Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[ad-ij] /ˈæd ɪdʒ/
a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation; proverb.
1540-50; < French < Latin adagium, equivalent to ad- ad- + ag- (stem of āio I say) + -ium -ium
Related forms
[uh-dey-jee-uh l] /əˈdeɪ dʒi əl/ (Show IPA),
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for adage
  • So you don't believe in the adage, "write what you know"? It's very good advice if what you know is interesting.
  • The adage that one man's trash is another's treasure still holds true for many music lovers.
  • At this point, the old “just add water” adage rang true.
  • It at least proves the adage that money cannot buy good taste.
  • There's really truth to the old adage that one bad apple spoils the bunch.
  • It's a modern solution to the adage that urges you to recognize that charity starts at home.
  • Note to our leadders: Recall the adage, haste makes waste -- that applies in both economic and democratic contexts.
  • It may be true, as the old adage has it, that success has a hundred fathers and failure is an orphan.
  • Miamians are strong believers in the adage that all work and no play makes for a dull city, and Miami is anything but dull.
  • Unfortunately, not everyone lives by the adage that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
British Dictionary definitions for adage


a traditional saying that is accepted by many as true or partially true; proverb
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin adagium; related to āio I say
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for adage

1540s, Middle French adage, from Latin adagium "adage, proverb," apparently from adagio, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + *agi-, root of aio "I say," from PIE *ag- "to speak." But Tucker thinks the second element is rather ago "set in motion, drive, urge."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for adage

a saying, often in metaphoric form, that embodies a common observation, such as "If the shoe fits, wear it,'' "Out of the frying pan, into the fire,'' or "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.'' The scholar Erasmus published a well-known collection of adages as Adagia in 1508. The word is from the Latin adagium, "proverb."

Learn more about adage with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for adage

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for adage

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with adage

Nearby words for adage