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 formsa·da·gi·al [uh-dey-jee-uh l] /əˈdeɪ dʒi əl/, adjective
Can be confusedadage aphorism apothegm axiom maxim proverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for adage

aphorism, dictum, maxim, precept, motto, axiom, byword, saw, apothegm

Examples from the Web for adage

Contemporary Examples of adage

Historical Examples of adage

  • A short life and a merry one,' seems the adage in favour here.

    The O'Donoghue

    Charles James Lever

  • "'It never rains but it pours,' says the Irish adage," resumed she.


    Charles James Lever

  • It was a first love of mine, and, as the adage says, 'only revient toujours.'

  • The explanation of this adage is not here assumed, nor its community of relation.

    Dwellers in the Hills

    Melville Davisson Post

  • He subscribes to the adage: 'Love so, as if you may hate one day, and hate so, as if you may love one day'.

British Dictionary definitions for adage



a traditional saying that is accepted by many as true or partially true; proverb

Word Origin for adage

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

Word Origin and History for adage

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