Is there a single word for statements, often found in self-help literature, like the following:

You forgive people simply because you still want them in your life.

The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.

They appear to deliver a profound and elucidating observation about a person and humanity in general but on closer examination, there is not much weight in them.

  • 4
    These are platitudes.
    – Drew
    Nov 26, 2016 at 18:08
  • @Drew you can add this as an answer with an explanation or it can be added to the answer with aphorism. Nov 26, 2016 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


An aphorism would seem to work:

Definition of aphorism

1 : a concise statement of a principle

2 : a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment : adage

(Source: Merriam Webster)

These are often necessarily trite, but if you need to make it explicit, perhaps a 'trite aphorism' (which is self-evidently two words rather than one).

Another option is platitude

a remark or statement that may be true but is boring and has no meaning because it has been said so many times before

(Source: Cambridge Dictionary)

or from Meriam Webster:

1 : the quality or state of being dull or insipid

2 : a banal, trite, or stale remark

This carries the notion of banality or triteness, but not necessarily the notion of it being a well-worn phrase in the way 'aphorism' does, i.e. a platitude could just be a 'one-off'.

Take your pick.

  • platitude seems better. You can add it to your answer and draw a comparison between aphorism and platitude. This will improve the answer. Nov 26, 2016 at 18:23

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