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Comparisons are odorous/odious - Gary :)

Posted by Gary on November 22, 2002

In Reply to: Comparisons are odorous/odious - Gary :) posted by TheFallen on November 20, 2002

: : odious?

: : Comparisons are odious.
: : Proverbs 141

: : Comparisons are odorous.
: : Much Ado About Nothing (1598-9) act 3, sc. 5, l. [18]

: Now this is interesting. A search of the database of this very site reveals the following:


: "Comparisons are odorous"
: From Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Usually misquoted as 'comparisons are odious'.

: However, a little further research shows the following:

: a) AUTHOR: Sir John Fortescue (c. 1394-1476)
: QUOTATION: Comparisons are odious.
: ATTRIBUTION: De Laudibus Leg. Angliæ. Chap. xix.

: b) AUTHOR: Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
: QUOTATION: Comparisons are odious.
: ATTRIBUTION: Lust's Dominion. Act iii. Sc. 4.

: c) AUTHOR: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)
: QUOTATION: Comparisons are odious. Note 1
: ATTRIBUTION: Don Quixote. Part ii. Chap. xxiii.

: d) AUTHOR: John Donne (1572-1631)
: QUOTATION: She and comparisons are odious.
: ATTRIBUTION: Elegy 8. The Comparison
: I don't have a Bible to hand to check the claimed Biblical reference - perhaps someone could oblige.

: The point is that Shakespeare, who certainly knew the difference between odious (hateful) and odorous (unpleasant smelling), is lampooning Dogberry by making him misquote what was clearly a well-known saying of the period.

: Therefore for our own database to claim that the "true" phrase is "comparisons are odorous" and that anything else is a misquotation of Shakespeare is rather missing the point.

Yes, it does. I've done some more checking and have updated that page.