Word of The Day for Thursday, January 20, 2011


gno•mic (NOH-mik)  adj

1. sententious; uttering or containing maxims, or striking detached thoughts; aphoristic
2. of, or relating to gnomes

gnomically adjective

1805–15; 1815, from Fr. gnomique (18c.) and directly from L.L. gnomicus "concerned with maxims, didactic," from Gk. gnomikos, from gnome "thought, opinion, maxim, intelligence," from base of gignoskein "to come to know". English gnome meant "short, pithy statement of general truth" (1570s). Gnomical is attested from 1610s.

Synonyms: aphoristic, breviloquent, epigrammatic, laconic, sententious
Related Words: diagnosis, prognosis, gnostic

Sentence Examples:
• Chapman was not dowered with the penetrating imagination that reveals as by a lightning flash unsuspected depths of human character or of moral law. But he has the gnomic faculty that can convey truths of general experience in aphoristic form, and he can wind into a debatable moral issue with adroit casuistry. -Bussy D'Ambois and The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, George Chapman

• That he is not a poet of the first order is plain, if for no other reason than that he never produced a work in any of the greatest forms of poetry. The drama, the epic, the lyric, were all outside his range. On the other hand, unless a definition of poetry be framed — and Dr. Johnson has well remarked that "to circumscribe poetry by a definition will only show the narrowness of the definer" — which shall exclude all gnomic and satiric verse, and so debar the claims of Hesiod, Juvenal, and Boileau, it is impossible to deny that Pope is a true poet. -The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems, Introduction, Thomas Marc Parrott

• "What do you think of this? It is a loose translation from Posidippus."
"It swings well," said Father Letheby. "But who was he?"
"One of the gnomic, or sententious poets," I replied.
"Greek or Latin?" he asked.
Then I succumbed.
"You never heard his name before?" I said.
"Never," said he emphatically.
-My New Curate, P.A. Sheehan

The Storyline
"We have to to live the life we can, and fully,  to be fully ourselves," he began in his typically gnomic manner.

Sources: Wordnik, Online Etymology

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