Aphorism Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old aphorism quotes, aphorism sayings, and aphorism proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.     

Oscar Wilde

An aphorism is never exactly true; it is either a half-truth or one-and-a-half truths.     

Karl Kraus

We endeavor to stuff the universe into the gullet of an aphorism.     

Paul Eldridge

The hunter for aphorisms on human nature has to fish in muddy water, and he is even condemned to find much of his own mind.     

F. H. Bradley

An aphorism is an extreme synthesis of thesis and antithesis, theory and practice, it's a mixture of intuition and observation, hypothesis and illusions of certainty and probability, history and stupidity.     

William C. Brown

Our live experiences, fixed in aphorisms, stiffen into cold epigrams. Our heart's blood, as we write it, turns to mere dull ink.     

F. H. Bradley

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.     

Joseph Campbell

There are aphorisms that, like airplanes, stay up only while they are in motion.     

Vladimir Nabokov

An aphorism is true where it has fixed the impression of a genuine experience     

Francis Herbert Bradley

Worrying is like paying a debt you don't owe.     

Mark Twain

An aphorism ought to be entirely isolated from the surrounding world like a little work of art and complete in itself like a hedgehog.     

Friedrich Schlegel

The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some useful truth in a few words.     

Samuel Johnson

The quoting of an aphorism, like the angry barking of a dog or the smell of overcooked broccoli, rarely indicates that something helpful is about to happen.     

Lemony Snicket

The old aphorisms are basically sound. First impressions are lasting.     

Jessie Redmon Fauset

We often feel that a clever aphorism captures a truth that would require pages to defend in any other way.     

Steven Pinker

The aphorism is cultivated only by those who have known fear in the midst of words, that fear of collapsing with all the words.     

Emile M. Cioran

There is nothing more difficult to define than an aphorism.     

Umberto Eco

The great writers of aphorisms read as if they had all known each other well.     

Elias Canetti

A good aphorism is too hard for the tooth of time, and is not worn away by all the centuries, although it serves as food for every epoch.     

Friedrich Nietzsche

The aphorism-that uneasy compromise between poetry and philosophy.     

Marty Rubin

An aphorism is the last link in a long chain of thought.     

Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

The laughter of the aphorism is sometimes triumphant, but seldom carefree.     

Mason Cooley

Aphorisms are bad for novels. They stick in the reader's teeth.     

Anatole Broyard

Aphorisms are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling.     

William Rounseville Alger

An aphorism is a single sentence that totally exhausts its subject.     

Robert Breault

Aphorisms are literature's hand luggage. Light and compact, they fit easily into the overhead compartment of your brain.     

James Geary

An aphorism is a mental exercise, psychical, logical, linguistic, spiritual, ritual, emotional and rational, it is a major conceptual and literary activity, a mixture of prose and poetry that conveys, in addition to ideology, sympathy or antipathy.     

William C. Brown

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.     

Winston Churchill

An aphorism is a personal observation inflated into a universal truth, a private posing as a general.     

Stefan Kanfer

An aphorism is a generalization of sorts, and our present-day writers seem more at home with the particular.     

Anatole Broyard