C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


A good jest forever.


Jesters do often prove prophets.


I do not like this fooling.


How ill white hairs become a fool and jester!


A jest is a very serious thing.


A jest loses its point when he who makes it is the first to laugh.


No time to break jests when the heartstrings are about to be broken.


A bitter jest, when it comes too near the truth, leaves a sharp sting behind it.


Judge of a jest when you have done laughing.


  • This fellow pecks up wit, as pigeons peace,
  • And utters it again when Jove doth please;
  • He is wit’s peddler.
  • Shakespeare.

    Jest with your equals.


    A jester, a bad character.


    If anything is spoken in jest, it is not fair to turn it to earnest.


    The jest which is expected is already destroyed.


    Wanton jests make fools laugh, and wise men frown.


    Jesting, often, only proves a want of intellect.

    La Bruyère.

    Jests,—brain-fleas that jump about among the slumbering ideas.

    Heinrich Heine.

    Jesting is frequently an evidence of the poverty of the understanding.


    The fund of sensible discourse is limited; that of jest and badinerie is infinite.


    A joker is near akin to a buffoon; and neither of them is the least related to wit.


    It is good to jest, but not to make a trade of jesting.

    Queen Elizabeth.

    Harmless mirth is the best cordial against the consumption of the spirit; wherefore jesting is not unlawful, if it trespasseth not in quantity, quality, or season.

    Thomas Fuller.

  • A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
  • Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
  • Of him that makes it.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Of all the griefs that harass the distress’d,
  • Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest.
  • Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart,
  • Than when a blockhead’s insult points the dart.
  • Dr. Johnson.

    Wit loses its respect with the good when seen in company with malice; and to smile at the jest which plants a thorn in another’s breast is to become a principal in the mischief.


    As to jest, there ought to be certain things privileged from it,—namely, religion, matters of state, great persons, and man’s present business of importance, and any case that deserveth pity.


    Beware of biting jests; the more truth they carry with them, the greater wounds they give, the greater smarts they cause, and the greater scars they leave behind them.


    He that will lose his friend for a jest deserves to die a beggar by the bargain. Such let thy jests be, that they may not grind the credit of thy friend; and make not jests so long till thou becomest one.


    It is dangerous to jest with God, death, or the devil; for the first neither can nor will be mocked; the second mocks all men at one time or another; and the third puts an eternal sarcasm on those that are too familiar with him.

    J. Beaumont.

    He who never relaxes into sportiveness is a wearisome companion; but beware of him who jests at everything! Such men disparage by some ludicrous association, all objects which are presented to their thoughts, and thereby render themselves incapable of any emotion which can either elevate or soften them; they bring upon their moral being an influence more withering than the blasts of the desert.