A Dictionary of Wellerisms

Hardcover | March 1, 1994

EditorWolfgang Mieder, Stewart A. Kingsbury

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The wellerism--so called in English because it is a form of expression typical or reminiscent of Sam Weller or his father, two celebrated character in Dickens's Pickwick Papers--is a major subtype of the proverb. Known since Sumerian times, it has been popular in most European languages andsome African languages. As defined by folklorists and proverb scholars, a wellerism consists of three parts: a speech or statement (often a proverb), identification of the speaker, and identification of the situation, which gives the expression an ironic or humorous twist, often in the form of apun. * "Prevention is better than cure," said the pig when it ran away from the butcher. * "We'll have to rehearse that," said the undertaker as the coffin fell out of the car. A Dictionary of Wellerisms is the first work to collect all of the wellerisms recorded in the English language. Drawing on periodical literature and other scholarly sources, Mieder and Kingsbury have assembled, edited, and annotated a collection of wellerisms including over 1500 texts found inBritish, American, Canadian, and other English-language literatures and oral collections. Mieder's preface, bibliography, and extensive introduction explaining the history, meaning, and function of wellerisms, are supplemented by an index of speakers and an index of situations. Containing a wealth of wit and humor, A Dictionary of Wellerisms is both entertaining and informative, appealing to the casual browser as well as to students and scholars of literature, psychology, folklore, linguistics, anthropology, and cultural history.

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From Our Editors

"'I see, ' said the blind man, as he stumbled over a log". Since ancient times, people have engaged in clever word play, often creating humorous sayings of the same basic construction as this familiar one. In modern times termed a "wellerism" because it is a form of expression reminiscent of Sam Weller and his father, two celebrated ch...

From the Publisher

The wellerism--so called in English because it is a form of expression typical or reminiscent of Sam Weller or his father, two celebrated character in Dickens's Pickwick Papers--is a major subtype of the proverb. Known since Sumerian times, it has been popular in most European languages andsome African languages. As defined by folklori...

Wolfgang Mieder is at University of Vermont. Stewart A. Kingsbury is at Northern Michigan University (Emeritus).

other books by Wolfgang Mieder

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 8.27 × 5.51 × 0.98 inPublished:March 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195083180

ISBN - 13:9780195083187

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From Our Editors

"'I see, ' said the blind man, as he stumbled over a log". Since ancient times, people have engaged in clever word play, often creating humorous sayings of the same basic construction as this familiar one. In modern times termed a "wellerism" because it is a form of expression reminiscent of Sam Weller and his father, two celebrated characters in Dickens's Pickwick Papers, this major subtype of the proverb has been popular in most European languages and some African languages as far back as can be traced. As defined by folklorists and proverb scholars, a wellerism generally consists of three parts: a speech or statement (often a proverb), identification of the speaker, and identification of the situation, which gives the expression an ironic or humorous twist, often in the form of a pun. "Prevention is better than cure", said the pig when it ran away from the butcher. "We'll have to rehearse that", said the undertaker as the coffin fell out of the car. Hidden in these short quips is revealing commentary on social and political issues as well as human nature in gen

Editorial Reviews

"Students and scholars of literature, folklore, linguistics and cultural history will appreciate this unusual collection of satyrical wit and humor..."--Come-All-Ye