Axiom, adage or epigram

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An axiom is a statement or principle that is accepted as being true, a statement or principal that is self-evidently true, a statement or principle that has proven true by virtue of experience . The word axiom comes from the Greek word axioma, which means authority, that which is thought to be worthy or fit.

An adage is a traditional saying or proverb that states a piece of wisdom or a general truth. An adage is usually something that has been repeated for so long that it is a cliche. The word adage comes from the Latin word adagium, which means proverb or adage. Axiom and adage are interchangeable.

An epigram is a short, witty, saying or remark, one that is expressed with brevity and sometimes paradoxically. An epigram is usually an original saying or remark. An axiom or adage is usually a saying that has been repeated over time, often over many generations. The word epigram comes from the Greek word epigramma, which means an inscription on a public monument or tomb, especially an inscription written in verse.


CAA commissioner Joe D’Antonio used the age old axiom of quality over quantity. (The Daily Progress)

The old axiom, “you are what you eat” is now changed to “you are what you tweet.” (The Cache Valley Daily)

Another useful adage, which can also crop up in multiple topics is: “Wall Street likes certainty.” (The Huffington Post)

Mickey Keating takes the adage “less is more” to heart in his “Carnage Park,” and it pays off pretty well. (The New York Times)

Celebrating the happiest and proudest of parental occasions, this week’s poem to Mary Rogers, whom Harington married in 1586, is a reminder of how close the Elizabethan epigram could be to the sonnet. (The Guardian)

The late Humbert Wolfe’s caustic epigram seems apt in the run-up to Thursday’s referendum on Brexit. (The Times)