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[ Also see Argument Cleverness Conversation Dullness Eloquence Epigrams Humor Irony Jesting Jokes Language Levity Merriment Pun Repartee Ridicule Sarcasm Satire Smiles Speech Wisdom Witticisms ]

Wit, like money, bears an extra value when rung down immediately it is wanted. Men pay severely who require credit.
      - Douglas William Jerrold,
        Specimens of Jerrold's Wit--Wit

I have no more pleasure in hearing a man attempting wit and failing, than in seeing a man trying to leap over a ditch and tumbling into it.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

The hapless wit has his labors always to begin, the call for novelty is never satisfied, and one jest only raises expectation of another.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Wit will never make a man rich, but there are places where riches will always make a wit.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

Wit, like every other power, has its boundaries. Its success depends on the aptitude of others to receive impressions; and that as some bodies, indissoluble by heat, can set the furnace and crucible at defiance, there are minds upon which the rays of fancy may be pointed without effect, and which no fire of sentiment can agitate or exalt.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

This man [Chesterfield] I thought had been a lord among wits; but I find he is only a wit among lords.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Boswell's Life of Johnson

Wit is that which has been often thought, but never before was well expressed.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature"),
        Life of Cowley

Genuine witticisms surprise those who say them as much as those who listen to them; they arise in us in spite of us, or, at least, without our participation,--like everything inspired.
      - Joseph Joubert

Only just the right quantum of wit should be put into a book; in conversation a little excess is allowable.
      - Joseph Joubert

There are some men who are witty when they are in a bad humor, and others only when they are sad.
      - Joseph Joubert

I give you full credit for your elegant diction, well-turned periods, and Attic wit; but wit is oftentimes false, though it may appear brilliant; which is exactly the case of your whole performance.
      - Junius (pseudonym, possibly of Sir Philip Francis)

Wit should be wit, but never satire.
      - la Rochejacquelin

I never have wit until I am below stairs.
  [Fr., Je n'ai jamais d'esprit qu'au bas de l'escalier.]
      - Jean de la Bruyere,
        according to J.J. Rousseau

The best thing next to wit is a consciousness that it is not in us; without wit, a man might then know how to behave himself, so as not to appear to be a fool or a coxcomb.
      - Jean de la Bruyere

He must be a dull Fellow indeed, whom neither Love, Malice, nor Necessity, can inspire with Wit.
      - Jean de la Bruyere,
        The Characters or Manners of the Present Age
         (ch. IV)

Wit sometimes enables us to act rudely with impunity.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

A man does not please long when he has only species of wit.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Maxims
         (no. 438)

A small degree of wit, accompanied by good sense, is less tiresome in the long run than a great amount of wit without it.
      - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Maxims
         (no. 529)

Erasmus injured us more by his wit than Luther by his anger.
      - Leo X

And one may say that his wit shines at the expense of his memory.
      - Alain Rene Le Sage

One may say that his wit shines at the expense of his memory.
  [Fr., On peut dire que son esprit brille aux depens de sa memoire.]
      - Alain Rene Le Sage, Gil Blas (III, XI),
        of Carlos Alonso de la Ventoleria

Humor is the offspring of man; it comes forth like Minerva, fully armed from the brain.
      - Sir Roger L'Estrange

Intemperate wits will spare neither friend nor foe, and make themselves the common enemies of mankind.
      - Sir Roger L'Estrange

The fairest blossoms of pleasantry thrive best where the sun is not strong enough to scorch, nor the soil rank enough to corrupt.
      - Sir Roger L'Estrange

The lowest boor may laugh on being tickled, but a man must have intelligence to be amused by wit.
      - Sir Roger L'Estrange

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