What does “tempus fugit” mean on my clock dial?

Ah, well, its Latin for “time flees” but it is most commonly translated as “time flies”. If you want to really impress your family, friends, and business acquaintances, you can gently inform them that it was first used by Virgil in his poem Georgics, when he wrote the lines, “time flees, time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail”.

If that doesn’t work, you can let them know that Virgil was a Roman poet during the reign of Caesar Augustus, and he wrote this poem on farming between 37 and 29BC.

I can’t help you with their reaction if you bring this in every conversation, but it helps explain the inscription on your dial!