Definition of aphorism
1 : a concise statement of a principle
3 : an ingeniously terse style of expression : aphoristic language These are dazzling chapters, packed with perfectly chosen anecdotes and pithy with aphorism. — John Keegan
aphoristplay \-rist\ noun
aphoristicplay \ˌa-fə-ˈris-tik\ adjective
aphoristicallyplay \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
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Examples of aphorism in a Sentence
Confronted by a broadminded, witty, and tolerant cosmopolitan, for whom the infinite varieties of human custom offered a source of inexhaustible fascination, Thucydides presented himself as a humorless nationalist, an intellectual given to political aphorisms and abstract generalizations. —Peter Green, New York Review of Books, 15 May 2008
It doesn't take long to learn that a lie always unravels and that it always ends up making you feel royally cruddy. “Do the kind of work during the day that allows you to sleep at night” was an aphorism my grandfather was fond of. —Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Newsweek, 6 Mar. 2006
The Sun twice went into journalism legend. Its city editor John Bogart is generally credited with the aphorism “When a dog bites a man, that's not news. But when a man bites a dog, that's news.” And the paper delivered America's most treasured editorial in 1897, when a young girl, whose playmates had told her there was no Santa Claus, wrote and asked the Sun to tell her the truth. —Peter Andrews, American Heritage, October 1994
Truman is remembered as much today for his aphorisms as his policies: “The buck stops here,” “If you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen,” and the like. Such slogans are endearing in a time of plastic politicians who make a career of ducking responsibilities … —Ronald Steel, New Republic, 10 Aug. 1992
When decorating, remember the familiar aphorism, “less is more.”
what does the aphorism “Hindsight is 20/20” mean?
Recent Examples of aphorism from the Web
Harrelson has kept alive baseball aphorisms that probably seemed a bit dated even when Harrelson's broadcasting career began in Boston in the mid-1970s.
Death Troopers, among the ominous new villains of 'Rogue One' All art is propaganda, at least according to George Orwell’s aphorism, but not if Disney’s CEO has anything to say about it.
This case, involving legal requirements for the content and labeling of meat products such as frankfurters, affords a rare opportunity to explore simultaneously both parts of Bismarck’s aphorism that ‘
Westacott’s eye for detail allows his survey of the frugal sages to transcend a mere assembly of aphorisms.
One of the things that happens in the aphorism is that the chalices are drained, which again raises the question of: who was supposed to drink it originally?
Actual Jews were actually dead on a West Bank road, and Peres had already moved past anger and sorrow to abstraction and aphorism.
Christopher F. Patten, the last British colonial governor of Hong Kong, wrote about Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, attributing the aphorism to Winston Churchill.
There’s an old aphorism about writing that goes: Real writers write with the mind, not with the fingers.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aphorism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Aphorism was originally used in the world of medicine. Credit Hippocrates, the Greek physician regarded as the father of modern medicine, with influencing our use of the word. He used aphorismos (a Greek ancestor of aphorism meaning "definition" or "aphorism") in titling a book outlining his principles on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. That volume offered many examples that helped to define aphorism, beginning with the statement that starts the book's introduction: "Life is short, Art long, Occasion sudden and dangerous, Experience deceitful, and Judgment difficult." English speakers originally used the term mainly in the realm of the physical sciences, but eventually broadened its use to cover principles in other fields.
APHORISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of aphorism for English Language Learners
: a short phrase that expresses a true or wise idea
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