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


Nothing is more ridiculous than ridicule.


Cervantes smiled Spain’s chivalry away.


Your sayer of smart things has a bad heart.


Ridicule is often employed with more power and success than severity.


He who brings ridicule to bear against truth finds in his hand a blade without a hilt.


Ridicule has followed the vestiges of truth, but never usurped her place.


Raillery is a mode of speaking in favor of one’s wit against one’s good-nature.


A profound conviction raises a man above the feeling of ridicule.

J. Stuart Mill.

The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen as is the razor’s edge invisible.


To the man of thought almost nothing is really ridiculous.


Ridicule often cuts the Gordian knot more effectively than the severity of satire.


If ridicule were employed to laugh men out of vice and folly, it might be of some use.


Truth, ’tis supposed, may bear all lights; and one of those bright lights … by which things are to be viewed … is ridicule itself.


Derision is never so agonizing as when it pounces on the wanderings of misguided sensibility.

Lord Jeffrey.

For man learns more readily and remembers more willingly what excites his ridicule than what deserves esteem and respect.


Ridicule is generally made use of to laugh men out of virtue and good sense, by attacking everything praiseworthy in human life.


Raillery is more insupportable than wrong; because we have a right to resent injuries, but are ridiculous in being angry at a jest.

La Rochefoucauld.

How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?


Sneering springs out of the wish to deny; and wretched must that state of mind be that wishes to take refuge in doubt.

L. E. Landon.

I have lived one hundred years; and I die with the consolation of never having thrown the slightest ridicule upon the smallest virtue.


  • Ridicule is a weak weapon, when levelled at a strong mind;
  • But common men are cowards, and dread an empty laugh.
  • Tupper.

    Ridicule, which chiefly arises from pride, a selfish passion, is but at best a gross pleasure, too rough an entertainment for those who are highly polished and refined.

    Henry Home.

    It is easy for a man who sits idle at home, and has nobody to please but himself, to ridicule or censure the common practices of mankind.


    Betray mean terror of ridicule, thou shalt find fools enough to mock thee; but answer thou their language with contempt, and the scoffers will lick thy feet.


    Some men are, in regard to ridicule, like tin-roofed buildings in regard to hail: all that hits them bounds rattling off; not a stone goes through.


    Ridicule, the weapon of all others most feared by enthusiasts of every description, and which, from its predominance over such minds, often checks what is absurd, and fully as often smothers that which is noble.

    Walter Scott.

  • But touch me, and no minister so sore.
  • Whoe’er offends, at some unlucky time
  • Slides into verse, and hitches in a rhyme,
  • Sacred to ridicule his whole life long,
  • And the sad burthen of some merry song.
  • Pope.

    The talent of turning men into ridicule, and exposing to laughter those one converses with, is the gratification of little minds and ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all manner of improvement.


    It is a good plan, with a young person of a character to be much affected by ludicrous and absurd representations, to show him plainly by examples that there is nothing which may not be thus represented. He will hardly need to be told that everything is not a mere joke.


    The raillery which is consistent with good-breeding is a gentle animadversion of some foible, which, while it raises the laugh in the rest of the company, doth not put the person rallied out of countenance, or expose him to shame or contempt. On the contrary, the jest should be so delicate that the object of it should be capable of joining in the mirth it occasions.


    We can learn to read and write, but we cannot learn raillery; that must be a particular gift of nature; and, to tell the truth, I esteem him happy who does not wish to acquire it. The character of sarcasm is dangerous; although this quality makes those laugh whom it does not wound, it, nevertheless, never procures esteem.


    It is commonly said, and more particularly by Lord Shaftesbury, that ridicule is the best test of truth; for that it will not stick where it is not just. I deny it. A truth learned in a certain light, and attacked in certain words, by men of wit and humor, may, and often doth, become ridiculous, at least so far that the truth is only remembered and repeated for the sake of the ridicule.


    The fatal fondness of indulging in a spirit of ridicule, and the injurious and irreparable consequences which sometimes attend the too severe reply, can never be condemned with more asperity than it deserves. Not to offend is the first step towards pleasing. To give pain is as much an offence against humanity as against good-breeding, and surely it is as well to abstain from an action because it is sinful, as because it is unpolite.