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The Mockery of the Owl: a 17th-century painting by Jan van Kessel the Elder, loosely depicting a scene from the 13th-century poem, The Owl and the Nightingale, in which the owl is mocked for its characteristics by other birds.

Mockery or mocking is the act of insulting or making light of a person or other thing, sometimes merely by taunting, but often by making a caricature, purporting to engage in imitation in a way that highlights unflattering characteristics. Mockery can be done in a lighthearted and gentle way, but can also be cruel and hateful. Mockery appears to be unique to humans, and serves a number of psychological functions, such as reducing the perceived imbalance of power between authority figures and common people. Examples of mockery can be found in literature and the arts.


  • Fielding Mellish: I object, Your Honor! This trial is a travesty! It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham!
  • Though I were gifted with an angel's tongue,
    And voice like that with which the prophets sung,
    Yet if mild charity were not within,
    'T were all an impious mockery and sin.
  • And bear about the mockery of woe
    To midnight dances and the public show.
  • It has taken us centuries of thought and mockery to shake the medieval system; thought and mockery here and now are required to prevent the mechanists from building another.
  • O that I were a mockery king of snow,
    Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke,
    To melt myself away in water drops!
  • Perséverance, dear my lord,
    Keeps honour bright: to have done, is to hang
    Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
    In monumental mockery.

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