aphorism

[ af-uh-riz-uh m ]
/ ˈæf əˌrɪz əm /

noun

a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

QUIZZES

TAKE THIS QUIZ TO SEE WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL PUNCTUATION!

Commas mark divisions in sentences. Periods end declarative sentences. Apostrophes show possession. Easy, right? Well, punctuation can get pretty tricky—fast. Think you got what it takes to be a punctuation expert? Take our quiz to prove it!
Question 1 of 10
Which of the options below is the best punctuation for the sentence? It__s your turn to pick the movie __ but your sister gets to pick the board game we _ re going to play.

Origin of aphorism

1520–30; French aphorisme < Late Latin aphorismus < Greek aphorismós definition, equivalent to aphor(ízein) to define (see aphorize) + -ismos -ism

OTHER WORDS FROM aphorism

aph·o·ris·mic, aph·o·ris·mat·ic [af-uh-riz-mat-ik] /ˌæf ə rɪzˈmæt ɪk/, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH aphorism

adage aphorism apothegm axiom maxim proverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for aphorism

British Dictionary definitions for aphorism

aphorism
/ (ˈæfəˌrɪzəm) /

noun

a short pithy saying expressing a general truth; maxim

Derived forms of aphorism

aphorist, noun

Word Origin for aphorism

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

Cultural definitions for aphorism

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.”

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.