Part of speech: noun
Origin: Greek, early 16th century
A brief, instructive saying
A succinct statement of a general truth or observation
Examples of Aphorism in a sentence
"We all groaned every time Dad tried to give a life lesson by saying an aphorism."
"‘Actions speak louder than words’ is a good aphorism to employ in your friendships."
Popularity Over Time
There are a few words for brief sayings with pieces of valuable life advice. A proverb usually has more flowery or poetic language than an aphorism. An adage will be in metaphorical terms, while a maxim is likely to include a rule for your behavior. All of these can be used in place of aphorism.
Did you Know?
Sometimes the ancient root of a word matches up perfectly to the modern definition. "Aphorism" comes from the Greek word "aphorismós," which is a pithy phrase containing a general truth. Many credit the Greek physician Hippocrates for the invention of this word. Nowadays, you can just keep in mind one of the most well-known aphorisms: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.