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Adages and proverbs[edit]

What is the difference between adage vs. proverb? And are they different than aphorism? I'm having trouble differciating. Is there a difference? —This unsigned comment was added by Gpspacey (talkcontribs) at 02:28, 7 March 2006‎ (UTC).

 Adage on Wikipedia
 proverb on Wikipedia
 Aphorism on Wikipedia
Maybe the Wikipedia links to the right can help. --Pipetricker (talk) 08:15, 24 August 2015 (UTC)


'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. —This unsigned comment was added by TheDaveRoss (talkcontribs) at 19:49, 21 March 2011 (UTC).
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)