ap·​o·​thegm | \ ˈa-pə-ˌthem How to pronounce apothegm (audio) \

Definition of apothegm

: a short, pithy, and instructive saying or formulation : aphorism

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from apothegm

apothegmatic \ ˌa-​pə-​theg-​ˈma-​tik How to pronounce apothegm (audio) \ adjective

Examples of apothegm in a Sentence

her mother endlessly repeated the apothegm “cleanliness is next to godliness”
Recent Examples on the Web As with every Together Live speaker, each apothegm is met with exuberant applause. Zoë Ghertner, Vogue, "Reese Witherspoon: Activist, Advocate, Hollywood’s Moral Compass," 10 Jan. 2019

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

First Known Use of apothegm

1548, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apothegm

borrowed from New Latin apothegma, apophthegma, borrowed from Greek apophthegmat-, apóphthegma, from apophtheg-, stem of apophthéngomai, apophthéngesthai "to speak one's opinion plainly, utter a pithy saying" (from apo- apo- + phthéngomai, phthéngesthai "to utter a sound, speak clearly," of obscure origin) + -mat-, -ma, resultative noun suffix

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apothegm

Time Traveler for apothegm

Time Traveler

The first known use of apothegm was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Statistics for apothegm

Cite this Entry

“Apothegm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apothegm. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on apothegm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apothegm

Comments on apothegm

What made you want to look up apothegm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!