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

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