• synonyms


  1. a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation; proverb.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for adages

Historical Examples

  • "Avoid a man who neither drinks nor smokes," was one of Don's adages.

    The Orchard of Tears

    Sax Rohmer

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for adages


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

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper