Posted by ESC on July 25, 2003
The Word of the Day for July 25, 2003, is:
Wellerism \WEH-luh-rih-zum\ noun
: an expression of comparison comprising a usually well-known quotation followed by a facetious sequel.
Forgetful (but witty) Aunt Lynn's favorite Wellerism is, "'It all comes back to me now', said the Captain as he spat into the wind."
Did you know?
Sam Weller, Mr. Pickwick's good-natured servant in Charles Dickens' _The Pickwick Papers_, and his father were fond of following well-known sayings or phrases with humorous or punning conclusions. For example, in one incident in the book, Sam Weller quips, "What the devil do you want with me, as the man said, w[h]en he see the ghost?" Neither Charles Dickens nor Sam Weller invented that type of word play, but Weller's tendency to use such witticisms had provoked people to start calling them "Wellerisms" by 1839, soon after the publication of the novel. Some examples of common Wellerisms are "'Every one to his own taste,' said the old woman as she kissed the cow," and "'I see,' said the blind man."
To subscribe to the html version of Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day, featuring audio pronunciations, interactive surveys, and more: