Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A short pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A short pithy sentence, often repeated colloquially, expressing a well-known truth or a common fact ascertained by experience or observation; a popular saying which briefly and forcibly expresses some practical precept; an adage; a wise saw: often set forth in the guise of metaphor and in the form of rime, and sometimes alliterative.
  • noun A byword; a reproach; an object of scorn or derision.
  • noun In Scripture, an enigmatical utterance; a mysterious or oracular saying that requires interpretation.
  • noun plural [capitalized] One of the books of the Old Testament, following the Book of Psalms. The full title is Proverbs of Solomon (i. 1).
  • noun A dramatic composition in which some proverb or popular saying is taken as the foundation of the plot. Good examples are — “A Door must be either Open or Shut,” Alfred de Musset; “Still Water Runs Deep,”
  • noun Synonyms Axiom, Maxim, etc. See aphorism.
  • To utter in the form of a proverb; speak of proverbially; make a byword of.
  • To provide with a proverb.
  • To utter proverbs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb rare To write or utter proverbs.
  • noun An old and common saying; a phrase which is often repeated; especially, a sentence which briefly and forcibly expresses some practical truth, or the result of experience and observation; a maxim; a saw; an adage.
  • noun A striking or paradoxical assertion; an obscure saying; an enigma; a parable.
  • noun A familiar illustration; a subject of contemptuous reference.
  • noun A drama exemplifying a proverb.
  • noun a canonical book of the Old Testament, containing a great variety of wise maxims.
  • transitive verb rare To name in, or as, a proverb.
  • transitive verb rare To provide with a proverb.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A phrase expressing a basic truth which may be applied to common situations.
  • verb To write or utter proverbs.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English proverbe, from Old French, from Latin prōverbium : prō-, forth; see pro– + verbum, word; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin proverbium.

Examples

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