English Synonyms and Antonyms
The proverb or adage gives homely truth in condensed, practical form, the adage often pictorial. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick" is a proverb; "The cat loves fish, but dares not wet her feet," is an adage. Both the proverb and the adage, but especially the latter, are thought of as ancient and widely known. An aphorism partakes of the character of a definition; it is a summary statement of what the author sees and believes to be true. An apothegm is a terse statement of what is plain or easily proved. The aphorism is philosophical, the apothegm practical. A dictum is a statement of some person or school, on whom it depends for authority; as, a dictum of Aristotle. A saying is impersonal, current among the common people, deriving its authority from its manifest truth or good sense; as, it is an old saying, "the more haste, the worse speed." A saw is a saying that is old, but somewhat worn and tiresome. Precept is a command to duty; motto or maxim is a brief statement of cherished truth, the maxim being more uniformly and directly practical; "God is love" may be a motto, "Fear God and fear naught," a maxim. The precepts of the Sermon on the Mount will furnish the Christian with invaluable maxims or mottoes. A byword is a phrase or saying used reproachfully or contemptuously.
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