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A saying is any concisely written or spoken expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning or style. Sayings are categorized as follows:

  • Aphorism: a general, observational truth; "a pithy expression of wisdom or truth".[1][page needed]
    • Adage, proverb, or saw: a widely known or popular aphorism that has gained credibility by long use or tradition.
    • 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.'"[2]
  • Cliché or bromide: an unoriginal and overused saying.
    • Platitude: a cliché that is unsuccessfully presented as though it were meaningful, original, or effective.
  • Epigram: a clever and often poetic written saying that comments on a specific person, idea, or thing; it especially denominates such a saying that is conspicuously put at the beginning of a text.
  • Epitaph: a saying in honor of a decedent, often engraved on a headstone or plaque.
  • Epithet: a descriptive word or saying already widely associated with a specific person, idea, or thing.
  • Idiom: a saying that has only a non-literal interpretation; "an expression whose meaning can't be derived simply by hearing it, such as 'Kick the bucket.'"[2]
  • Mantra: a religious, mystical, or other spiritual saying that is repeated, for example, in meditation.
  • Maxim: (1) an instructional expression of a general principle or rule of morality or (2) simply a synonym for "aphorism"; they include:
  • Motto: a saying used frequently by a person or group to summarize its general mission.
  • Quip: a clever or humorous saying based on an observation.
  • Witticism: a saying that is clever and usually humorous, and notable for its form or style just as much as, or more than, its meaning.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Randall, Bernice (1991). When is a Pig a Hog?: A Guide to Confoundingly Related English Words. New York: Galahad Books. 
  2. ^ a b Rovin, Jeff (1994). What’s the Difference? A Compendium of Commonly Confused and Misused Words. New York: Ballantine Books. 

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