What is an Aphorism Literary Definition?

Aphorism is a clear and complete thought, which has a deep meaning. It is easy to remember, and it is often used by people in everyday life.

All the aphorisms have a number of distinctive features:

 

  1. Authorship. There is always a specific person who uttered the phrase, which later became catch. This is how aphorisms differ from proverb, because as usual the second ones are a product of folk art.
  2. Pithyness. Most aphorisms consist of 3-5 words. In such a way they differ from quotations, which may include several sentences at once. Moreover, the shorter the aphorism, the more it is memorized by people and becomes more common.
  3. Deep meaning. Aphorisms always teach and make you think about something. That is why they are sometimes considered to be  “a collection of human wisdom”.

A lot of catch phrases came to us from the TV screens. Nevertheless, it is important not to confuse aphorisms and quotes.

Remember, there must be a deep meaning. Thus, the phrase “I’ll be back” from the mouth of the Terminator cannot be considered to be an aphorism.

 

Aphorism Examples in Literature

So, what does aphorism mean? Every aphorism has its own meaning. Sometimes it’s clear at once what author wanted to say, sometimes it is pretty difficult to understand the meaning of an aphorism. Nevertheless, here are examples of some famous aphorisms:

‘The scariest monsters are the ones that lurk within our soles’ – Edgar Allan Poe

‘The future is purchased by the present’ – Samuel Johnson

‘Anatomy is destiny’ – Sigmund Freud

‘Life isn`t hard to manage when you`ve nothing to lose’ – Ernest Hemingway

‘One must be poor to know the luxury of living’ – George Eliot

What is an Aphorism Literary Definition video