Aphorisms and Adages

Aphorism: A maxim; a precept, or principle expressed in few words containing some important truth.

“While there are loads of trite and silly statements, a good aphorism is supposed to stand the test of time and remain true and elegant — a very difficult task!”  vocabulary.com

Aphorism comes from the Greek word ἀφορίζω (aphorízō).  It means, I mark off, as in, mark of a boundary.  Ἀφορίζω is a combination two Greek word.  The preposition ἀπό (apo) means from, or away from.   The verb ὁρίζω (horízō) means I divide, and is related to the noun ὅρος (horos) meaning, boundary.

The Latin equivalent of the aphorism is the adage.

Adage: a wise saying.

Adage comes from the Latin ad (to, toward) and agere (to do, to drive).  Perhaps, in this sense, the adage is to drive us toward wisdom.

Here are some other notable aphorisms and adages:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

– Lord Acton

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

– Winston Churchill

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”

– Gilbert Highet

“If time be of all things most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Life is short.  Art is long.”

– Hippocrates. 

Can’t say I agree with Hippocrates’ aphorism.  Life is not short.  So far, life is the longest thing I am doing.