aphorism


aphorism
aphorismic, aphorismatic /af'euh riz mat"ik/, adj.
/af"euh riz'euhm/, n.
a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Lord Acton).
[1520-30; F aphorisme < LL aphorismus < Gk aphorismós definition, equiv. to aphor(ízein) to define (see APHORIZE) + -ismos -ISM]

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Terse formulation of any generally accepted truth or sentiment conveyed in a pithy, memorable statement.

The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, a long series of propositions concerning disease and the art of healing. Aphorisms were used especially in dealing with subjects for which principles and methodology developed relatively late, including art, agriculture, medicine, jurisprudence, and politics, but in the modern era they have usually been vehicles of wit and pithy wisdom. Celebrated modern aphorists include Friedrich Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde.

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      a concise expression of doctrine or principle or any generally accepted truth conveyed in a pithy, memorable statement. Aphorisms have been especially used in dealing with subjects that were late in developing their own principles or methodology—for example, art, agriculture, medicine, jurisprudence, and politics.

 The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, a long series of propositions concerning the symptoms and diagnosis of disease and the art of healing and medicine. The first aphorism, which serves as a kind of introduction to the book, runs as follows:Life is short, Art long, Occasion sudden and dangerous, Experience deceitful, and Judgment difficult. Neither is it sufficient that the physician be ready to act what is necessary to be done by him, but the sick, and the attendants and all outward necessaries must be lightly prepared and fitted for the business.

      A well-known medieval collection of aphorisms is that formulated in about 1066 in Latin verse by the celebrated doctor Joannes de Meditano, giving the precepts of the medical school of Salerno. Another collection of aphorisms, also medical and also in Latin, is that of the Dutchman Hermann Boerhaave (Boerhaave, Hermann), published at Leiden in the year 1709; it gives a terse summary of the medical knowledge prevailing at the time and is of great interest to the student of the history of medicine.

      The term was gradually applied to the principles of other fields and finally to any statement generally accepted as true, so that it is now roughly synonymous with maxim.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • aphorism — (n.) 1520s (especially in reference to the Aphorisms of Hippocrates ), from M.Fr. aphorisme (14c., aufforisme), from L.L. aphorismus, from Gk. aphorismos definition, pithy sentence, from aphorizein to mark off, divide, from apo from (see APO (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • Aphorism — Aph o*rism, n. [F. aphorisme, fr. Gr. ? definition, a short, pithy sentence, fr. ? to mark off by boundaries, to define; ? from + ? to separate, part. See {Horizon}.] A comprehensive maxim or principle expressed in a few words; a sharply defined… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aphorism — index maxim, phrase Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • aphorism — apothegm, epigram, *saying, saw, maxim, adage, proverb, motto …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • aphorism — [n] saying expressing a belief, often true adage, apothegm, axiom, dictum, maxim, moral, precept, proverb, rule, saw, saying, truism; concepts 275,278,689 …   New thesaurus

  • aphorism — ► NOUN ▪ a concise witty remark which contains a general truth. DERIVATIVES aphoristic adjective. ORIGIN Greek aphorismos definition …   English terms dictionary

  • aphorism — [af′ə riz΄əm] n. [< OFr & ML: OFr aufforisme < ML aphorismus < LGr aphorismos < Gr, a distinction, determination < aphorizein, to divide, mark off < apo , from + horizein, to bound: see HORIZON] 1. a short, concise statement of… …   English World dictionary

  • Aphorism — Not to be confused with aphorismus. Aphorisms redirects here. For the Red Sparowes album, see Aphorisms (album). An aphorism (literally distinction or definition , from Greek ἀφορισμός (aphorismós), from ἀπό (apo) and ὁρίζειν (horizein), meaning… …   Wikipedia

  • aphorism — UK [ˈæfəˌrɪz(ə)m] / US [ˈæfəˌrɪzəm] noun [countable] Word forms aphorism : singular aphorism plural aphorisms a short statement that says something wise and true …   English dictionary

  • aphorism — noun Etymology: Middle French aphorisme, from Late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos definition, aphorism, from aphorizein to define, from apo + horizein to bound more at horizon Date: 1528 1. a concise statement of a principle …   New Collegiate Dictionary