Epigrams are also known as aphorisms, catchphrases, cliches and colloquialisms. They are popular sayings that are also commonly heard. Apart from being popular, what they have in common is a truth. Dozens of books collect these sayings and categorize them by usage and meaning. Upon reviewing such a book, I realized that these apparent truisms often contain contradictions, such that the opposite is also true. So I decided to have a little fun and pair up contradictory epigrams and see how many I could come up with. I was surprised. And it was indeed fun. So here are a few epigrammatic conundrums for your consideration. Can you think of any more?
Stand your ground OR cut and run?
Pay the piper OR pass the buck?
Look before you leap OR throw caution to the wind?
He who hesitates is lost OR slow and steady wins the race?
Stand on principal OR take it with a grain of sand?
Knowledge is king OR ignorance is bliss?
Can’t judge a book by its cover OR clothes make the man?
Silence is golden OR let the cat out of the bag?
Turn the page OR back to square one?
Get down to brass tacks OR turn the other cheek?
Be fit as a fiddle OR eat your heart out?
Absence makes the heart grow fonder OR out of sight out of mind?
Does haste make waste OR faster is always better?
Clothes make the man OR can’t judge a book by its cover?
Appearances are deceiving OR where there’s smoke there’s fire?
Birds of a feather flock together OR opposites attract?
Full speed ahead OR look before you leap?
Let the cat out of the bag OR let sleeping dogs lie?
Face the music or pull the wool over your eyes??