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Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ad-ij] /ˈæd ɪdʒ/
a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation; proverb.
Origin of adage
1540-50; < French < Latin adagium, equivalent to ad- ad- + ag- (stem of āio I say) + -ium -ium
Related forms
[uh-dey-jee-uh l] /əˈdeɪ dʒi əl/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for adages
Historical Examples
  • "Avoid a man who neither drinks nor smokes," was one of Don's adages.

  • He speaks to the same purpose in the adages, c. 189, as Jortin observes.

  • As an example of Palmer's exposition, we will give that based on two adages of like import.

    Proverb Lore F. Edward Hulme
  • The adages or proverbs of all nations are the outgrowths of their first attempts at civilization.

  • One seems to detect several grades or qualities of friendship in these adages.

    Proverb Lore F. Edward Hulme
  • At that day there was the same tendency that is familiar to-day,—to cast alleged feminine inconsistencies into the form of adages.

    Women of England, Volume 9 (of 10) Burleigh James Bartlett
  • I am tempted here to say "A stitch in time saves nine," but adages are sometimes dangerous.

    Why Worry? George Lincoln Walton, M.D.
  • Pythagoras drew up a collection of adages for his disciples, and Plato, Theophrastus, and Chrysippus accumulated stores of them.

    Proverb Lore F. Edward Hulme
  • A person who would be always dragging in these adages would be a terrible nuisance in conversation, and no less so in literature.

    Proverb Lore F. Edward Hulme
  • He quotes many French proverbs, and then gives English adages that more or less match them.

    Proverb Lore F. Edward Hulme
British Dictionary definitions for adages


a traditional saying that is accepted by many as true or partially true; proverb
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin adagium; related to āio I say
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for adages



1540s, Middle French adage, from Latin adagium "adage, proverb," apparently from adagio, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + *agi-, root of aio "I say," from PIE *ag- "to speak." But Tucker thinks the second element is rather ago "set in motion, drive, urge."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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