20 Manly Aphorisms

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that men started to feel anxiety about their manliness. From then on, human civilization has been in a never-ending quest for ways to make men more like women.

The “rare aphorisms” is a list of 20 manly aphorisms that are mostly used by men. Some of these include: “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” “walk softly and carry a big stick,” and “never give in.”


We’ve chosen to reprint a vintage essay each Sunday to assist our younger readers discover some of the greatest, evergreen jewels from the past, with our archives currently totaling over 3,500 items. The original version of this essay was published in January of 2014.

I used to sneer at well-intentioned people who would sometimes toss out small aphorisms when I got into trouble or had a difficulty when I was a kid. “This, too, shall pass,” and other such phrases usually passed in one ear and out the other. They seemed much too simplistic and clichéd to have any genuine meaning.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had moments when these tiny nuggets of knowledge have returned to me, revealing their significance and greater reality. I’ve come to believe that “the biggest and worthiest amount of our knowledge consists of aphorisms,” as poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge put it.

A brief, pithy phrase that communicates a concept or includes a pearl of wisdom is known as an aphorism. “An aphorism needs to be totally isolated from the surrounding world like a small piece of art and complete in itself like a hedgehog,” said philologist Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel.

The capacity of an aphorism to “condense tremendous thoughts in a few of words,” according to philosopher Nassim Nicholas Talib, demonstrates chutzpah. “The Arabic phrase for an unplanned one-liner is ‘act of manliness,’” he speculates.

These “acts of manliness” convey timeless truths that have been passed down through the generations. However, since aphorisms are so ancient and ubiquitous, it’s easy to ignore them, as I did when I was younger.

We want fresh, innovative, sophisticated, and clever things as a culture; we want fascinating hacks and “secrets” that haven’t been uncovered yet. Although these “clichés” may seem “lame and unexciting on the surface,” they really convey wonderful, very pertinent truths; no matter how much society has changed, following classic, basic principles is still the road to a successful, meaningful existence, as novelist David Foster Wallace has highlighted. So, when reading the aphorisms below, we would suggest everyone (including ourselves) to pay attention to Wallace’s extra words: “Forget about your cynicism about the worth of the completely obvious for a while.” The more you think about these words, the more knowledge you’ll gain.

“The entire challenge is maintaining the truth up front in everyday awareness,” even when something seems apparent. Consider using one of these photos as your laptop’s screensaver or the lock screen on your phone.

Be kind every man is fighting a hard battle aphorism.

Place for everything everything in its place aphorism.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure aphorism.

As you sow so shall you reap aphorism.

Measure twice cut once aphorism

Little strokes fell great oak aphorism.

The childish the father of the man aphorism.

There's nothing new under the sun aphorism.

This too shall pass aphorism.

Lie down with dogs wake up with fleas aphorism.

Chain is only as strong as its weakest link aphorism.

It's not the knowing that is difficult but the doing aphorism.

Nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so aphorism.

Only tool a hammer every problem looks like a nail aphorism.

Don't argue with idiots aphorism.

You don't rise to the occasion you sink to your level of training aphorism.

Still waters run deep aphorism.

Hunger is the best sauce aphorism.

You'll get what you've always got aphorism.

Rome wasn't built in a day aphorism.



The “philosophical aphorisms” are 20 manly philosophical quotes that can be used as a guide for life. They include quotes from famous people and philosophers such as Socrates, Socrates, and Nietzsche.

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