An X among Ys, a Y among Xs

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An X among Ys, a Y among Xs (or An X with Ys, a Y with Xs, among other variations) is a meme popular in literature from the ancient times to the 18th centuries, in which the subject is spoken of as displaying one characteristic among or relative to a group of people having a second, but displaying the second characteristic among or relative to a group of people having the first.

Sourced[edit]

  • A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.
  • I come to tell you this, and to advise you to shut the gates of your gardens forthwith, and to cease the harangues of a master, since you only pass for a philosopher among fools, and for a fool among philosophers.
  • Qui stultis videri eruditi volunt stulti eruditis videntur.
  • If he be not fellow with the best king, thou shalt find the best king of good fellows.

Attributed[edit]

  • This man [Chesterfield], I thought, had been a lord among wits; but I find he is only a wit among lords.
    • Samuel Johnson Boswell's Life, vol. ii, ch. i, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • A fool with judges, amongst fools a judge.
    • William Cowper, Conversation, line 298, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Although too much of a soldier among sovereigns, no one could claim with better right to be a sovereign among soldiers.
    • Sir Walter Scott, Life of Napoleon, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Temple was a man of the world among men of letters, a man of letters among men of the world.
  • Delle belle eruditissima, delle erudite bellissima.
  • Translated: "Most learned of the fair; fairest of the learned".
    • Attributed to Sannazarius by Greswell in his Memoirs of Politian, inscribed to Cassandra Marchesia an edition of his Italian Poems, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Live among men as if God beheld you; speak to God as if men were listening.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistles, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).