Word of The Day for Sunday, February 27, 2011


ap•o•thegm (AP-uh-them)  n
also apophthegm (Britain)

a short, pithy, and instructive saying or formulation

apothegmatic adjective; apothegmatically adverb
circa 1587; from Gk. apophthegma "terse, pointed saying," lit. "something clearly spoken," from apophthengesthai "to speak one's opinion plainly," from apo- "from"  + phthengesthai "to utter." See aphorism for nuances of usage. Spelling apophthegm, restored by Johnson, is preferred in England, according to OED.

Synonyms: adage, aphorism, saying, epigram, maxim, proverb
Related Words: diphthong

Sentence Examples:
• In this deep gorge the winds and the pines chanted like a Greek chorus; the waves continuously murmured an intricate rune, as if conning it by frequent repetition; a bird would call out from the upper air some joyous apothegm in a language which no creature of the earth has learned enough of happiness to translate.  -The Moonshiners At Hoho-Hebee Falls, Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

• “Laugh and grow fat” is an apothegm which all people cannot follow, but our mother did in the most satisfactory manner.  -Marmaduke Merry, William H. G. Kingston

• "That, Mrs. Lamon, is a vulgar error. It is an ancient form of worship. Virtue and beauty are the same thing--the two graces."
"What a nice apothegm! It makes religion so easy and agreeable."
-The Golden House, Charles Dudley Warner

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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