A Lackadaisical Lexicon for Laggard Logophiles
Types of Sayings

A saying is something that is said, notable in one respect or another, to be “a pithy expression of wisdom or truth”.

There are a number of specific types of saying:

Adage – An aphorism that has gained credibility by virtue of long use.

Aphorism – A concise definition, notably memorable.

Apophthegm – “…an edgy, more cynical aphorism; such as, ‘Men are generally more careful of the breed of their horses and dogs than of their children.’”

Bromide – A phrase or platitude that, having been employed excessively, suggests insincerity or a lack of originality in the speaker employing it.

Cliché – An overly commonplace, hackneyed or trite saying.

Epigram – A poetic form of comment on a particular idea, occurrence, or person.

Epithet – A descriptive word or phrase that has become a popular formulation.

Gnome – (Greek: gnome, from gignoskein, to know) A type of saying, especially an aphorism or a maxim, that is designed to provide instruction in a compact form.

Idiom – “…an expression whose meaning can’t be derived simply by hearing it, such as ‘Kick the bucket.’”

Mantra – A religious or mystical syllable or poetic phrase.

Maxim – A principle or rule. A maxim is a wise saying, especially one intended to advise or recommend a course of conduct. In comparison to its approximate synonyms: saying, adage, saw, motto, epigram, proverb, aphorism, the term maxim stresses the succinct formulation of an ultimate truth, a fundamental principle, or a rule of conduct. The word derives from the Latin word maximus, “greatest”, via an expression maxima propositio, “greatest premise”.

Motto – A concise expression of motivation used by a group or individual.

Platitude A flat, insipid, trite, or weak remark.

Proverb – An expression of practical truth or wisdom.

Quip – A witty or funny observation.

Saw – A saying that is commonplace, longstanding and occasionally trite.

Witticism – A smart saying, notable for its form or style rather than its content.


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