What A Wonderful Word Wednesday: Aphorism

I do enjoy a good aphorism. Even though they’re small and plain and chopped down to the barest bones, they’re seeped in simple elegance. Swimming around in the fishbowl of my mind, they fascinate in the same mesmerizing way that goldfish do. Side to side they glide…

“Less is more.”
“Hindsight is 20/20.”

Back and forth, back and forth…

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
“A little learning is a dangerous thing!”

To and fro, to and fro…

“Pride goes before the fall.”
“Silence is golden.”

Every flitting phrase is a doorway to a maze of memories, times when the sayings held more true than I care to admit. And as I go about my daily routine, these tiny, time-tested, fall-back-upon quotes help me work my way around dumb decisions, which I dare say can be devastatingly abundant! Small, but mighty, the aphorism manages to encapsulate many possibilities in a single succinct sentence, a tiny truism.

Speaking of truisms, what is the difference between a truism and an aphorism? Perhaps only perspective! A truism is a statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting. An aphorism, on the other hand, is a short phrase that expresses a true or wise idea (in a witty or memorable way). So wit defines it? But who’s to be the judge of that? Who owns a wit-o-meter?

Merriam Webster states that the word was gradually morphed from the Greek word aphorizein, meaning apo- + horizein (to bind or define). So are these small sentences like little stitches in our lives binding what is to what ought to be, just as the horizon binds the earth and the sky? I like that idea. They may be small and plain, but these little aphorisms are useful, most useful indeed, in bridging the gap when we stand scratching our heads, wondering which steps to take. (I haven’t been able to figure out what apo- means… Any input from you Greek scholars out there?) I guess I shouldn’t be impatient. All good things take time. And haste makes waste.

Gotta get a new aphorism into your life? Need to add an adage or two? Say! You, my friend, are in luck! This site has an enviable compilation, all at your disposal!

What’s your favorite aphorism? Leave a comment! The more the merrier! 🙂

WWWW-Aphorism (square size)


What IS What a Wonderful Word Wednesday? I’m a fan of words. They’re just so darn interesting and super useful for conveying ideas, telling stories, and painting word pictures. I constantly come across unknown words…or words I’m familiar with but unsure of the precise definition…or underused words, wonderful words, words which (in my opinion!) really ought to be in circulation a lot more than they are! Enter WWWW. The purpose of these posts is to bring you an interesting word every week along with a visual to help solidify the meaning. I hope you stop in every once and again or, better still, join me every Wednesday on this lexical road trip to a richer vocabulary!

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