A brief pithy saying, usually characterized by striking logic and/or imagery. Often confused with proverbs & maxims which embody common observations & traditional wisdom, the aphorism originates as a fresh expression of a particular speaker's unconventional insights. While proverbs reflect the basic values of a society, aphorisms reflect the personal viewpoint of distinct individuals.

Proverbs are based on observations that anyone might immediately accept as generally true. Aphorisms, on the other hand, are often initially startling. They are remembered as the saying of a particular author, while proverbs quickly become public property. Oft-repeated aphorisms can in time become the wisdom shared by their author's followers. But they still reflect a characteristic outlook that distinguishes that particular group from others.

Other On-line Resources:

Aphorisms - a collection of aphorisms about aphorisms by ancient & modern authors (posted by Wikiquote).

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last revised 01 January 2018


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