adage

noun ad·age \ ˈa-dij \
Updated on: 23 Nov 2017

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."

Examples of adage in a Sentence

  1. that old adage, “the early bird gets the worm”

Recent Examples of adage from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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.


ADAGE Defined for English Language Learners

adage

noun

Definition of adage for English Language Learners

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


ADAGE Defined for Kids

adage

noun ad·age \ ˈa-dij \

Definition of adage for Students

: an old familiar saying : proverb


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