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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 ?
A musical "bridge" is affected in the poems by tonal shifts into aphoristic proclamations worthy of Clinton (George) and that, as asides, tend to wink knowingly at the reader.
When Berg began composing the Altenberg-Lieder in 1912 his poetic thoughts centered on Altenberg's aphoristic prose poems the "Texte auf Ansichtkarten" (Picture Postcard Texts).
Given this fine research, it is odd that several other catalogue essays are marred by wilful obscurity dressing up commonplace opinions, aphoristic statements justified merely by a foofnofe to a theorist, or silly observations.
He criticized Michael Moore and America in his usual clipped, aphoristic, incisive manner.
His conversational style is rambling, fragmented, and aphoristic, but strangely hypnotic once you enter into its disjointed rhythms.
Here, the ethnic does not aspire toward being fulfilled in an overall national allegory; thus the parallel between the paratactic, aphoristic style of van Herk's work, where the reader is faced with so many pauses that any illusion of coherence is forestalled, and her disjunctive stance toward ethnicity resists generic norms that leave the identities of both writers and readers intact.
She has given voice and nuance to the kinds of stories normally reduced to aphoristic pro or con arguments: What happens to Hancock's women is by turns infuriating, gratifying, startling, and sad, but none of it is simple.
This book does not give enough meat for the academic, and it is too rushed and aphoristic for the student reader.
proverbs and the aphoristic educational tradition in Wyatt's
Now, at the phenomenal age of 101, Chaudhuri has published a kind of coda to these books, a prophetic and mordantly aphoristic essay on contemporary decadence.
The most important restorations from the typescript are the divider lines which impart a new rhythm to the imagistic descriptions and aphoristic reflections of Lawrence's travel writing.