On Aphorisms: A Few Speedy Facts for the Dummy in Me

Sometimes a dumb thing is a thing worth saying. –Alan Dupont

Okay, this may be a dumb thing to say, but what the heck…how is it, one can go through life learning different words and its meaning, hear these words being applied orally or written, yet, one morning you wake up and realize there is a word that looks familiar but to define it accurately would take looking it up in the dictionary or for some of us, looking it up on the internet.

The mystery word I woke up to this morning was aphorism. I know you are as shocked as I am over this, *gasp,* awful, dumb discovery.

I admit not paying much attention to the word, aphorism, and yet I use them quite frequently when writing.  Plus, you now know, how I spent most of my early educational years paying more attention to the distractions in the classroom, you know, back when childish notes got scribbled on scraps of folded paper and passed over to targeted classmates. Today, the distractions are the same but the kids have it easy and landfills are getting less scrap paper to deal with as text messages are as common as asking for the hall pass to go use the restroom.

Nevertheless, by missing the vocabulary lesson on the word, aphorism, it can only mean one thing:  A quick, Do-It-Yourself, fix this problem, teaching moment.

Today’s speedy lesson on the vocabulary word:

Example of an aphorism.

–Photo credit: Wikipedia

Speedy Fact #1: Definition and trivia

  • Aph-o-rism: noun–a concise statement of a principle

also used as (aphoristic–adjective) or (aphoristically–adverb)

~Word first used around 1528

Speedy Fact #2: Historical Aphorists (and what they said…)

  • Ben Franklin–The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.
  • Plato–The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.
  • Socrates–To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.

Speedy Fact #3: Finding more on aphorisms

Speedy Fact #4: Pause for Feedback

Now, it is time to pause this teaching moment and see what is brewing on your mind on aphorism

Quick, before my dummy tries to leave the classroom, what aphorism or aphorist you think can teach this dummy in me? 



20 thoughts on “On Aphorisms: A Few Speedy Facts for the Dummy in Me

  1. munchow says:

    I think the comments show that aphorisms are not concise statements, but statements made to be impossible to understand. So I wouldn’t worry if you didn’t pay attention in the classroom. One doesn’t need to make life more difficult to understand that it already is…


    • Sunshine says:

      I think there is a very good teacher in you, Otto. 🙂 Yep, and I have found most of our meaningful learning has come from
      outside the traditional classrooms–such a shame to spend all those years in distraction…oh, well, water under the bridge as they say.
      See ya and I appreciate you dropping by and sharing. 😉


  2. mj monaghan says:

    Love this post. I love words and didn’t really know the meaning of aphorism till you went into it.

    I’ve been a fan of aphorisms from way back. I used to read them in calendars my dad brought home, while the other kids were running around in the house. 🙂

    Yeah, I’m a word geek. Are you a words with friends person?


    • Sunshine says:

      Hmm, now why am I laughing MJ?? Seriously, I am looking at your ‘mug’ face and reading your comment and the first image I get is MJ, (not the other kids) running around the house. So sorry, I just have to be honest with you but I believe you, really. Really.

      I feel soooo much better now that you told me you didn’t really know the meaning of aphorism–a big sigh of relief!
      Oh, yes, I am words with friends person…:)


  3. Caddo Veil says:

    I’m just going to echo your other readers, Sunshine–somehow I missed this yesterday, when my mind was considerably sharper (how’s that for a dandy excuse, eh?)–so I’ll need an extension on the assignment due date. God bless y’all! love, Caddo


  4. eof737 says:

    Okay not to bore you, but the way I’ve always remembered the term aphorism is through Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras – 196 Indian sūtras (aphorisms) on the path or foundation of Raja Yoga. We studied it in the ashram I lived in and one of my favorite lines was “Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications.” 🙂


    • Sunshine says:

      Wow, it must have been a cool experience to live in an ashram…and the word ‘bore’ I feel, does not exist in your world, Elizabeth.
      Did you have to study the 196 aphorisms? Interesting…and thank you for sharing.


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