Posted by Smokey Stover on March 05, 2008 at 17:27:
In Reply to: Live life King size posted by Smokey Stover on March 05, 2008 at 15:42:
: : : LIVE LIFE KING SIZE: I know the meaning. But, I don't know what such sentences (phrases??) are called. We have some more like BUILT FOR THE KILL, DON'T MESS WITH ME etc. Where can I find similar ones?
: : Saber rattling or sword rattling. Chest beating.
: The first phrase you mention can be called a motto, a category which might include "Don't mess with me." When we are talking about an attribute, like "built for the kill," we need to call it something else. The French might call it a cliché, which is a very broad class of phrases which have long since lost their originality. If your phrase belongs to the category of "words of wisdom," you might call it an adage. A witty rejoinder, or a telling characterization, could be called, in French, a "mot," perhaps a "bon mot," meaning a well-chosen turn of phrase. When the phrase is a cliché that everyone seems to know, you may call it a saying.
: "Live life king size," even if a cliché, does not fit the category of a saying, in my opinion, because too few people say it. However, it can be construed as "words to live by," hence, a motto. In the Middle Ages a motto could also be a battle cry, like "Dieu et mon droit," perhaps appearing on ensigns or bookmarks of members of the peerage.
: There is a lot of overlap among various types of "saying," or "old saws." In the case of the latter, I don't think I've ever heard of a "young saw" or "new saw." You might want to think about the various kinds of saying, such as motto, adage, proverb, byword, catchword, catchphrase. slogan, watchword and epigram. The last-named is not so much a saying as an invention, which some of the others may also be, such as slogan and motto.
: The closest thing to a single word to fit all types is probably "saying." But as I said earlier, something not said by many people, thus not common enough to have been heard by nearly everyone, does not fit everyone's definition of a "saying." The distinctions among the types of phrase listed above are not always clear or important, but nonetheless, such distinctions as there are ought to be examined if you need a category for your particular phrase. Not every motto or slogan, for instance, is a cliché.
Did I omit aphorism? Och, that I did, along with a bunch of related words, like maxim, apothegm, axiom, truism, rule, moral, each with its own most appropriate use. We are drwoning here in closely related words. Can't we expunge some of them? Well, no. For one thing, we don't have any English-language equivalent to the Académie Française. For another, extinguishing a word seems contrary to the spirit of the language, except to the censors of the political correctness school.