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).

Origin of aphorism

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

Related forms

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

Can be confused

adage aphorism apothegm axiom maxim proverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aphorism

British Dictionary definitions for aphorism

aphorism

/ (ˈæfəˌrɪzəm) /

noun

a short pithy saying expressing a general truth; maxim

Derived Forms

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

Culture 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.