A saying is any concisely written or spoken expression that is especially memorable because of its meaning or style. Sayings are categorized as follows:
- Aphorism: a general, observational truth; "a pithy expression of wisdom or truth".[page needed]
- Cliché or bromide: an unoriginal and overused saying.
- Platitude: a cliché that is unsuccessfully presented as though it were meaningful, original, or effective.
- Epigram: a clever and often poetic written saying that comments on a specific person, idea, or thing; it especially denominates such a saying that is conspicuously put at the beginning of a text.
- Epitaph: a saying in honor of a decedent, often engraved on a headstone or plaque.
- Epithet: a descriptive word or saying already widely associated with a specific 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, for example, in meditation.
- Maxim: (1) an instructional expression of a general principle or rule of morality or (2) simply a synonym for "aphorism"; they include:
- Motto: a saying used frequently by a person or group to summarize its general mission.
- Slogan: a motto with the goal of persuading.
- Quip: a clever or humorous saying based on an observation.
- Witticism: a saying that is clever and usually humorous, and notable for its form or style just as much as, or more than, its meaning.
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- 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.