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Witticism   Listen
Witticism

noun
1.
A message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter.  Synonyms: humor, humour, wit, wittiness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Witticism" Quotes from Famous Books



... audience that Caillette was enchanted, for in her heart lurked a fear that some one would love her Fanfar. But after all it did not matter, for he cared little for all the beauties in the world. He handed La Roulante the stones which were to form her apparent nutriment. He whispered a new witticism to Bobichel, and gave Robeccal some advice as to the manner in which he should hold his sword. Then he took a position where he ...
— The Son of Monte Cristo • Jules Lermina

... lunched at the Rectory. There was a repetition of the facetious proposal that Sir George should wait for payment of his fees until the tower should fall, which acquired fresh point from the circumstance that all payments were now provided for by Lord Blandamer. The ha-ha-ing which accompanied this witticism palled at length even upon the robust Sir George, and he winced under a dig in the ribs, which an extra glass of port had emboldened the ...
— The Nebuly Coat • John Meade Falkner

... Hence old Fuller's racy witticism: "S. Paul's is truly the mother church, having one babe in her body, S. Faith, and another in her arms, ...
— Old St. Paul's Cathedral • William Benham

... to inquire about the remarkable deal and to have a look at the purchase. Without a single dissenting voice, Tinkletown said Anderson had very much the "best of the bargain." George Ray meant all right when he said, "A fool for luck," but he was obliged to explain thoroughly the witticism before the proud Mr. Crow could consider ...
— The Daughter of Anderson Crow • George Barr McCutcheon

... in the day, Mr. Codlin pitched the show in a convenient spot, and the spectators were soon in the very triumph of the scene. The child, sitting down with the old man close behind it, was roused from her meditation by a loud laugh at some witticism ...
— Ten Girls from Dickens • Kate Dickinson Sweetser

... at first. They insisted on regarding us as a joke, and used to repeat the absurd witticism of the street boys. I heard Janet say "Methusaleers" one day. She denied it, but I am perfectly certain she did not say "Fusiliers," My wife fussed about dry socks and wanted me to take my umbrella on a route ...
— Our Casualty And Other Stories - 1918 • James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham

... Majesty's subjects, but that he had all along been consoled by the reflexion that there was every probability of his noble friend Lord Normanby making a progress, during the recess, and letting them all out again. Normanby, however, did not like the witticism, and complained afterwards that the dinner was very dull, ...
— The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) - A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1852 - (Volume 1 of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... richest and most 'suspect,' "—a former treasurer of France, a notary, a grocer, the wife of the former commandant of the gendarmerie, a widow and another woman,—all, says the agent, "of very solid wealth and aristocracy." "Bravo!" shouts the assembly, at this witticism; applause is given and it sings "the national hymn." It is nine o'clock in the evening. This public penitence lasts six hours and the Jacobins of Montargis retire, proud of their work; having punished as a public affront, ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 3 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... and not until he had made several sales did he venture on a joke or a witticism, although he had a plentiful stock of cheap wit, ...
— Golden Days for Boys and Girls - Volume VIII, No 25: May 21, 1887 • Various

... like yours, are banished by the dinner hour. I recognize your feeble witticism about her plain face, and forgive you because I thought it plain also at first, but when she came to speak and smile it ceased to be plain. I do not say she has had trouble, but she has had some experience in her past history which neither you nor I ...
— A Face Illumined • E. P. Roe

... from the Atlantic Ocean, which the bottle holder (as a rare joke) proceeded to empty into the Pacific Ocean, thus making (as he observed) "a literal blending of the waters." Very pretty, indeed; but not the sort of witticism which a dry man would be likely to appreciate—and Californians are sometimes ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 14, July 2, 1870 • Various

... household. I found a frying-pan, for instance, hung on the hook that was designed for the dinner-gong, and the gong inside one of the beds. A complete set of bedroom ware had been arranged on the drawing-room table; and apparently some witticism had been contemplated with a chest of drawers, which had become firmly wedged into the angle of the back staircase. In short, the usual strange ...
— The Psychical Researcher's Tale - The Sceptical Poltergeist - From "The New Decameron", Volume III. • J. D. Beresford

... not see why we hear that the Englishman is deficient in a sense of humour. His jokes may not be a matter of daily food to him, as they are to the American; he may not love whimsicality with the same passion, nor inhale the aroma of a witticism with as keen a relish; but he likes fun whenever he sees it, and he sees it as often as most people. It may be that we find the Englishman more receptive to our bits of feminine nonsense just now, simply because this is the ...
— Penelope's English Experiences • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... for the promised witticism, but discovering that he had finished, burst into a long and hearty roar, which the old gentleman accepted complacently as ...
— The Wit of Women - Fourth Edition • Kate Sanborn

... mood of the mind, when, under the influence of conversation or reading, the mind emits jets and flashes of thought, through witticism or story; but this creative mood is intermittent and spasmodic. Last of all is that exalted mood when the mind glows and throbs, when reason emits thoughts, as stars blaze light; when the nimbus that overarches the brows of saints in ancient pictures ...
— The Investment of Influence - A Study of Social Sympathy and Service • Newell Dwight Hillis

... The witticism stung him like a wasp, and, with an oath, he drew, as I was heartily glad to observe, for I cannot help thinking that when it comes to the last pinch, and one gentleman is excessively annoyed by the existence of another, steel is your only arbiter, and charitable allowances ...
— Gallantry - Dizain des Fetes Galantes • James Branch Cabell

... the ease of a Celimene, pretending to ignore that Calyste was there. La Palferine had the cleverness to depart after a brilliant witticism, leaving the two ...
— Beatrix • Honore de Balzac

... his quarter of a million in securities, all right, all right, but, by God, I've got you! And I mean that he's goin' to, that he's got to, make a choice between them and you. So we'll just wait and find out which he loves best, his beau or his dough!" And he laughed harshly at the feeble witticism, as he added, in his guttural undertone: "And I guess we get the worth of our ...
— Phantom Wires - A Novel • Arthur Stringer

... profits of the said two playhouses might for seven years space be in divident between them." This agreement, we know, was carried out, but whether it led to an exchange of companies, or what effect it had upon the players, we cannot say. Possibly to this period of joint management may be assigned the witticism of Dick Tarleton recorded as having been uttered "at the Curtain" where the Queen's Men were then playing.[100] It may even be that as one result of the affiliation of the two houses the Queen's Men were ...
— Shakespearean Playhouses - A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration • Joseph Quincy Adams

... autocratically over the kitchen of the basement restaurant, long since migrated somewhere to the north. She had exacted her share of the homage and the substance of her clients. After her departure there was still the attempt to keep up the ancient fire of witticism, and "la la la la!" was still uttered in what was thought to be the best Parisian accent, and the judgments of magazine editors, and the achievements of the painters who sold their portraits, and the writers whose novels crept into the lists of the "six bestsellers" continued to be damned ...
— Fifth Avenue • Arthur Bartlett Maurice

... was John Raffles, and he sometimes wrote jocosely W.A.G. after his signature, observing when he did so, that he was once taught by Leonard Lamb of Finsbury who wrote B.A. after his name, and that he, Raffles, originated the witticism of calling that celebrated principal Ba-Lamb. Such were the appearance and mental flavor of Mr. Raffles, both of which seemed to have a stale odor of travellers' rooms in the commercial hotels ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... swarming of the insects about the dead lion is expressed as forcibly as in the most sarcastic passage of the chanson. In "La Faridondaine" every sound is a witticism, and levels to the ground a bevy of what Byron calls "garrison people." "Halte la! ou la systeme des interpretations" is equally witty, though there the form seems to be as much in the saying, as in the ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. I • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... in these scenes? With whom has the wit to deal? First of all, with his interlocutors themselves, when his witticism is a direct retort to one of them. Often with an absent person whom he supposes to have spoken and to whom he is replying. Still oftener, with the whole world,—in the ordinary meaning of the term,—which he takes to task, twisting a current idea into a paradox, or making use of ...
— Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic • Henri Bergson

... cast off his old slough and become a travesty of me, as he had been a travesty of my uncle. I am willing to believe that they caused him pain. A crust of habit so inveterate as his cannot be rent without throes, to the severity of which his facial contortions bore witness whenever he attempted a witticism. Warned by them, ...
— Two Sides of the Face - Midwinter Tales • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... street; but by resenting it, he gave it notoriety, caused it to be recorded, and has perpetuated the memory of the jest to all future times. He ought to have joined in the laugh, and rewarded Archy on the spot for so good a witticism. ...
— Charles I - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... however, the same fatality which has pursued its political rulers has also pursued its spiritual rulers; and as most conquerors have died an unnatural death, so most writers have died an unnatural death, or only after an unnatural life. The witticism of Mark Twain, that the bed must be a most fatal place, since most people die in bed, is not applicable to Russian emperors and Russian writers. Few of them can be said to have died in their beds. Griboyedof is assassinated; Pushkin and Lermontof ...
— Lectures on Russian Literature - Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenef, Tolstoy • Ivan Panin

... witticism and blew perfumed smoke toward the dim, golden roof. But now his attention was riveted by the silent entrance of six dancing-girls, that instantly brought him ...
— The Flying Legion • George Allan England

... echoed throughout the colonies. We have seen that even Washington himself seriously thought of retreating behind the Alleghanies, which was virtual surrender. Even he, if report be true, began to think of the halter, and Franklin's little witticism, on signing the Declaration, of, "Come, gentlemen, we must all hang together or we shall hang separately," was ...
— The Campaign of Trenton 1776-77 • Samuel Adams Drake

... "if he put a brass plate on his door and charged five guineas a time" he might be one of the richest mind-doctors in London. He himself declares that his real work is almost entirely personal. I have heard him speak with some contempt of preaching, quoting the witticism of a friend that "Anglican preaching is much worse than it really need be," or words to that effect. He likes ceremonial and private confidence. He has ...
— Painted Windows - Studies in Religious Personality • Harold Begbie

... then, with conspiratorial quiet, he said, "You won't be no book, Nicky boy. Covers aren't hard enough. Not the right type face. Get it?" he roared, and dug Paresi viciously in the ribs. "Type face, it's a witticism." ...
— Breaking Point • James E. Gunn

... him," he said, as the Count disappeared. "He is unused to the artificial manners of a Court. In truth, I take it as a friendly act, for I am sure the valiant Count never turned his back upon a foe," which Imperial witticism was well received, for the sayings of an Emperor ...
— The Strong Arm • Robert Barr

... oftener have I erred through levity and want of thought! How many resolutions have I taken at random! how many judgments have I pronounced for the sake of a witticism! how many mischiefs have I not done without any sense of my responsibility! The greater part of men harm one another for the sake of doing something. We laugh at the honor of one, and compromise the reputation of another, like an idle man who saunters along a hedgerow, breaking ...
— An "Attic" Philosopher, Complete • Emile Souvestre

... This geographical witticism cost the claimant his eternal political life, and the capital clung to its water, its wooded heaps of earth, and its hole in the gray wall. Not only hills did the river bring down but birds, trees, and even mountain mists, and from out the black mouth of that hole in the ...
— The Heart Of The Hills • John Fox, Jr.

... person had said to him. It was in appearance only an embellishment of his talk, but it served to keep up a belief in the breadth, and especially the height, of his acquaintance. If he had only been presented to Mrs. Manorhouse, and she had repeated her stock witticism in his presence, Millard knew how to quote it as a remark of Mrs. Manorhouse, but the repose of his manner left the impression that he set no particular store by the Manorhouses. He early learned ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... and mangling in a frightful manner the unhappy soldiers who manned its different platforms. As those amongst them who escaped rushed out from its broken fragments, the Scottish soldiers, imitating the witticism of black Agnis at the siege of Dunbar, shouted out that the English sow had farrowed. Crab now cast his chains and grappling-hooks over the ruins of the machine, and, dragging it nearer the walls, poured down his combustibles ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 569 - Volume XX., No. 569. Saturday, October 6, 1832 • Various

... sat back in her chair, and indulged in a hearty guffaw of laughter, at this witticism of young Mas'r's, laughing till the tears rolled down her black, shining cheeks, and varying the exercise with playfully slapping and poking Mas'r Georgey, and telling him to go way, and that he was a case—that he was fit to kill her, and that he sartin would kill her, one ...
— Uncle Tom's Cabin • Harriet Beecher Stowe

... persist in calling me Jacques, just as you persist in calling Belinda, Campana in die—Bell in day. What a deplorable witticism! I could find a better in a moment. Stay," he added, "I have discovered ...
— The Youth of Jefferson - A Chronicle of College Scrapes at Williamsburg, in Virginia, A.D. 1764 • Anonymous

... too, from experience, as I had kept repeating at home, that when the chosen time arrived for the British to strike, they would prove with deeds the shamelessness of this splash of printer's ink and confound, as they have on the Somme, the witticism of a celebrated Frenchman who has since made his apology for saying that the British would fight on till the last drop of French blood was shed. Besides, on the same day that I saw the poster I saw in a British publication a reproduction of a German cartoon—exemplifying ...
— My Second Year of the War • Frederick Palmer

... the beautiful voice would take on a grave music and Oscar would begin a story, a story with symbolic second meaning or a glimpse of new thought, and when all were listening enthralled, of a sudden the eyes would dance, the smile break forth again like sunshine and some sparkling witticism would ...
— Oscar Wilde, Volume 2 (of 2) - His Life and Confessions • Frank Harris

... Johnson would always let {149} himself go. Again and again the generous connoisseurship of Boswell describes not only the witticism but the joyous gusto with which it was uttered. On no subject is the great talker's amazing ingeniousness of retort more conspicuous. When Boswell most justly criticized the absurd extravagance of his famous ...
— Dr. Johnson and His Circle • John Bailey

... remembered standing out leaning against the pig-pen, with Captain Pharo and Uncle Coffin, of nudging and being nudged by them into frequent excess of laughter over some fondly rambling anecdote or confiding witticism, until Captain Pharo, "taking the sun," decided to put off until some other day going to the Point to get a nail put in ...
— Vesty of the Basins • Sarah P. McLean Greene

... obligingly laughed at the merry witticism, as he answered, "There is light enough out here under the stars to think by. How are you, ...
— Helen of the Old House • Harold Bell Wright

... you must be prepared for slight variations in the form of the same key-syllable. Consider these words: wise, wiseacre, wisdom, wizard, witch, wit, unwitting, to wit, outwit, twit, witticism, witness, evidence, providence, invidious, advice, vision, visit, vista, visage, visualize, envisage, invisible, vis-a-vis, visor, revise, supervise, improvise, proviso, provision, view, review, survey, vie, envy, clairvoyance. Perhaps the last ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... he had come to this camp in order to speak to the men before their departure. It is said that months before he had been fond of telling humorous stories, and had delighted in making the soldiers laugh. He certainly had a sense of humour, and now and then could not refrain from some witticism which set the highly strung lads in roars of laughter. But the close of his address ...
— Tommy • Joseph Hocking

... Aunt Sallies!" De Craye had no repartee, nor did Dr. Middleton challenge a pun. We have only to sharpen our wits to trip your seductive rattler whenever we may choose to think proper; and evidently, if we condescended to it, we could do better than he. The critic who has hatched a witticism is impelled to this opinion. Judging by the smiles of the ladies, they ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... started by strolling from "The Plough" to Nightingale Lane. As the boys pass the likely girls they glance, and, if not rebuffed, offer wide smiles. But they do not stop. At the second meeting, however, they smile again and touch hands in passing, or cry over the shoulder some current witticism, as: "'Snice night, Ethel!" or "I should ...
— Nights in London • Thomas Burke

... gazed at him stupefied; his jaw dropped. The company shouted, and old Broderson, believing he had somehow accomplished a witticism, chuckled in his beard, wagging his head. But suddenly he fell grave, struck with an idea. ...
— The Octopus • Frank Norris

... child, sitting down with the old man close behind it, had been thinking how strange it was that horses who were such fine honest creatures should seem to make vagabonds of all the men they drew about them, when a loud laugh at some extemporaneous witticism of Mr Short's, having allusion to the circumstances of the day, roused her from her meditation and caused her ...
— The Old Curiosity Shop • Charles Dickens



Words linked to "Witticism" :   laugh, bite, caustic remark, message, bon mot, ribaldry, repartee, satire, libation, caricature, fun, pungency, jeu d'esprit, sarcasm, impersonation, esprit de l'escalier, gag, humour, irony, sport, joke, roaster, mot, cartoon, play, content, subject matter, jape, topper, substance, imitation, jest, sketch, wittiness



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