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Usage of "sage"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dmitry_86, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Dmitry_86

    Dmitry_86 Senior Member

    Dear friends!!!

    Could you tell me please what is the correct way of using the word "sage" when referring to someone who is very wise? Is it possible to use this word when we are talking about someone not necessarily a scientist who has told us something very important and original so that it helped us greatly and for this reason we were later grateful to that person? Also I think we can use "sage" to talk about people spoken about in the Bible in the meaning that these people often know what will happen next and can give good advice how to avoid bad things in the future.

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. envie de voyager Senior Member

    Niagara Falls, Canada
    english-canadian
    You are correct about the use of the word sage. It brings to mind the kind of wisdom that comes with age.

    Also be aware that it can be used as a noun as well as an adjective:

    The old man is a sage.
    The old man gives sage advice.
     
  3. soccergal Senior Member

    English - US
    In education, lecture-only teaching style is called "Sage on the stage." It refers to the "wisest" person in the room commanding all of the attention. The phrase is usually used sarcastically because this teaching style is generally considered quite boring.
     
  4. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I can't (personally) picture myself ever using the noun sage except to describe a very wise old man in (e.g.) an ancient Greek legend or similar, Dmitry.

    Nowadays we're all experts ... regardless of how wise we are.
     
  5. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    I agree with Soccergal and Ewie. Unless we need to talk about myths and such, native speakers only use "sage" when we wish to be funny or sarcastic.
     
  6. mathman Senior Member

    near boston
    English-American/New England
    As a noun, yes, but as an adjective, I disagree. I have often heard "That's very sage advice" used as a compliment, not as funny or sarcastic.
     
  7. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    That's a good point. I agree that the adjectival use is truly complementary.
     

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