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apothegm

or ap·o·phthegm

[ap-uh-them]
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noun
  1. a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for apothegm

Historical Examples

  • I remembered this apothegm of Jane's, which sounded well, and fitted in nicely just here.

    A Pessimist

    Robert Timsol

  • An apothegm is a terse statement of what is plain or easily proved.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms

    James Champlin Fernald

  • That a style of this kind should be rich in apothegm is not surprising.

    Francis Beaumont: Dramatist

    Charles Mills Gayley

  • But the truth of this apothegm was not sustained in the present instance.

  • It has been an apothegm these five thousand years, that toil sweetens the bread it earns.


British Dictionary definitions for apothegm

apothegm

noun
  1. a variant spelling of apophthegm
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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

n.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper