Kelly_R_Smith
on May 2, 2021
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Word of the day:
apothegm
[ ap-uh-them ]
noun
a short, pithy, instructive saying; a terse remark or aphorism.
Apothegm, “a short, instructive saying; a terse remark,” is hard enough to pronounce even in its simplified spelling, which is based on the pronunciation of the word. The original spelling, still used, is apophthegm. Apothegm was the usual spelling until Dr. Johnson settled on apophthegm in his dictionary (1755). Apophthegm ultimately comes from the Greek noun apóphthegma, a derivative of the verb apophthéngesthai “to speak out, speak one’s opinion plainly,” a compound of the prefix apo- “forth” and the simple verb phthéngesthai “to speak, raise one’s voice.” Apothegm and apophthegm entered English within two years of each other, in the second half of the 16th century.
Example:
"To live outside the law, you must be honest.” Thompson, like a lot of people in the sixties and seventies, interpreted Dylan’s famous apothegm to mean that in order to be honest you must live outside the law."
Louis Menand, "Believer," The New Yorker, February 27, 2005
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