Why do we say "While there's life there's hope"?

Well-Known Expressions

While there's life there's hope

Meaning:

As long as you are alive, there is hope as your situation may improve

Background:

Modo liceat vivere, est spes
While there's life, there's hope
- Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor) by Publius Terentius Afer

Comic playwright Publius Terentius Afer, (generally known as Terence to English speakers), died in 159 B.C. at about 30 years of age having written six plays that we know of. Terence was brought to Rome from Africa as a slave by the Roman senator Terentius Lucanus, who educated him and, later, impressed by his abilities, freed him. This quote comes from Heauton Timorumenos which scholars believe to have been his second or third play. There is some debate as to whether Terence originated this play or translated it in all or part from a play of the same name by Greek playwright Menander who died in 290 BC. Menander wrote over a hundred comedies but his version of Heauton Timorumenos has survived only in part.

Sometime later, Roman orator and statesman Cicero (106-43 BC) is quoted as saying: Aegroto, dum anima est, spes esse dicitur: It is said that for a sick man, there is hope as long as there is life. This was translated into English by biblical scholar Richard Taverner as part of his collection of proverbs in 1539. It is also included in English naturalist John Ray's 1670 collection.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...
  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Lonely People
    All the Lonely People
    by Mike Gayle
    Mike Gayle's charming novel All the Lonely People introduces us to Hubert Bird, an 82-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: Perish
    Perish
    by LaToya Watkins
    It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Who Said...

There is no worse robber than a bad book.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.