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

  • n. A short pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept. See Synonyms at saying.
  • n. See Table at Bible.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • n. A striking or paradoxical assertion; an obscure saying; an enigma; a parable.
  • n. A familiar illustration; a subject of contemptuous reference.
  • n. A drama exemplifying a proverb.
  • intransitive v. To write or utter proverbs.
  • transitive v. To name in, or as, a proverb.
  • transitive v. To provide with a proverb.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To utter in the form of a proverb; speak of proverbially; make a byword of.
  • To provide with a proverb.
  • To utter proverbs.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A byword; a reproach; an object of scorn or derision.
  • n. In Scripture, an enigmatical utterance; a mysterious or oracular saying that requires interpretation.
  • n. plural [capitalized] One of the books of the Old Testament, following the Book of Psalms. The full title is Proverbs of Solomon (i. 1).
  • n. 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,”
  • n. Synonyms Axiom, Maxim, etc. See aphorism.

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

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


Middle English proverbe, from Old French, from Latin prōverbium : prō-, forth; see pro- + verbum, words.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin proverbium. (Wiktionary)



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