Seperate words for different types of proverbs

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Mahaodeh, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    Hello everyone,

    In Arabic there are two types of proverbs each with a separate name, one that used like an advice and the other to describe something. To explain the difference the first would be like: (I apologize if my translation is not too good) "if you want to be obeyed, then order only what is accomplishable" used when you want to tell people to be reasonable, or "dig a hole for your brother and you will fall in it" used when you want to explain that treachery does not pay.

    The other type is something like: "That who cannot dance, will claim that the ground is crooked" used when someone blames his mistakes on others, or "If you see death you will be happy with fever" used when one makes a bad choice to avoid an even worse one. These are not advices but showing similarities in the circumstances.

    Sorry for the long explanation, I wanted to explain the difference because I need to know whether there are separate words to describe each type in English. I tried the dictionary but got a lot of words with similar meanings that made me even more confused. When trying the Arabic-English dictionary, I only found one type.

    The words I came up with are: adage, aphorism, byword, epigram, maxim, proverb and parable. The last not being a synonym to the others and I didn’t understand why. I still can’t tell the difference between them and don’t know whether any apply. Can someone help me?

  2. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    No one to help at all?
  3. tepatria Senior Member

    Onondaga, Ontario
    Canadian English
    I found your proverbs wonderful and will use some myself. As for your question, I cannot think of two types of proverbs, though advice that is given often in the same way is called an old saw. For comparisons the only things I can think of are poetic devises, simililes and metaphors. We do talk about sayings being metaphoric, but I don't think this quite applies. Perhaps worthier minds than mine can come up with better ideas.
  4. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    No, English does not differentiate between these. All of these might be called proverbs, or saws, or maxims, or adages, or sayings.
  5. Trinibeens

    Trinibeens Senior Member

    U.S. English
    A parable is not a synonym because it's an allegorical story. Proverbs/Adages/Maxims/Sayings usually consist of only one line.

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