saying


saying
saying, saw, adage, proverb, maxim, motto, epigram, aphorism, apothegm can all denote a sententious expression of a general truth.
A saying is a brief current or habitual expression that may be anonymous, traditional, or attributable to a specific source
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the saying is true, "The empty vessel makes the greatest sound"— Shak.

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A saw is an oft-repeated and usually traditional or old saying
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full of wise saws and modern instances— Shak.

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the old saw that ignorance is bliss— M. W. Childs

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An adage is a saying given credit by long use and general acceptance
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if there is verity in wine, according to the old adageThackeray

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there's an adage to the effect that a good horse eventually comes back to his best form— Audax Minor

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A proverb is an adage couched, usually, in homely and vividly concrete or figurative phrase
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accused (in the phrase of a homely proverb) of being "penny-wise and pound-foolish"— Spectator

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we hear, that we may speak. The Arabian proverb says, "A fig tree, looking on a fig tree, becometh fruitful"— Emerson

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A maxim offers a general truth, fundamental principle, or rule of conduct often in the form of a proverb
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the difference between principles as universal laws, and maxims of conduct as prudential rules— Robinson

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we have reversed the wise maxim of Theodore Roosevelt: "Speak softly and carry a big stick"— Warburg

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A motto is usually a maxim or moral aphorism adopted by a person, a society, or an institution as a guiding principle or as a statement of an aim or ideal
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William of Wykeham's old motto that "Manners makyth Man"— Quiller-Couch

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he adopted the maxim, "Napoleon is always right," in addition to his private motto of "I will work harder"— George Orwell

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The last three terms, epigram, aphorism, and apothegm, commonly imply known authorship and a conscious literary quality.
An epigram gets its effectiveness from its terseness and a witty turn of phrase; it characteristically presents a paradox or a cleverly pointed antithesis
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what is an epigram? A dwarfish whole, its body brevity, and wit its soul— Coleridge

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An aphorism is a pithy epigram that requires some thought
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when Mark Twain utters such characteristic aphorisms as "Heaven for climate, hell for society"— Brooks

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An apothegm is a sharply pointed and often startling aphorism such as Johnson's remark, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • saying — [sā′iŋ] n. 1. the act of one who says 2. something said; esp., an adage, proverb, or maxim SYN. SAYINGSAYING is the simple, direct term for any pithy expression of wisdom or truth; a SAW2 is an old, homely saying that is well worn by repetition… …   English World dictionary

  • saying — (n.) utterance, recitation, act of the verb say, c.1300, verbal noun from SAY (Cf. say) (v.); meaning something that has been said (usually by someone thought important) is from c.1300; sense of a proverb is first attested mid 15c. Ça va sans… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Saying — Say ing, n. That which is said; a declaration; a statement, especially a proverbial one; an aphorism; a proverb. [1913 Webster] Many are the sayings of the wise, In ancient and in modern books enrolled. Milton. [1913 Webster] Syn: Declaration;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • saying — index catchword, expression (comment), maxim, phrase, remark Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • saying — [n] maxim, proverb adage, aphorism, apophthegm, axiom, byword, dictum, epigram, motto, precept, saw, statement, truism; concept 278 …   New thesaurus

  • saying — ► NOUN ▪ a short, commonly known expression containing advice or wisdom …   English terms dictionary

  • Saying — A saying is something that is said, notable in one respect or another, to be a pithy expression of wisdom or truth. [1] There are a number of specific types of saying: Apothegm. “…an edgy, more cynical aphorism; such as, ‘Men are generally more… …   Wikipedia

  • saying — Synonyms and related words: Parthian shot, adage, address, affirmance, affirmation, allegation, ana, analects, announcement, annunciation, answer, aphorism, apostrophe, apothegm, assertion, asseveration, averment, avouchment, avowal, axiom,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • saying */*/ — UK [ˈseɪɪŋ] / US noun [countable] Word forms saying : singular saying plural sayings a well known statement about what often happens in life Tomorrow s another day, she said, repeating one of her many sayings. as the saying goes (= according to… …   English dictionary

  • saying — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ common, famous, popular, well known ▪ old, traditional ▪ wise ▪ favourite/favorite …   Collocations dictionary