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WIT
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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 ]

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

Wit is the flower of the imagination.
      - Titus Livy

Wit consists in assembling, and putting together with quickness, ideas in which can be found resemblance and congruity, by which to make up pleasant pictures and agreeable visions in the fancy.
      - John Locke (1)

In the midst of the fountain of wit there arises something bitter, which stings in the very flowers.
  [Lat., Medio de fonte leporum
    Surgit amari aliquid quod in ipsis floribus angat.]
      - Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus),
        IV, 1133

Wit is not levelled so much at the muscles as at the heart; and the latter will sometimes smile when there is not a single wrinkle on the cheek.
      - Lord George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton ("The Good Lord Lyttelton")

Avoid witticisms at the expense of others.
      - Horace Mann

Mother Wit. (Nature's mother wit.)
      - Christopher Marlowe,
        Prologue to Tamerlaine the Great (pt. I)

What quick wit is found in sudden straits!
      - Martial (Marcus Valerius Martialis)

A witty woman is a treasure; a witty beauty is a power.
      - George Meredith

Have you summoned your wits from wool-gathering?
      - Thomas Middleton, The Family of Love
         (act V, sc. 3)

No one shall have wit save we and our friends.
  [Fr., Nul n'aura le l'esprit, hors nous et nos amis.]
      - Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin),
        Les Femmes Savantes (III, 2)

Repartee is precisely the touchstone of the man of wit.
  [Fr., L'impromptu est justement la pierre de touche de l'esprit.]
      - Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin),
        Les Precieuses Ridicules (X)

There are as many and innumerable degrees of wit, as there are cubits between this and heaven.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Wit is a dangerous weapon, even to the possessor, if he knows not how to use it discreetly.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

When we seek after wit, we discover only foolishness.
      - Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat)

Raillery is a mode of speaking in favor of one's wit at the expense of one's better nature.
  [Fr., La raillerie est un discours en faveur de son esprit contre son bon naturel.]
      - Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat),
        Pensees Diverses

To place wit before good sense is to place the superfluous before the necessary.
      - Francois Dominique Reynaud de comte de Montlosier (Francis Montlosier)

Whose wit, in the combat, as gentle as bright,
  Ne'er carried a heart-stain away on its blade.
      - Thomas Moore,
        Lines on the Death of Sheridan (st. 11)

Wit is the most rascally, contemptible, beggarly thing on the face of the earth.
      - Arthur Murphy, The Apprentice

It is often a sign of wit not to show it, and not to see that others want it.
      - Madame Suzanne Curchod Necker

In cheerful souls there is no wit. Wit shows a disturbance of the equipoise.
      - Novalis (pseudonym of Frederich Leopold von Hardenberg)

Witticisms never are agreeable, which are injurious to others.
      - Old Latin Saying

Let your wit rather serve you for a buckler to defend yourself, by a handsome reply, than the sword to wound others, though with ever so facetious reproach; remembering that a word cuts deeper than a sharper weapon, and the wound it makes is longer curing.
      - Francis Osborne (Osborn)

Wit is brushwood, judgment timber; the one gives the greatest flame, the other yields the durablest heat; and both meeting make the best fire.
      - Sir Thomas Overbury

There's a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply callisthenics with words.
      - Dorothy Rothchild Parker (Mrs. Alan Campbell),
        in the "Paris Review"


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