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Absurdity   Listen
noun
Absurdity  n.  (pl. absurdities)  
1.
The quality of being absurd or inconsistent with obvious truth, reason, or sound judgment. "The absurdity of the actual idea of an infinite number."
2.
That which is absurd; an absurd action; a logical contradiction. "His travels were full of absurdities."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Absurdity" Quotes from Famous Books



... with an inward laugh as to the absurdity of my ever wishing to cause the death of this harmless boy, whom I hastened to assure of my friendship and even of my protection; begging him, in return, to convey me in his father's ship to my own country. I need hardly say that I took special ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments • Andrew Lang.

... appeared to have on their minds was one of vague amusement. The notion that any clergyman should have the 'impudence'—(this was the word used by Mrs. Bludlip Courtenay)—to pause in the service because people came in late, touched the very apex of absurdity. ...
— God's Good Man • Marie Corelli

... dispute. As it is, the ablest scholar must feel cautious about expressing a decided opinion; for the whole fabric of his argument may be overturned any day by the unearthing of a fragment of pottery or a sculptured head. Years ago, it was easy to demonstrate the absurdity of any theory of polychrome decoration. The few who dared to believe that the Greek temple was not in every part as white as the original marble subjected themselves to the pitying scorn of their fellows. Only the discoveries of recent years have brought proof ...
— The American Journal of Archaeology, 1893-1 • Various

... command of a pirate-brig one day and an officer of a French man-o'-war the next. I might just as reasonably have suspected the Vestale herself of piracy; and that, I well knew, would be carrying my suspicions to the uttermost extremity of idiotic absurdity. I had, in short—so I finally decided—discovered a mare's nest, and upon the strength of it had been upon the very verge of proclaiming myself a hopeless idiot and making myself the perpetual laughing-stock ...
— The Congo Rovers - A Story of the Slave Squadron • Harry Collingwood

... to me that it was my friend Albert who spoke to me. "Very odd," thought I, "that he should have found me out!" And again I fell into the absurdity of imagining that because I had put on a conspicuous domino, I was sure to be recognised. "What can he want with me? We must be in some difficulty, some unexpected one, that is certain." Such were my reflections as I slowly descended the steps, occasionally pausing for a ...
— Olla Podrida • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... in groups, because groups produce the friction that generates light. Competition with fools is not bad—fools teach the imbecility of repeating their performances. A man learns from this one, and that; he lops off absurdity, strengthens here and bolsters there, until in his soul there grows up an ideal, which he materializes in stone or bronze, on canvas, by spoken word, or with the twenty-odd ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers • Elbert Hubbard

... New York speak of the exhilaration of its air, and I can but repeat their testimony. After the first few days the idea of going to bed became an absurdity. ...
— Roving East and Roving West • E.V. Lucas

... Ossian's or Macpherson's can surely be of little consequence, yet, in order to prove their worthlessness, Mr. W. has expended many pages in the controversy. Tantaene animis? Can great minds descend to such absurdity? But worse still: that he may bear down every argument in favor of these poems, he triumphantly drags forward a passage, in his abomination with which he expects the reader to sympathize. It is the beginning of the epic poem 'Temora.' 'The blue waves of Ullin roll in light; the green hills are ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 5 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... Blaine, on March 27, 1863, Mr. Laird was loudly cheered in the House of Commons when he declared that "the institutions of the United States are of no value whatever, and have reduced the name of liberty to an utter absurdity." ...
— Newfoundland and the Jingoes - An Appeal to England's Honor • John Fretwell

... every moment that the wellbeing of the members can only result from that of the whole body" (ch. xv.) To say of such a doctrine as this, that it is to invite every individual to make himself happy after his own will and fashion, and to pull down the barriers of the selfish appetites, is the very absurdity of philosophic prejudice. It is for us to look at Holbach's ethical doctrine in its widest practical application, and if we place ourselves at a social point of view, we cannot but perceive that the principle laid down in the words that we have ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists - Volume II. • John Morley

... hole in its ear, in order that that grandson of yours may be surfeited with goose liver, and indulge in patrician amours. Am I to be a living anatomy that his pope's stomach may shake with fat."[23] Alluding to the absurdity of the prayers generally offered up, he uses language worthy of a Christian. "You ask for vigour, but rich dishes and fat sausages prevent the gods from granting your behest. You ask what your fleshly mind suggests. What avails ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2) - With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... Miss Smith, as he certainly would if he were able. I tried to quiet him by offering to interview her myself. Think of me in a district school-house, talking to the teacher about the diameter of a grindstone! The absurdity must have struck my uncle. You should have seen the look he gave me over his spectacles, as he said, 'You, who know nothing, except ball games, and boat races, and raising the devil generally, interview a girl ...
— The Cromptons • Mary J. Holmes

... threshold, and then we crept up; not to the uppermost landing, where the light, when the door was opened, must betray us, but to that immediately below it. There we took our stand in the angle of the stairs and waited, the King, between amusement at the absurdity of our position and anxiety lest we should betray ourselves, going off now and again into stifled laughter, from which he vainly strove to ...
— From the Memoirs of a Minister of France • Stanley Weyman

... Fry! Why go to Newgate? Why Preach to poor rogues? And wherefore not begin With Carlton, or with other houses? Try Your head at harden'd and imperial sin. To mend the people 's an absurdity, A jargon, a mere philanthropic din, Unless you make their betters better:—Fy! I thought you had more religion, ...
— Don Juan • Lord Byron

... this sense also we may interpret without absurdity the apostolic declaration when the blessed Apostle Paul says: "Being ready to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled" [II Cor. 10:6]. Whence also the Lord himself bids the guests to be brought first to ...
— A Source Book for Ancient Church History • Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D.

... pocket for matches and as the flame spurted before his face I saw the corners of his mouth betrayed a pucker of amusement. I suddenly felt the absurdity of my position. I had been led to expose myself to ridicule. I might have expected it after the ...
— Aliens • William McFee

... the people; by teaching them their proper value in society; by instructing them in their moral and civil duties. Let them not labor under that humiliating and slavish error, that the landlord is everything, and themselves nothing; but let the absurdity be removed, and each party placed upon the basis ...
— Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent - The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two • William Carleton

... have even been compelled to manipulate in the matter of time! I must not only defeat and annihilate the minions of Moyen, but must work from a mathematical absurdity, so that at the moment of impact that moment itself must become part of the past, sufficiently remote to remove the monsters at such distance from the earth that not even the mighty genius of ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science April 1930 • Various

... become so," said I; "the good sense of the people of England will never permit them to commit such an absurdity." ...
— Lavengro - The Scholar, The Gypsy, The Priest • George Borrow

... and answered the questions with the plain intention of making no one laugh. This disgusted everybody, the expected absurdity did not materialize, no one could laugh, and the good friar never pardoned him for having defrauded the hopes of the class and disappointed his own prophecies. But who would expect anything worth while to come from a head ...
— The Reign of Greed - Complete English Version of 'El Filibusterismo' • Jose Rizal

... response to my programme of non-co-operation Swaraj would be attained in one year. Some have ignored my condition and laughed because of the impossibility of getting Swaraj anyhow within one year. Others have spelt the 'if' in capitals and suggested that if 'ifs' were permissible in argument, any absurdity could be proved to be a possibility. My proposition however is based on a mathematical calculation. And I venture to say that true Swaraj is a practical impossibility without due fulfilment of my conditions. Swaraj means a state such that we can maintain our separate existence without the presence ...
— Freedom's Battle - Being a Comprehensive Collection of Writings and Speeches on the Present Situation • Mahatma Gandhi

... it necessary while I insist on the value of all these seemingly childish means when in the hands of a noble painter, to assert also their futility and even absurdity if employed by no exalted power. I think the error has commonly been on the side of scorn, and that we reject much in our foolish vanity, which if wiser and more earnest we should delight in. But two points it is very necessary to note in ...
— Modern Painters Volume II (of V) • John Ruskin

... which, of course, would be frank and conversational to a degree impossible under any other conditions, and free from the dodges of the expert vote manipulator altogether, would, for example, in the case of several candidates of the same or similar political colours, do away with the absurdity of the split vote. The jurymen of the same political hue could settle that affair among themselves before contributing ...
— Mankind in the Making • H. G. Wells

... I should so long have announced my lord Egremont to you for a master, without his announcing himself to you.—it was no fault of mine; every thing here is a riddle or an absurdity. Instead of coming forth secretary of state, he went out of town, declaring he knew nothing of the matter. On that, it was affirmed that he had refused the seals. The truth is, they have never been offered to him in form. He had been sounded, and I believe was not ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2 • Horace Walpole

... argument current among the protectionists of the United States that was not current in France at the time Bastiat wrote the Sophismes Economiques. Nor was there one current in his time that is not performing its bad office among us. Hence his demonstrations of their absurdity and falsity are equally applicable to our time and country as to his. They may have even greater force among us if they thoroughly dispel the notion that Protection is an "American system." Surely they cannot do ...
— Sophisms of the Protectionists • Frederic Bastiat

... possibly be correct. "To suppose, that He, who is the Fountain of all wisdom, could have been the Author of such inevitable disorder,—a kind of disorder which must ever keep the axe at the root of that unity for which He prayed,—is not only an absurdity, but an opinion equally repudiated by all parties." "It is manifest," therefore, "that whatever may prove itself to be THE form of ministry, established and authorized by Jesus Christ, every other must be altogether void of such authority, and ...
— The Book of Religions • John Hayward

... was as if an angel had made a poor human joke! He was much too bewildered to feel hurt, especially as he was aware of no committed absurdity. ...
— Warlock o' Glenwarlock • George MacDonald

... contemporary with its actual discovery by Herut[a]t[a]f. It is not necessary to inquire here whether the word "find" (in Egyptian qem) means a genuine discovery or not, but it is clear that those who had the papyrus copied saw no absurdity or impropriety in ascribing the text to the period of Men-kau-R[a]. Another text, which afterwards also became a chapter of the Book of the Dead, under the title "Chapter of not letting the heart of the deceased be driven away from him ...
— Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life • E. A. Wallis Budge

... precisely as we see them now. But so soon as they perceived that the earth is undergoing processes of development and has undergone such processes in the past, it was reasonable, though at first painful, to conclude that on this point they had been mistaken. Yet as we recognise the absurdity of the supposition that, because fruits and trees grow, and were not made in a single instant as we know them, therefore there is no Supreme Being, so may we justly reject as absurd the same argument, enlarged in ...
— Myths and Marvels of Astronomy • Richard A. Proctor

... speaking, Mr. Belford, is too fervent a flame for female minds to manage: a light that but in few of their hands burns steady, and often hurries the sex into flight and absurdity. Like other extremes, it is hardly ever durable. Marriage, which is the highest state of friendship, generally absorbs the most vehement friendships of female to female; and that whether the ...
— Clarissa Harlowe, Volume 9 (of 9) - The History Of A Young Lady • Samuel Richardson

... cor. "To those whose taste in elocution is but little cultivated."—Kirkham cor. "They considered they had but a sort of gourd to rejoice in."—Bennet cor. "Now there was but one such bough, in a spacious and shady grove."—Bacon cor. "Now the absurdity of this latter supposition will go a great way towards making a man easy."—Collier cor. "This is true of mathematics, with which taste has but little to do."—Todd cor. "To stand prompter to a pausing yet ready comprehension."—Rush cor. "Such an obedience ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... shot!" he burst out suddenly, with a plaintive twang. Then he grinned. The boy still in him had prompted the absurdity. And the rough warrior had laughed at it. Boy and warrior faced each other, either surprised that the other existed. The boy flushed resentfully at the veteran's contemptuous grunt. His eyes still had the boy's naively inquisitive greeting to the world before him. Next, quite abruptly, ...
— The Missourian • Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle

... distinguish him from other white men. The stupidity attributed to barbarians, and the vacant laughter, with which they receive the announcement of new ideas in a foreign tongue, would be ascribed, by experienced teachers, to the absurdity of such a medium ...
— The History of Tasmania , Volume II (of 2) • John West

... nobleness of character, even if each individual were only benefited by the nobleness of others, and his own, so far as happiness is concerned, were a sheer deduction from the benefit. But the bare enunciation of such an absurdity as ...
— Utilitarianism • John Stuart Mill

... of entailed power is a thing so obvious that one marvels it has escaped the recognition of mankind until yesterday. But stay! Men have always seen its monstrous absurdity—hence the rack. ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 6 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists • Elbert Hubbard

... pretended revelations of Chalais while under torture, of having intrigued to procure the death of her husband, and her own marriage with his brother. To this accusation the Spanish Princess disdainfully replied that "she should have gained so little by the exchange, that the absurdity of the charge must suffice for its refutation;" but her haughty and indignant retort produced no effect upon her judges. She was commanded thenceforward to reside exclusively at the palaces of the Louvre and St. Germain; without the privilege of receiving a single guest, not even excepting the ambassador ...
— The Life of Marie de Medicis, Vol. 3 (of 3) • Julia Pardoe

... the observer, and as this produces a similar image on our retina, we accept it though we know it is only a make-believe; it serves its purpose by giving us an impression on our retina which we have learnt to interpret as representing that landscape, but such a picture would indeed be a marvel of absurdity to a being who had perfect sight, such as we have already referred to, and who could appreciate parallel rays; in such a vision there would be no perspective, no ...
— Science and the Infinite - or Through a Window in the Blank Wall • Sydney T. Klein

... plead for mercy, as the reward of their own righteousness, are guilty of gross absurdity. They may claim to employ the mercy which they have earned: why plead with the God of justice for that to which they consider themselves in justice entitled? God will give to all that to which they are entitled, without being ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... course I wished him good day; and a little farther up the road I saw a dark plain chariot, no coronet, no arms, no footman only the man on the box, but the beauty of the horses assured me it must belong to Lilburne. Can you conceive such absurdity in a man of that age—and a very clever fellow too? Yet, how is it that one does not ridicule it in Lilburne, as one would in another man between fifty ...
— Night and Morning, Volume 5 • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... and fleets, with which the people had little concern. International quarrels would tend to take the form of the mediaeval private disputes which were settled by champions in trial by battle, an absurdity which led rapidly to the domination of purely legal procedure. If international quarrels could go the same way, humanity would have advanced a long stride. But the world is scarcely ripe for such a revolution. Meanwhile to abolish the right of interference ...
— Some Principles of Maritime Strategy • Julian Stafford Corbett

... not be a Christian if I gave Him any other names than those of Jesus Christ, and Saviour. He is the true Son of God. But He is not eternal, since He had a beginning; as to thinking that He existed before He was begotten, we must leave that absurdity to the Nicaean mules, and the obstinate ass who too long governed the Church of Alexandria under the accursed ...
— Thais • Anatole France

... suggest a practical method of providing the material, especially for colleges which can provide enough copies for class use. Poets, of course, may be satisfactorily read in volumes of, selections; but to me, at least, a book of brief extracts from twenty or a hundred prose authors is an absurdity. Perhaps I may venture to add that personally I find it advisable to pass hastily over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and so gain as much time ...
— A History of English Literature • Robert Huntington Fletcher

... surprise, whether from the effect of the horror which he felt, acting as it were hysterically on his nervous system, or that at the first moment he lost the sense of the guilt of the proposal in the feeling of its strangeness and absurdity, he flung her from him and burst into a fit of laughter. Irritated by this almost to frenzy, the woman fell on her knees, and in a loud voice that approached to a scream, she prayed for a curse both on him and on her own child. Mary happened to ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... church itself was a quaint and wonderful preservation of the past. For four centuries it had been sacred to the tombs of the Dorntons and their effigies in brass and marble, yet, as Randolph glanced at the stately sarcophagus of the unknown ticket of leave man, its complacent absurdity, combined with his nervousness, made him almost hysterical. Yet again, it seemed to him that something of the mystery and inviolability of the past now invested that degraded dust, and it would be an equal impiety to disturb ...
— Trent's Trust and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... national duty. The extravagance of this error can hardly be surpassed." In truth, it is so exceedingly extravagant, that we doubt if it really exists. It is certain, that we have no acquaintance, either historically or personally, with those who have fallen into so wild an absurdity. ...
— Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments • Various

... theory into the realm of fact, proving the Buddhist explanation of the universal mystery quite as plausible as any other. "None but very hasty thinkers," wrote the late Professor Huxley, "will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity. Like the doc-trine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the world of reality; and it may claim such support as the great argument from analogy ...
— Kokoro - Japanese Inner Life Hints • Lafcadio Hearn

... however, I have seen the same absurdity in my own sex, and have observed many a very good sort of man turn pale at the politeness of ...
— The History of Emily Montague • Frances Brooke

... absurdity of his explanation. The clerk looked at him with pity and irony in his eyes. Jean-Christophe crumpled the paper in his hands, and turned to go. The clerk got up and took ...
— Jean-Christophe, Vol. I • Romain Rolland

... attempts to expound decently the myths which made Indra the slayer of a Brahman; the sinner, that is, of the unpardonable sin. In Egypt, too, we study the priestly or philosophic systems by which the clergy strove to strip the burden of absurdity and sacrilege from their own deities. From all these efforts of civilised and pious believers to explain away the stories about their own gods we may infer one fact—the most important to the student of mythology—the fact that myths were not evolved in times of clear civilised ...
— Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1 • Andrew Lang

... by the least characteristic of its classes, the politicians,—and only then when they had been defeated as politicians, and when their constituents had declared them no longer worthy to be even THEIR representatives. This National Absurdity was only equaled by another, wherein an ex-Politician was for four years expected to uphold the honor of a flag of a great nation over an ocean he had never tempted, with a discipline the rudiments of ...
— The Story of a Mine • Bret Harte

... this adventurer down at the Louis Quinze. "Yet, who can tell? Disraeli was half mountebank at the start," she said. "Napoleon dressed infamously, too, before he was successful." But again she laughed, as at an absurdity. ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... with his position on the wall and his disposition to parley had begun to arouse my suspicions, and Larry several times exclaimed impatiently at the absurdity of discussing my affairs with a person whom he insisted on calling a constable, to the sheriff’s evident annoyance. The officer now turned ...
— The House of a Thousand Candles • Meredith Nicholson

... studied by the other sex. I will venture, again, however, so far into this strange realm as to say that the subordinate shops did not seem so many or so good in London as in New York, though when one remembers the two Bond Streets, and Oxford, and lower Piccadilly, one might feel the absurdity of claiming superiority for Broadway, or Fourteenth and Twenty-third streets, or Union and Madison squares, or the parts of Third and Sixth avenues to which ladies' shopping has spread. After all, perhaps there is but one London, in this as in some ...
— London Films • W.D. Howells

... Our only regret was that we could not have that same broom to take away; but on our zig-zag journey, when we were likely enough to stop over or turn off anywhere, that was an absurdity not to be thought of. We did, however, "buy a broom" that we could take—and an excellent one it proved—and we accepted a small package of broom-corn seed which the blind workman was anxious ...
— Illustrated Science for Boys and Girls • Anonymous

... dialogue is full of crisp humor. "McDonough's Wife," another drama that appears in the volume, is based on a legend, and explains how a whole town rendered honor against its will. "The Bogie Men" has as its underlying situation an amusing misunderstanding of two chimney-sweeps. The wit and absurdity of the dialogue are in Lady Gregory's best vein. "Damer's Gold" contains the story of a miser beset by his gold-hungry relations. Their hopes and plans are upset by one they had believed to be of the simple of ...
— Magic - A Fantastic Comedy • G.K. Chesterton

... few men doubted that the South would conquer the North, and among these was Herschel V. Johnson. There was an idea abroad, that one Southerner could whip a dozen Northerners. Nobody knows how this idea got out, nor why the absurdity of it was not plain to all; but the newspapers were full of it, and the speech makers insisted on it so roundly that the people began to believe it. One orator declared that he could take one company of ...
— Stories Of Georgia - 1896 • Joel Chandler Harris

... in which is only dimly felt the remembrance of a purpose, take us nowhither. We loiter in musty waiting-rooms, are frustrated by mobs, and foiled by an eternal clamour. We have forgotten the feast and occupy ourselves in all manner of foolish and irrelevant ways. Only now and again, struck by the absurdity of our occupations, we grope after our lost consciousness and feel somehow that somewhere out beyond is our real destination, that somewhere out there a feast is proceeding, that a cover is laid for us and dishes served, that though we are absent the master calls a ...
— A Tramp's Sketches • Stephen Graham

... against the certainty of its results. "There is no commoner, and at the same time faultier, way of reasoning, than that of objecting to a philosophical hypothesis the injury it may do to morals and to religion. When an opinion leads to absurdity, it is certainly false; but it is not certain that it is false because it entails dangerous consequences."[38] So wrote the patriarch of modern sceptics, the Scotchman Hume. The lesson has been well learnt; ...
— The Heavenly Father - Lectures on Modern Atheism • Ernest Naville

... her praise of Herbert Talcott, with a subtle purpose, I suspected, of impressing on me the utter absurdity of my entering the lists with him and of bringing Rufus Blight to a keener appreciation of the man whom he might be called on any day to welcome into his own family. With me her efforts were quite unneeded. With Rufus Blight ...
— David Malcolm • Nelson Lloyd

... corresponding clause outwardly also more perceptible. This reference shows also, that the explanation of [Hebrew: mN] by prae, which was proposed by Pococke and others, is inadmissible, besides involving an absurdity, inasmuch as nothing can be before eternity; while, on the other hand, this reference alone affords a satisfactory explanation of the plural. According to it, the words, "From the time of old, from the days of eternity," contain ...
— Christology of the Old Testament: And a Commentary on the Messianic Predictions, v. 1 • Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg

... injunctions grew less nerve-racking: "You must use a medium soft black pencil (which will be furnished)"—law-breaking under such conditions would be absurdity—"use no ditto marks and"—here I could not but shudder as there passed before my eyes memories of college lecture rooms and all the strange marks that have come to mean something to me alone—"take ...
— Zone Policeman 88 - A Close Range Study of the Panama Canal and its Workers • Harry A. Franck

... Shakespeare himself by no means always succeeded. There is often an affectation in his lighter love-scenes which destroys the impression of sincerity. Even in life one may see how at any time the note of sentiment may be turned to absurdity by the least discordant element. The lover whose tender expressions are wholly pleasing to his lady may become an object of ridicule before an uninvited audience. Everyone can remember some occasion when a whole company of persons, wistfully alluding to a recent death, has suddenly burst into ...
— Personality in Literature • Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

... importance of this rule, that we observe not the contents of the command but its author. He who fails to do this will often be offended, as I said, by the insignificance or absurdity of a task. God should receive credit for wisdom and goodness. Assuredly that which he himself enjoins is well and wisely enjoined, ...
— Commentary on Genesis, Vol. II - Luther on Sin and the Flood • Martin Luther

... Tract, was a false print for "Sacrament," I thought the mistake too pleasant to be corrected before I was asked about it. I was not unwilling to draw an opponent on step by step, by virtue of his own opinions, to the brink of some intellectual absurdity, and to leave him to get back as he could. I was not unwilling to play with a man, who asked me impertinent questions. I think I had in my mouth the words of the Wise man, "Answer a fool according to his folly," especially if he was prying or spiteful. I was ...
— Apologia Pro Vita Sua • John Henry Cardinal Newman

... succeeded. It succeeded so well, indeed, that the Europeans who came to know China in the seventeenth century and who rediscovered it so unnecessarily in the nineteenth century, believed it to have been motionless for two thousand years. There is no need to lay stress here upon the absurdity of this prevalent opinion. It has been seen in the past and will be seen in modern times, that the inner travail, the evolution and the diversity are by no means arrested. Like the nations of Europe, China ...
— Chinese Painters - A Critical Study • Raphael Petrucci

... already mentioned to you, that the fraternity of the Conards was established at Evreux, as well as at Rouen. Another institution, of equal absurdity, was peculiar, I believe, to this cathedral[41]. It bore the name of the Feast of St. Vital, as it united with the anniversary of that saint, which is celebrated on the first of May: the origin of the custom may be derived from the ...
— Account of a Tour in Normandy, Vol. II. (of 2) • Dawson Turner

... Washington, words of wisdom and warning, were, "Never trust a nigger with a gun;" and accustomed to chafe each other into a fever heat of excitement over any matter of public interest, were ready to give credence to any report—all the more easily because of its absurdity. On the other hand, the colored people, hearing these rumors, said to themselves that it was simply a device to prevent them from voting, or to give color and excuse for a conflict ...
— Bricks Without Straw • Albion W. Tourgee

... ordered of Spanish minds can resist a tendency to excess of all sorts, to over-elaboration, to grotesquerie, to deadening mannerism. All that is greatest in their art, indeed, lies on the borderland of the extravagant, where sublime things skim the thin ice of absurdity. The great epic, Don Quixote, such plays as Calderon's La Vida es Sueno, such paintings as El Greco's Resurreccion and Velasquez's dwarfs, such buildings as the Escorial and the Alhambra—all among ...
— Rosinante to the Road Again • John Dos Passos

... enough for the most part, such as they used to write in those days. Other papers, and notably the Figaro, have brought the art to a curious perfection since. Lousteau compared the Baron to a heron, and introduced Mme. de Bargeton, to whom he was paying his court, as a cuttlefish bone, a burlesque absurdity which amused readers who knew neither of the personages. A tale of the loves of the Heron, who tried in vain to swallow the Cuttlefish bone, which broke into three pieces when he dropped it, was irresistibly ludicrous. ...
— A Distinguished Provincial at Paris • Honore de Balzac

... pit, clambered on to the stage, and fought there, to the greater comfort of the audience, and with a more excited fury on the part of the combatants. The mingling of the public with the players was a practice which so annoyed the haughty French actor, Baron, that to suggest to the audience the absurdity of it, he would turn his back on them for a whole act, and play to the audience on the stage. Sometimes the noise was so loud that an actor's voice would scarcely be heard. It was about 1710 that the word encore was introduced at the operatic performances in the Haymarket, and very much objected ...
— Essays from 'The Guardian' • Walter Horatio Pater

... you do. Do you see him? Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you ya dream—making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the ...
— Heart of Darkness • Joseph Conrad

... the jealousies between the Spanish and Portuguese led to various outbreaks and to troubles on the frontiers. From a purely practical point of view, there is no doubt whatever that such bickerings were a sheer absurdity, since the territories at the disposal of both nations were far too great to be effectively dealt with by any forces which either the Spanish or Portuguese could introduce into the Continent. As it was, the era was one of moulding and ...
— South America • W. H. Koebel

... not withstand the absurdity of this appeal. He burst into a roar of ill-tempered laughter. "I like that!" he cried. "Asking a man to help his daughter to run away from his own house! It's my impression, my young mistress, that you're at the bottom of all this nonsense. ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15, - No. 90, June, 1875 • Various

... perceived Martigny. He was listening intently to one of the brokers, who was talking earnestly in his ear—telling him how to make his fortune, I suppose—and did not see me. For an instant, I was tempted to cross to him, and get him out of danger. Then I smiled at the absurdity of the thought. It would take a clever man to fleece Martigny, and I recalled his strong face, his masterful air—he was no fool, no lamb ready for the shears. He was perfectly able to look out for himself—to wield the shears with power ...
— The Holladay Case - A Tale • Burton E. Stevenson

... gravely at the girl's flushed, excited face; then at the pale, serious Jimmy Stiles. He could not smile at this startling statement as an out-and-out absurdity when it was so apparent that both of them were sincere in their belief that ...
— Every Man for Himself • Hopkins Moorhouse

... recognized as their towns-man, one of their own people: if he were such, theirs was the credit of having produced him! Then indeed they were ready to bear witness to him, take his part, adopt his cause, and before the world stand up for him! As to his being the Messiah, that was merest absurdity: did they not all know his father, the carpenter? He might, however, be the prophet whom so many of the best in the nation were at the moment expecting! ...
— Hope of the Gospel • George MacDonald

... obviously not the aftereffects of liquor. The astonishing possibility occurred to Joe Rix that this seemed to be a man with a broken spirit and a great sorrow. He blinked that absurdity away. ...
— Gunman's Reckoning • Max Brand

... reputable hour of three in the afternoon, by pretending to start a coach at five o'clock in the morning, was an imposition "tolerable" only in Dogberry's sense of the word—it was "not to be endured." And then, the downright absurdity of the undertaking! for admitting that the proprietors might prevail on some poor idiot to act as coachman, where were they to entrap a dozen mad people for passengers? We often experience an irresistible impulse to interfere, in some matter, ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Volume 17, No. 471, Saturday, January 15, 1831 • Various

... as legislation therefore is concerned, the attempt to secure competence by 'collation' is an absurdity. Yet it is an inverted sort of competence useful for indicating the state of a nation's temper. From this it follows that this system is as mischievous in a republic as it would be wholesome in a monarchy. It is not ...
— The Cult of Incompetence • Emile Faguet

... either believed that its chief object was to prevent the stage from ever being altogether empty, whereas in truth the stage was not at all the proper place for the Chorus; or else they have censured it as a superfluous and cumbersome appendage, expressing their astonishment at the alleged absurdity of carrying on secret transactions in the presence of assembled multitudes. They have also considered it as the principal reason with the Greek tragedians for the strict observance of the unity of place, as it could not be changed without the removal of the Chorus; an act, ...
— Lectures on Dramatic Art - and Literature • August Wilhelm Schlegel trans John Black

... At present I am getting some sleep again, but I still eat merely mechanically, horse-wise, rubbing my mouth with vinegar otherwise I am very well, and I haven't even so much pain in the head." Fault was found with Madame de La Fayette for not going out. "She had a mortal melancholy. What absurdity again! Is she not the most fortunate woman in the world? That is what people said," writes Madame de Sevigne; "it needed that she should be dead to prove that she had good reason for not going out, and for ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume V. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... roofs, the statue of Lord Nelson stood perched in absurd elevation above the London that flouted his Emma, and Clara laughed to see the little gray man in cocked hat symbolising for her the delicious absurdity of London, where nothing and nobody could ever be of the smallest importance in its hugeness.... This was its charm, that an individual could in it feel the indifference of humanity exactly as on a hill the indifference of Nature can be felt. A city ...
— Mummery - A Tale of Three Idealists • Gilbert Cannan

... time only, this being the condition of their existence in themselves, then the actions of these beings must be simply His actions which He performs in some place and time. Thus, Spinozism, in spite of the absurdity of its fundamental idea, argues more consistently than the creation theory can, when beings assumed to be substances, and beings in themselves existing in time, are regarded as effects of a Supreme Cause, and yet as ...
— The Critique of Practical Reason • Immanuel Kant

... old words, "He that made the eye, shall he not see? he that planted the ear, shall he not hear?" do not at once commend themselves to the intellect of any person, we shall never convince that person by any arguments drawn from the absurdity of conceiving the invention of optics by a blind man, or of ...
— Westminster Sermons - with a Preface • Charles Kingsley

... sternly, "this is preposterous! I cannot allow such absurdity;" but Walcott silenced him with a deprecatory wave of his hand, and, taking Kate's hand in his, ...
— At the Time Appointed • A. Maynard Barbour

... grand scheme of political mystification begins to develop itself. Had, indeed, their new constituency, as they have long impudently pretended, really been 'the people,' a struggle between such a body and the House of Lords would have been brief but final. The absurdity of supposing that a chamber of two or three hundred individuals could set up their absolute will and pleasure against the decrees of a legislative assembly chosen by the whole nation is so glaring that the Whigs and their scribes ...
— Sketches • Benjamin Disraeli

... that of Sauti, though the texts alluded to above make it that of Vaisampayana. It is true in the speech the vocative 'Brahman' occurs, but we may easily take it as a slip of this pen. K. P. Singha makes the correction. The Burdwan translator, without perceiving the absurdity, adheres ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... Here we have an absurdity quite fairly exposed. The young American student who acts as a reporter or waiter during his college vacation is nearly always a respectful gentleman who neither takes nor allows a liberty; but the underbred ...
— The Ethics of Drink and Other Social Questions - Joints In Our Social Armour • James Runciman

... the eating of half-raw meat, her husband's bushy face, the constant battles, and the worship of the spirits who will hoodoo her unless she gives the priests her best claw necklace. Her man protests, 'But it can't all be wrong!' and he thinks he has reduced her to absurdity. Now you assume that a world which produces a Percy Bresnahan and a Velvet Motor Company must be civilized. It is? Aren't we only about half-way along in barbarism? I suggest Mrs. Bogart as a test. And we'll continue in barbarism just as long ...
— Main Street • Sinclair Lewis

... the group of humanity thus illuminated was more farcical than dramatic. A scrap of newspaper, part of a sandwich, and an orange peel that had fallen from the floor of the coach, brought into equal prominence by the searching light, completed the absurdity. ...
— Snow-Bound at Eagle's • Bret Harte

... should go off with the greatest report. Lady Mary, who had naturally a great deal of vivacity and a sufficient share of wit, made no bad figure in the brilliant assembly; for though she perceived an absurdity in these mock skirmishes of genius, yet she thought proper to conform to her company; but saw plainly that a sprightly look and lively elocution made the chief merit of the best bons mots that ...
— A Description of Millenium Hall • Sarah Scott

... roared at Rob's astonishment and contusion. The absurdity of it grew, and they went into spasms of laughter. But Wilson remained impassive, not the twitching of a muscle betraying that he saw anything to ...
— Main-Travelled Roads • Hamlin Garland

... such a splendid bite, that, being fond of fishing, I was about to strike, the absurdity of the idea of fishing with a man for a float never striking me for a moment; but, just as I was going to pull up, the man was crawling over the floor of the grinders' shop, and the water was not there, though the wheel seemed to be going round ...
— Patience Wins - War in the Works • George Manville Fenn

... the Italian opera was what it is now, frivolous, insincere, imbecile. Its sole function was, and always has been, to help idlers of the upper classes to while away their evenings. The absurd notion of a Platonic music was rivalled by the absurdity of the composition. The inane dialogue was made up of interminable recitative, in the midst of which an occasional chorus—introduced in conformity with supposed classical practice—must have come as a most refreshing relief; for choruses they could write. It was dramatic in so far that it ...
— Wagner's Tristan und Isolde • George Ainslie Hight

... was too strong, had dropped the design. I was confirmed in this notion, by observing that all their houses were empty. After getting a few of the people of the place together, I desired Omai to expostulate with them on the absurdity of the conduct they were pursuing; and to tell them, that, from the testimony of many on whom I could depend, I was well assured that the goat was in their possession; and, therefore, insisted upon its being delivered up, otherwise I ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 • Robert Kerr

... "No, it isn't absurdity; it's gospel truth," retorted Alice. "And—don't interrupt me—there have been times, too, when I have had to ask myself if I wasn't getting almost to hate you in return. I tell you ...
— The Damnation of Theron Ware • Harold Frederic

... involved in this exemplary remark, combined with the absurdity of repentance taking the form of interest in mining speculations, was almost too much for Richard's sense of humor; but he only nodded with gravity, as became a man who was imbibing information, and inquired further, whether, in addition to these favorers of ...
— Bred in the Bone • James Payn

... Tib. Master Stephen was greatly struck with his "dainty oaths," such as "By the foot of Pharaoh!" "Body of Caesar!" "As I am a gentleman and a soldier!" His device to save the expense of a standing army is inimitable for its conceit and absurdity: ...
— Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1 - A Revised American Edition of the Reader's Handbook • The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.

... proposition amazed the "help"; in fact, its absurdity convulsed them. The man laughed loudly; the cook buried her ebony face in her apron; the second girl bent double with mirth. Here was a quaint gentleman, indeed, and a great joker. But the gentleman was not joking. On the contrary, he brought this levity ...
— Flowing Gold • Rex Beach

... concentrated, platinum and diamond become rapidly vaporised, notwithstanding the great loss of heat by absorption, first in passing through the air, and again in traversing the lens. Pouillet's maximum is then manifestly too low, since it involves the absurdity of supposing a radiating mass capable of heating a distant body more than ...
— A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century - Fourth Edition • Agnes M. (Agnes Mary) Clerke

... he replied. "No! to answering Graham's question. He is not the person to ask it. I wonder that he does not see the impropriety, the absurdity of his meddling at all in this affair. Besides, he could not understand my answer even if he believed it. But to the explanation, I say, Yes! I will give it, not to Graham, but to you. I make you this ...
— The Blue Flower, and Others • Henry van Dyke

... anatomical absurdity been reconcilable with the structure of the human frame, it is possible Miss Bruce might have treated this important organ in ...
— M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur." • G.J. Whyte-Melville

... the results to which we have been led are the legitimate consequence of taking those positions. It may be said, that this is another weak attempt on the part of the clergy to regain an influence which they have irrecoverably lost. The absurdity of the idea is its sufficient refutation. It may be said, that this is the first step, feebly put forth indeed, towards a union of Church and State. Church and State! words of wonderful power over our fears and our imaginations. But who can for a moment seriously believe that such a purpose ...
— The Religion of Politics • Ezra S. Gannett

... not only quite superfluous, but an absurdity, the origin of which is to be found in the desire to place the black traitor opposite the white hero of light and in the hatred of Jews arising among the first Gentile Christians, who later made the world forget that not only this straw-doll, Judas, but also ...
— The New York Times Current History: the European War, February, 1915 • Various

... of a former life as if it were an established fact is, of course, an absurdity; to dogmatise at all on such a question, with regard to which one man's opinion is just as speculative as another's, is, perhaps, equally ridiculous. Granted, then, the equal value of the varying opinions of sane men on this ...
— Byways of Ghost-Land • Elliott O'Donnell

... is no intrinsic absurdity in supposing that Zschokke's mind was occasionally thrown into direct relation with that of a chance visitor through favourable influences; that the soul of Arnod Paole, as he lay in his grave alive, in the so-called vampyr-state, may have drawn into communion the minds of other persons, ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 379, May, 1847 • Various

... the present inhabitants of Britain as an "Anglo-Saxon" people. It is, in fact, just as absurd as the habit of talking of the French people as a "Latin" race, because they speak a language which is, in the main, derived from Latin. And the absurdity becomes the more patent when those who have no hesitation in calling a Devonshire man, or a Cornish man, an "Anglo-Saxon," would think it ridiculous to call a Tipperary man by the same title, though he and his forefathers may ...
— Critiques and Addresses • Thomas Henry Huxley

... she carried her father's dinner in a flagon to the country place where he was at work, but to walk with no end save the good of your health seemed a very droll proceeding to her. In her young days, she was positive, no one had ever gone for a walk, and she never lost the belief that it was an absurdity introduced by a new generation with too much time on their hands. That they enjoyed it she could not believe; it was merely a form of showing off, and as they passed her window she would remark ...
— Margaret Ogilvy • James M. Barrie

... arguing the main question of idealism versus realism. Secretly conscious of his own inability to handle that question, to refute my "Soliloquy of the Self-Consistent Idealist," or to overthrow my demonstration that consistent idealism leads logically to hopeless absurdity at last, Dr. Royce found it infinitely easier to deceive his uninformed readers by a bold assertion that I myself am an idealist at bottom. This assertion, swallowed without suspicion of its absolute untruth, ...
— A Public Appeal for Redress to the Corporation and Overseers of Harvard University - Professor Royce's Libel • Francis Ellingwood Abbot

... from alienation, and which hides its ugliness behind all manner of flimsy excuses. One is that the reason itself is utterly unreasonable. I have said the true reason is indifference. Can anybody put into words which do not betray the absurdity of the position, the conduct of the man who says, 'I do not want God; give me five yoke of oxen. That is the real good, and I will stick by that.' There is one mystery in the world, and if it were solved everything would be solved; and that mystery ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... subject for a July Sunday than the teachings of the beautiful season which was passing over? So the text was, Thou hast made summer: it was a sermon on summer, and its moral and spiritual lessons. How inconsistent the sermon seemed with everything around! The outward circumstances reduced it to an absurdity. The congregation was diminished to a sixth of its usual number; the atmosphere was charged with a muggy vapour from sloppy garments and dripping umbrellas: and as the preacher spoke, describing ...
— The Recreations of A Country Parson • A. K. H. Boyd

... his taking up pieces like the -Thyestes- and the -Telephus- so well known from the immortal ridicule of Aristophanes, with their princes' woes and woful princes, and even such a piece as Menalippa the Female Philosopher, in which the whole plot turns on the absurdity of the national religion, and the tendency to make war on it from the physicist point of view is at once apparent. The sharpest arrows are everywhere—and that partly in passages which can be proved to have been inserted(44)—directed against faith in the miraculous, and ...
— The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) • Theodor Mommsen

... not difficult to perceive that I had adopted an utterly false method of investigation, and a moment's reflection sufficed to show me the absurdity of my question. I had asked from an uneducated man a philosophical definition, instead of extracting from him material in the form of concrete facts, and constructing therefrom a definition for myself. These ...
— Russia • Donald Mackenzie Wallace

... false ideas must be reckoned the hyperbolical. These are not false in a given word, for we dealt with this above, but false in the whole train of thought. Of this kind is that epigram of Ausonius, the absurdity of ...
— An Essay on True and Apparent Beauty in which from Settled Principles is Rendered the Grounds for Choosing and Rejecting Epigrams • Pierre Nicole

... necessary to enable us to meet and repel the invader, it follows as a necessary consequence not only that we possess the power, but it is our imperative duty to construct such a road. It would be an absurdity to invest a government with the unlimited power to make and conduct war and at the same time deny to it the only means of reaching and defeating the enemy at the frontier. Without such a road it is quite ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 4 (of 4) of Volume 5: James Buchanan • James D. Richardson

... had changed. To Mahomet the very idea of exploration was an absurdity. He had never believed in it front the first, and he now became impressed with the fact that he was positively committed to an undertaking that would end most likely in his death, if not in terrible difficulties; ...
— In the Heart of Africa • Samuel White Baker

... mathematical point, which is simple—not, however, a part, but a mere limit of space- physical points, which are indeed likewise simple, but possess the peculiar property, as parts of space, of filling it merely by their aggregation. I shall not repeat here the common and clear refutations of this absurdity, which are to be found everywhere in numbers: every one knows that it is impossible to undermine the evidence of mathematics by mere discursive conceptions; I shall only remark that, if in this case philosophy endeavours to ...
— The Critique of Pure Reason • Immanuel Kant

... women should take no interest in the blood that circulates through their bodies because they are not physicians, or in the air they breathe because they are not chemists. The people who are most fond of repeating this absurdity, are, it may be observed, the very people who are most furious with women for not acquiescing at once in any absurdity which they may think proper to promulgate as an incontrovertible truth. Ill temper, and rash opinions, and crude notions, are always ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 335, September 1843 • Various

... might have a softening and affectionate kind of effect, don't you see? As to Beadle, that I needn't say was wholly out of the question. If there is anything that is not to be tolerated on any terms, anything that is a type of Jack-in-office insolence and absurdity, anything that represents in coats, waistcoats, and big sticks our English holding on by nonsense after every one has found it out, it is a beadle. You haven't seen a ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... Hardwicke, emboldened by the support she had gathered from her children, passionately declared that it could only be because he was himself in love with the murtheress. Lord Shrewsbury could not help laughing a little at the absurdity of the idea, whereupon my lady rose up in virtuous indignation, calling her sons and ...
— Unknown to History - A Story of the Captivity of Mary of Scotland • Charlotte M. Yonge

... plain and simple reasons, an 'interview' must, as a rule, be an absurdity. And chiefly for this reason: it is an attempt to use a boat on land, or a wagon on water, to speak figuratively. Spoken speech is one thing, written speech is quite another. Print is a proper vehicle for the latter, but it isn't for the former. The moment 'talk' is put into print you recognize ...
— The Americanization of Edward Bok - The Autobiography of a Dutch Boy Fifty Years After • Edward William Bok (1863-1930)



Words linked to "Absurdity" :   ridiculousness, silliness, folly, meaninglessness, bunk, fatuity, hokum, fatuousness



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