Showing posts with label idiom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label idiom. Show all posts

Jul 15, 2016

Adage, Axiom, Epigram, and Idiom

An adage is a traditional saying or proverb that states a piece of wisdom or a general truth. An adage is usually something that has been repeated for so long that it is a cliche, such as 'less is more'.

An axiom is a statement or principle that is accepted as being true, self-evidently true, or proven true by virtue of experience. An axiom can be the foundation for further study or knowledge. Axiom and adage are interchangeable and are usually sayings that have been repeated, often over many generations. Mathematicians make heavy use of axioms and maxims. An Aphorism can be a short Axiom.

An epigram is a short, witty, saying or remark expressed with brevity and sometimes paradoxically. An epigram is usually an original saying or remark, such as 'I can resist everything but temptation'. Many famous quotes are epigrams.

An idiom is a word or phrase whose meaning cannot be understood outside its cultural context. These expressions are usually figurative, such as 'cut to the chase', 'rule of thumb', etc. Idioms generally convey a casual tone and are known culturally, so other cultures may not understand the phrase or meaning. Many adages, axioms, and epigrams can also be considered idioms if not universally known.

Mar 25, 2016

Wordology, Egg Someone On

This is one of those idioms where you think the etymology would be obvious, but this phrase has nothing to do with eggs.

The egg in this expression is a verb meaning “to goad” or “to incite” which is derived from the Old Germanic dialect word, eggia. The word is related to the Old English word, ecg, meaning “an edge.” It is also related to the Middle Low German eggen, meaning “to harrow.” Therefore, this may suggest that someone is “egged” on in fear of being prodded with something sharp, but this is only a vaguely implied connection.

The word came into English around the year 1200, originally in the sense of provoking or tempting a person. Today, the phrase means to encourage someone to do something, usually of a risky, foolish, or dangerous nature. In other words, people egg one another on to get a reaction.