Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


(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."
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cioran and Friedrich Nietzsche used the aphorism to reveal deep truths.
Many of his aphorisms would not seem out of place on your particularly witty friends social media channel, and indeed, Lababidi devotes several pages to aphorisms specifically about how society is adapting to these new platforms of communication.
in Drop (English version Of Qatra Qulzam), Harf Haqeeqat (Essays),Bharay Bharolay (Punjabi Poetry),Shab Raaz (Urdu Poetry),Baat Say Baat (Aphorism),Gumnam Adeeb (Letters), Ziker-e-Habeeb (Na'tia Poetry), Dareechay (Aphorism),WasifYat (Essays), Kulyat-e-Wasif Ali Wasif (Poetry), Aqwaal-e-Wasif Ali Wasif Ka Encyclopedia.
Nicolas Gomez-Davila's (1913-1994) Scholia to an Implicit Text (Escolios a un Texto Implicito) is a work of aphorisms. Preoccupied with several recurring themes-- the embrace of tradition, moral-spiritual truancy in the modern world, Christianity, the futility of revolutions, and history as cyclical--the Colombian thinker makes the case that modern man is incapable of forging objective and lasting heuristic lessons from history.
Simmel's emphasis on duty in the aphorism just quoted is the topic of the fourth and longest essay, "The Law of the Individual," in which he addresses Kant's categorical imperative, refuting both its logic and its practical value.
"The Aphorism: Fragments from the Breakdown of Reason." New Literary History, 34(3): 409-39.
However, you can never underestimate a Spencer finisher and Aphorism, despite running around a bit, ran out a cosy winner in the end, having traded at a high of 20.
Aphorism is not the easiest of rides but Spencer managed to persuade the James Fanshawe-trained mare to put her best foot forward.
His annotations to Lavater, to return to the example above, often direct the reader from one aphorism to another, sometimes distant, aphorism in the book, thereby creating a pre-digital hyper-text--in other words, a text built of links and fragments.
The winner opposes again but Aphorism is now 2lb better off and can reverse the placings.
Aphorism has been lightly-raced this season and Fanshawe's wife Jacko said: "She needs a strong pace and hadn't had much luck in her other two races this season.
Regular readers will know this column's predilection for the Miesian aphorism 'less is more' when applied to websites though not all-lower-case practice names.