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What is the difference between adage vs. proverb? And are they different than aphorism? I'm having trouble differciating. Is there a difference?


'phrase expressing a basic truth which may be applied to common situations'. This seems a bit too inclusive. Surely proverbs are metaphorical. Otherwise 'don't leave the tap on' could be considered a proverb, as it feels all of these criteria. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:44, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I would call "A fool and his money are soon parted" a proverb, but there is no metaphor there. It is certainly a hard definition to nail down. I would say that the keys to being proverbial are brevity, currency and the imparting of wisdom. Looking at how other dictionaries treat this I think they more or less agree that proverbs are short, well-known and impart wisdom. There also seems to be a general timelessness about proverbs, and also the impression (be it true or not) that there is further wisdom implied by the phrase. - 19:49, 21 March 2011 (UTC) —This unsigned comment was added by TheDaveRoss (talkcontribs).
I agree (w/TheDaveRoss). (Also, properly speaking, "don't leave the tap on" doesn't express a truth, per se: it's an instruction, and contains no epistemic assertions that could be deemed "true" or "false". But our definition is too restrictive in this respect: I think "don't count your chickens before they're hatched" and "don't put all your eggs in one basket" are both proverbs.) —RuakhTALK 20:10, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Defining proverbs seems to be tough, even for w:Wolfgang Mieder. The WP article on w:Proverbs seems useful and is quite inclusive. The metaphorical sense of don't spit into the wind would seem to make it a proverb, though its simple wording is much like "don't leave the tap on". DCDuring TALK 20:43, 21 March 2011 (UTC)