░░▒▒▒▓▓▓▒▒▒░░ (masstreble) wrote,

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Wit, sarcasm, humour, and so on.

I got into a little mini-argument with a friend at work the other day about a piece of history trivia. I'm hoping that the connection between French nobles and wit would be apparent on the Internet, where Google can fill any gaps in cultural history you might have. Unfortunately, Google was not a luxury we had, and our mini-argument ended with me telling him to go look up "wit" in the dictionary "so you can begin to understand it". I did so myself, and I found an interesting little article in the synonyms section in my worn copy of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:

Synonyms: wit, humor, repartee, sarcasm, irony. These nouns, related but not always interchangeable, are compared as they denote forms of expression. Wit especially implies mental keenness, ability to discern those elements of a situation or condition that relate to what is comic, and talent for making an effective comment on them. Humor, closely related, suggests the ability to recognize the incongruity and absurdity inherent in life and to use them as the basis of expression in some medium. Both wit and humor are associated with amusement or laughter, but wit often implies brilliant, pointed, or cutting statement, whereas humor is also applicable to what is kindly or broadly funny. Repartee, or the exchange of wit, generally in conversation, implies facility in answering quickly and cleverly. Sarcasm is usually a form of wit intended to taunt, wound, or subject another to ridicule or contempt. Often it involves irony, a form of statement whose witty intent is contrary to, and sometimes the opposite of, the literal meaning of the words employed. In this sense irony is often employed to point up mockingly the discrepancies between reality, with its shortcomings, and a more desirable state.

Internet comedians, take note.
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