aphorism (ăfˈərĭzˌəm) [key], short, pithy statement of an evident truth concerned with life or nature; distinguished from the axiom because its truth is not capable of scientific demonstration. Hippocrates was the first to use the term for his Aphorisms, briefly stated medical principles. Note his famous opening sentence: "Life is short, art is long, opportunity fleeting, experimenting dangerous, reasoning difficult."
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on aphorism from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Literature: General