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RIDICULE
  Displaying page 1 of 2    Next Page >> 
[ Also see Absurdity Caricature Contempt Criticism Insult Irony Jeering Jesting Laughter Levity Praise Sarcasm Satire Scandal Slander Sneer Wit ]

If ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of some use.
      - Joseph Addison

Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life.
      - Joseph Addison

The talent of turning men into ridicule, and exposing to laughter those one converses with, is the gratification of little minds and ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all manner of improvement.
      - Joseph Addison

Some men are, in regard to ridicule, like tin-roofed buildings in regard to hail: all that hits them bounds rattling off; not a stone goes through.
      - Henry Ward Beecher

It frequently happens that where the second line is sublime, the third, in which he meant to rise still higher, is perfectly bombast.
      - Hugh Blair, commenting on Lucan's style

The fatal fondness of indulging in a spirit of ridicule, and the injurious and irreparable consequences which sometimes attend the too severe reply, can never be condemned with more asperity than it deserves. Not to offend is the first step towards pleasing. To give pain is as much an offence against humanity as against good-breeding, and surely it is as well to abstain from an action because it is sinful, as because it is unpolite.
      - Hugh Blair

We have oftener than once endeavoured to attach some meaning to that aphorism, vulgarly imputed to Shaftesbury, which however we can find nowhere in his works, that "ridicule is the test of truth."
      - Thomas Carlyle, Essays--Voltaire

It is commonly said, and more particularly by Lord Shaftesbury, that ridicule is the best test of truth; for that it will not stick where it is not just. I deny it. A truth learned in a certain light, and attacked in certain words, by men of wit and humor, may, and often doth, become ridiculous, at least so far that the truth is only remembered and repeated for the sake of the ridicule.
      - 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope

That passage is what I call the sublime dashed to pieces by cutting too close with the fiery four-in-hand round the corner of nonsense.
      - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Table Talk

How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?
      - Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury,
        Characteristics--Letter Concerning Enthusiasm
         (pt. I, sec. II)

'Twas the saying of an ancient sage that humour was the only test of gravity, and gravity of humour. For a subject which would not bear raillery was suspicious; and a jest which would not bear a serious examination was certainly false wit.
      - Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury,
        Characteristics--Letter Concerning Enthusiasm
         (pt. I, sect, V), referring to Leontinus

Truth, 'tis supposed, may bear all lights; and one those principal lights or natural mediums by which things are to be viewed in order to a thorough recognition is ridicule itself.
      - Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury,
        Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour
         (pt. I, sec. I)

Jane borrow'd maxims from a doubting school,
  And took for truth the test of ridicule;
    Lucy saw no such virtue in a jest,
      Truth was with her of ridicule the test.
      - George Crabbe, Tales of the Hall
         (bk. VIII, l. 126)

I distrust those sentiments that are too far removed from nature, and whose sublimity is blended with ridicule; which two are as near one another as extreme wisdom and folly.
      - Andre-Francois Boureau Deslandes,
        Reflexions sur les Grands Hommes qui sont morts en Plaisantant

The raillery which is consistent with good-breeding is a gentle animadversion of some foible, which, while it raises the laugh in the rest of the company, doth not put the person rallied out of countenance, or expose him to shame or contempt. On the contrary, the jest should be so delicate that the object of it should be capable of joining in the mirth it occasions.
      - Henry Fielding

I have lived one hundred years; and I die with the consolation of never having thrown the slightest ridicule upon the smallest virtue.
      - Bernard de Bovier de Fontenelle

There is nothing one sees oftener than the ridiculous and magnificent, such close neighbors that they touch.
  [Fr., L'on ne saurait mieux faire voir que le magnifique et le ridicule sont si voisins qu'ils se touchent.]
      - Bernard de Bovier de Fontenelle,
        Oeuvres--Dialogues des Morts (IV, 32),
        (ed. 1825)

To the man of thought almost nothing is really ridiculous.
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We grow tired of everything but turning others into ridicule, and congratulating ourselves on their defects.
      - William Hazlitt (1),
        On the Pleasure of Hating

Ridicule, which chiefly arises from pride, a selfish passion, is but at best a gross pleasure, too rough an entertainment for those who are highly polished and refined.
      - Henry Home, Lord Kames

For man learns more readily and remembers more willingly what excites his ridicule than what deserves esteem and respect.
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)

Ridicule is often employed with more power and success than severity.
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus)

Ridicule more often settles things more thoroughly and better than acrimony.
  [Lat., Ridiculum acri fortius ac melius magnas plerumque secat res.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
         (bk. I, 10, 14)

Resort is had to ridicule only when reason is against us.
      - Thomas Jefferson

Derision is never so agonizing as when it pounces on the wanderings of misguided sensibility.
      - Lord Francis Jeffrey


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