Definition of saying in English:



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

    • ‘You know in our tradition we have a saying that ‘the best person is one who serves others.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rivers in all their forms have become the raw material for countless metaphors, myths, sayings, and symbols.’
    • ‘A collection of wise sayings also makes up the remnants of Norse religion.’
    • ‘Yet, however timeless many peasant traditions, sayings and beliefs may seem, ethnographic evidence cannot transport us to the world of three centuries ago.’
    • ‘I'll finish with a saying I like to use in all of my motivational speeches: Challenges are inevitable.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There's a saying that Mauritians have such sweet dispositions because so much of their country is covered in sugar.’
    • ‘There is a saying that every great play has a mystery in it.’
    • ‘On the basis of this evidence, the saying that ‘content is king’ has become somewhat of a truism.’
    • ‘That saying about laughter being the best medicine is hokey but true, especially for shaking the blues.’
    • ‘Often a pithy saying or proverb has been written in the chosen script beside the alphabet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first part was a simple curse, and the second an old saying.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There's a saying in Cuba that whenever there are two Cubans together, there are three opinions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But there's an old saying: just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.’
    proverb, maxim, aphorism, axiom, adage, saw, tag, motto, precept, epigram, epigraph, dictum, gnome, pearl of wisdom
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    1. 1.1sayings A 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’
      • ‘This period takes its cue from one of Hitler's sayings, quoted early on in the film: ‘Personal morals are dead.’’
      • ‘The revelations he received are in the Qur'an which, supplemented by his own sayings and actions, are the foundational texts of Islam.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of the country's laws are based on the Koran and the Hadith, a collection of Mohammed's sayings.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘The Islamic equivalent of Leviticus is found not in the Koran, but in the Hadith, believed to be the collected sayings of the Prophet.’
      • ‘Of course, Islamic economists can also draw upon the recorded sayings of Muhammed, which are summarized in the 19 volume Encyclopedia of Hadith.’
      • ‘Some had their own gospels, with stories and sayings of Jesus.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Today she is reading the Gospel of Thomas, a document found in Egypt, that purports to contain authentic sayings of Christ.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


  • as (or so) the saying goes (or is)

    • Used to introduce or follow an expression, drawing attention to its status as a saying rather than part of one's normal language.

      ‘I am, as the saying goes, burnt out’
      • ‘If you invent a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door, so the saying goes.’
      • ‘Many hands make light work or so the saying goes, so imagine just what's possible among 166 community and voluntary groups throughout the county.’
      • ‘On St. Patrick's Day, as the saying goes, everybody is Irish, although some people have strange notions of what that means.’
      • ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures, as the saying goes.’
      • ‘Winning isn't everything, so the saying goes, but for a top sports player losing is the worst imaginable outcome.’
      • ‘I figure I could sue you since you accused me in open court and it did go in the newspaper, but I'd rather hear the words straight from the horse's mouth, as the saying goes!’
      • ‘Everyone, so the saying goes, has a book in them; a writer is someone with more than one, and preferably not all about themselves.’
      • ‘Time and again, the musicians prove that - as the saying goes - God is in the details.’
      • ‘Every cloud has a silver lining - or so the saying goes - but it now seems that every home has one, too.’
      • ‘Better late than never, so the saying goes, and no phrase sums up the 2001 tennis season better.’