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Apophthegms and Aphorisms
(whut did you call me?)

Apophthegms (sometimes Apothegms) are short cryptic remarks containing some generally accepted truth; pithy sayings; or perhaps, maxims. The name comes from the Greek: ἀπόφθεγμα (apophthegma) meaning "terse, pointed saying," literally "something clearly spoken,", further from ἀποφθέγγομαι (apophthengomai) or apophthengesthai "to speak one's opinion frankly", said to be from the prefix ἄπω (apo) meaning "from" and φθέγγομαι (phthengesthai) meaning "to speak, or utter a sound". Compare Aphorism for nuance of usage. Spelling Apophthegm, restored by Johnson, is preferred in England, according to the OED.

Aphorisms are generally defined as (n.) Comprehensive maxims or principles expressed in a few words; a sharply defined sentence relating to abstract truth rather than to practical matters. A short pithy instructive saying. A comprehensive maxim or principle expressed in a few words; a sharply defined sentence relating to abstract truth rather than to practical matters. A brief statement of and/or implication of a principle.

Synonyms: apophthegm, apothegm, adage, apothegm, gnomae, axiom, dictum, byword, maxim, moral, precept, proverb, rule, saw, saying, truism.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary says: (n.) [From French: aphorisme, a short, pithy sentence,; From Greek: ἀφορισμός (aphorismos): definition, delimitation, assignment of boundariees and from ἀφορίζω (aphorizein): to mark off by boundaries, set aside, to define [(from ἄπο (apo): off or far away, and ὁ ὁρίζων (horizein): to separate, part) see: Horizon (Etymologically a line forming a boundry)]

Aphorisms are commonly understood to be both striking and memorable.

Gnomae are a form of aphorism, ordinarily considered to be only those aphorisms which deal with ethical and/or important philosophical issues. So of course different people would consider different Aphorisms to be Gnomae.
Gnomic was first applied to a group of Greek poet and/or philosophers who flourished in or about the 6th Century, bce; including Theognis, Solon, Phocylides, and Simonides of Anorgos and many others. Many of the Classical Greek, Hellenic, and/or Arcadian Philosopher Poets used aphorism to drive the point of the argument home in a manner they felt would have residual power in the mind of the listener. Heraclitos' work, On Nature, was a collection of gnomae written in an oracular manner. Going outside the Classical Grecian context we find Lao Tzu's: Tao Te Ching and Wittgenstein's: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as just two of numerous possibilities.

Gnomae has come to be applied mainly to any poetic or philosophic aphorism which deals with questions of Ethics and other fields often considered serious Philosophy.

Dictionaries of philosophy often eschew defining aphorism, but aphorisms have held an important place in the development of the fields of Philosophy, Ethics and Poetry.


"Apothegms are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feelings."
                                                            ― William R. Alger

"Aphorisms, representing a knowledge broken, do invite men to inquire further;
whereas methods carrying the show of a total do secure men, as if they were at furthest."
                                                            ― Francis Bacon

The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce contains the following definition (and soliloqoid) of this choosen word:
                        APHORISM: Predigested wisdom.

"The flabby wine-skin of his brain
Yields to some pathologic strain,
And voids from its unstored abysm
The driblet of an aphorism."

                                    -- The Mad Philosopher, 1697

Taglines will be considered separately, since the wisdom thing is not so required. And most collections of taglines are somewhat dated at this point, since they reflect a period prior to the current "anything is possible" state of the world wide web, when "bulletin boards" were more the venue, and taglines, like signatures were used to sort of informally identify users, or to give some idea about their personalities, these taglines were often limited to 50 characters by the then current technological limitations.

Here is a collection of Aphorisms, we've collected over the years.
Feel free to steal them, just as, in many cases, we did.

A book is the only immortality.

A broken clock is at least right twice a day!

A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

A cat will almost always flinch when hit with a hammer.

A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're asleep.

A fool and their money are soon parted.

A fool searches for a greater fool to find admiration.

A friend's eye is a good mirror.

A gentleman can disagree without being disagreeable.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures. ― Irish proverb

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.

A great many family trees were started by grafting.

A gun gives you the body, not the bird.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

A hen is an egg's way of making another egg.

A hen tomorrow is more valuable than an egg today.

A jug is carried under your coat for a dishonest reason.

A liar isn't believed even when he speaks the truth.

A little pot boils easily. ― Dutch proverb

A little revolution, now and then, is a healthy thing.

A man is as good as he has to be, a woman as bad as she dares.

A man never tells you anything until you contradict him.

A man serves best, when he serves himself.

A mean guy shouldn't have any wine. ― Blunt Bulgarian proverb

A miser is hard to live with, but makes a fine ancestor.

A person's reach should exceed their grasp.

A pig in a suit is still a pig.

A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.

A teetotaller makes the worst drunkard.

A thick head can do as much damage as a hard heart.

A thief believes that everybody steals.

A thing of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A true diplomat struts sitting down.

A wise person sees as much as ought, not as much can.

A young doctor means a new graveyard. ― German proverb

A young lion charges quickest, and when you least expect it!

Above all things, reverence yourself.

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence.

All human history moves towards one great goal.

All humans things are subject to decay.

Always do right: Gratify some and astonish the rest.

An agreeable person: One who agrees with you.

An appeaser feeds a crocodile, hoping to be eaten last.

An ass thinks one thing, his rider another.

An atheist is someone who has no invisible means of support.

An elite is inevitable.

An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.

An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind.

Analyze TOO long, and the opportunity will pass you by.

Ancient custom has the force of law.

And when fate summons monarchs must obey.

Ask advice only of your equals. ― Danish Proverb

Ask others for help and be in debt forever!

Be careful of your thoughts, they may become words at any moment.

Be careful when playing under the anvil tree.

Be nice on your way up, you'll meet the same folks on the way down.

Beauty too rich for use; for Earth too dear.

Before advising Be yourself! reassess his character.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.

Better to understand little than misunderstand a lot.

Beware of men who won't be bothered with details.

Beware of the opinion of someone without any facts.

Beware of what you ask of the Gods, for they may....

Beware the fury of a patient man.

Beware the Jubjub bird.

Beware true believers, you may be duped by a false god.

Beware when God lets loose a thinker on this planet.

But Ah, beware the Middle Mind, and Welcome Madness and the Most.

Call on Providence, but row away from the rocks. ― Indian proverb

Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

Chastity is the most peculiar of all the sexual aberrations.

Choose heaven for climate, hell for society.

Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night.

Civilization is a movement, it is a voyage not a harbor.

Civilized people need love for full sexual satisfaction.

Closed eyes are not always sleeping.

College doesn't make fools; they only develop them.

Confirmation of the past is often the greatest surprise.

Confusion is the only true road to understanding.

Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse. ― Japanese proverb

Die nasse Eule landet selten auf der frpzen Stromleitung!
[The wet owl seldom lands on the frozen power line! ― a motto of Owen and Judy Cappleman]

Doctrine is the skin of Truth set up and stuffed.

Een schip op het strand is een baken in zee.
[A ship on the beach is a lighthouse to the sea.] ― Dutch Proverb

Enough research will tend to support your theory.

Erudition is a poor substitute for cognition.

Ethics is not necessarily the handmaiden of theology.

Even a noseless dog can stink.

Even a philosopher gets upset with a toothache.

Even a small star shines brightly in the dark.

Even the blind can see money.

Even the dullest candle burns brighter in the dark.

Even the lion has to protect himself against flies.

Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.

Every Achievement Requires a Sacrifice.

Every child should be given the desire to learn.

Every person gets to heaven in their own way.

Every person is the architect of their own fortune.

Every time I make ends meet, they move the ends.

Every tradition was once a heresy.

Every valuable idea offends someone.

Every why hath a wherefore.

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.

Everybody lies about sex.

Everyone is a genius at least once a year.

Everything in excess! Moderation is for monks.

Everything starts as somebody's daydream.

Everything's got a moral if only you can find it.

Experience is directly proportional to mistakes.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Fame is chiefly a matter of dying at the right moment.

Feather by feather the goose is plucked.

Feed your faiths and starve your doubts to death.

Few can stand someone else's prosperity.

Fine speech sometimes is used to create false appearances.

Fire, water and government know nothing of mercy. ― Albanian Proverb

Firmness in politics is called obstinacy in a donkey.

Flattery: Cologne water, to smell but not swallow.

Flattery is counterfeit money, circulated by vanity.

Fools and their money quickly become popular.

Freedom isn't cheap and it never goes on sale.

Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.

Genius has its limits, but stupidity may verge on infinity.

Hasten to laugh at everything lest you be obliged to weep.

He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

He who hesitates has already lost.

He who lies for you will lie against you. ― Bosnian Proverb

Hindsight is an exact science.

History is a set of lies agreed upon.

History repeats itself because nobody listens.

Honey in the mouth and knives in the heart.

Honour women, for they are our future today.

Humanity does not succeed as a species until it has spread out from its Birth Planet.

If they give you lined paper, write the other way.

If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities . . .

In the search for quality, there is no Finish Line.

In this world a man must either be anvil or hammer.

It is a sin peculiar to people to hate their victims.

It is better to know nothing than to know what ain't so.

It is better to know useless things than to know nothing.

It is dangerous to confuse children with angels.

It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.

It is easier to admire hard work if you don't do it.

It is easier to be critical than to be correct.

It is easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar.

It is easy to propose impossible remedies.

It is hard to believe that even his friends like him.

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

It is meaningless to speak of domesticating a child.

It is memory that enables a person to gather roses in January.

It is not the hours you put in, but what you put in the hours that counts.

It is when you take for yourself that you truly take.

It runs in the blood like wooden legs. Cheshire sayings.

It's easy to be there for someone when they're up, real friends are there when you're down.

It's no fun engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent

Jealousy is all the fun you think they are having.

Jealousy is the greatest evil.

Judge not a carpenter on how fast chips fly.

Kaikkea pitää kokeilla, paitsi sukurutsaa ja kansantanssia.
― Finish proverb, saying you should try everything except incest and folk dance.

Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you!

Leaders are chosen not to govern, but to serve.

Learn as if you were to live forever.

Learning makes people fit company for themselves.

Leisure is the mother of philosophy.

Little boats should keep near the shore.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.

Logic is a way of going wrong with confidence.

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

Malice is merely stupidity raised to a higher power.

Man is by nature a political animal.

Man is the missing link between apes and human beings.

Man loves little and often, woman much and rarely.

Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.

Many foxes grow gray, but few grow good.

Many kiss the hand that they wish cut off.

Measure with a micrometer. Mark with chalk. Cut with an axe.

Memoirs are the backstairs of history.

Memories keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.

Might does not determine correctness, only strength.

Minds, like parachutes, work only when open.

Mischief all comes from too much opening of the mouth.

Misery brings strange bedfellows.

Misfortunes always enter a door left open for them.

Most allies must be watched just like the enemy.

Mountains culminate in peaks, and nations in people.

Nature, like people sometimes weeps for gladness.

Never fight with a bear in his own cave.

Never lean forward to push an invisible object.

Never trust anyone who speaks well of everyone.

Never try to catch two frogs with one hand. ― Chinese Proverb

No job is so small it doesn't require all your tools.

No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.

No matter how thin you slice it there are always two sides.

No mud can soil us but the mud we throw.

No one can think clearly with clenched fists.

No one does as much harm as one going about doing good.

No one tests the depth of a river with both feet.

No person ever became wicked all at once.

No real problem has a simple solution . . . .

Nobody needs to learn compassion, only to unlearn avoiding it.

Non co-operation with evil is as much a duty as co-operation with good.

Non-fiction often is more unrealistic than fiction.

Not everything more difficult is more meritorious.

Not to know is bad, but not to wish to know is worse.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.

Only dead fish go with the flow.

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.

Other times, other customs.

Outliving ones enemies, is the ultimate revenge.

Raising your voice does not reinforce your argument.

Religion is always organized for the benefit of the priest class.

Religious freedom cannot exist without political freedom.

Remember you are unique. Just like everyone else.

Sanity is madness put to good use.

Scrute the inscrutable; eff the ineffable; mutate the immutable.

Several excuses are always less convincing than one.

So far from God, so close to the United States ― Old Mexican proverb

Sometimes you just gotta say What the fuck!

Straight trees have crooked roots.

Talking of bulls is not like being in the bull ring.

Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.

The deeper the sorrow, the less tongue hath it.

The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.

The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.

The first step towards philosophy is incredulity.

The fundamental things apply as time goes by.

The gene pool requires, but sadly does not seem to have a lifeguard.

The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.

The greatest cunning is to have none at all.

The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

The hidden flaw never remains hidden.

The mind is what the brain does.

The most cooperative man in this world is a dead man.

The most unnatural of all the possible perversions is chastity.

The mouse with a single hole is quickly caught by the cat.

The one who can't dance always says the band can't play. ― Yiddish Proverb

The only difference between theory and practice is that in theory there isn't any.

The only thing anybody ever gets out of fence-sitting is splinters up the ass!

The only truly irreplaceable thing is time.

The only way to judge the future is by knowing the past.

The peace of wisdom is eternal thought.

The pen is the tongue of the mind.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance . . . .

The price of wisdom is eternal thought.

The problem with paradigms is that shift happens.

The purification of politics is an iridescent dream.

The race to escape from stupidity is to the driven, not the swift.

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

The ripest fruit falls first.

The road to success is always under construction.

The shortest answer is doing.

The solution to a problem alters the problem.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you will have to catch up.

The sun is never the worse for shining on a dunghill.

The teeth are where the skull shows through.

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. ― .

The tree of liberty is watered with the blood of tyrants.

The trodden path is the safest.

The trouble with a kitten is that, eventually it's a cat.

The truth doesn't hurt unless it ought to.

The truth is the one thing that nobody ever believes.

The universe will not co-operate in a cover-up.

The wet owl seldom lands on the frozen power line.

The wife of a careless man is almost a widow.

The wildest colts make the best steeds.

The wise learn more from fools than fools from the wise.

The words we use can compound our problems.

The world is a beautiful book, for those who can read it.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.

The worst hatred is that of relatives.

The worst vice of a fanatic is his sincerity.

The wrong way always seems the more reasonable.

The young know the rules, the old know the exceptions.

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

There are no answers, . . . at best a few possibly good guesses.

There are no edges. Only the places where things meet.

There can be no offense where none is taken ― Japanese proverb

There is a type of friendship that consists of having the same enemies.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

There is no man so blind as he who will not see.

There is no statute of limitations on stupidity.

There is no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.

There is no such thing as bravery; only degrees of fear.

There is no task so simple that it can't be screwed up.

There's a pinch of the madman in every great man.

There's a seeker born every minute.

There's a sucker born again every minute.

There's no statute of limitations on stupidity.

They are slaves who fear to speak for the fallen & weak.

Think outside the box . . . then forget the box.

Those who fought for it know the true taste of freedom!

Those who live by the sword get shot by those that don't.

Those whom the gods love grow young.

To be a human without passion is to be dead.

To climb a ladder, you begin with the first rung.

To give counsel to a fool is like throwing water on a goose.

To keep your milk sweet, leave it in the cow.

To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.

To live now, first come to terms with your past.

To live well, know the difference between good and evil.

To refuse praise is to seek praise twice.

To understand other's miseries, look at their pleasures.

Today is the tomorrow we should have been planning for yesterday.

Truth above all. When a man lies he murders some part of the world!

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always.

War doesn't determine who's right, only who's left.

What grammar is to speech, logic is to reason.

When a dove begins to fly with crows, its feathers remain white but its heart grows black.

When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.

When everyone thinks alike, then everyone is stupid.

When poverty knocks at the door, love flies out the window.

When the world listens to fools, the MOB rules!

When we are least sure, we are most alive.

When we can't dream the time for death has arrived.

When you deal with the insane, always pretend you're sane.

When you find true fellowship, welcome it and keep it sacred.

Who gave them all these horses they ride upon?

Who's more foolish? The fool, or the fool that follows him?

You can only throw as far as someone can catch.

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

You can't make eight cats pull a sled through the snow, or do anything . . . really.

You can't step twice in the same river.

You cannot be too careful in the choice of your enemies.


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