See entry of Webster 1913 below, but more generally, 'aphorism' has been used to refer to relatively brief passages--several books by Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human, Mixed Opinions and Aphorisms, The Wanderer and His Shadow, Daybreak, and The Gay Science) are considered to be works of aphorisms, though some of his other writings have nontraditional chapter division practices that suggest he had not entirely abandoned his aphoristic tendencies. An excellent example of a characteristic Nietzsche-length 'aphorism' can be found at Human, All Too Human: Section 45.

Aph"o*rism (#), n. [F. aphorisme, fr. Gr. definition, a short, pithy sentence, fr. to mark off by boundaries, to define; from + to separate, part. See Horizon.]

A comprehensive maxim or principle expressed in a few words; a sharply defined sentence relating to abstract truth rather than to practical matters.

The first aphorism of Hippocrates is, "Life is short, and the art is long." Fleming.

Syn. -- Axiom; maxim; adage; proverb; apothegm; saying; saw; truism; dictum. See Axiom.


© Webster 1913.

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