Proverbs and medicine: The problem of applied folklore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The difference between medical proverbs and proverbs in medicine has been largely ignored. The former are proverbs used for medical purposes even though they may have no medical content. The perception of a proverb as medical in content is flexible, varying from collection to collection. In thematic proverb collections the items are usually taken out of the context but their very inclusion is in itself a context-specifying factor. A new definition of applied folklore is proposed, stressing the role of non-folklorists. The wish to use proverbs for concrete purposes inheres in the material itself as much as the wish to reveal its universal formulas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalFolklore (Estonia)
StatePublished - 2010


  • Applied folklore
  • Medicine and humanities
  • Proverbs in medicine
  • Thematic collections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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