Something, such as an adage or maxim, that is said.
Synonyms: saying, maxim, adage, saw2, aphorism
These nouns refer to concise verbal expressions setting forth wisdom or a truth. A saying is an often repeated and familiar expression: a collection of philosophical sayings. Maxim denotes particularly an expression of a general truth or a rule of conduct: "For a wise man, he seemed to me ... to be governed too much by general maxims" (Edmund Burke).
Adage applies to a saying that has gained credit through long use: a gift that gave no credence to the adage, "Good things come in small packages." Saw often refers to a familiar saying that has become trite through frequent repetition: old saws that gave little comfort to the losing team. Aphorism, denoting a concise expression of a truth or principle, implies depth of content and stylistic distinction: Few writers have coined more aphorisms than Benjamin Franklin.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.