Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, 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."



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 ?
It seems as if the author might have intended to observe his sixtieth birthday (8 August 1997) with the publication of this superb collection of aphorisms, a distillation of decades of thought and analysis on the nature of life, our existential purpose, and the role of literary art in this context.
The briefest and most eclectic, the seventh and final section of the reader contains an essay, letters and excerpts from letters to Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, and an aphorism.
But when the polarities and ironic contradictions of language that typify the aphoristic form fail to synthesize in the reader, the dialogue becomes a conflicted one of the aphorism with itself.
JAMIE SPENCER grabbed back a winner in his title battle with Seb Sanders after steering Aphorism to victory in the 2m handicap.
The world in a phrase; a brief history of the aphorism.
1) Throughout I reference the Ames and Rosemont (1998) edition of The Analects of Confucius, by page number when it is their annotations and by book and aphorism number when it comes from the text proper.
THE WHIRLINGDERVISH was handicapped to bounce back to winning form in his favourite race, the Pontefract Cup, but the Jamie Spencer-ridden Aphorism failed to read the script and, by nailing Tim Easterby's stayer inside the final furlong, denied the old-timer a fourth success in the race.
The meaning of each aphorism is but the culmination of a more elaborate argument.
Nietzsche's use and understanding of an aphorism changed with time, but the author argues here that a common constant throughout his aphoristic output was that of excess.
Each of these examples demonstrates that Nietzsche's aphorism applies to organizations as well as individuals-that which doesn't kill us can make us stronger.
Essays and Aphorism on the Higher Man" is a simple and powerful read, highly recommended.
Envisage landed the totequadpot Handicap, while Aphorism came out best in the totetrifecta Pontefract Cup.