Word of the Day

Friday, June 09, 2000


\AP-uh-them\ , noun;
A short, witty, and instructive saying.
Nineteen Eighty-four the most contemporary novel of this year and who knows of how many past and to come, is a great examination into and dramatization of Lord Acton's famous apothegm, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
-- Mark Schorer, "When Newspeak Was New", New York Times, October 6, 1996
The rare talent of compressing a mass of profound thought into an apophthegm.
-- Henry Hart Milman, The History of Latin Christianity
The admirable Hebrew apophthegm, Learn to say I do not know.
-- Frederic Farrar, Life of St. Paul
Apothegm comes from Greek apophthegma, from apophthengesthai, "to speak one's opinion plainly," from apo-, intensive prefix + phthengesthai, "to speak." The adjective form is apothegmatic.
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