Aphorisms and proverbs are often confused with one another, for they have the same purpose. That purpose is that they are statements that have truth to them. However, there are differences between them. One of the differences in the length of the statement. Aphorisms are short and are seen as comments. An example of an aphorism is the statement, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Proverbs are much longer in length.
There are proverbs in the Bible, and they give advice. Not all proverbs are long, but they have the same theme of giving advice. An example of a proverb is Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
An aphorism is an exact, terse, or noteworthy expression of a widespread truth or principle; however, the concept is different from an adage or a proverb, and they are often handed down from generation to generation. An example would be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” A proverb is a simple definite, conventional saying that expresses a recognized truth and is built on practical experience.
Proverbs are often metaphorical, and they are often brought forward from folklore, and they teach a lesson. An example would be “two wrongs don’t make a right.” If you think about it, you will be surprised how often both aphorisms and proverbs are sprinkled within our language.
Foremost, the aphorism is gotten from "aphorismosis," a Greek word which means a phrase that is concise but contains a general truth. This phrase is gotten from the word "horizon," and it means "I determine" or " I define." Hence, aphorism can be said to be a phrase that gives a particular definition to some aspects of life. Conversely, the proverb is gotten from the Latin word "proverbium."
This is also the combination of three different terms -pro-verb-ium. Pro means "for," the verb means "word," while the suffix "ium" denotes the word as a noun or referring to a particular description. Hence, combining the meanings of these broken words, the proverb can simply mean using a word or phrase to describe a particular situation.
The aphorism, now, can be said to be a concise phrase that describes some principles or thought concepts. Meanwhile, the proverb is also a phrase that explains a fundamental truth that can be applied to a particular situation. Proverbs are usually credited to the ancestors or the elders, while aphorism happens to be a form of quotes credited to successful people.