Using technology

This Helped

“Once burned, twice shy” is an old saying about learning from your mistakes. In fact, sayings —a term used to describe any current or habitual expression of wisdom or truth—are a dime a dozen. Proverbs —sayings that are well known and often repeated, usually expressing metaphorically a truth based on common sense or practical experience—are just as plentiful (her favorite proverb was “A stitch in time saves nine”).

An adage is a time-honored and widely known proverb, such as “Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire.” A maxim offers a rule of conduct or action in the form of a proverb, such as “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Epigram and epigraph are often confused, but their meanings are quite separate. An epigram is a terse, witty, or satirical statement that often relies on a paradox for its effect (Oscar Wilde’s well-known epigram that “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it”). An epigraph, on the other hand, is a brief quotation used to introduce a piece of writing (he used a quote from T. S. Eliot as the epigraph to his new novel).

An aphorism requires a little more thought than an epigram, since it aims to be profound rather than witty (she’d just finished reading a book of Mark Twain’s aphorisms). An apothegm is a pointed and often startling aphorism, such as Samuel Johnson’s remark that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Now you’ve got it!

Take from the “Choosing the Right Word” section of my dashboard’s Dictionary.

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