Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes


a.k.a. wise saying, proverb,
motto, sound bite

thanks to


Oxford English Dictionary: aphorism. Any principle, precept, or rule for behavior expressed in few words; a short pithy sentence containing a truth of general import; a maxim. ()

An original laconic phrase conveying some principle or concept of thought.

Wikipedia: aphorism. a concise, terse, laconic, and/or memorable expression of a general truth or principle. . . . often handed down by tradition from generation to generation

synonyms or variations: maxim, wise saying, epigram, apothegm, axiom, proverb, adage, moral, byword, motto, sound bite



Lord Acton: Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Benjamin Franklin's aphorisms




Web definitions: a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton). a concise statement of a principle Many societies have traditional sages or culture heroes to whom aphorisms are commonly attributed, such as the Seven Sages of Greece, Confucius or King Solomon.

[In American literature and culture: Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Emerson, Dorothy Parker, Will Rogers . . . .]


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