Definitions of Aphorism


A Greek word derived in the Latin term aphorismus, which in turn came to Spanish as an aphorism. An aphorism is a short expression that, in a certain context, presents itself as a principle or a rule.

The aphorisms are propositions that seek to pronounce something coherently and concisely. The notion was proposed by Hippocrates regarding the sentences that were used to name the symptoms of diseases and to diagnose them. From this use, the idea spread to other sciences.

It is common for aphorisms to be confused with sayings, proverbs, axioms, maxims and adages, among other types of expressions. In many cases, these words are used as synonyms.

Precisely, there are many people who get to confuse what is the aphorism with the axiom. However, it must be stated that they are different, they are not synonymous. Specifically, we can determine that, while the aphorism is the fruit or result of experience, the axiom does not. This becomes a truth so clear and so obvious that you do not need any verification of it.

The apothegm, which comes to be the saying made by some famous person and characterized by being brief and direct, as the sentence are also considered synonyms of the aphorism. This comes to indicate to a manifestation or decision that you have an opinion about a specific matter or issue.

At a general level, an aphorism can be said to arise from experience. That is why they are often used in areas where the scientific method is not applied. Over time, the aphorisms became a kind of genre or literary format, often with poetic intent.

There are those who maintain that the aphorisms resurfaced thanks to Twitter and other social networks that promote the publication of short texts. In this way, the number of people multiplying their thoughts in a few lines is multiplied.

An example of aphorism is “What does not kill, strengthens”, which can also be found as “What does not kill you, strengthens you” or “What does not kill me, strengthens me”. This aphorism tries to transmit a message of hope, highlighting the possibility of emerging stronger from a situation that causes harm.

Among the long list of existing aphorisms, there are some that have achieved great international fame thanks to the fact that they were manifested by famous figures, such as writers or politicians. Specifically, among the most significant are the following:
– “Lost time is never found again” (Benjamin Franklin).
– “Doubt is one of the names of intelligence” (Jorge Luis Borges).
– “The future tortures us, the past shackles us. This is why the present escapes us ”(Gustave Flaubert).
– “The truth is not on the side of those who shout the most” (Rabindranath Tagore).
– “The facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored” (T. Huxley).
– “The cruellest lies are told in silence” (Robert Louis Stevenson).
– “While fools decide, the intelligent deliberate” (Plutarco).