ap·​o·​thegm ˈa-pə-ˌthem How to pronounce apothegm (audio)
: a short, pithy, and instructive saying or formulation : aphorism
apothegmatic 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, 10 Jan. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apothegm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apothegm was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near apothegm

Cite this Entry

“Apothegm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apothegm. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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