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Foible   /fˈɔɪbəl/   Listen
Foible

noun
1.
A behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual.  Synonyms: idiosyncrasy, mannerism.
2.
The weaker part of a sword's blade from the forte to the tip.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Foible" Quotes from Famous Books



... in their "petite morale" on conjugal fidelity, appear so tolerant as to leave little sympathy for the real sufferer. Why should they else have treated domestic jealousy as a foible for ridicule, rather than a subject for deep passion? Their tragic drama exhibits no Othello, nor their comedy a Kitely, or a Suspicious Husband. Moliere, while his own heart was the victim, conformed to the national taste, by often placing the object on its comic ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... ladies he will seek to impress by the Praise of Vivisection or the Defence of Philosophic Doubt. His social agreeableness has, indeed, been marred by the fatuous idolatry of a fashionable clique, stimulating the self-consciousness which was his natural foible; but when he can for a moment forget himself he still is excellent company, for he is genuinely amiable and thoroughly ...
— Collections and Recollections • George William Erskine Russell

... grand soin de se defaire de ses prejuges, et autres choses semblables. Ils pensent que cela suffit pour ne plus se laisser seduire a ses sens, et pour ne plus se tromper du tout. Il ne suffit pas de dire que l'esprit est foible, il faut lui faire sentir ses foiblesses. Ce n'est pas assez de dire qu'il est sujet a l'erreur, il faut lui decouvrir en quoi consistent ses erreurs."—MALEBRANCHE, ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... says Sir Walter Scott, 'has a pedigree. It is a national prerogative, as inalienable as his pride and his poverty. My birth was neither distinguished nor sordid.' What, however, was but a foible with Scott was a passion in James Boswell, who has on numerous occasions obtruded his genealogical tree in such a manner as to render necessary some acquaintance with his family and lineage. The family of Boswell, or Bosville, dates from the Normans who came with William the ...
— James Boswell - Famous Scots Series • William Keith Leask

... of his friend's foible, and remembered that when they were young many a practical joke had been played upon his friend on this account, and now he began to perceive the dangerous ground ...
— Caught In The Net • Emile Gaboriau

... stratagems whereby men like my husband try to lock their hearts up like a garden and throw away the key before they come into the company of their wives. I'm sure your poor feet must be cold. You did not drive? Such a night of snow too! I cannot approve of your foible for dancing-shoes to wade through snow in such weather. As I was saying, you are not only the stupid sex sometimes, but a most transparent one. I will let you into a little secret that may convince you that what I say of our Count What's-his-name not ...
— Doom Castle • Neil Munro

... acknowledge a thousand faults that she had not, to this which she had she could never be got to own. But if there came a woman with even a semblance of beauty to Castlewood, she was so sure to find out some wrong in her, that my lord, laughing in his jolly way, would often joke with her concerning her foible. Comely servant-maids might come for hire, but none were taken at Castlewood. The housekeeper was old; my lady's own waiting-woman squinted, and was marked with the small-pox; the housemaids and scullion were ordinary country ...
— The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. • W. M. Thackeray

... extravagant fondness of that unhappy woman rendering her visibly uneasy at even the ordinary civilities she saw him behave with to any other, discovered to him that jealousy was not the least reigning foible of her foul, and the surest means to make her hate that person whom it was not the interest of his passion she should continue to love. When they were alone together one day at the place of their usual rendezvous, ...
— The Fortunate Foundlings • Eliza Fowler Haywood

... it some day," remarked Edna, "and then what would you do, miles from a hooker as you are? I was telling you, Miss Lacey, that I have a mother with only one foible,—she doesn't like our island. You will see what heresy it is when you come over there. So Miss Martha has taken pity on me the last few summers, and I think she loves it as much ...
— The Opened Shutters • Clara Louise Burnham

... fantastic poets are like a foolish ringer at Plymouth that Northcote tells the story of. He was proud of his ringing, and the boys who made a jest of his foible used to get him in the belfry and ask him, 'Well now, John, how many good ringers are there in Plymouth?' 'Two,' he would say, without any hesitation. 'Ay, indeed! and who are they?' 'Why, first, there's myself, that's one; and— and—' 'Well, ...
— Table-Talk - Essays on Men and Manners • William Hazlitt

... "Annette's foible is a love of flounces, cousin Jack, and you have drawn that image from your eye, instead of your imagination. It is a French, as well as an American ...
— Home as Found • James Fenimore Cooper

... alarm sharpened his thought. For him the morning was suddenly transformed, and fearing an evil thing had indeed befallen the other, he turned to the terrace and entered the breakfast-room from it. The time was now five minutes to nine, and as unfailing punctuality had ever been a foible of Sir Walter, his guests usually respected it. Most of them were already assembled, and Mary May, who was just stepping into the garden, asked Henry if he had ...
— The Grey Room • Eden Phillpotts

... for Mr. THURSTON'S generalities (his talk of "hysteria," which was never a British foible, showed his lack of elementary observation), but the character of John intrigued me as a fair example of the type of egoist, very common among quite good fellows, who is more concerned to satisfy his own ...
— Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, October 21, 1914 • Various

... It is the foible, however, of many Americans, both at home and abroad, that they want to be taken nationally, and not personally, by foreigners. Beyond any other people we wish to be loved by other peoples, even by ...
— London Films • W.D. Howells

... made any remark upon it—every lady has some foible, some little peculiarity. She was a perfect wife, and this little feeling of small jealousies was not worth mentioning. If they went to a ball and he danced three times with the same lady, he knew he would hear something in faint dispraise. If he admired any one as a good rider or ...
— A Mad Love • Bertha M. Clay

... have been selected for so important a movement, was not at all surprising; it was well known that the emperor was attached to him both from habit, (for he was his oldest aid-de-camp) and from a secret foible, for as the presence of that officer was mixed up with all the recollections of his victories and his glory, he disliked to part from him. It is also reasonable to suppose that it flattered his vanity, to see men who were his pupils commanding his armies; and it was moreover natural ...
— History of the Expedition to Russia - Undertaken by the Emperor Napoleon in the Year 1812 • Count Philip de Segur

... a ridiculous, and in others a mischievous passion; that to it we owe the breed of coquettes and coxcombs, and, a more serious evil, the noxious race of heroes and conquerors. We too are ready, when it appears in the shape of vanity, to smile at it as a foible, or in that of false glory, to condemn it as a crime. But all these are only its perversions; and on account of them to contend against its true forms, and its legitimate exercise, were to give into the very error which you formerly yourself ...
— A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. • William Wilberforce

... victimes du genie, Au foible prix d'un eclat passager, Vivre isoles, sans jouir de la vie! Vingt ans d'ennuis pour ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... world, Bohun, and nothing is impossible for it. Suppose he were to select some one, some weak and irritable and sentimental and disappointed man, some one whose every foible and weakness he knew, suppose he were to place himself near him and so irritate and confuse and madden him that at last one day, in a fury of rage and despair, that man were to do for him what he is too proud to do for himself! ...
— The Secret City • Hugh Walpole

... false, able, and artful, he might have caused more perplexity to his Whig Government and have played a better party game, it is perhaps fortunate for the country, and certainly happy for his own reputation, that his virtues thus predominated over his talents. The most remarkable foible of the late King was his passion for speechifying, and I have recorded some of his curious exhibitions in this way. He had considerable facility in expressing himself, but what he said was generally useless ...
— The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) - A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1852 - (Volume 1 of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... opportunity to get pretty well used to this foible; so that the daily examination of the strong box seemed to them a part of the order of things, something ...
— The Most Interesting Stories of All Nations • Julian Hawthorne

... everywhere around us, and every individual is a volume to be read. We are vexed, and perhaps tormented, by the vices or foibles of those with whom we are thrown in contact. Let us not stop in vexation, but study our own hearts, and see if there is not some kindred vice or foible in ourselves that perhaps troubles our friends quite as much as this disturbs us; for it is often the case that our own vices, when we meet them in others, are precisely those which irritate us most; and we are almost always more irritable through ...
— The Elements of Character • Mary G. Chandler

... they could have commanded would have been for him but a whet. If he had a weak side it was his own astuteness: he could not always see how unutterably foolish a man might be if he were let alone. Another foible he had—intellectual appreciation of beauty pushed to fainting-point. His senses were so straitly tied to his brains that to pluck at one was to thrill the other. Made on a small scale, he was pretty rather than handsome, had quiet watchful eyes, a smiling mouth, very ...
— Little Novels of Italy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... her foible to be not only right but irresistible in her past demands. What is it that she now claims, and on what grounds? She claims the right to enter into possession of her own soul. She claims the toga virilis, and all the strengthening burdens of freedom. Now it is ...
— The Open Secret of Ireland • T. M. Kettle

... laughing. "It is only my foible for making a thing look nice. And, Ethel," she added, drawing her down close over her, "I did not think the trouble wasted, if seeing me look fresher cheered ...
— The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations • Charlotte Yonge

... seldom that this foible of Sterne obtrudes itself upon the strictly narrative and dramatic parts of his work; and, next to the abiding charm and interest of his principal figure, it is by the admirable life and colour of ...
— Sterne • H.D. Traill

... and pleasure, that now I can hardly reclaim myself to look after my great business of settling Gravely business, until now almost too late. I pray God give me grace to begin now to look after my business, but it always was, and I fear will ever be, my foible that after I am once got behind-hand with business, I am hard to set to it again to recover it. In the evening I begun to look over my accounts and upon the whole I do find myself, by what I can yet see, worth near L600, for which God be blessed, which put me into great comfort. ...
— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete • Samuel Pepys

... de plus petits, qui y venoient de la mer, et dont le gout, qui etoit passable, parut excellent a des gens affamez. Mais n'aiant point de feu pour les faire cuire, l'usage continuel qu'ils en firent, commenca de les incommoder, et ils sentirent bien que ce foible remede ne les empecheroit pas de mourir ...
— Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia - Performed between the years 1818 and 1822 • Phillip Parker King

... pompously, than when he had not come by a drop of usquebaugh. It was, we remarked, only on such occasions that Donald talked with an air of importance of the family of MacLeish; and we had no title to be scrupulous in censuring a foible, the consequences of which were ...
— Chronicles of the Canongate • Sir Walter Scott

... her concerning the abbess and Elgidia; on which she informed him of all the particulars related in the preceding chapter; adding, that after the receipt of the two letters he had sent, the sisters came to a mutual understanding, each confessed her foible to the other, and the cause of their quarrel being for ever removed, a sincere reconciliation ...
— Life's Progress Through The Passions - Or, The Adventures of Natura • Eliza Fowler Haywood

... a scowl of irritation. Alice Webster was her friend, and she disliked having her display herself in her worst light. She knew her to be a warm-hearted, honorable girl whose gravest fault, which, after all, might be only a foible, was her tendency to turn coquettish when she was in ...
— The Governess • Julie M. Lippmann

... Catholic would come to an end and each of them would again in the first place think of his religion, so that, as heretofore, they would regard themselves as Turkish and Latin people rather than as Albanian. This foible does not apply to the Orthodox Albanians of the South, who are more patriotic.] "I am astonished," said the Monsignor, "that you should question our friendship with the Moslem. They have been the domineering ...
— The Birth of Yugoslavia, Volume 2 • Henry Baerlein

... sortoit de dessous la neige et qui rouloit son eau crystalline sur un sable argente, et ce qui etoit plus seduisant encore, une vue d'une etendue et d'une beaute dont une description ne peut donner qu'une bien foible idee. ...
— Theory of the Earth, Volume 2 (of 4) • James Hutton

... best of living creatures (as so many of us are), but he has one detestable foible—he always wants to read something aloud. Now, reading aloud is a very special gift. Few men have it, and even of those few there are some who do not force it upon their friends; the rest have it not, and Leeson is ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, March 11, 1914 • Various

... of the State it is far otherwise. They certainly may act ill by design, as well as by mistake. "Les revolutions qui arrivent dans les grands etats ne sont point un effect du hasard, ni du caprice des peuples. Rien ne revolte les grands d'un royaume comme un Gouvernoment foible et derange. Pour la populace, ce n'est jamais par envie d'attaquer qu'elle se souleve, mais par impatience de souffrir." These are the words of a great man, of a Minister of State, and a zealous assertor of Monarchy. They are applied to the system ...
— Thoughts on the Present Discontents - and Speeches • Edmund Burke

... scepticism: for whereas, by the confession of its greatest masters, it is at best but the play of a subtle intellect, so it does not afford a very flattering picture of an intellect that affects it. I should have been mortified, I confess, had Harrington been chargeable with such a foible. ...
— The Eclipse of Faith - Or, A Visit To A Religious Sceptic • Henry Rogers

... tant pis pour elle. Si vous lui plaisez, elle en sera si honteuse, elle se debattra tant, elle deviendra si foible, qu'elle ne pourra se soutenir qu'en epousant; vous m'en direz des nouvelles.[15] Vous l'avez vue, ...
— A Selection from the Comedies of Marivaux • Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux

... Far from abandoning the case, as Julius supposed, he had by some means of his own successfully run the missing girl to earth. The only thing that puzzled Tommy was the reason for all this secrecy. He concluded that it was a foible of the ...
— The Secret Adversary • Agatha Christie

... island. A moment's pause is presently created by the return of CRICHTON, wearing the wonderful robe of which we have already had dark mention. Never has he looked more regal, never perhaps felt so regal. We need not grudge him the one foible of his rule, for it is all coming ...
— The Admirable Crichton • J. M. Barrie

... once for all, to avow, thus publicly, that I have known a great many bigger rogues, and most of themselves in the number. But I have referred, with moderation, to this little flaw in a worthy character (or foible, as we call it, when a man is dead) for this reason only—that without it there was no explaining John's dealings ...
— Lorna Doone - A Romance of Exmoor • R. D. Blackmore

... most of these visionaries are occupied with electricity. They intend to make the lightning a domestic slave in every house, and to turn Ariel into a common carrier. But, from the aspect of Winter's den in Paterson's Rents, it was easy to read that his heart was set on a more ancient foible. The white deal book-shelves, home-made, which lined every wall, were packed with tattered books on mechanics, and especially on the art of flying. Here you saw the spoils of the fourpenny box of cheap bookvendors mixed with volumes in better condition, purchased ...
— The Mark Of Cain • Andrew Lang

... others, and having, as we know, none too much wit in her pumpion-pate, observed:—"Did you but know by whom my charms are prized, then, for sure, you would have nought to say of the rest." Her gossip, all agog to hear, for well she knew her foible, answered:—"Madam, it may be as you say, but still, while one knows not who he may be, one cannot alter one's mind so rapidly." Whereupon my Lady Featherbrain:—"Gossip," said she, "'tis not for common talk, but he that I wot of is the Angel Gabriel, who loves me more dearly than ...
— The Decameron, Volume I • Giovanni Boccaccio

... fool, Shirley, in some respects; I do despise myself. But I said I would not make you my confessor, for you cannot reciprocate foible for foible; you are not weak. How steadily you watch me now! Turn aside your clear, strong, she-eagle eye; it is an insult to ...
— Shirley • Charlotte Bronte

... have conveyed to his own, where they probably would have been readily adopted, as being so much in their own way. But I never found that he used the least endeavour to make himself master of any one. This kind of indifference is indeed the characteristic foible of his nation. Europeans have visited them at times for these ten years past, yet we could not discover the slightest trace of any attempt to profit by this intercourse, nor have they hitherto copied after us in any one thing. We are ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 • Robert Kerr

... composition is pride, which, according to the doctrine of some, is the universal passion. There are others who consider it as the foible of great minds; and others again who will have it to be the very foundation of greatness; and perhaps it may of that greatness which we have endeavoured to expose in many parts of these works; but to real greatness, which is the union of a good heart with a good head, it is almost ...
— Miscellanies, Volume 2 (from Works, Volume 12) • Henry Fielding

... provincialisms, as a sort of sea-peasant. But where this superiority in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales than all the English, collectively, in ten years. But this is a harmless little foible in the English whale-hunters, which the Nantucketer does not take much to heart; probably, because he knows that he has a few foibles himself. So, then, we see that of all ships separately sailing the sea, the whalers have most reason to be sociable —and ...
— Moby-Dick • Melville

... sentimental, nor, strictly speaking, poetical. They had more sense for rhetoric than for poetry, like the Romans; but, like the Romans, they had too high a spirit not to like a noble intellectual stimulus of some kind, and thus they were carried out of the region of the merely prosaic. Their foible,—the bad excess of their characterising quality of strenuousness,—was not a prosaic flatness, it was hardness ...
— Celtic Literature • Matthew Arnold

... of the New York dailies is still printed with that human foible in mind. It caters to this very curiosity ...
— Ruth Fielding Down East - Or, The Hermit of Beach Plum Point • Alice B. Emerson

... there was an ostrich who, though very ostrichy, was even more of an egoist. He thought only of himself. That is not a foible peculiar to ostriches, but this particular fowl—and he was very particular—was notable for it. "Where do I come in?" was a question written all over him—from his ridiculous and inadequate head, down his long ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, July 22, 1914 • Various

... enthusiastically assured Tennyson, at a dinner of a Society of Authors, that "you are the one who will live." To that end, humanly speaking, he placed himself under the celebrated Dr Gully and his "water-cure," a foible of that period. In 1848 he made a tour to King Arthur's Cornish bounds, and another to Scotland, where the Pass of Brander disappointed him: perhaps he saw it on a fine day, and, like Glencoe, it needs tempest and mist ...
— Alfred Tennyson • Andrew Lang

... read with nicest art, And ransack'd all the secrets of the heart; Exerted penetration's utmost force, And traced each passion to its proper source; Then, strongly mark'd, in liveliest colours drew, And brought each foible forth to public view: 280 The coxcomb felt a lash in every word, And fools, hung out, their brother fools deterr'd. His comic humour kept the world in awe, And Laughter frighten'd Folly more than Law. But, hark! the trumpet sounds, the crowd gives way, And the procession ...
— Poetical Works • Charles Churchill

... Hamilton,—nor would Lady Nelson. The general public opinion at the time receives, probably, accurate expression from Sir William Hotham, a man then in London society. "His vanity, excusable as such a foible is in such a man, led him to unpardonable excesses, and blinded him to the advantages of being respected in society.... His conduct to Lady Nelson was the very extreme of unjustifiable weakness, for he should at least have attempted to conceal his infirmities, ...
— The Life of Nelson, Vol. II. (of 2) - The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain • A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan

... that in choosing a name he might as well take a handsome one while he was about it, and that if he became Godolphin there was no reason why he should not become Launcelot, too. He did not put on these splendors from any foible, but from a professional sense of their value in the bills; and he was not personally characterized by them. As Launcelot Godolphin he was simpler than he would have been with a simpler name, and it was his ideal to be modest in everything that personally belonged ...
— The Story of a Play - A Novel • W. D. Howells

... alone; by sympathy she brought out the invisible characters traced by experience on his heart; and in the mirror of her conscience he might see the image of his very self, as dwarfed in actual appearance, or developed after the divine ideal. Her sincerity was terrible. In her frank exposure no foible was spared, though by her very reproof she roused dormant courage and self-confidence. And so unerring seemed her insight, that her companion felt as if standing bare before a disembodied spirit, and communicated without reserve thoughts and emotions, which, even ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. II • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... I have spoken much More than my wont: it is a foible which Was not of mine, but more excuses you, Inasmuch as it shows, that I approach A dotage which may justify this deed Of yours, although the law does not, nor will. ...
— The Works of Lord Byron - Poetry, Volume V. • Lord Byron

... his daughters when they send a whole inside of a half-sheet of note paper, with the three lines of acceptance to an invitation, written on only one of the sides. I am not above owning that I have this human weakness myself. String is my foible. My pockets get full of little hanks of it, picked up and twisted together, ready for uses that never come. I am seriously annoyed if any one cuts the string of a parcel instead of patiently and faithfully undoing it fold by fold. How people can bring themselves ...
— Cranford • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... Temper too far, I neither can nor will bear your insolent contemptuous Way of conversing, or your opprobrious provoking Language. If you attack my favourite Foible with such Acrimony, you must expect I will not spare some of yours: As for your sneering at my Politicks, I own I never was a Politician, nor did I ever set up for one. I had too rational an Head, I thank Heaven, ...
— A Dialogue Between Dean Swift and Tho. Prior, Esq. • Anonymous

... energy; and during the whole of his life he had a greater and more heartfelt delight in the superiority of other men to himself than men in general derive from their belief of their own. His readiness to imagine a superiority where it did not exist, was for many years his predominant foible; his pain from the perception of inferiority in others whom he had heard spoken of with any respect, was unfeigned and involuntary, and perplexed him as a something which he did not comprehend. In the child-like simplicity of his nature he ...
— The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1838 • James Gillman

... panted. "Cover yourself—I might hurt you out of sheer clumsiness." His chin and throat were covered with blood, now; blood enough to satisfy the most indignant consumer. The moment the measure was set again, Winfree lunged, trying to slip his blade beneath MacHenery's guard to strike his arm. His foible met the flash of the other man's forte, and his blade bounced aside ...
— The Great Potlatch Riots • Allen Kim Lang

... children were fond of him; but his extravagance of phrase and love of applause accounted for that. Secondly, Firio was devoted to him. Such worshipful attachment on the part of a native Indian to any Saxon was remarkable. Yet this was explained by his love of color, his foible for the picturesque, his vagabond irresponsibility, and, mostly, by his latent savagery—which she would hardly have been willing to apply to Ignacio's ...
— Over the Pass • Frederick Palmer

... you shall hear. I was to dine the other day at a great Nabob's that must be nameless, who, between ourselves, is strongly suspected of—being very rich, that's all. John, my valet, who knows my foible, cautioned me, while he was dressing me, as he usually does where he thinks there's a danger of my committing a lapsus, to take care in my conversation how I made any allusion direct or indirect ...
— The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 • Charles Lamb

... diocese of Barchester the Archdeacon of Barchester does the work. In that capacity he is diligent, authoritative, and, as his friends particularly boast, judicious. His great fault is an overbearing assurance of the virtues and claims of his order, and his great foible is an equally strong confidence in the dignity of his own manner and the eloquence of his own words. He is a moral man, believing the precepts which he teaches, and believing also that he acts up to them; though we cannot say that he would give his coat ...
— The Warden • Anthony Trollope

... of the hedge, came out and caught us and detained us for a gossip. But now I could hardly settle to my midday nap for thinking of the tinker-mother; and as to Mrs. Hedgehog, she almost annoyed me by her anxiety to see Christian. However, curiosity is the foible of her sex, and I accompanied her daily to the encampment without ...
— Brothers of Pity and Other Tales of Beasts and Men • Juliana Horatia Gatty Ewing

... the man. Mrs. Vint had pricked his conscience, but she had wounded his foible. He was not in love with Mercy, but he esteemed her, and liked her, and saw her value, and, above all, could not bear another ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 104, June, 1866 • Various

... alike to its pride and envy, whilst consciously hurtful to its more generous impulses), that the man who made it lived once indeed upon the mountains, but has at length come down to dwell finally upon the plain. Literary biography furnishes abundant examples of this imperfection of character, a foible, indeed, which in its multiform manifestations, probably goes as far as anything else to interfere with the formation of a just and final judgment of an author's merit within his own lifetime. When it goes the length of affirming that even a great writer's creative activity ...
— Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - 1883 • T. Hall Caine

... Burgundy received him with politic honours. He took his guest by his foible for pageantry, all the easier as it was a foible of his own; and Charles walked right out of prison into much the same atmosphere of trumpeting and bell-ringing as he had left behind when he went in. Fifteen days after his deliverance he was married to Mary of ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 3 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... at Shacklewell, some children belonging to a school of industry had met us, and bowed and curtseyed, as he thought, in an especial manner to him. "They take me for a visiting governor," he muttered earnestly. He had a horror, which he carried to a foible, of looking like anything important and parochial. He thought that he approached nearer to that stamp daily.. He had a general aversion from being treated like a grave or respectable character, and kept a wary eye upon the advances of age that should ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2 • Charles Lamb

... But is amusement all? studious of song And yet ambitious not to sing in vain, I would not trifle merely, though the world Be loudest in their praise who do no more. Yet what can satire, whether grave or gay? It may correct a foible, may chastise The freaks of fashion, regulate the dress, Retrench a sword-blade, or displace a patch; But where are its sublimer trophies found? What vice has it subdued? whose heart reclaimed By rigour, or whom laughed into reform? Alas, Leviathan is ...
— The Task and Other Poems • William Cowper

... replied promptly, tucking them under his chair. "These experiments in costume are a foible with me." ...
— Doom Castle • Neil Munro

... instance, and if you surmount them, of keeping out in the second, are pretty much on a par, and no slight ones either—and so Miss Amelia Martin shortly discovered. It is a singular fact (there being ladies in the case) that Miss Amelia Martin's principal foible was vanity, and the leading characteristic of Mrs. Jennings Rodolph an attachment to dress. Dismal wailings were heard to issue from the second-floor front of number forty-seven, Drummond-street, George-street, Euston-square; it was Miss Martin practising. ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... the supreme end, to know what each instrument was fit for, and to bring all forces to bear in the right way—a man of consummate adroitness, to sail in torpedo-sown waters without exciting an explosion, though conducting wires of local prejudice, class sensitiveness, and personal foible on every hand led straight down to magazines of wrath which might shatter the cause in a moment—a man having resources of his own to such an extent that he could supplement from himself what was wanting in others—always awake, though others might want ...
— James Otis The Pre-Revolutionist • John Clark Ridpath

... operate as a warning against the indulgence of a spirit, which, though it be a virtue of the highest order when kept under the control of discretion, does, like every other virtue, degenerate into a foible, when carried to excess. Fortunately for that member of doctor Cooper's family of whom we are writing, he found, when his youth wanted it, a sincere friend. Mr. Godwin, whose name is well known in ...
— The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor - Volume I, Number 1 • Stephen Cullen Carpenter

... Roland loved and honored him,—except his son. Then I took him round the ruins (still not suffering him to enter the house); for those ruins are the key to Roland's character,—seeing them, one sees the pathos in his poor foible of family pride. There, you distinguish it from the insolent boasts of the prosperous, and feel that it is little more than the pious reverence to the dead, "the tender culture of the tomb." We sat down on heaps of mouldering stone, and it was ...
— The Caxtons, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... desirous of supposing. As it is the most general of all human failings, so is it regarded with the most indulgence: a latent consciousness averts the censure of the weak; and the wise, who flatter themselves with being exempt from it, plead in its favour, by ranking it as a foible too light for serious condemnation, or too inoffensive for punishment. Yet, if vanity be not an actual vice, it is certainly a potential one—it often leads us to seek reputation rather than virtue, to substitute appearances for realities, and to prefer the ...
— A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, • An English Lady

... her foible, and always spoke in disparaging tones of her establishment. She would ask her friends to take a cutlet with her, or to come and eat cold chicken with her after the play, but took good care that the menu should be of very different calibre. She, like Pansey Cottrell, ...
— Belles and Ringers • Hawley Smart

... qui peuvent rendre une seule de nos pensees il n'y en a qu'une qui soit la bonne; on ne la rencontre pas toujours en parlant ou en ecrivant: il est vray neanmoins qu'elle existe, que tout ce qui ne l'est point est foible, et ne satisfait point un homme d'esprit qui veut se faire entendre."] but in order to find it I wish to make my choice among all that are like it; and my mind instinctively goes through a series of verbal modulations in search of that ...
— Amiel's Journal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... it has been generally conceded, in spite of prejudices, that the Irish, of all peoples, had been preeminently moral and Christian. No one has dared accuse them of open vice, however they may have been accused of folly. Intemperance is the great foible flung at them by many who, careful to conceal their own failings, are ever, ready to "cast the first stone" at them. It would be well for them to ponder over the rebuke of the Saviour to the accusers of the woman taken in adultery; ...
— Irish Race in the Past and the Present • Aug. J. Thebaud

... creature of your forming?" said Ellen, turning away from her fruitless examination, with a sudden lighting of her sprightly blue eyes, that showed she knew how to play with the foible ...
— The Prairie • J. Fenimore Cooper

... portrait, with the minute finish of a miniature; it shows how Shakespeare had studied every fold and foible of Mary Fitton's soul. In the third act Cleopatra takes up again the theme of Octavia's appearance, only to run down her rival, and so salve her wounded vanity and cheat her heart to hope. The messenger, too, who lends himself to her humour now becomes a proper man. Shakespeare seizes every ...
— The Man Shakespeare • Frank Harris

... he could not help saying to Mrs. Bretton. That lady had her own "comfort" and nonpareil on a much larger scale, and, for the moment, absent; so she sympathised with his foible. ...
— Villette • Charlotte Bronte

... had his feelings been more generous and ardent, had his moral sense been less shallow, he might have made important contributions to literature. As it was, to be a man of the world was his trade, to be a writer was only an admirable foible. ...
— A History of French Literature - Short Histories of the Literatures of the World: II. • Edward Dowden

... lady, whose foible is well known to my readers, made me laugh when she said that her genius had told her that I had got myself arrested to be talked about, for reasons which were known ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... produce a congruous scheme of saving truth and religious appeal. The result is that we see, on almost every page, contradictory teachings and conflicting methods of salvation. This, of course, is by no means fatal to it in the estimation of Hindus, with whom consistency has never been a foible, and in the eyes of whom two mutually contradictory teachings can rest ...
— India, Its Life and Thought • John P. Jones

... Armenian; "take another glass of wine; you possess a great deal of philological knowledge, but it appears to me that the language of this Petulengro is your foible: but let us change the subject; I feel much interested in you, and would fain be of service to you. Can you ...
— Lavengro - The Scholar, The Gypsy, The Priest • George Borrow

... all hands that the president of the Pacific Southwestern was a careful man and a thrifty. It was these qualities which had first determined his election. There were many small stock-holders in the company, and it is the foible of small stock-holders to believe that rigid economy counts for more than adventurous outreachings in ...
— Empire Builders • Francis Lynde

... Agricola. Such poems as these put before the cool gaze of the present century the very men of the elder day of religion. Their robes shine with an unearthly light, and their abstracted eyes are hypnotized by the effulgence of their own haloes. Yet the poet never fails to insinuate some naive foible in their personification, a numbness of the heart or an archaism of soul, which reveals the possessed one as but a human brother, after all, shaped by his environment, and embodying the spirit of an historic ...
— Men and Women • Robert Browning

... your presence, and trust to your sympathy and truth—and feel that I am false to love if I do not. If there were anything in my heart so foul that I feared to speak of it, I should give you that first, as the sacrifice of love; or any vanity or foible—such things are really hardest to have others know, so great ...
— Love's Pilgrimage • Upton Sinclair

... gentleman addressed a bird; Then to his friend: "An old procrastinator, Sir, I am: do you wonder that I hate her? Though she but seven words can say, Twenty and twenty times a day She interferes with all my dreams, My projects, plans, and airy schemes, Mocking my foible to my sorrow: I'll ...
— Voices for the Speechless • Abraham Firth

... with that misleading sobriety and ordinariness of tone which it has been the foible of many great humorists to assume. Mr. Gordon lifted his head several times very quickly, as if to say, 'What next?' and then actually departed, which was a clear proof that the man had no imagination and ...
— Tales of the Five Towns • Arnold Bennett

... 800. He has used 2,500 very completely, and seen my fine double stars with them. All my papers are printing, with the postscript and all, and are allowed to be very valuable. You see, LINA, I tell you all these things. You know vanity is not my foible, therefore I need not fear your ...
— Sir William Herschel: His Life and Works • Edward Singleton Holden

... sudden, an inspiration came to him, a means to snap the tension, to create a diversion wholly efficacious. He would turn to his boasting again, would call upon his vanity, which he knew well as his chief foible, and make it serve as the foil against his love. He strove manfully to throw off the softer mood. In a measure, at least, he won the fight—though always, under the rush of this vaunting, there throbbed the anguish ...
— Within the Law - From the Play of Bayard Veiller • Marvin Dana

... moment the whole professoriate was absorbed in one of those great educational crises which from time to time shake a university to its base. The meeting of the faculty that day bid fair to lose all vestige of decorum in the excitement of the moment. For, as Dean Elderberry Foible, the head of the faculty, said, the motion that they had before them amounted practically to a revolution. The proposal was nothing less than the permission of the use of lead-pencils instead of pen and ink in the sessional examinations of ...
— Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich • Stephen Leacock

... infirmities are, however, at most only calculated to excite a smile; there is no turpitude in them, and they merit notice but as indications of the humour of character. It was his Lordship's foible to overrate his rank, to grudge his deformity beyond reason, and to exaggerate the condition of his family and circumstances. But the alloy of such small vanities, his caprice and feline temper, were as vapour compared with the mass of rich and ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... of time," wrote Veblen. It was curious, said Sylvia, but nobody was free from this kind of vanity. There was dear old Uncle Basil, a more godly bishop never lived, and yet he had a foible for carving! In his opinion the one certain test of a gentleman was the ease with which he found the joints of all kinds of meat, and he was in arms against the modern tendency to turn such accomplishments over to butlers. He would hold forth on the ...
— Sylvia's Marriage • Upton Sinclair

... the wife of the Lord Lieutenant, who sat at his side, seemed a little startled. She was probably one of the only people present who was not aware of the Duke's foible. ...
— The Great Impersonation • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... ended, willing to add at least a little self-reproach to his suffering. I suppose, as nearly as I can analyse my mood, I must have been expecting, in spite of all reason and experience, that his anguish would have wrung that foible out of him, and left him strong where it had found him weak. Tragedy befalls the light and foolish as well as the wise and weighty natures, but it does not render them wise and weighty; I had often made this sage reflection, ...
— A Pair of Patient Lovers • William Dean Howells

... man with a hooked nose, a keen black eye, and a solitary foible (Mosaic), called on Helen Rolleston, and told her he was to take her instructions. She told him she was watched, and thought it was done to baffle a mission she had undertaken; but, having got so far, she ...
— Foul Play • Charles Reade

... dried her eyes on a handkerchief of costliest lace, "you see my—that is, the Duchess, is of such a romantic temperament, so enamoured of rural scenes, idyllic meadows, pretty shepherdesses, and the like—all the court makes merry at her foible. She thought to astonish Paris to-night by a lavish display of sweet simplicity—did Monsieur see it? That big dark place back there, behind the glass partition, was arranged as a meadow, with a stream winding through it, and rocks and trees, and ...
— The Black Wolf's Breed - A Story of France in the Old World and the New, happening - in the Reign of Louis XIV • Harris Dickson

... sometimes carried this system so far as to discourage his client too much. It is a fine thing to make your client think his case the weaker of the two, and then win it for him easily; that gratifies your own foible, professional vanity. But suppose, with your discouraging him so, he flings up or compromises a winning case? Suppose he takes the huff and goes to some other lawyer, who will warm him with hopes instead of cooling him with a one-sided and ...
— A Terrible Temptation - A Story of To-Day • Charles Reade

... to think themselves uncomprehended—nor often without reason in that foible; for man, howsoever sagacious, rarely does entirely comprehend woman, howsoever simple. And in this her sex has the advantage over ours. Our hearts are bare to their eyes, even though they can never know what have been our lives. But we may see every action of their lives, guarded ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... satiric hit of the German author at an English foible which cannot be denied: we wish no nation that we could mention had worse. That the satire in this case however is not carried beyond the limits of probability—is evident from the following paragraph which appeared in many of the morning papers during ...
— Walladmor: - And Now Freely Translated from the German into English. - In Two Volumes. Vol. II. • Thomas De Quincey

... thought inconsistent with the affectation of possessing superior influence, which Barak had shown while at the Presidency; but exaggeration of their own consequence is a foible common to all who find themselves in a land of strangers. Addressing the senior Fakir, therefore, he told him in as few words as possible the villanous plot which was laid to betray Menie Gray into the hands of the Prince Tippoo. ...
— The Surgeon's Daughter • Sir Walter Scott

... Vespasian. This archimimus performed his part admirably, not only representing the person, but imitating, according to custom, ut est mos, the manners and language of the living Emperor. He contrived a happy stroke at the prevailing foible of Vespasian, when he enquired the cost of all this funeral pomp—"Ten million of sesterces!" On this he observed that if they would give him but a hundred thousand they might throw his ...
— A History of Pantomime • R. J. Broadbent

... learning of the case, but never leaning too much upon authorities. Charles Emerson's beautiful phrase in his epitaph upon Professor Ashmun, "Books were his helpers, never his masters," was most aptly applied to Thomas. If he had any foible which affected at all his usefulness or success in life it was an impatience of authority, whether it were the authority of a great reputation, or of party, or of public sentiment, or of the established and settled opinions of mankind. He ...
— Autobiography of Seventy Years, Vol. 1-2 • George Hoar

... to be on your guard against that intellectual foible, which I believe has held me back in a region of sadness and solitude that I need not have lingered in, ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... half full, though we've tried so hard to find out what he likes," said May plaintively. If otherwise engaged it would be in chasing cats, running down fowls, barking at message boys—to whom he had the greatest antipathy—or, most serious foible of all, threatening to engage in single combat with dogs twice his size and three ...
— A Houseful of Girls • Sarah Tytler

... is it, that we make such an ado about it? And what is constancy, that it commands such usurious interest? The one is a foible only in its relations. The other is only thus a virtue. "Fickle as the winds" is our death-seal upon a man; but should we like our winds un-fickle? Would a perpetual Northeaster lay us open to perpetual gratitude? ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, Number 59, September, 1862 • Various

... oratory of abuse there is no resource so successful as raking up the weaknesses of the opponent's family, especially when the parties are married, for having gossiped with each other for so long in the most confidential manner, they know every foible. How Robert drank, and Tom bet, and Sam swore, and Bill knocked his wife about, and Joseph did as Potiphar's spouse asked him, and why your uncle had to take refuge in Spain; and so on to an indefinite extent, like ...
— Amaryllis at the Fair • Richard Jefferies

... just what you did. And besides—I seem to have a queer foible for telling the truth just now. Odd, isn't it, when I've been lying so ...
— Young People's Pride • Stephen Vincent Benet

... grunts of approval from the gray heads, Daddy was soon off at a tangent in playful fancy, hitting off a foible or "celebrating truth and justice" in one of the unconscious epigrams which it is sought herein to preserve, even when having occasionally to hammer them into shape, for, while Daddy was almost unerring in rhyme, his rhythm, never at fault in delivery, was strictly a ...
— Daddy Do-Funny's Wisdom Jingles • Ruth McEnery Stuart

... seated at a table, upon which were placed three dice and a dice-box. One end of the table was covered with pieces of silver, designed to excite the avarice of his courtiers and people. He, knowing the foible of his subjects, addresses them as follows: Slaves, I wish your happiness. My goodness proposes to enrich you, and make you all happy. Do you see these treasures? Well, they are for you; strive to gain them; let each, in his turn, take the box and dice; whoever has the fortune to throw sixes, shall ...
— Good Sense - 1772 • Paul Henri Thiry, Baron D'Holbach

... last demand of Art is that it shall give us the artist's best. Art is the mintage of the soul. All the whim, foible, and rank personality are blown away on the ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 6 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists • Elbert Hubbard

... venir y mettre echelle a terre. Mais comme tout le monde sait cela, je m'abstiens d'en parler. Cependant il m'a semble que du cote de la terre, vers l'eglise qui est dans le voisinage de la porte, a l'extremite du havre, il y a un endroit foible. ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, - and Discoveries of The English Nation, Volume 10 - Asia, Part III • Richard Hakluyt

... about these things. He cared little how his father scraped and saved, if he had but money in his pockets sufficient for the needs of the day. Extravagance in money was less Tom's foible than recklessness in his exploits, and a daring disregard of authority. No doubt he would have made away with money had he possessed it; but as everybody knew that he did not possess a long purse, and that the Squire would not be likely to pay his son's debts of honour, ...
— Tom Tufton's Travels • Evelyn Everett-Green

... Raleigh's life. In consequence of this intrigue, he was committed to the Tower. One or two amusing anecdotes are related of the devices which he employed to obtain forgiveness, by working on that vanity which was the Queen's chief foible. He succeeded in appeasing his indignant mistress so far as to procure his release; and about the same time, in 1594, she granted to him the valuable manor of Sherborne, in Dorsetshire; but though she requited ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 1 of 8 • Various

... H.S.C. Everard has kindly sent me the following quotations from Joseph Lauthier's book on the game (1st ed., 1717): 'C'est quand deux ou plusieurs jouent a qui poussera plus loin, et quand l'un est plus fort que l'autre, le plus foible demande avantage, soit par distance d'arbres, soit par distance de pas.' 'On finit la Partie en touchant un arbre ou une pierre marquee qui sert de but.' If certain trees were marked as goals, that would be a better explanation than the one given ...
— Publications of the Scottish History Society, Vol. 36 • Sir John Lauder

... his heart of hearts he rather pitied, not to say despised, Saltwell, for his want of the polish he possessed and his indifference to the elegancies of life, though he was not unable to appreciate his messmate's frankness of manner and truthfulness of character. His foible was his admiration for the poets, and his belief that he could write poetry and was a ...
— The Pirate of the Mediterranean - A Tale of the Sea • W.H.G. Kingston

... acuteness as his health began to fail. Then, more than ever, did he entertain and plan new schemes, as if to persuade himself that he had unlimited time before him in which to execute them. His flatterers knew how to play upon his weakness, and they never failed to do so. Perhaps this foible explains the influence which Doctor Jameson undoubtedly exercised upon the mind of Rhodes. He believed himself to be in safety whenever Jameson was about him. And so in a certain sense he was, because, with all his faults, the Doctor had a real affection ...
— Cecil Rhodes - Man and Empire-Maker • Princess Catherine Radziwill

... vanity, pride, and ambition, we have been more indulgent to vanity than our proud readers will approve. We hope, however, not to be misunderstood; we hope that we shall not appear to be admirers of that mean and ridiculous foible, which is anxiously concealed by all who have any desire to obtain esteem. We cannot, however, avoid thinking it is a contradiction to inspire young people with a wish to excel, and at the same time to ...
— Practical Education, Volume II • Maria Edgeworth

... at ease upon this point, and that if a dangerous illness had overtaken him, and he had had the time, he would have thrown himself into the hands of all the priests and all the Capuchins of the town. His great foible was to pride himself upon his impiety and to wish to ...
— The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete • Duc de Saint-Simon

... more authority in his parish? He had a native gift for administration, being tolerant both of opinions and conduct, because he felt himself able to overrule them, and was free from the irritations of conscious feebleness. He smiled pleasantly at the foible of a taste which he did not share—at floriculture or antiquarianism for example, which were much in vogue among his fellow-clergyman in the diocese: for himself, he preferred following the history of a ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... down: "Look here, Amy. Do you know that you have one little infinitesimal ewe-lamb of a foible? You think ...
— A Likely Story • William Dean Howells

... it unfortunately gets possession of a wise man's head, is as keenly sensible of ridicule, as it is impassible to its shafts when more appropriately lodged with a fool. Of the sensitiveness arising out of this foible Walpole seems to have had a great deal, and it certainly dictated those hard-hearted reproofs that repelled the warm effusions of friendship with which poor Madame du Deffand (now old and blind) addressed him, and of which he complained with the utmost indignation, ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1 • Horace Walpole

... of the hereditary nobility, at the affectation of majestic stateliness inherent in royalty. But the pedantic display of learning, the disregard of the real wants of the people, the contempt of all knowledge which does not wear the academic garb, show the same foible, the same conceit, the same spirit of caste among those who, from the sixteenth century to the present day, have occupied the most prominent rank in the society of Germany. Professorial knight-errantry still waits for its Cervantes. Nowhere have the objects of learning been so completely ...
— Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. • F. Max Mueller

... but of men. In build WILLIAM is pear-shaped, the upper part of him, where you would expect to find the stalk, broadening out into a perpetual smile. He has lived in the Baths twenty-three years, and yet his gaiety is not eclipsed. If he has a foible it is his belief that he thoroughly ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 101. October 3rd, 1891 • Various

... particular information on any subject whatever. The author who writes over the head of the public is the most dangerous enemy of his publisher—and the most insidious as well, because so many publishers are in private life interested in literary matters, and would readily permit this personal foible to influence the exercise of their vocation were it possible to do so upon the ...
— The Certain Hour • James Branch Cabell

... of which, "Damnation to the dogfish," gave opportunity to a wag, seated near the piper, to play upon the old man's well known foible by adding, "an' Cawmill o' Glenlyon;" whereupon Duncan, who had by this time taken more whisky than was good for him, rose, and made a rambling speech, in which he returned thanks for the imprecation, adding thereto the ...
— Malcolm • George MacDonald

... call fretting a minor fault, a foible, and not a vice. There is no vice except drunkenness which can so utterly destroy the peace, the ...
— Architects of Fate - or, Steps to Success and Power • Orison Swett Marden

... Talleyrand, Kaunitz, Bismarck you are! Mamma is as invulnerable to all human weaknesses as one of the suits of armour hanging in the Tower of London; and during my extended and rather intimate acquaintance with her, I have never discovered but one foible incident to the flesh, love of her morning nap! You have adroitly struck Achilles in the heel. Sound the timbrel and sing like Miriam over your victory; for it were better to propitiate one of the house of Palma, than to strangle Pharaoh. You should apply for a position in some ...
— Infelice • Augusta Jane Evans Wilson

... engage in deadly duel than a pair of amateurs with blunt foils. My antagonist was evidently a practised swordsman. I could see that as he came to guard. As for myself, the small-sword exercise had been a foible of my college days, and for years I had not met my match at it; but just then I ...
— The Rifle Rangers • Captain Mayne Reid

... of excess is no foible of mine, Though liking and needing a glass of good wine, To help the digestion, to quicken the heart, And loosen the tongue for its eloquent part, But never once yielding one jot to excess, Nor weakly consenting the least to ...
— My Life as an Author • Martin Farquhar Tupper



Words linked to "Foible" :   specialty, brand, blade, mannerism, part, steel, speciality, distinctiveness, portion, specialness, sword, idiosyncrasy, peculiarity



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