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Posted by Word Camel on November 20, 2002

In Reply to: Comparisons are odorous posted by phil kendall 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]

I came up with this line from the play:

Dogb. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were; but, in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.
Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man and no honester than I.
Dogb. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.
Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.

But the plot thickens: Brewer's Phrase and fable lists the quote "Comparisons are Odorous" this way:

Comparisons are Odorous.
So says Dogberry. (Much Ado About Nothing, iii. 5.) 1
"We own your verses are melodious,
But then comparisons are odious."
Swift Answer to Sheridan's "Simile."
Our own list of phrase origins here on Phrase Finder says it's "comparisons are odorous: but that it is often misquoted as "comparisons are odious"

I don't have the whole of the play handy but will try to look it up unless someone else gets there first.