Definition of saying in English:



  • 1A short, pithy, commonly known expression which generally offers advice or wisdom.

    • ‘That saying about laughter being the best medicine is hokey but true, especially for shaking the blues.’
    • ‘You know in our tradition we have a saying that ‘the best person is one who serves others.’’
    • ‘Naval terminology is unique but can be misunderstood and potentially dangerous if our traditions and sayings drift over into other areas of our lives, therefore we need to be careful.’
    • ‘There's a saying in Cuba that whenever there are two Cubans together, there are three opinions.’
    • ‘I mean we have a common saying in paediatrics that up until about six years of age your child will have six to eight viral infections a year.’
    • ‘By the late 1800s, an Estonian identity had been established and efforts were being made to retrieve the ‘original culture’ by collecting folk poems, sayings, and songs.’
    • ‘But there's an old saying: just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.’
    • ‘I'll finish with a saying I like to use in all of my motivational speeches: Challenges are inevitable.’
    • ‘There is a saying that every great play has a mystery in it.’
    • ‘There's a saying that Mauritians have such sweet dispositions because so much of their country is covered in sugar.’
    • ‘The first part was a simple curse, and the second an old saying.’
    • ‘On the basis of this evidence, the saying that ‘content is king’ has become somewhat of a truism.’
    • ‘Yet, however timeless many peasant traditions, sayings and beliefs may seem, ethnographic evidence cannot transport us to the world of three centuries ago.’
    • ‘Often a pithy saying or proverb has been written in the chosen script beside the alphabet.’
    • ‘Rivers in all their forms have become the raw material for countless metaphors, myths, sayings, and symbols.’
    • ‘The legends and sayings about her, locked into memorable shapes like any other conventionalised poetic utterance, did not necessarily adapt to her changing social role.’
    • ‘The walls were covered in photographs, posters and funny sayings that had been printed off a computer, her desk was covered in piles of paper, folders and files and yet she seemed to know where everything was.’
    • ‘A collection of wise sayings also makes up the remnants of Norse religion.’
    • ‘After all, there is a famous saying that one person's rights end where another's begin.’
    • ‘Chile's rich store of folklore, sayings, and supernatural beliefs is derived from its European and Indian past, as well as its relation to the mountains and the ocean.’
    proverb, maxim, aphorism, axiom, adage, saw, tag, motto, precept, epigram, epigraph, dictum, gnome, pearl of wisdom
    expression, phrase, formula
    slogan, catchphrase
    platitude, cliché, commonplace, truism
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A collection of short, pithy expressions identified with a particular person, especially a political or religious leader.
      ‘this is stated in the sayings of the Prophet’
      • ‘The Islamic equivalent of Leviticus is found not in the Koran, but in the Hadith, believed to be the collected sayings of the Prophet.’
      • ‘Today she is reading the Gospel of Thomas, a document found in Egypt, that purports to contain authentic sayings of Christ.’
      • ‘Many of the country's laws are based on the Koran and the Hadith, a collection of Mohammed's sayings.’
      • ‘Of course, Islamic economists can also draw upon the recorded sayings of Muhammed, which are summarized in the 19 volume Encyclopedia of Hadith.’
      • ‘In contrast to the evidence for his physical theories, many of the ethical fragments are lists of sayings quoted without context, rather than critical philosophical discussions of atomist views.’
      • ‘Some had their own gospels, with stories and sayings of Jesus.’
      • ‘The revelations he received are in the Qur'an which, supplemented by his own sayings and actions, are the foundational texts of Islam.’
      • ‘Also uncovered in the papyri were a fragment of collected sayings of Jesus - ‘a sort of greatest hits’ - and a book of quotations by the Son of God.’
      • ‘The web of mistrust that is slowly spun throughout the film confirms Wilde's most famous of sayings: ‘There's no good and bad; people are only charming and tedious.’’
      • ‘This period takes its cue from one of Hitler's sayings, quoted early on in the film: ‘Personal morals are dead.’’
      • ‘A further reason for collecting the sayings and writings of Sir William Osler is to introduce him to a new generation of medical students, and to refresh the memory of an older generation.’
      • ‘Both women and men went into the desert and the sayings of the Desert Mothers and Fathers were collected, as people visited them to seek their wisdom.’