ad·​age | \ ˈa-dij How to pronounce adage (audio) \

Definition of adage

: a saying often in metaphorical form that typically embodies a common observation She reminded him of the adage: "A penny saved is a penny earned."

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Examples of adage in a Sentence

that old adage, “the early bird gets the worm”
Recent Examples on the Web As the adage goes, love is blind — and, just in case, Nick and Vanessa Lachey are making sure. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Nick & Vanessa Lachey Are The Face Of Love Is Blind, Netflix’s Craziest Dating Experiment Yet," 11 Feb. 2020 The old adage goes that the Premier League table starts to take shape after ten games, and with that in mind Saturday's fixture between Brighton and Norwich is probably the first relegation six pointer of the season., "Brighton vs Norwich Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 30 Oct. 2019 Chief among them is that salty old adage: Never turn your back on the ocean. oregonlive, "How to stay safe when storm watching on the Oregon coast," 14 Jan. 2020 As the old advertising adage goes, no one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy. Natasha Frost, Quartzy, "As Aperol spritz fatigue sets in, the fight to sell the next big drink is already underway," 30 Oct. 2019 May is, after all, according to the traders’ adage, the month where investors are supposed to go, and stay, away. Washington Post, "Trump’s Trade War Has Cost Investors Up to $7 Trillion," 18 Sep. 2019 Up against a noisy ecosystem of fad diets and a complex array of nutrition science, a new group hopes to bring fresh meaning and substance to that age-old adage. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "A new nutrition group aims to erase the link between value and massive portions," 25 Aug. 2019 Not many will suffer the destructive lows of relegation and the inexplicable highs of European success within 12 months, but Shaqiri is testament to the adage that form is temporary, class is permanent., "Xherdan Shaqiri: From Relegation to Champions League Winner in 4 Short Premier League Years," 11 Aug. 2019 The adage of doing well by doing good has evolved to doing good as essential table stakes to doing well. Fortune, "As Tech IPOs Grow, Communications Is Even More Crucial," 31 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of adage

1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for adage

borrowed from Middle French, borrowed from Latin adagiō, adagium, from ad- ad- + ag-, base of aiō, āiō "(I) say" (going back to *ag-i̯ō, going back to an Indo-European verb stem *h2eǵ-i̯e- "say") + -ium, deverbal noun suffix; akin to Greek ê "(s/he) spoke," án-ōga "(I) command," Armenian asem "(I) say," Tocharian B āks- "announce, proclaim"

Note: The Latin form is possibly adāgiō; the lack of vowel reduction in the second syllable is otherwise unexplained. Michiel de Vaan, Etymological Dictionary of Latin (Brill, 2008), believes that the base is not aiō, but rather adigō, "I drive/thrust/plunge into, force, impel." Semantically, this is not compelling, and does not in any case solve the problem of the second syllable. On the other hand, the lack of attestation for aiō with any prefixes aside from this noun is striking.

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Time Traveler for adage

Time Traveler

The first known use of adage was in 1530

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Adage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for adage


How to pronounce adage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of adage

: an old and well-known saying that expresses a general truth


ad·​age | \ ˈa-dij How to pronounce adage (audio) \

Kids Definition of adage

: an old familiar saying : proverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on adage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for adage

Spanish Central: Translation of adage

Nglish: Translation of adage for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about adage

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