Difference Between Adage and Proverb

English is a versatile language that has more than a dozen different terms like idioms, phrases, adages, proverbs, and much more. Generally, these are ‘ a set of words together used to convey wisdom, advise, inspiration and messages from our ancestors.’ When used in speech and writing, they enhance our language skills and make us look educated, of high quality, and is also the message we want to convey leaves a strong impact on the listeners.

Adage vs Proverb

The main difference between adage and proverb is generally the length of the sentence, origin, and also depends on the usage. They have a few similarities despite their differences. They are both traditional, and they have been in use for a very long time, and they are frequently used in a lot of places, especially during formal speeches and compositions.

Adage vs Proverb

An adage is similar to a proverb, but at the same time, it is also different in several ways. It is widely accepted by many people around the world, globally, and it is considered a general truth. Unlike proverbs, it is so old, a fact very ancient and also oriented much with philosophical. They majorly convey experiences of life and lessons that we all can relate to.

A proverb is a set of words that convey advice and message that are almost universally relatable. These are passed on from generation to generation and are conventional. They express truth, advice, inspirational messages, and life lessons. They do not convey direct meanings, and they are usually metaphorical as well as completely formal. They fall under the genre ‘ folklore.’

Comparison Table  Between Adage and Proverb

Parameters of Comparison
Definition It is a small sentence that imparts and enforces wisdom. It is slightly longer than adages, and it conveys inspiration and advice.
LengthIt is short, precise, and concise.      It is longer and consists of more than a sentence.
UsageThey are used by a large audience since it is universally accepted. A lesser audience uses them, and they vary slightly in every region. 
OriginAdages are philosophical and they were brought up by being passed over from one generation to the other.   Proverbs originated from various sources like the Bible, holy scriptures, dramas, stories, literature, songs, movies, and from the words of great thinkers.
Role of The Bible The Bible doesn’t play a major role. Most of the proverbs were brought up from the bible.

What is Adage?

An adage is usually shorter in length, and it is a memorable saying. It is universally agreed, accepted, and preached. This is commonly used widely than that of proverbs since it is relatable to a lot of people and talk about the common life lessons that can be applicable for anyone and every one belonging to different races, origin. The wisdom, advice, and lessons conveyed through the adages are quite conventional and traditional.

 It is timeless, and this is its unique quality. It also alarms people on what the future might hold and how they should take precautions to guard themselves against the impending dangers and also lifts the confidence and hope in the minds of the people.

The message they convey is strong, powerful, and has more impact. It comes in handy when someone wants to strongly enforce a message. It is also best suited for a larger and unanimous audience, as is it timeless and not based much on religion.

They are repeated a lot and used more frequently. They are more commonly used and are popular among people because of their popularity. They are admired by society and have also gained a consensus. It is such an intelligent move to include adages in your speech and writings.

What is Proverb?

Proverbs are available in many languages, and often proverbs are even translated into different languages to ensure the valuable piece of advice or life lesson reaches all the people in different regions and races. Bible has played a major role in preaching and reaching out to a lot of people with these valuable short sentences.

Every culture irrespective of their race and region have their own proverbs. Though Bible is a major source of proverbs, there are yet a plethora of sources for proverbs. A lot of enlightened and celebrated visionaries and leaders have provided us with proverbs.

Poetry and literature are other major sources. In addition to this, songs, movies, dramas, and a lot more have to lead to the birth of proverbs. Stories, their morals, and famous dialogues from skits, dramas, and literature have also conquered a place in the people’s hearts, and many from these kinds of origins are regarded as proverbs.

The oldest proverb, or the very first proverb, goes back to around 1800 BC. Proverbs are extremely helpful to create a long-lasting and strong impact in the minds of people during a crisis or emergency. However, it may take some time to understand what is realize for younger students.

Main Differences Between Adage and Proverb

  1. An adage is more ancient than the proverbs and has a longer story, whereas proverbs are more recent.
  2. An adage is shorter, whereas the proverbs are lengthier.
  3. Adages are used by a larger audience, whereas a smaller audience use proverbs.
  4. Adages are used more frequently, whereas proverbs are relatively less frequently used.
  5. Not a lot of adages are derived from the bible, but a lot of proverbs are taken from the Bible.


Though proverbs and adages have a few differences in daily use, they are often interchanged, and it is not much of concern since they are almost similar to each other. However, the adage is a classier example when compared with the proverbs.

They hold a special place in the heart of people, and they also tend to remember them for a longer time since they are short but convey a strong meaning that most people find relatable with their life.

It conveys good values, habits, inspiration, motivation and is powerful than one may imagine. Sometimes they are also a piece of advice that we sometimes need to help us keep going.


  1. https://cdn.journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Fulltext/2006/07000/_See_One,_Do_One,_Teach_One___An_Old_Adage_with_a.45.aspx
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/973030
Help us improve. Rate this post! Total (0 votes,average: 0)