Types of Sayings
A saying is something that is said, notable in one respect or another, to be “a pithy expression of wisdom or truth”.
There are a number of specific types of saying:
Adage – An aphorism that has gained credibility by virtue of long use.
Aphorism – A concise definition, notably memorable.
Apophthegm – “…an edgy, more cynical aphorism; such as, ‘Men are generally more careful of the breed of their horses and dogs than of their children.’”
Bromide – A phrase or platitude that, having been employed excessively, suggests insincerity or a lack of originality in the speaker employing it.
Cliché – An overly commonplace, hackneyed or trite saying.
Epigram – A poetic form of comment on a particular idea, occurrence, or person.
Epithet – A descriptive word or phrase that has become a popular formulation.
Gnome – (Greek: gnome, from gignoskein, to know) A type of saying, especially an aphorism or a maxim, that is designed to provide instruction in a compact form.
Idiom – “…an expression whose meaning can’t be derived simply by hearing it, such as ‘Kick the bucket.’”
Mantra – A religious or mystical syllable or poetic phrase.
Maxim – A principle or rule. A maxim is a wise saying, especially one intended to advise or recommend a course of conduct. In comparison to its approximate synonyms: saying, adage, saw, motto, epigram, proverb, aphorism, the term maxim stresses the succinct formulation of an ultimate truth, a fundamental principle, or a rule of conduct. The word derives from the Latin word maximus, “greatest”, via an expression maxima propositio, “greatest premise”.
Motto – A concise expression of motivation used by a group or individual.
Platitude – A flat, insipid, trite, or weak remark.
Proverb – An expression of practical truth or wisdom.
Quip – A witty or funny observation.
Saw – A saying that is commonplace, longstanding and occasionally trite.
Witticism – A smart saying, notable for its form or style rather than its content.