An adage is a concise and commonly known statement or proverbial phrase that imparts a fundamental truth or lesson based on practical experience or observation. It represents a wisdom or advice that has been passed down through generations, encapsulating a nugget of philosophical or moral knowledge.
Typically offering a short, memorable and timeless expression, an adage often embodies conventional wisdom, cultural beliefs, or axioms that reflect the values of a specific community or society. These phrases often highlight universal truths about human behavior, relationships, or the nature of life, and as a result, they can be found in various linguistic forms across different cultures and languages.
Adages are frequently used to provide guidance, offer a moral or ethical perspective, or to convey a general rule of thumb that can be broadly applied to different situations. Due to their simplicity and popularity, adages are used across literature, philosophy, and everyday conversation, allowing people to communicate complex ideas concisely.
In essence, an adage serves as a concise and memorable expression that encapsulates a commonly acknowledged truth, providing a guideline for decision-making or understanding the world. It represents the distilled wisdom of previous generations, acting as a valuable source of insight and guidance in various contexts and situations.
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The word "adage" comes from the Old French term "adagie", which is derived from the Latin word "adagium". This Latin word is a combination of "ad" meaning "to" or "towards" and "agiō" meaning "I say". Ultimately, the etymology of "adage" can be traced back to the Latin verb "dico" meaning "to say or speak". Thus, "adage" originally referred to a saying or a maxim that is frequently repeated or commonly accepted.