quotations about wit
A thing well said will be wit in all languages.
JOHN DRYDEN, Essay of Dramatic Poesy
For when the wine is in, the wit is out.
THOMAS BECON, Catechism
A wit in the society of stupid people is like a damp lucifer match, the brilliant properties of which are, for the time, neutralized by the unignitable qualities of the atmosphere in which it has been misplaced.
CHARLES WILLIAM DAY, The Maxims, Experiences, and Observations of Agogos
A fatalistic Irish wit is a famously effective coping mechanism.
JACK MCENENY, "McEneny waiting for words", Albany Times Union, March 11, 2017
The plucky little Posh, my Sicilian American bride of 35 years, insists that I'm not particularly funny. I respond that a sly wit is all I seek, and that kind of thing often goes undetected, especially in a marriage.
CHRIS ERSKINE, "Health bills pile up, as I fall down", Watertown Daily Times, March 27, 2017
Wit is something more than a gymnastic trick of the intellect; true wit implies a beam of thought into the essence of a question, a flash that lights up a situation. Wit suggests the delicate but delightful play of a rapier in the hands of a master.
ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life
Great wits are sure to madness near allied;
And thin partitions do their bonds divide.
JOHN DRYDEN, Absalom and Achitophel
Wit can render instant aid or lasting harm.
LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts
Wit is a form of force that leaves the limbs at rest.
GEORGE ELIOT, Felix Holt
The mere wit is only a human bauble. He is to life what bells are to horses--not expected to draw the load, but only to jingle while the horses draw.
HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit
Where judgment has wit to express it, there's the best orator.
WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude
Wit malignantly employed is like a crackling fire that with every fresh blaze sends out sparks. Take care that you are not burnt.
JOHN THORNTON, Maxims and Directions for Youth
The well of true wit is truth itself.
GEORGE MEREDITH, Diana of the Crossways
Humor wades across a brook, wit jumps over it.
AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought
Wit catches of wit, as fire of fire.
FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters, and Reflections
Wit in conversation is only a readiness of thought and a facility of expression, or (in the midwives' phrase) a quick conception, and an easy delivery.
ALEXANDER POPE, "Thoughts on Various Subjects"
Wit is the refractory pupil of judgment.
WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Essays on Men and Manners
Wit, like poetry, is insusceptible of being constructed upon rules founded merely in reason. Like faith, it exists independent of reason, and sometimes in hostility to it.
CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought
There is no quality of the mind, or of the body, that so instantaneously and irresistibly captivates, as wit. An elegant writer has observed that wit may do very well for a mistress, but that he should prefer reason for a wife. He that deserts the latter, and gives himself up entirely to the guidance of the former, will certainly fall into many pitfalls and quagmires, like him who walks by flashes of lightning, rather than the steady beams of the sun.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
There's a hell of a distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.
DOROTHY PARKER, The Paris Review, summer 1956