Difference Between Saying and Proverb

Saying vs Proverb

There are lots of short statements containing advice for the people in general that reflect collective wisdom of our forefathers and have been passed down to successive generations. People make use of these sayings and proverbs in daily lives and use the terms interchangeably. While there are many similarities between a saying and a proverb, there are also differences that will be talked about in this article.


A saying is a familiar expression that is often repeated. Also referred to as an adage, a saying is something that was said in the past and has become popular to be often repeated in daily life of common people. If you look up a dictionary, you would find that the synonyms given for a saying are aphorism, proverb, maxim, adage etc.

Something that is said is a saying. Sayings are clever expressions that hold their value and significance even today though they were said and used in ancient times. It is hard to trace the origins of sayings as they have been there since time immemorial, handed down to successive generations. Sayings are short and direct. Most of them make use of simple language to make them easily understandable. Of the different types of sayings, it is proverbs that are the most popular. Take a look at the following sentences that are sayings to understand their hidden value and wisdom.

• A stitch in time saves nine

• Where there is smoke, there is fire

• Honesty is the best policy


A proverb is a type of saying that contains a piece of advice or simply contains truth or any other universal value. It is a short statement that is popular and people make use of a proverb to express their feelings. A proverb can say a lot more than a thousand words. Morality, truth, wisdom, friendship, loyalty, etc. are the values that are glorified with the use of these proverbs. These proverbs are based upon common sense and lay down the foundation of code of conduct as they are as much true or useful today as they were hundreds of years ago. Take a look at the following proverbs.

• Money does not grow on trees

• The early bird catches the worms

• Pen is mightier than sword

What is the difference between Saying and Proverb?

• A saying is something that has been said, and there are many different types of sayings such as adage, maxim, aphorisms, proverbs, etc.

• Out of all the sayings, it is the proverbs that are believed to be the most popular around the world.

• Sayings are pithy statements that express a universal value.

• Proverb is mostly common sense wisdom while saying can be broader to contain maxim and adage too.

• So, all proverbs are basically sayings, but not all sayings are proverbs.