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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 ]

It is with wits as with razors, which are never so apt to cut those they are employed on as when they have lost their edge.
      - Jonathan Swift,
        Tale of a Tub: Author's Preface

Sharpness cuts slight things best; solid, nothing cuts through but weight and strength; the same in the use of intellectuals.
      - Sir William Temple

Too much wit makes the world rotten.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson,
        Idylls of the King--The Tournament

And wit its honey lent, without the sting.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson,
        To the Memory of Lord Talbot

It is no great advantage to possess a quick wit, if it is not correct; the perfection is not speed, but uniformity.
      - Luc de Clapier de Vauvanargues

The character of false wit is that of appearing to depend only upon reason.
      - Luc de Clapier de Vauvanargues

Wit does not take the place of knowledge.
      - Luc de Clapier de Vauvanargues

True wit is everlasting, like the sun; describing all men, but described by none.
      - George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham

Good wits will jump.
      - George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham,
        The Chances (act IV, sc. 1)

A witty saying proves nothing.
      - Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire)

False wit is a fatiguing search after cunning traits, an affectation of saying in enigmas what others have already said naturally, to hang together ideas which are incompatible, to divide that which ought to be united, of seizing false relations.
      - Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire)

He had too thoughtful a wit: like a penknife in too narrow a sheath, too sharp for his body.
      - Izaak Walton, Life of George Herbert,
        report as Herbert's saying about himself

From Lucifer to Jerry Sneak there is not an aspect of evil, imperfection, and littleness which can elude the lights of humor or the lightning of wit.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

It marries ideas lying wide apart by a sudden jerk of the understanding.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

Nature and society are so replete with startling contrasts that wit often consists in the mere statement and comparison of facts, as when Hume says that the ancient Muscovites wedded their wives with a whip instead of a ring.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

The essence of the ludicrous consists in surprise,--in unexpected terms of feeling and explosions of thought,--often bringing dissimilar things together with a shock; as when some wit called Boyle, the celebrated philosopher, the father of chemistry and brother of the Earl of Cork.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

Wit implies hatred or contempt of folly and crime, produces its effects by brisk shocks of surprise, uses the whip of scorpions and the branding-iron, stabs, stings, pinches, tortures, goads, teases, corrodes, undermines.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

Wit is an unexpected explosion of thought.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

Wit, bright, rapid, and blasting as the lightning, flashes, strikes, and vanishes, in an instant; humor, warm and all-embracing as the sunshine, bathes its object in a genial and abiding light.
      - Edwin Percy Whipple

Nae wut without a portion o' impertinence.
      - John Wilson (2) (used pseudonym Christopher North),
        in Noctes Ambrosianae

Though I am young, I scorn to flit
  On the wings of borrowed wit.
      - George Wither (Whyther or Withers),
        The Shepherd's Hunting

As wit is too hard for power in council, so power is too hard for wit in action.
      - William Wycherley

Wit has as few true judges as painting.
      - William Wycherley

Wit is more necessary than beauty; and I think no young woman ugly that has it, and no handsome woman agreeable without it.
      - William Wycherley

If satire charms, strike faults, but spare the man.
      - Edward Young


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