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A saying is any concisely written or spoken linguistic expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning or structure.
There are a number of specific types of sayings:
- Aphorism – A saying that contains a general, observational truth; "a pithy expression of wisdom or truth".[page needed]
- Cliché or bromide – An unoriginal and overused saying.
- Platitude – A cliché unsuccessfully presented as though it were truly meaningful, original, or effective.
- Epigram – A clever and often poetic written saying that comments on a particular person, idea, or thing.
- Epitaph – A saying in honor of a dead person, often engraved on a headstone or plaque.
- Epithet – A descriptive word or saying already widely associated with a particular person, idea, or thing.
- Idiom – A saying that has only a non-literal interpretation; "an expression whose meaning can't be derived simply by hearing it, such as 'Kick the bucket.'"
- Mantra – A religious, mystical, or other spiritual saying that is repeated over and over, for example, in meditation.
- Maxim or gnome – (1) An instructional saying about a general principle or rule for behavior; or, simply, (2) an aphorism.
- Motto – A saying used frequently by an individual person or group to concisely state their general outlook or intentions.
- Quip – A clever or funny saying based on an observation.
- Witticism – A saying that is clever, and also usually funny, notable for its form or style just as much as (or more than) its content.
- Randall, Bernice (1991). When is a Pig a Hog?: A Guide to Confoundingly Related English Words. New York: Galahad Books.
- Rovin, Jeff (1994). What’s the Difference? A Compendium of Commonly Confused and Misused Words. New York: Ballantine Books.
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