As a giant word nerd, I love learning new expressions and terms, and I especially love words that describe other words—like demonym, malapropism, eponym, eggcorn, and (fittingly) logophile. I also have a strong affinity for any type of word combination or quote (as I’m sure you’ve noticed!). So when Gretchen Rubin began talking about a recent project compiling favorite aphorisms, I was intrigued and inspired!
The term aphorism comes from a Greek word meaning “definition” and refers to a brief observation about life. Aphorisms are direct and often overused, but what they lack in originality or flowery language they make up with straightforward messaging and identifiable directives.
I don’t intend to follow Gretchen’s example of composing an entire book of aphorisms, but she has inspired me to search for them as I listen, read, write, or speak (I’ve adopted more of them into my own vernacular than I had realized!). Today I’m sharing 28 aphorisms that make me think. Some fully align with my own worldview and others I’m not so sure about, but each of these is worth pondering.
1) All that glitters isn’t gold.
2) Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.
3) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
4) You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.
5) A penny saved is a penny earned.
6) Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it.
7) Measure twice, cut once.
8) All things come to those who wait.
9) If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.
10) An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
11) You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
12) Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
13) The days are long but the years are short.
14) Don’t cry over spilled milk.
15) You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
16) Any press is good press.
17) The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
18) Honesty is the best policy.
19) If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.
20) Better safe than sorry.
21) The grass is always greener on the other side.
22) Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
23) Ignorance is bliss.
24) If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
25) Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
26) Hindsight is 20/20.
27) Actions speak louder than words.
28) Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Are you a fan of aphorisms? Can you think of any I should have included in my list?