The Info List - Saying

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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]

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]

Four-character idiom:

Chengyu: Chinese four-character idioms Sajaseong-eo: Korean form of four-character idioms Yojijukugo: Japanese form of four-character idioms

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:

Brocards Gnomes Legal maxims

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.


Look up saying in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

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

v t e

genres, types, and subtypes


Animal tale Fable Fairytale/Märchen Legend Oral tradition Personal narrative

Verbal art

Folk etymology Joke Rhyme (Nursery rhyme) Proverb Saying Word game



and folk belief

Folk religion Myth Old wives' tale Ritual
( Legend

Folk music

Folk song Folk instrument


Folk art Outsider art





See also

Folkloristics Aarne–Thompson classification systems Morphology (fo