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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 ]

Wit has its place in debate; in controversy it is a legitimate weapon, offensive and defensive.
      - Theodore Parker

Less judgment than wit is more sail than ballast. Yet it must be confessed that wit given an edge to sense, and recommends it extremely.
      - William Penn

We find ourselves less witty in remembering what we have said than in dreaming of what we would have said.
      - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn

Wit, says an author that I do not know,
  Is like Time's scythe--cuts down both friend and foe;--
    Ready, each object, tiger-like, to leap on!
      "Lord! what a butcher this same wit!"
      - Peter Pindar (pseudonym of Dr. John Wolcot) (Wolcott)

Attic wit.
  [Lat., Sal Atticum.]
      - Pliny the Elder (Caius Plinius Secundus),
        Natural History (31, 7, 41)

Modest plainness sets off sprightly wit,
  For works may have more with than does 'em good,
    As bodies perish through excess of blood.
      - Alexander Pope

So vast is art; so narrow human wit.
      - Alexander Pope

Some to conceit alone their taste confine,
  And glittering thoughts struck out at ev'ry line;
    Pleas'd with a work where nothing's just or fit;
      One glaring chaos and wild heap of wit.
      - Alexander Pope

The life of a wit is a warfare upon earth.
      - Alexander Pope

Wit and judgment often are at strife.
      - Alexander Pope

You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come;
  Knock as you please, there's nobody at home.
      - Alexander Pope, Epigram

So modest plainness sets off sprightly wit,
  For works may have more wit than does 'em good,
    As bodies perish through excess blood.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay of Criticism
         (l. 302)

How the wit brightens! how the style refines!
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (l. 421)

If faith itself has different dresses worn,
  What wonder modes in wit should take their turn?
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (l. 446)

For wit and judgment often are at strife,
  Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism (l. 82)

True wit is nature to advantage dress'd,
  What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (pt. II, l. 97)

A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.
      - Alexander Pope, The Dunciad
         (bk. IV, l. 92)

Some men's wit is like a dark lantern, which serves their own turn and guides them their own way, but is never known (according to the Scripture phrase) either to shine forth before men, or to glorify their Father in heaven.
      - Alexander Pope,
        Thoughts on Various Subjects

Wit is, in general, the finest sense in the world. I had lived long before I discovered that wit was truth.
      - Dr. Richard Porson

There is nothing so unready as readiness of wit.
      - Antoine de Rivarol, Comte de Rivarol

Generally speaking there is more wit than talent in the world. Society swarms with witty people who lack talent.
      - Antoine de Rivarol, Comte de Rivarol,
        On Mme. de Stael

Though wit be very useful, yet unless a wise man has the keeping of it, that knows when, where, and how to apply it, it is like wild-fire, that flies at rovers, runs hissing about, and blows up everything that comes in its way, without any respect or discrimination.
      - Sir Walter Scott

If he who has little wit needs a master to inform his stupidity, he who has much frequently needs ten to keep in check his worldly wisdom, which might otherwise, like a high-mettled charger, toss him to the ground.
      - Christian Scriver (used pseudonym Gotthold)

Wit and wisdom differ; wit is upon the sudden turn, wisdom is bringing about ends.
      - John Selden

Women ought not to know their own wit, because they will still be showing it, and so spoil it.
      - John Selden


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