quickly, especially during engaging or enjoyable activities.
The phrase "flies by" likely originates from the observation of fast-moving flying creatures, such as birds or insects, symbolizing the swift passage of time.
You can use "flies by" to convey the quick passage of time. For example, "Time flies by while he's searching for his dog and he's starting to get worried."
Yes, "flies by" can be used in a professional context, such as during a meeting or conference, to express how quickly time seemed to pass.
Some synonyms include "whizzes by," "races past," "passes in a flash," and "speeds by."
Yes, "flies by" can be used in written communication, such as in an email or a blog post, to express the sensation of time passing swiftly.
While it's not typically used in formal or academic writing, "flies by" can be used in more informal or conversational writing contexts.
No, "flies by" generally has a neutral or positive connotation. It's often associated with enjoyable experiences, during which time seems to pass particularly fast.
No, "flies by" is typically used as a figurative expression to convey the swift passage of time, rather than referring to an object or creature literally flying by.
Yes, even for long events, if they are engaging or enjoyable, you can use "flies by" to express that it didn't seem to take a long time because you were having a good time.
The phrase "flies by" is a poetic way of expressing the fleeting nature of time, especially during moments of joy, excitement, or deep focus. It underscores the importance of making the most of each moment because time waits for no one.
Here's a quick summary:
In the end, it's not just an idiom but a reminder to cherish our time because it truly does fly by!