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(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
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 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 ?
Gomez-Davila thinks of his aphorisms (escolios) as scholia, that is, annotations, explanations, glosses, or commentaries on philosophical questions, problems, and dilemmas.
For example, the death of Cromwell in 1658 prompted Harrington to republish immediately the main ideas of his bulky utopia Oceana (1656) as more incisive and compelling aphorisms, dialogues, and models (Pocock [1977] 101), writings meant to bring thinking citizens together to seize the occasion.
amp;uot; Among his most widely quoted aphorisms are reflections on the nature of ideology: &uot;We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.
For Envall, each of Rekola's aphorisms elicits a surprising number of interpretations (readings might be a better word), unlike traditional aphorisms, which made a single thrust, as it were, thinking "on behalf of the reader" - a phrase from Envall's resume of his dissertation printed in a 1986 issue of Books from Finland.
Stories, proverbs, riddles, aphorisms, prophecies, engravings, poetry, prayers, and sermons were included in various almanacs.
Indeed, aphorisms and epigrams may be all the audience expects from Gross Indecency, a new play written and directed by Moises Kaufman.
A few of his works were published in his lifetime, notably his edition of the Aphorisms of Hippocrates.
s favorite aphorisms warned: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, phony white liberals and colored men seeking loans.
Geary outlines the guiding principles of aphorisms and reveals their role in his own life.
Captive Notions: Concise Commentaries On The Commonplace is a collection of nearly 700 original aphorisms each of which makes a brief but timeless observation on various aspects of the human condition.
The theory behind ``The Newlywed Game'' - that any American would sell out his or her spouse for a washer-dryer or a riding lawn mower - is one of his many wise aphorisms.
Ogden, Utah: A religious group called SUMMUM is suing the city for displaying a Ten Commandments marker donated by the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 1966 while refusing to add a sign listing the "Seven Aphorisms of SUMMUM.