As an expression of the fact that much of life is beyond one's control, the English phrase 'Such is life.', or 'That's the way the cookie crumbles.', or, more vulgarly, 'Shit happens.' is common.

How would this, idiomatically and succinctly, be expressed in Latin?

With my limited knowledge and a latin dictionary, I've arrived at something like 'Talis vita est', but I'm pretty sure that's not right at all. It seems forced, and too 'literal translation'-y. Also, too literal.


1 Answer 1


One option here is sic vita est. A form of it, sic vita erat, appears in Publius Terentius's Andria:

sic vita erat: facile omnis perferre ac pati;
cum quibus erat quomque una îs sese dedere,

Such was his life; readily to bear and comply with all;
with whomsoever he was in company, to them to resign (translation source)

The meanings of each of the words of sic vita est are straight forward (sic means thus or in such manner, while vita and est mean life and is, respectively). And put together, it's translated to convey your intended meaning:

  • You can also drop the est and make it "Sic vita." It gives that pithy feeling which I love.
    – Nickimite
    Oct 7, 2019 at 4:14

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