or ap·o·phthegm

[ ap-uh-them ]
/ ˈæp əˌθɛm /


a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.

Origin of apothegm

1545–55; earlier apothegma < Greek apóphthegma, equivalent to apophtheg- (variant stem of apophthéngesthai to speak out; apo- apo- + phthéngesthai to speak) + -ma noun suffix
Related formsap·o·theg·mat·ic [ap-uh-theg-mat-ik] /ˌæp ə θɛgˈmæt ɪk/, ap·o·theg·mat·i·cal, adjectiveap·o·theg·mat·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedadage aphorism apothegm axiom maxim proverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apothegm

British Dictionary definitions for apothegm


/ (ˈæpəˌθɛm) /


a variant spelling of apophthegm
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 apothegm



"pithy saying," 1550s, from Greek apophthegma "terse, pointed saying," literally "something clearly spoken," from apophthengesthai "to speak one's opinion plainly," from apo- "from" (see apo-) + phthengesthai "to utter." See aphorism for nuances of usage. Spelling apophthegm, restored by Johnson, is preferred in England, according to OED.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper