One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
With awareness of one's mortality; in the face of death.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in The Living Age. From post-classical Latin sub specie mortis from classical Latin sub + speciē, ablative of speciēs + mortis, genitive of mors.
sub specie mortis/sʌb ˌspiːʃiː ˈmɔːtɪs//sʊb ˌspiːsiː ˈmɔːtɪs/
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