Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

aphorism

[af-uh-riz-uh m]
See more synonyms for aphorism on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).
Show More

Origin of aphorism

1520–30; French aphorisme < Late Latin aphorismus < Greek aphorismós definition, equivalent to aphor(ízein) to define (see aphorize) + -ismos -ism
Related formsaph·o·ris·mic, aph·o·ris·mat·ic [af-uh-riz-mat-ik] /ˌæf ə rɪzˈmæt ɪk/, adjective
Can be confusedadage aphorism apothegm axiom maxim proverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aphorism

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • This aphorism seemed to merit a new cigar on Crane's part, so he lighted one.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • When you have thoroughly digested this aphorism, you are fit to start in the world.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • Pleasurably, for a moment, he considered the altruism of that aphorism.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • His aphorism was, "Gentlemen, the secret of surgery is the nailbrush."

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • His uncle uttered an aphorism: "The throne is a board covered with velvet."


British Dictionary definitions for aphorism

aphorism

noun
  1. a short pithy saying expressing a general truth; maxim
Show More
Derived Formsaphorist, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos definition, from aphorizein to define, set limits to, from horos boundary
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 aphorism

n.

1520s (especially in reference to the "Aphorisms of Hippocrates"), from Middle French aphorisme (14c., aufforisme), from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos "definition, pithy sentence," from aphorizein "to mark off, divide," from apo- "from" (see apo-) + horizein "to bound" (see horizon).

An aphorism is a short, pithy statement containing a truth of general import; an axiom is a statement of self-evident truth; a theorem is a demonstrable proposition in science or mathematics; an epigram is like an aphorism, but lacking in general import. Maxim and saying can be used as synonyms for aphorism.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aphorism in Culture

aphorism

[(af-uh-riz-uhm)]

A concise and often witty statement of wisdom or opinion, such as “Children should be seen and not heard,” or “People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.”

Show More
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.