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Definition of Aphorism

Aphorism is a statement of truth or opinion expressed in a concise and witty manner. The term is often applied to philosophical, moral and literary principles.

To qualify as an aphorism, it is necessary for a statement to contain a truth revealed in a terse manner. Aphoristic statements are quoted in writings as well as in our daily speech. The fact that they contain a truth gives them a universal acceptance. Scores of philosophers, politicians, writers, artists and sportsman and other individuals are remembered for their famous aphoristic statements.

Aphorisms often come with a pinch of humor, which makes them more appealing to the masses. Proverbs, maxims, adages and clichés are different forms of aphoristic statements that gain prevalence from generation to generation and frequently appear in our day-to-day speech.

Examples of Aphorism

Let us look at some examples aphorisms:

  • Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old age regret. [Benjamin Disraeli]
  • Pride hath fall. [Proverb]
  • The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. [William Faulkner]
  • Life’s Tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. [Benjamin Franklin]
  • Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream. [Khalil Gibran]
  • The simplest questions are the hardest to answer. [Northrop Frye]
  • A proverb is no proverb to you till life has illustrated it. [John Keats]
  • Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. [Rudyard Kipling]

Examples of Aphorism in Literature

Many pieces of literature are appreciated for the aphorisms they contain which are often cited by scholars as well as laymen. Below are some examples of aphorisms in literature:

Example #1

Sir Francis Bacon excels in aphoristic style of writing. Possibly, his sayings are the most quoted of all. Read the following examples:

  • “Studies serve for delight, for ornament and for ability.” (Of Studies)
  • “To use too many circumstances, ere one come to the matter, is wearisome, to use none at all, is Blunt.”(OfDiscourse
  • )
  • “Praise is the reflection of the virtue. But it is the reflection glass or body which giveth the reflection.”(Of Praise)

Date: 2015-02-03; view: 1297

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