adage

noun
ad·​age | \ ˈa-dij \

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

But there’s a lot of history supporting the adage that generals forever prepare to fight the last war. Douglas J. Feith And, WSJ, "The U.S. Military’s Crisis of Imagination," 19 Dec. 2018 There's an old adage about running for office: when a person runs, their whole family runs along with them. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How John McCain's Children Were Shaped by His Political Career," 27 Aug. 2018 Good pitching beats good hitting, or so the adage goes. New York Times, "Yankees Offense Takes the Day Off Against Justin Verlander," 28 May 2018 The adage circulating on the island is that Martha’s Vineyard is for millionaires and Nantucket is for billionaires. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "Inside Hotel Pippa, the Buzziest New Place to Stay on Nantucket," 1 Aug. 2018 The notion that the adage less is more might somehow apply to Plein seems, rather, unbelievable, but for his Plein Sport Spring collection, his regale was marginally toned down—and this was a good thing. Nick Remsen, Vogue, "Philipp Plein Serves Up a Tennis-Themed Sport Collection in Milan," 17 June 2018 While, theoretically, the old adage that everyone is replaceable may be generally true, the Wynn dynamic is much more complicated and uncertain. Julie Creswell, New York Times, "Without Steve Wynn, Casino Empire Risks Losing More Than a Name," 7 Feb. 2018 Neither adage proves nor disproves the claims of a highly sophisticated supply-chain attack infiltrating the world’s most powerful organizations. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Bloomberg report says backdoored Supermicro hardware infiltrated major US telecom," 9 Oct. 2018 Yeah, the argument was the old Watergate adage, follow the money. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Jessica Pressler talks ‘lady grifters’ + Ken Auletta on the ‘frenemies’ of the ad business on Recode Media," 24 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near adage

ad absurdum

adad

adag

adage

ad agency

adagietto

adagio

Statistics for adage

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for adage

The first known use of adage was in 1530

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More Definitions for adage

adage

noun

English Language Learners Definition of adage

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

adage

noun
ad·​age | \ ˈa-dij \

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about adage

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