An adage is a short, direct and memorable saying that is based on facts and that most people consider to be true. Famous sayings become popular due to their use over a long period of time. An adage expresses a general fact or truth about life, which becomes increasingly popular before being accepted as a universal truth. For example, "God helps those who help themselves" is now considered a universal truth due to its use throughout human history. Often sayings and repeated quotes become adages that are passed down to many generations; however, some are metaphorical, have hidden meanings, and embody common observations. Sayings are sometimes called adages, but there is a slight difference
Age vs. Proverb
Both of These terms represent sayings that convey a deeper meaning, however there are some differences between them. A proverb has a practical aspect, but it is a common belief that an adage is true because it has been proven in various eras. The adage is a more general term than a proverb; therefore, proverbs could be adages, in the way that Merriam Webster defines proverbs as adages. The ages are general truths with universal applications, reflecting wisdom; while proverbs are more traditional and are often used in everyday speech.
Examples of adage from literature
Many authors have used sayings in their works, such as CS Lewis, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, J. Rowling, Aesop, George Bernard Shaw, Friedrich Nietzsche, and many others.
Example # 1: In Memoriam (by Alfred Lord Tennyson)
It is better to have loved and lost
than to never have loved at all.
In these lines, Tennyson is giving advice on having love in life , which is
Example # 2: The way you like it (by William Shakespeare)
Everybody is a stage,
And all men and women are mere actors
They have their exits and their entrances,
And a man in his time plays many papers,
His acts are seven ages.
This is Shakespeare's most quoted saying. Here he made a comparison between the world and the stage and between life and play. He also refers to seven stages in human life as the seven ages of human beings.
Example # 3: The Turtle and the Rabbit (by Aesop)
"Things are not always as they seem."
“The appearances are often deceptive.”
(About the wolf in sheep's clothing)
“Slowly and steadily the race wins.”
(About the turtle and the hare)
The following lines are very popular both in literature and in everyday use. People use these proverbs as funny sayings in their general speeches.
Example 4: Adagia (by Desiderius Erasmus)
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“Put the cart in front of the horse. "
" To call a sword to a sword. "
Erasmus is famous for using adages in his works. The lines given are sayings commonly used in everyday conversation. They are now accepted as universal truths.
Example # 5: The Holy Bible Authors )
"Do not cast your pearls to pigs" - Matthew 7: 6
"It is more blessed to give than to receive" - Acts 20: 35
"Pride precedes the fall" - Proverbs 16: 18
"For everything there is a time "- Ecclesiastes 3: 1
The Bible has also used adages with a deeper moral meaning. The purpose of these sayings is to educate and raise awareness of readers.
Example 6: Poor Richard's Almanack (by Benjamin Franklin)
“Going to bed early and getting up early makes a man healthy, rich and wise.”
“Eating to live and not living to eat.”
“To be insane to repent humanly, divinely; to stay devilish. "
" Well done is better than well said. "
" A penny saved is a penny earned. “
Franklin published this book annually from 1732 to 1758, which became popular due to the widespread use of witty proverbs and pun. These are some popular proverbs that are still used to this day.
Function of Adage
Adages can be found not only in literature but also in advertisements and screenplays of films. The first important function of the proverb is to inform readers of some facts of life. Second, proverbs are applicable in all circumstances and in any situation as they convey deeper meanings of wisdom. Most of these sayings are witty and suggest a moral lesson, having lasting impacts from the universal application of the truths contained in them. They are imprinted on the mind of the users. Furthermore, they summarize the moral lesson of a story as in Aesop's Fables. The authors use this device to make their works effective, compact and rich.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw