I noticed that these tags are very similar and effectively have the same meaning.

I searched in two search engines define proverb and define saying, here are the results:


a short pithy saying in general use, stating a general truth or piece of advice.
a short, pithy expression that generally contains advice or wisdom.


a short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice.
a short, pithy, commonly known expression which generally offers advice or wisdom.

Going by these obvious similarities, shouldn't they be merged?

If they are to be merged, which should be a synonym of the other?
'Saying' is slightly more popular than 'proverb' (Google Ngrams) but proverb sounds more academic.


2 Answers 2


I suggest proverb and saying are quite different both in meaning and use. A proverb is typically advice or an old expression of a common truth. If a new phrase were coined, such as "Make America Great" I would suggest it would not be labelled a proverb but a saying. A saying is a current phrase or short statement in popular use that typically has a meaning beyond that strictly associated with each discreet word. A saying may see a change in the underlying meaning predicated on use and application. A proverb is usually less mutable as its meaning is captured in respected or accepted texts with an associated explaination.


You're probably right that and are probably the same thing and so should be synonymized and merged.

Then again, so too is which I bet is my fault although I haven't looked.

Those should all be in the plural, and there should be one tag to rule them all, one tag to find them.

At the point it’s probably best I not mention gnome, adage, epigram, aphorism, apothegm, apophthegm, sententia, nor paroemia.

Nor shall I drift into expression, platitude, bromide, refrain, byword, witticism, quip, catchphrase, maxim, mantra, truism, axiom, homily, precept, brocard, dictum, tenet, motto, slogan, jingle, saw, chestnut, cliché, banality, or parable.

Nor tweet.

  • Well, perhaps we need an organised tag clean-up. Should we try a site-wide clean-up effort? Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 16:05

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