Sometimes it is GREek: Axiom


This famous proverb, “Rome was not built in a day,” in a self-evident truth, and as such is an axiom.

“It’s not GREek!” loves to discuss new words that are likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word: Axiom

Axiom comes from the Greek word axioma, which means “authority,” or “that which is thought worthy or fit.”

An axiom is something that is self-evident, or an obvious universal truth. In advanced academics, especially at the graduate level, axiom occupies a special place in the fields of logic and mathematics. In this capacity, an axiom is a statement that is universally true in a specific logical system. For example, in the mathematical formula a = b = c, it is an axiom that a = c.

Axioms of this type, in which statements are taken to be universally true in a specific system, are useful outside of mathematical logic. As in mathematics, axioms can be useful in philosophy for the purpose of assuming the veracity of a statement without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it. Review a list of Philosophical Axioms here.

You might also find axioms peppered throughout the English language in the form of idioms and proverbs, some famous ones include:

  • A fool and his money are soon parted.
  • A leopard cannot change his spots.
  • This too shall pass.
  • The early bird gets the worm.

Sample Sentence:

Ably applying algorithmic assumptions and angles, Alvin’s axioms astound all amateur arithmeticians.

Miss the last “Sometimes it is Greek?” Check it out here! Want more GRE vocabulary? Click here for the free Test Masters GRE vocabulary list with over 2,000 words!

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