(redirected from Aphorisms)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(ăf`ərĭz'əm), short, pithy statement of an evident truth concerned with life or nature; distinguished from the axiom because its truth is not capable of scientific demonstration. HippocratesHippocrates
, c.460–c.370 B.C., Greek physician, recognized as the father of medicine. He is believed to have been born on the island of Cos, to have studied under his father, a physician, to have traveled for some time, perhaps studying in Athens, and to have then
..... Click the link for more information.
 was the first to use the term for his Aphorisms, briefly stated medical principles. Note his famous opening sentence: "Life is short, art is long, opportunity fleeting, experimenting dangerous, reasoning difficult."



a generalized, finalized, and profound idea of an author, expressed in laconic, refined form; it is distinguished by its apt expressiveness and obvious unexpectedness of judgment. Like a proverb, an aphorism does not prove or document but rather acts on the consciousness through the original formulation of a thought. The expressiveness of aphorisms increases with a decrease in the number of words; about three-fourths of all aphorisms consist of three to five words. Aphorisms are formed both in the context of scientific, philosophical, and artistic works and independently: “Mediocrity is more easily forgiven than talent” (E. Krotkii); “Each hears only what he understands” (J. W. Goethe); “Knowledge is power” (F. Bacon). The verbal fabric of aphorisms permits no changes.


Uspenskii, L. “Korotko ob aforizmakh.” In the collection Aforizmy. Compiled by E. S. Raize. Leningrad, 1964.
Asemissen, H. U. “Notizen über den Aphorismus.” Trivium. [Zürich,] 1949, no. 2.


References in periodicals archive ?
And, yes, I'm aware these are all by men: aphorisms usually are.
Gomez-Davila thinks of his aphorisms (escolios) as scholia, that is, annotations, explanations, glosses, or commentaries on philosophical questions, problems, and dilemmas.
Simmel's Journal Aphorisms may number only 166, requiring 28 pages of text, but they establish his place in the tradition from Marcus Aurelius through Pascal.
Though not all of these aphorisms originated with him (and such are the perils of reconstructing an oral tradition), he is their chief exponent to the Mason graduate students.
The aphorisms and quotations are organized by subjects ranging from amputations and art to cancer surgery, colostomies, drugs, education, errors, ethics, fame, infections, malpractice, pain, the pancreas, politics, research, the thyroid, truth, death and even surgery's relation to love.
All three, however, were best known to generations of practitioners for their aphorisms, those pithy pearls of clinical wisdom that encapsulated what they had learned by careful observations at the bedsides of many patients.
The Seven Aphorisms, which Summum seeks to display next to Ten Commandment monuments, are said by the faithful to have been recorded on the initial stone tablets Moses received before the Ten Commandments.
The final aphorism in John Caspar Lavater's 1788 volume entitled Aphorisms on Man, translated by Henry Fuseli and with a frontispiece engraved by William Blake, reads "If you mean to know yourself, interline such of these aphorisms as affected you agreeably in reading, and set a mark to such as left a sense of uneasiness with you; and then shew your copy to whom you please" (quoted in Jackson 156).
Sapienza said that he had included Wilde in Provocations: Aphorisms for an Anti-conformist Christianity because he was a "writer who lived perilously and somewhat scandalously but who has left us some razor-sharp maxims with a moral.
In fits and starts, Richard Deming's book advances a project of sensual reorientation in the spirit of Stanley Cavell's ordinary language philosophy, and his achievements are noteworthy in a few directions, including a sophisticated intertextuality, a knack for aphorisms, and most importantly a contribution to literary ethics where the ear can play a central role.
The 40-minute work, titled ``Directions for Singing,'' is based on John Wesley's instructional aphorisms regarding the use of music in the church.