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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 ?
When Professor John Figgis aphoristically remarked that "political liberty is the residuary legatee of ecclesiastical animosities," he expressed one half of the truth.
Some aphoristically take a moment of nature, using only images and shunning abstraction, to give the metaphysics of life on earth and of eternity:
Butler's contention, that the "workingman is a man, and the equal of the capitalist" (80) illustrates aphoristically the key dimension of the dilemma.
He identifies himself aphoristically as the Prince of Death, as old as he is wise: "Yo soy viejo como la muerte y sabio como el desengano" (I am as old as death and as wise as the disillusioned; 87).
As Craib aphoristically comments, this is akin to 'throwing a sort of intellectual tantrum: because if I can't have it all, then I won't have any of it' (1992: 249).
Macaulay once said -- aphoristically -- that Byron divided his time "evenly between poetry, adultery and insurrection.
By placing the Hsun Tzu at this point in the course, we can continue working within the tradition of Confucianism for another several weeks, this time by examining a text that is easier for students to grasp at first reading than the Analects, since it proceeds by connected reflection and systematic argument rather than aphoristically, and since it is explicitly concerned with causality.
The complex relationship between the subjective self and both familial and other influences and the language of a poem is addressed in similar terms in "In a Fit of My Own Vividness," in which the narrator notes aphoristically that "[i]t's hard to throw off what you're subject to.
Separating the aphoristic method from the rhetoric of the essays, however, means that their proverbial quotations have to be viewed as mere exempla rather than aphorisms, despite the potential for proverbs to function aphoristically in other contexts.
Aphoristically, Wilson wonders "what are we writers here for, if it is not to cheat the world of its triumph?
In King Lear, for instance, Edgar, in despair and disguised as Mad Tom just before the appearance of his blinded father, aphoristically affirms that he is better off ragged and aware of being scorned than he would be were he scorned unawares since flattered for his wardrobe's display of wealth and status: "Yet better thus, and known to be contemned/ Than still contemned and flattered" (4.