"brief, familiar proverb," 1540s, Middle French adage (16c.), from Latin adagium "adage, proverb," apparently a collateral form of adagio, from ad "to" (see ad-) + *agi-, root of aio "I say," which is perhaps cognate with Armenian ar-ac "proverb," asem "to say." But some find this unlikely and suggest the second element might be related to agein "set in motion, drive, urge" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Related: Adagial.
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