Nonsense

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'Twas brillig and the slithy toves,
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe. ~ Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass

Nonsense is senseless or meaningless talk, language, or ideas; an untrue statement; or behaviour that is foolish or not straightforward. Nonsense, in one form or another, has often been practiced in literature to illustrate a point or highlight something that is ridiculous or contradictory; or, alternatively, can surface in other, more everyday contexts as something said indiscreetly or thoughtlessly that is liable to be misunderstood.

Quotes[edit]

There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes or other normal amusements of mankind. ~ G. K. Chesterton
Alphabetized by author
If … nonsense is really to be the literature of the future, it must have its own version of the Cosmos to offer; the world must not only be tragic, romantic, and religious, it must be nonsensical also. ~ G. K. Chesterton
Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. ~ Theodor Seuss Geisel
Such a shuffleing, nonsensical paragraph was, I firmly believe, never put together since the invention of letters. That which I do not, and which, I think, no one can, understand. I shall not meddle with. ~ Joseph Ritson
  • Nothing is capable to being well set to music that is not nonsense.
  • Undergraduates owe their happiness chiefly to the consciousness that they are no longer at school. The nonsense which was knocked out of them at school is all put gently back at Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Nonsense, n. The objections that are urged against this excellent dictionary.
  • To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life.
    • Gelett Burgess (1866–1951), U.S. humorist and illustrator. The Romance of the Commonplace, 'The Sense of Humour', (1916).
  • There are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes or other normal amusements of mankind.
  • If, therefore, nonsense is really to be the literature of the future, it must have its own version of the Cosmos to offer; the world must not only be tragic, romantic, and religious, it must be nonsensical also.
  • Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.
    • Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures (1957)
      (This is an example of a sentence which, although grammatically acceptable, is without meaning.).
  • The nonsense that charms is close to sense.
    • Mason Cooley (1927-2002), U.S. aphorist. City Aphorisms, Eleventh Selection (1993).
  • Nonsense is socially OK, but not stupidity.
    • Mason Cooley, City Aphorisms, Fourteenth Selection (1994).
  • Nine–tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense.
    • Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881), British Prime Minister and author. Lothair, Ch. 29 (1870).
  • To die for faction is a common evil,
    But to be hanged for nonsense is the Devil.
  • I've a great fancy to see my own funeral afore I die.
  • Nonsense and beauty have close connections — closer connections than Art will allow.
    • E.M. Forster, The Longest Journey, Part I, Chapter 12 (1907).
  • As Charms are nonsense, Nonsence is a Charm.
  • Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.
    • Robert Frost, Letter to Louis Untermeyer, 7th August 1915.
  • It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
  • Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age.
    • Theodor Seuss Geisel, [Dr. Seuss] (1904 –1991), American writer and cartoonist. As quoted in "Author Isn't Just a Cat in the Hat" by Miles Corwin in The Los Angeles Times (27 November 1983); also in Dr. Seuss: American Icon (2004) by Philip Nel, p. 38.
  • For one of us was born a twin
    And not a soul knew which.
  • Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.
  • No one is exempt from talking nonsense. The great misfortune is to do it solemnly.
  • If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself.
  • The evolution of sense is, in a sense, the evolution of nonsense.
    • Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977), Russian-born American novelist. Pnin, Ch. 2, Sect. 1 (1957).
  • Probably the best nonsense poetry is produced gradually and accidentally, by communities rather than by individuals.
    • George Orwell, Nonsense Poetry, in 'Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays'.
  • A little nonsense now and then
    Is relished by the wisest men.
    • David Saltzer, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (film) 1971, spoken by Gene Wilder.
    • Not original to this work, the proverb dates from at least the 18th century.
  • A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself.
    • Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Act II
  • There is absolutely no common sense; it is common nonsense.
  • A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not misbecome a monarch.
  • My aim is: to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 560.
  • A little nonsense now and then
    Is relished by the wisest men.
    • Anonymous.
  • He killed the noble Mudjokivis.
    Of the skin he made him mittens,
    Made them with the fur side inside,
    Made them with the skin side outside.
    He, to get the warm side inside,
    Put the inside skin side outside;
    He, to get the cold side outside,
    Put the warm side fur side inside.
    That's why he put the fur side inside,
    Why he put the skin side outside,
    Why he turned them inside outside.
    • Given as Anon. in Carolyn Wells, Parody Anthology, p. 120.
  • When Bryan O'Lynn had no shirt to put on,
    He took him a sheep skin to make him a' one.
    "With the skinny side out, and the wooly side in,
    'Twill be warm and convanient," said Bryan O'Lynn.
    • Old Irish Song.
  • For blocks are better cleft with wedges,
    Than tools of sharp or subtle edges,
    And dullest nonsense has been found
    By some to be the most profound.
  • To varnish nonsense with the charms of sound.
  • Conductor, when you receive a fare,
    Punch in the presence of the passenjare.
    A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare,
    A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare,
    A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare,
    Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
  • Chorus
    Punch, brothers! punch with care!
    Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
    • Mark Twain, Punch, Brothers, Punch. Used in Literary Nightmare. Notice posted in a car and discovered by Mark Twain. Changed into the above jingle, which became popular, by Isaac Bromley and others. See Albert Bigelow Paine, Biography of Mark Twain.
  • Misce stultitiam consiliis brevem:
    Dulce est desipere in loco.
    • Mingle a little folly with your wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant.
    • Horace, Carmina, IV. 12. 27.
  • How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
    Who has written such volumes of stuff!
    Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
    But a few think him pleasant enough.
  • No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the misfortune is to do it solemnly.
  • There's a skin without and a skin within,
    A covering skin and a lining skin,
    But the skin within is the skin without
    Doubled and carried complete throughout.
    • Power of Atherstone.
  • From the Squirrel skin Marcosset
    Made some mittens for our hero.
    Mittens with the fur-side inside,
    With the fur side next his fingers
    So's to keep the hand warm inside.
    • G. Strong ("Marc Antony Henderson"); Song of the Milgenwater, Parody of Hiawatha.
  • A careless song, with a little nonsense in it now and then, does not misbecome a monarch.

Anonymous[edit]

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
    • Nonsensical pseudo-Latin text traditionally used for demonstrating typography and layout. Origin of modern use is unknown. The text derives from chopped up words and phrases from Cicero's De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum ("On the Ends of Goods and Evils", also known as "The Purposes of Good and Evil".) More at Wikipedia.
  • One bright day, in the middle of the night, two dead boy's began to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other. A deaf policemen heard the noise, and came to save the two dead boys. If you don't believe me, well it's true, ask the blind man, he saw it all too.

External links[edit]

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