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Silliness   /sˈɪlinəs/   Listen
Silliness

noun
1.
A ludicrous folly.  Synonyms: absurdity, fatuity, fatuousness.
2.
An impulsive scatterbrained manner.  Synonym: giddiness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Silliness" Quotes from Famous Books



... necessity; for the simple, brutal and magnificent cry of life renders useless the efforts they make to galvanize and erect doctrines which cannot stand alone. The disapproval which attaches in our time to the word "internationalism" proves together the silliness and meanness of public opinion. Humanity is the living name of truth. Men are like each other as trees! They who rule well, rule by force and deceit; ...
— Light • Henri Barbusse

... silliness of a weak woman "caught." She looked at Adelaide slyly. Adelaide turned her quiet face, unflushed, unruffled, and neither laughed ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - February, 1876, Vol. XVII, No. 98. • Various

... drunk in the Spanish cellars, insomuch that not all had the power to run away. On this expedition, some verses were handed about, which probably are now first printed, from a manuscript letter of the times; a political pasquinade which shows the utter silliness of this ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... that you should set so sweet, so tender an air, as "Deil tak the wars," to the foolish old verses. You talk of the silliness of "Saw ye my father?"—By heavens! the odds is gold to brass! Besides, the old song, though now pretty well modernized into the Scottish language, is originally, and in the early editions, a bungling low imitation of the Scottish manner, by that genius ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... quoth Lord Raoul, with languid utterance, "'Tis very well — and thou'rt a foolish fool, Nay, thou art Folly's perfect witless man, Stupidity doth madly dote on thee, And Idiocy doth fight her for thy love, Yet Silliness doth love thee best of all, And while they quarrel, snatcheth thee to her And saith 'Ah! 'tis my sweetest No-brains: mine!' — And 'tis my mood to-day some ill shall fall." And there right suddenly Lord ...
— The Poems of Sidney Lanier • Sidney Lanier

... in our hands, the bottom of one sooty, the other clean!—There we sat, face to face, alternately rubbing the bottoms of the plates, and stroking our physiognomies, in mockery of each other—Mr. Lark getting his face blacked like a sweep,—the youngsters laughing at his silliness!—Oh, that a little smut should produce ...
— Christmas Comes but Once A Year - Showing What Mr. Brown Did, Thought, and Intended to Do, - during that Festive Season. • Luke Limner

... — N. want of -intelligence &c. 498, want of - intellect &c. 450; shadowness[obs3], silliness, foolishness &c. adj.; imbecility, incapacity, vacancy of mind, poverty of intellect, weakness of intellect, clouded perception, poor head, apartments to let; stupidity, stolidity; hebetude[obs3], dull understanding, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... the sheep, which animal I by nature despise, on account of its cowardice and a tremendous silliness, the one running after the other, but if a man will plague himself with farming who has been a sailor from his mother's apron-string, he must keep these beasts and others like his neighbours, although he understands ...
— Norse Tales and Sketches • Alexander Lange Kielland

... the lank, ill-strung assistant, more an overgrown boy than a man of brawn, but expanded around his upper part by the fullness of a short white surplice. He had a face cheerful to silliness. ...
— Lazarre • Mary Hartwell Catherwood

... Colfavru, Antony Thouret, threw in here and there energetic words of advice. M. Dufaure, resolute and indignant, protested with authority. M. Odilon Barrot, motionless in a corner, maintained the silence of stupefied silliness. ...
— The History of a Crime - The Testimony of an Eye-Witness • Victor Hugo

... decency and no reverence or respect for beings of a higher moral or religious nature than themselves. The man who habitually uses profane language, lowers his moral tone with every oath he utters. Moreover, the silliness of the practice, if no other reason, should prevent its use by every ...
— Our Deportment - Or the Manners, Conduct and Dress of the Most Refined Society • John H. Young

... silliness dates back at least as far as 1959 at Stanford University and had already gone international by the early 1960s, when it was reported at London University's ATLAS computing site. There are several variants of it in circulation, some of which actually do end ...
— The Jargon File, Version 4.0.0

... I forfeited that confidence?" said Father Letheby, who began to see a certain deliberate insult under all this silliness. ...
— My New Curate • P.A. Sheehan

... out at her if I was you," said Mrs. Talcott. "She's as silly as they make 'em, I allow, but it's all to the good if her silliness keeps her sticking to you through thick and thin. It's just as well to have someone around to drive off the vultures, even if it's only a scarecrow—and Miss Scrotton is better than that. She's a pretty brainy woman, for all her silliness, and she's pretty ...
— Tante • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... useful to state the principal causes of this unhappiness, and to give some definite directions in the way of remedy. Absence of love, absence of reason, absence of justice, absence of taste, in other words, harshness and neglect, silliness and frivolity, vice and crime, vulgarity and slovenliness, are the leading and inevitable creators of alienation, dislike, and misery in marriage. Whatever tends to increase these tends to multiply separations ...
— The Friendships of Women • William Rounseville Alger

... little woman who had fought long odds, and who was often very tired, and who sat for the greater part of the day making blouses for which she was seldom paid. Mrs. Avory was not a strong woman, nor in any way a great-minded woman, but she was one who, in spite of weakness and a good deal of silliness, clung almost fiercely to the fact that she must be good, and who kept faithfully the promises she had made to a wholly unworthy person in the village church at home twelve years ago. Every word of the letter was an appeal to her dear, ...
— Peter and Jane - or The Missing Heir • S. (Sarah) Macnaughtan

... "You ain't so unprofessional as to remember all that silliness against me, are you? I was only a girl, and you couldn't expect me to love you—either of you. I'm a poor widow now," she sighed, "and I need work. And here you have been laying up grudges against me—the two of you—all these years! What ...
— Ainslee's, Vol. 15, No. 5, June 1905 • Various

... myself conducted by experience. And besides, Mr. Fenwick, is not love a warfare? has it not rules? have not our fair antagonists their tactics, their weapons, their place of arms? and is there not a touch of - pardon me the word! of silliness in one who, having fought, and having vanquished, sounds a parley, and capitulates to his own prisoner? Had the lady chosen, had the fortune of war been other, 'tis like she had been Mrs. Austin. Now I . . . You ...
— The Plays of W. E. Henley and R. L. Stevenson

... over-stimulated every activity of the body, and spent our lives doing all kinds of things in which there was no sense. Think of reading one or two morning and evening papers every day. To be sure we said there was nothing in them, but we used up our eyesight over them, and let a stream of silliness and scandal dribble through our minds. As to ...
— The Master-Knot of Human Fate • Ellis Meredith

... Thou fibbest; It was you yourselves that thus Sigismundized me and princed me: All the silliness and the boldness Have been ...
— Life Is A Dream • Pedro Calderon de la Barca

... have to do with mathematical operations, that, though I was very fond of them in my college days, I have long ceased to occupy myself with these processes. I would add, by way of redeeming my dream-intelligence from a deserved charge of silliness, that I once performed a respectable intellectual feat when asleep. I put together the riddle, "What might a wooden ship say when her side was stove in? Tremendous!" (Tree-mend-us). I was aware of having tried to improve ...
— Illusions - A Psychological Study • James Sully

... boys,' quoth he, 'let us be grave—here comes a fool.' Macaulay was not exactly Beau Nash, nor was Boswell 'the great Dr. Clarke'; but, as Macaulay, working on Wolcot's lines, was presently to show, Boswell did right to describe the world as 'a great fool,' and to regret in respect of his own silliness that in the Tour he had been 'arrogant enough to suppose that the tenour of the rest of the book would sufficiently guard against such a strange imputation.' In the same way he showed himself fully alive to the enduring merits of ...
— Views and Reviews - Essays in appreciation • William Ernest Henley

... audience can possibly desire to know of what must be once and for all the story of a life-time. "The rest is silence." Throughout the play there is no parade of false sentimentality, no tawdry virtue, no copy-book morality, no vicious silliness; and, so well constructed is the plot, that there is no need of a wearisome extra Act, by way of postscript, to tell us how all the characters met again at the North Pole or Land's End; how everybody explained ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 100. March 7, 1891. • Various

... weren't drowned? And Aunt Juliet, with her principles, would be bound to believe we weren't, even if we were. We've only got to put it to her that way and she won't have a ghost of a grievance left. It's the simplest form of Christian Science. But in any case, whatever silliness Aunt Juliet may indulge in, we were simply bound to have the Tortoise today. It's a matter of duty. I don't see how you can get around that, Cousin Frank, no matter how ...
— Priscilla's Spies 1912 • George A. Birmingham

... "What silliness! Course, it isn't really lost. You've just mislaid it, that's all, an' forgot. I do that, time an' again. Put something away so careful 't I can't find it for ever so long. You'll remember after a spell, and ...
— Dorothy's House Party • Evelyn Raymond

... drunk, and one of them said in a tipsy tone of voice, "Can't you see, guv'nor? We're trying to get that cheese out o' th' water!" The exciseman couldn't see any cheese, but he could see the image of the full moon on the surface of the canal, and, bursting into a roar of laughter at the silliness of the men, he rode off on his way home. But it was now the rustics' turn to laugh as they hauled the kegs out of the canal and carried them away in triumph on their shoulders. The gentleman who told the story fairly "brought down the house" when he added, "So ...
— From John O'Groats to Land's End • Robert Naylor and John Naylor

... this very occupation." Our author's character in his works was the very opposite to the one in which he appeared to these low people. Feeling his degradation among them, for they treated his simplicity as utter silliness, his personal timidity assumed a tone of boldness and originality in his writings, while a strong personal sense of shame heightened his causticity, and he delighted to contemn that urbanity in which he had never shared, and which he knew not how to practise. His ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... antiquated rattletrap. In appearance she is a plain woman; sensible, gracious and nice. Her position is a trying one which she supports with tact. So far she has been guilty of no error of taste and her manner with her husband is pleasant without bearing a trace of that silliness which the Senator's great age encouraged Washington to expect. No one has yet enjoyed any spiteful fun at Mrs. Depew's expense though many were on ...
— The Onlooker, Volume 1, Part 2 • Various

... exhibition of himself on the 4th of March, when in a fit of rage, he rose before day-light and set out in his coach for Massachusetts, refusing to wait and take part in the inauguration of his successor. With the mellowness of growing years, he realized the silliness of the act, and he and Jefferson became fully reconciled and kept up an affectionate correspondence to the end ...
— Thomas Jefferson • Edward S. Ellis et. al.

... discloses the abuses common among the slave-holders under Spanish rule, and the silliness of the belief that the masters for their own benefit would treat their human property well. This account refers to one Juan Palomeque, a rich landowner and promoter of mule-transports, who lived in Gage's parish of Mexico, near the actual capital of Guatemala. He was believed to be worth six ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Vol. I. Jan. 1916 • Various

... in ignorance of too many shameful ones to be liked by people, and render such important services to others that they can only shake off the obligation by speaking ill of us. People think that things are only words with us; refinement is thus mere silliness, honor a sham, and acts of treachery mere diplomacy. We are the confidants of many who yet leave us much to guess at. Our programme consists in thinking and acting, finding out the past from the present, ordering ...
— Vautrin • Honore de Balzac

... five worst maladies that afflict the female mind are indocility, discontent, slander, jealousy and silliness. These five maladies infest seven or eight out of every ten women, and it is from these that arises the ...
— Where Half The World Is Waking Up • Clarence Poe

... handling the elements and forces with competent power, teaching and training men—and, as perhaps the most precious of its results, achieving the entire redemption of woman out of these incredible holds and webs of silliness, millinery, and every kind of dyspeptic depletion—and thus insuring to the States a strong and sweet Female Race, a race of perfect Mothers—is what ...
— Complete Prose Works - Specimen Days and Collect, November Boughs and Goodbye My Fancy • Walt Whitman

... his eye, entered. He disrobed with no shame. He was put flat on the floor, face down, on a little piece of matting. At this stage some objected. Then the Anglo-Saxon was down on the floor, wheedling, talking such sweetness as can be spoken without silliness ...
— In Indian Mexico (1908) • Frederick Starr

... assent. "Because I was—afraid—to ride. Doesn't it seem ridiculous, now I'm over that silliness? But oh, how I did wish I could get over being afraid! That was about the only wish ...
— Blue Bonnet's Ranch Party • C. E. Jacobs

... form of silliness with which Mrs. Clowes was in full sympathy. In her world, to be young and pretty gave a woman a claim on Fate to provide her with pretty dresses and the admiration of men. As for Yvonne, till she married Jack ...
— Nightfall • Anthony Pryde

... as between him who frankly avows his blindness and the blind man who pretends to sight; silliness is the reality of ignorance, to which is superadded ...
— The Ruins • C. F. [Constantin Francois de] Volney

... as long as I stay, though I should have nothing but silliness to write; for I know you divert yourselves on nights with what I write, because it is mine. John tells me how much you long for my coming; but he says, he told you he hoped something ...
— Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded • Samuel Richardson

... among the people find an outcrop in public affairs. Rogues in a community will have no trouble in finding rogue lawyers to do their bidding. In fact, rogue clients evolve rogue attorneys. Foolish patients evolve fool doctors. And superstition and silliness in the pew find a ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 11 (of 14) - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Businessmen • Elbert Hubbard

... had dark hair growing away from his forehead, dark moustache, dark beard and a singularly serious face. It was not the face of a conspirator, but that of a saint, although without that just perceptible touch of silliness which spoils the faces of most saints. It was the face of a saint of the Reason, of a man who could be ecstatic for rational ideals, rarest of all endowments. It was the face, too, of one who knew ...
— Clara Hopgood • Mark Rutherford

... in his eyes, and a gay smile of springtide abode upon his lips. His iron-gray hair, falling naturally like that of the Christ in art, added to his ecstatic air a certain solemnity which was absolutely deceptive as to his real nature; for he was capable of committing any silliness with the most exemplary gravity. His clothes were a necessary envelope, to which he paid not the slightest attention, for his eyes looked too high among the clouds to concern themselves with such materialities. ...
— A Daughter of Eve • Honore de Balzac

... it at length. It is disgusting. Compelled to traffic with an alien form of life! Were it not to end in the extinction of those unspeakable hexans, it would be futile to the point of silliness. I cannot understand them at all. There is ample room upon this planet for all of us. Our races combined are not using one seven-thousandth of its surface. You would think that they would shun all strangers. ...
— Spacehounds of IPC • Edward Elmer Smith

... curtness of her laugh, her way of speaking, puzzled Stane, and moved him to press for an answer. "Never mind the silliness," ...
— A Mating in the Wilds • Ottwell Binns

... get to hell out of here, the more he do not get to hell out of here. He cry something towards me, and I demand what is his desire, but he do not explain. Oh, no, that arrives never. He does but shrug his head. What damn silliness! Is this amusing for me? You think I like it? I am not content with such folly. I think the poor mutt's loony. Je me fiche de ce type infect. C'est idiot de faire comme ca l'oiseau.... Allez-vous-en, louffier.... Tell the boob to go away. He is ...
— Right Ho, Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... at first that everybody else had the same way of regarding things as themselves. Then they betrayed their peculiarities by some chance remark that called forth a stare of surprise, followed by ridicule and a sharp scolding for their silliness, so that the poor little things shrank back into themselves, and never ventured again to allude to their inner world. I will quote just one of many similar letters as a sample. I received it, together ...
— Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development • Francis Galton

... Canadensis," was a libel, and perhaps it was, but if so, Mr. Stuart had the Courts of Law open to him, and therefore the interference of the House was as silly as it was tyrannical. Mr. Cary, the publisher of the Mercury, evaded the Sergeant-at-Arms, and laughed at the silliness of the collective wisdom afterwards. The House was prorogued on the 15th of February. The war had not so far produced any injurious effect on the commerce of the country The revenue was L61,193 currency, ...
— The Rise of Canada, from Barbarism to Wealth and Civilisation - Volume 1 • Charles Roger

... conformity to the law of gravitation? Delitzch is bold enough to assert that the flood of water was ejected with such force from the fountains beneath that it assumed quite naturally a conical shape. But then, even supposing that this explication were anything but sheer silliness, which it is not, how would the learned commentator account for the water retaining its conical shape for months after the force of upheaval had expended itself? These explanations are entirely fanciful and groundless. The ...
— Bible Romances - First Series • George W. Foote

... myself would have held. I wished to heaven she would shrink and give me a chance to step in between her and a man who might love her, as Marcia said, but who loved drink and drugs better, or he would not have been talking between silliness and sobriety, as he was that night. And I was so busy wishing it that Marcia spoke to me three times before I ...
— The La Chance Mine Mystery • Susan Carleton Jones

... not exactly. She was expecting me to meet her at Boston. But I—[struggling to give the situation dignity, but failing, and throwing himself, with self-convicted silliness, upon THE PORTER'S mercy.] The fact is, I thought I would surprise her ...
— The Sleeping Car - A Farce • William D. Howells

... by introducing five or six Fagins—triumphant Fagins, fashionable Fagins, Fagins who had changed their names. The impeccable old Aaron stands up in the middle of this ironic carnival with a peculiar solemnity and silliness. He looks like one particularly stupid Englishman pretending to be a Jew, amidst all that crowd of clever Jews who are pretending to ...
— Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens • G. K. Chesterton

... almost obscured his eyes. We shall never be able to claim any credit as a physiognomist again, for, after a careful scrutiny of this gentleman's countenance, we had come to the conclusion that it bespoke nothing but conceit and silliness, when our friend with the silver staff whispered in our ear that he was no other than a doctor of civil law, and heaven knows what besides. So of course we were mistaken, and he must be a very talented man. He conceals ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... towards man, and the soul to adoration towards the Creator. Here is to be heard, neither the impertinent coxcombry, of the European self styled exclusive, nor the unmeaning twaddle of the daughter of false fashion, spoiled by the example of the said exclusive, and almost become a dowager in silliness, before she has attained the first years of womanhood. No lack-a-daisical voice, the sex of which it is difficult to distinguish, is attempted to be raised in depreciation of the party to which it had been esteemed too great an happiness ...
— The Canadian Brothers - or The Prophecy Fulfilled • John Richardson

... there ain't anything else in all this big world that anywhere near comes up to it for silliness. Why, don't you think," and here her voice took a lower and more solemn tone, and the wide cap frill trembled with earnestness. "Don't you think, there's men and women who believe that every word ...
— Three People • Pansy

... not an art and that it makes little difference what happens to them. We cannot share that indifference. Enough has been done in pictures to convince us that very beautiful things might be achieved if only the censors could be put out of the way. Not all the silliness of the modern American picture is the fault of the producers. Much of the blame must rest with the various boards of censorship. It is difficult to think up many stories in which there is no passion, crime, or birth. As a matter ...
— Nonsenseorship • G. G. Putnam

... doubted if any county has a monopoly of silliness. The fault of Sussex people rather is to lack reserves, not of wisdom but of effort. You see this in cricket, where although the Sussex men have done some of the most brilliant things in the history of the game (even ...
— Highways & Byways in Sussex • E.V. Lucas

... equally distributed, produces dolts, mediocrity in all; unequally bestowed it gives rise to those incongruities to whom the name of Genius is given, and which, if we only could see them, would look like deformities. The same law governs the body; perfect beauty is generally allied with coldness or silliness. Though Pascal was both a great mathematician and a great writer, though Beaumarchais was a good man of business, and Zamet a profound courtier, these rare exceptions prove the general principle of the specialization ...
— Scenes from a Courtesan's Life • Honore de Balzac

... that was said might be true, would be heiress of Hillsbro'. Yes, yes, she knew; I need not blaze out. I had made myself a hero, as simple hearts do, but my idol was clay all the same. Wealth and power would do for John Hollingford what his father's misconduct had undone. It was utter silliness my abasing myself, saying that Rachel Leonard was more lovable than I. Her rich expectations were her superior charm. Oh me! how people will talk, just to be thought knowing, just to be thought wise, just to dazzle, and to create an excitement for ...
— The Late Miss Hollingford • Rosa Mulholland

... West Indian Negro, a woolly, ebony wisp of a creature, a great believer in ghosts (he who thought we stowaways were ghosts when we hid under the bunk). The Irish cattle-boss gave him the job of night-watchman, "to break him of his superstitious silliness"; ...
— Tramping on Life - An Autobiographical Narrative • Harry Kemp

... thunderation foolishness! Two good Southern soldiers trying to kill each other, when they've sworn to use all their efforts killing Yankees. It's a breach of faith and it's silliness on its own account. You've received the hospitality of my father's house, Captain Bertrand, and he's helped you and been kind to you elsewhere. You owe me enough at least to listen to me. Unless I get the promise of you two to ...
— The Star of Gettysburg - A Story of Southern High Tide • Joseph A. Altsheler

... own part he studied Courbet and then Delacroix, and, assuredly, from these picked up useful hints for converting sensibility into significant form. Sensibility he never lacked. Renoir's painting gift may, without unpardonable silliness, be compared with the singing gift of Mozart. His conspicuous characteristics are loveliness and ease. No painter, I suppose, gives more delight, or gives it more frankly. That is why his name provokes an odd, personal enthusiasm ...
— Since Cezanne • Clive Bell

... changed his mind since the wooden poke had been put on him, and somehow his running away seemed very foolish now. He wondered how he could ever have thought it any fun, and he was so disgusted that he couldn't keep his ears still, but moved them restlessly when he remembered his own silliness. ...
— Among the Farmyard People • Clara Dillingham Pierson

... education, except in music, has not been very carefully attended to; and she knows about as much of the world as the Bishop of Autun (better known as Prince Talleyrand) knows of the Bible. If she were not so simple, she would be silly; but silliness is never simple,—always cunning; however, there is some cunning in her keeping her past Cameronian Chronicles so close. Perhaps I may know more about her in a short time, for I intend going to C——-, where my uncle once lived, in order to see if ...
— Alice, or The Mysteries, Book V • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... politics and into public-houses—I don't see why they shouldn't. If such things are good enough for men they are good enough for women; we haven't your sort of chivalry. But it's the peculiar malignant silliness of this sort of Toryism that's so discreditable. It's discreditable. There's no good in denying it. Those people you have heard and seen are a not unfair sample of our governing class—of a certain section of our governing class—as it is to-day. Not at all unfair. And ...
— Mr. Britling Sees It Through • H. G. Wells

... you lookin' at her," went on his grandfather, "as if you was kind of wonderin' whether to laugh at her or pity her. You needn't do either. She's kind-hearted and that makes her put up with Rachel's silliness. Then, besides, Rachel herself is common sense and practical nine-tenths of the time. It's always a good idea, son, to sail one v'yage along with a person before you decide whether to class 'em as A. ...
— The Portygee • Joseph Crosby Lincoln

... I compare them, and to what likeness shall I liken their silliness? Well, I will set before thee an example which I heard from the lips of one ...
— Barlaam and Ioasaph • St. John of Damascus

... the sex are. She dropped into the rocking-chair, and began rocking backwards and forwards while still tugging at her gloves, and said, in a gradually warming voice, "I certainly shall not magnify Mr. Van Loo's silliness to that importance. And I have yet to learn what you mean by talking about a rendezvous! And I want to know," she continued, suddenly stopping her rocking and tilting the rockers impertinently behind her, as, with her elbows squared on the chair arms, ...
— The Three Partners • Bret Harte

... citizens will, of course, depend upon themselves; but may we pray them to beware of the silliness of local pride—(we imagine that upon reading this paper the cities and towns named will at once move in the business of monuments, and we would not leave them unadvised in any particular)—in choosing their sculptors and architects? Home talent is a good thing when educated and developed, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 103, May, 1866 • Various

... speech, then, and rightness of harmony and form and rhythm minister to goodness of nature; not that good-nature which we so call with a soft name, being really silliness, but the frame of mind which in very truth is rightly and fairly ordered in regard to the moral habit.—Most certainly he said.—Must not these qualities, then, be everywhere pursued by the young men if they ...
— Plato and Platonism • Walter Horatio Pater

... or possession. There are the elaborate pseudo-erudite notes which one has learnt to associate chiefly with Moore. The authoress boasts in her preface that she "has already written almost as many volumes as she has years," and that she has hardly ever corrected her proofs. Perhaps this silliness will make some think her not more an example of the savagery of contemporary ...
— The English Novel • George Saintsbury

... and they will ill-treat me so that never again shall I be able to look my husband in the eyes—his brave eyes; but now perhaps they are closed in death!" There was an older, harsh-featured woman who rated the mother for her silliness, and, while we ate our omelette, the room was filled with the clamour of them until a dog outside began to howl. Then the mother went and sat down in a chair by the fire and stopped crying, but every now and then moaned and clasped her baby strongly to her breast, murmuring, "My poor ...
— Adventures of a Despatch Rider • W. H. L. Watson

... on the great lesson which she gives to artists. She dresses for a few hours, and the care she has taken is not lost. We must, like her, ornament life without thinking of the future. To paint, carve, or write for posterity is only the silliness ...
— The Red Lily, Complete • Anatole France

... that it is necessarily wrong to go there, or that you are certain to come to harm if you frequent them, but there is more chance of temptation, and an inferior entertainment for your money. Well acted plays may open out your mind, but the silliness of the music hall entertainment will only react upon you. You can tell a music hall frequenter, not by the words of his mouth so much as by the shuffle of his feet: his highest ambition seems to be to dance the double shuffle, and perhaps sing a few verses of some ...
— Boys - their Work and Influence • Anonymous

... I do wonder what he's been up to. I do wonder. Perhaps he'd have told me but for my confounded habit of sarcasm, my way of repelling the amateur—repelling!" His arms flew out. "There's so much silliness beyond all bearing, credulity beyond all the patience of science. Table-turning women, feminine men! 'The spirits guide me, Professor, in every smallest action of my life!'—Wuff!—the charlatan battens and breeds. And the ...
— The Dweller on the Threshold • Robert Smythe Hichens

... smile upon its face, looking at its spread-out fingers, or stroking a piece of cloth for a quarter of an hour together as though the sensation yielded it a kind of pleasure. It would be almost endless to describe the various degrees of mental weakness; from the slight silliness down to the condition in which the child is, and remains all life long, below the ...
— The Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases • Charles West, M.D.

... and for the sake of doing what I'd been told not to do. I—I felt as though I must be out in the air, and in motion. I didn't sleep last night, and I didn't eat any breakfast this morning, which may partly account for this silliness of mine, perhaps. I thought I should feel better out of doors, but it seems that nothing in the world can do me any good. Everything I attempt must always end in disaster, and—oh, Mr. Stanton, I am so very, very unhappy ...
— The House by the Lock • C. N. Williamson

... her back as she hung on him. Was it sheer silliness? Or had certain doors in her nature never been opened, even enough for her to know all that lay behind them? He pushed her off, holding her by both wrists: "Are you quite willing to marry Mr. Muller? Do ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Volume 11, No. 26, May, 1873 • Various

... young men were naturally not very deep in either the theory or the practice of art: but they had open eyes and minds, and could discern that some things were good and other bad—that some things they liked, and others they hated. They hated the lack of ideas in art, and the lack of character; the silliness and vacuity which belong to the one, the flimsiness and make-believe which result from the other. They hated those forms of execution which are merely smooth and prettyish, and those which, pretending to mastery, are nothing better ...
— The Germ - Thoughts towards Nature in Poetry, Literature and Art • Various

... never been in any of the numerous homes of the suddenly and vastly rich of humble origin. She was used to—and regarded as proper and elegant—the ordinary ostentations and crudities of the rich of conventional society. No more than you or I was she moved to ridicule or disdain by the silliness and the tawdry vulgarity of the life of palace and liveried lackey and empty ceremonial, by the tedious entertainments, by the displays of costly and poisonous food. But General Siddall's establishment presented a new phase to her—and she thought ...
— The Price She Paid • David Graham Phillips

... expression from Dominick was a hypocritical refinement of sensitiveness. To draw myself up haughtily, to turn on my heel and walk away,—that was the silliness of a boy. Still, I am glad I did both those absurd things. When I told my mother how I had ruined myself in politics she began to cry,—and tears were not her habit. Then she got my father's picture and kissed it and talked to it about me, just as if he were there with us; ...
— The Plum Tree • David Graham Phillips

... my dear boy," said Dagobert to his son; "but I wished the night to the devil, in order that I might gaze upon you in full day, as I now see you. But all in good time; I have lost nothing. Here is another silliness of mine; it delights me to see you wear moustaches. What a splendid horse-grenadier you would have made! Tell me; have you never had a ...
— The Wandering Jew, Complete • Eugene Sue

... shrill, hysterical note of mere excitement nor the hard, metallic twang of the cynic's sneer— which rings in the honest voice of gracious good humor, which is innocent and unsatirical. Speech is genuine which is without silliness, affectation, or pretense. That character is genuine which seems built by nature rather than by convention, which is stuff of independence and of good courage. Nothing spurious, bastard, begotten out of true wedlock of ...
— On Being Human • Woodrow Wilson

... years old, and the like) as he betrayed were trumpeted as prodigies. He was spoilt so long before he was ripe that it is a marvel he ever ripened at all. Many years must pass before vanity could be replaced in him by manly ambition; a vein of silliness is traceable through his career almost to the end. He expatiated in the falsetto key; almost never do we hear in his voice that hearty bass note so dear to plain humanity. In his pilgrimage toward freedom he had to wrestle not ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 6 • Various

... it thundered and lightninged, and Antha nearly went into hysterics. She hid her head under the bed clothes and wanted them all to do likewise. Katherine snorted with disgust and delivered her mind about people who carried their fears to the verge of silliness. Antha cried some more and the atmosphere in the tent was becoming decidedly damp again when Hinpoha created a diversion ...
— The Campfire Girls on Ellen's Isle - The Trail of the Seven Cedars • Hildegard G. Frey

... creature of twenty-eight, because she kept company with a young man. He had caught them arm-in-arm and practically hugging each other, one Sunday afternoon in the street. He could see naught but silliness in ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... to tell her all about it, though I should like it not to be till you are come home, and can tell her that I am not really like Dolores, as she will be sure to think me, for I really did it, not out of silliness and opposition, but because I knew how good they were, and I did tell you. Honestly, perhaps there was some opposition in the spirit of it; but I mean to make a fresh start when I come back, and you will be near at hand then, and ...
— Beechcroft at Rockstone • Charlotte M. Yonge

... man. "Young calf! Do you suppose I am interested in your protestations of silliness about a girl! I want to hear nothing more about it. You understand my wishes well enough. I will never do a thing for you after you graduate— I will strike you out of my will— I'll close my door against you, if you entangle yourself in any ...
— The Corner House Girls Growing Up - What Happened First, What Came Next. And How It Ended • Grace Brooks Hill

... Gerty Neville is another instance of perversion. Her silliness is exaggerated in order that she shall weary and disgust the blase aristocrat who has married her. Some of her chatter is more inconceivable than the 'coo-ee-ing' which Mr. Hornung's 'Bride from the Bush' employed to attract the attention of a colonial acquaintance ...
— Australian Writers • Desmond Byrne

... uncertainties she had spared him awkwardness by making him feel the transition a casual natural thing, instead of a personal and characteristic weakness. She had loved every stage of innocence and ignorance and adorable silliness he had passed through and he had grown closer to her through the medium of each, because nothing in life was so clear as her lovely wiseness and fine perceptive entirety of sympathy ...
— Robin • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... that city to Sir Henry Clinton; but there had been a decisive preliminary struggle in the legislature in January. The most active of the Antifederalists was Rawlins Lowndes, who had opposed the Declaration of Independence. Lowndes was betrayed into silliness. "We are now," said he, "under a most excellent constitution,—a blessing from Heaven, that has stood the test of time [!!], and given us liberty and independence; yet we are impatient to pull down that fabric which we raised at the expense of our blood." ...
— The Critical Period of American History • John Fiske

... come out for a song? It has the form of a young man, but the simpering silliness of a school girl. Half idiot, it jabbers out a lot of words that can not be understood, but which are wildly applauded by the crowd on the floor, who 'pat juba' while the creature dances. The girl who has been hanging around me to get a quarter, whispers something like 'Oh, the beast!' in my ear. ...
— Danger! A True History of a Great City's Wiles and Temptations • William Howe

... Zangiacomo, a woman with no conscience. The aversion she showed him as far as she dared (for it is not always safe for the helpless to display the delicacy of their sentiments), Schomberg pardoned on the score of feminine conventional silliness. He had told Alma, as an argument, that she was a clever enough girl to see that she could do no better than to put her trust in a man of substance, in the prime of life, who knew his way about. But for the excited trembling of his voice, and the extraordinary way ...
— Victory • Joseph Conrad

... may readily be conceived, abrupt and without modulation and finish, minced and effeminate, full of tinsel and bombast, thoroughly vulgar and affected; "any one who knows Hegesias," says Cicero, "knows what silliness is." ...
— The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) • Theodor Mommsen

... stubborn to tell. This setback is your own fault. You've let other notions become more important to you than the idea of getting well. And you've no excuse for it. After I had to warn you a month ago, I expected that silliness to stop instantly. ...
— The Straw • Eugene O'Neill

... by translating "Blast you" into such elegant verbiage as "Deus afflet tibi." He adds, "How some parsons would have goggled and what would Hannah More say? I don't like clergymen, but here and there one. Cary, the Dante Cary, is a model quite as plain as Parson Primrose, without a shade of silliness." ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb (Vol. 6) - Letters 1821-1842 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... had been arranged that she should remain there from the night of the sermon until after she was graduated. If Mrs. Comstock decided to attend she was to drive in with the Sintons. When Elnora begged her to come she said she cared nothing about such silliness. ...
— A Girl Of The Limberlost • Gene Stratton Porter

... laugh with nor at the solemn utterances of men I esteemed ponderous asses; nor could I laugh, nor engage in my old-time lightsome persiflage, with the silly superficial chatterings of women, who, underneath all their silliness and softness, were as primitive, direct, and deadly in their pursuit of biological destiny as the monkeys women were before they shed their furry coats and replaced them with the ...
— John Barleycorn • Jack London

... determine, two or three days beforehand, to get up earlier, and to walk to Fleet Street by way of Great Queen Street and Lincoln's Inn Fields, and upon this he would subsist till the day came. He could make no longer excursions because of his lameness. All this may sound very much like simple silliness to most people, but those who have not been bound to a wheel do not know what thoughts come into the head of the strongest man who is extended on it. Clark sat side by side in his gallery with other young men of rather a degraded ...
— Mark Rutherford's Deliverance • Mark Rutherford

... an existence like his, always solitary, reduced to the satisfaction of mere needs, deprived of money and all pleasures in youth, may explain to physiologists and thinkers the clownish expression of the face, the feebleness of mind, the vacant silliness of the man. His sister had steadily prevented him from marrying, afraid perhaps to lose her power over him, and seeing only a source of expense and injury in some woman who would certainly be younger and undoubtedly less ugly ...
— Pierrette • Honore de Balzac

... for an hour like a caged tiger, muttered and swore to himself, and finally went off to his club. There seemed to be no way in which he could drown his anger, disappointment, and sense of loss, except by a debauch, and he was brought home by his faithful Phipps at the stage of confidential silliness. ...
— Sevenoaks • J. G. Holland

... is this: "Why should not the children of light be as sagacious as these rascals were? Why should pious people be so stupid?" Jesus looks on to the needs that must occur in his religion for sagacity, prudence, discretion, and the perils that will come to it from sentimentalism, mysticism, silliness, and he asks: "Why is it that the children of this world are so much shrewder than ...
— Mornings in the College Chapel - Short Addresses to Young Men on Personal Religion • Francis Greenwood Peabody

... or lascivious in your own sex exaggerated with a malignant licence, which makes a young and beautiful woman an epitome of all the vices, uniting the extreme of masculine profligacy with the extreme of feminine silliness. Will you encourage by your presence the wretches who libel your sex? Will you sit smiling to see your sisters in the ...
— London Pride - Or When the World Was Younger • M. E. Braddon

... now-a-days, but let our ships be taken out of our harbour. Here Creed did tell us the story of the duell last night, in Covent-garden, between Sir H. Bellasses and Tom Porter. It is worth remembering the silliness of the quarrel, and is a kind of emblem of the general complexion of this whole kingdom at present. They two dined yesterday at Sir Robert Carr's [M.P. Knight and Baronet, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, ...
— The Diary of Samuel Pepys • Samuel Pepys

... first to grow tired of it, and, dealing frankly with the subject, demonstrated how artificial and limping it was, the silliness of its incidents, and the absurdity of the disclosures made ...
— Bouvard and Pecuchet - A Tragi-comic Novel of Bourgeois Life • Gustave Flaubert

... this minute. Leslie Goldthwaite and Dakie Thayne and the Josselyns half way up above there, in the Minster. Mr. Wharne and Miss Craydocke at the top. And I down here, where I belong. Impertinence! To think of the things I've said in my silliness to that woman, whose greatness I can no more measure! Why didn't somebody stop me? I don't answer for you, Frank, and I won't keep you; but I think I'll just stay where I am, and not spoil ...
— A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life. • Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney

... she said, "their silliness may be their greatest mystery—but I don't include Captain Selwyn," she added loyally; "he is far too intelligent ...
— The Younger Set • Robert W. Chambers

... You may see the picture at Hampton Court. She must have been difficult to please, for she insisted upon being painted without shadow. "Glorious Gloriana" was to be the sun of female beauty. She is quite as well as some in "The Book." For modern "beauty" manufacturers make beauty to consist in silliness ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 55, No. 340, February, 1844 • Various

... of the highest order. An old gentleman, who had been an intriguer in his youth and knew (as he flattered himself) all the wiles of womankind, endeavors to avoid what he considers as the usual fate of husbands, by marrying his ward, a beautiful girl, simple almost to silliness, but to whom nature has given as much of old mother Eve's talent for persuasion and imposition as enables her to baffle all the schemes of her aged admirer and unite herself to a young gallant more suited to her age. The "Country Wife" ...
— Great Men and Famous Women, Vol. 7 of 8 • Charles F. (Charles Francis) Horne

... the wide world; but, at length, an accident forced me on this desperate attempt at the age of fifteen. I had broken a chinabowl, the pride and idol of both their hearts; and as an unmerciful beating was the least I had to depend on at their hands, in the silliness of these tender years, I left the house, and, at all adventures, took the road to London. How my loss was resented I do not know, for till this instant I have not heard a syllable about them. My whole stock was two broad pieces of my ...
— Memoirs Of Fanny Hill - A New and Genuine Edition from the Original Text (London, 1749) • John Cleland

... manikin in their eyes, and when their mother told them to take him with them anywhere they were angry, because then they had to take care of him, and on account of his silliness could not play so many tricks. Paul felt that very well, and in order to escape their angry faces and still more angry blows, he generally said he wanted to stay at home, however sore his heart might feel. Then he seated himself on the pump-handle, and, rocking himself ...
— Dame Care • Hermann Sudermann

... If there had been that fear about the dressmaker's model on top of the rest of her anxieties she would have broken down with nervous prostration. But, thanks to her for saving him (without his knowledge), Peter seemed to have got over his silliness and was able to stand ...
— Winnie Childs - The Shop Girl • C. N. Williamson

... but when they heard themselves called maidens, a thing so much out of their line, they could not restrain their laughter, which made Don Quixote wax indignant, and say, "Modesty becomes the fair, and moreover laughter that has little cause is great silliness; this, however, I say not to pain or anger you, for my desire is none other ...
— Don Quixote • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... point, you see, Pascal is the countryman of Rabelais and Montaigne, smiling with the fine malice of the one, laughing outright with the gaiety of the other, all the world joining in the laugh—well, at the silliness of the clergy, who seem indeed not to know their own business. It is we, the laity, he would urge, who are serious, and disinterested, because sincerely interested, in these great questionings. Jalousie de metier, the reader may suspect, has something to do with ...
— Miscellaneous Studies: A Series of Essays • Walter Horatio Pater

... Paradise," he at last decided. "And there he found a disengaged angel, who very imprudently lowered herself to the point of marrying him. And so he lived happily ever afterward. And so, till the day of his death, he preached the doctrine that silliness ...
— Gallantry - Dizain des Fetes Galantes • James Branch Cabell

... it is the want of stupidity or silliness that makes trifling of that kind impossible ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 15, No. 89, May, 1875 • Various

... The silliness, bigotry, and ungenerous tone of this manifesto excited a simultaneous movement in the population. The procession which carried it, mumbling chants, for deposit in places provided for lowest uses, and then, taking from, the ...
— At Home And Abroad - Or, Things And Thoughts In America and Europe • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... more contemptuously of Mary Ann. Idealise her as he might, see all that was best in her as he tried to, she remained common and commonplace enough. Her ingenuousness, while from one point of view it was charming, from another was but a pleasant synonym for silliness. And it might not be ingenuousness—or silliness—after all! For, was Mary Ann as innocent as she looked? The guilelessness of the dove might very well cover the wisdom of the serpent. The instinct—the repugnance that made him sponge off her first kiss from his lips—was probably a true instinct. ...
— The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes • Israel Zangwill

... "Funeral" is the merriest and most perfect of Steele's comedies. The characters are strongly marked, the wit genial, and not indecent. Steele was among the first who set about reforming the licentiousness of the old comedy. His satire in the "Funeral" is not against virtue, but vice and silliness.—DR. DORAN.] ...
— The Palmy Days of Nance Oldfield • Edward Robins

... the stable, was a queer fellow who went by the name of Andy. His real name was Anderson. He was weak-minded and childish, his lack of intellect taking the form of silliness rather than of stupidity. Indeed, he was bright and quick in his way, but it was a very foolish and nonsensical way. He was famous among all the boys of the neighborhood, for using strange and amusing words, and especially for a system of spelling on which he prided ...
— Oscar - The Boy Who Had His Own Way • Walter Aimwell

... to enhance, Inspirited by self-esteem, Is quite a common thing in France; A French disease it well might seem. The strutting cavaliers of Spain Are in another manner vain. Their pride has more insanity; More silliness our vanity. Let's shadow forth our own disease— Well worth ...
— The Fables of La Fontaine - A New Edition, With Notes • Jean de La Fontaine

... room three ladies, and I have stolen away to write this grumbling letter.—I don't know that I sha'n't end with insanity, for I find a want of method in arranging my thoughts that perplexes me strangely; but this looks more like silliness than madness, as Scrope Davies would facetiously remark in his consoling manner. I must try the hartshorn of your company; and a session of Parliament would suit me well,—any thing to cure me of conjugating ...
— The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, Volume 2. • Lord Byron

... of preparation she showed as much silliness, she betrayed as perfect a lack of perspective, as the most superior son could desire for a topic of affectionate irony. Her preoccupation with petty things of no importance whatever was worthy of the finest traditions of fond motherhood. However, Cyril's careless satire had no effect on her, ...
— The Old Wives' Tale • Arnold Bennett

... bursting in doors, and breaking benches and chairs to pieces—in short, they have a good time.—The next morning, having slept himself sober, he dictates his orders for the day, veritable masterpieces in which the silliness, imbecility and credulity of a numskull, the sentimentality of the drunkard, the clap-trap of a mountebank and the tirades of a cheap philosopher form an unique compound, at once sickening and irritating, like the fiery, pungent mixtures of cheap bars, which ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 3 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... "Catholicism is naive Christianity; Protestantism is sentimental." The sheer whimsicality of phrase seems to be at times its own excuse for being, as in an explanation of certain elegiac poems as "the sensation of misery in the contemplation of the silliness of the relations of banality to craziness;" but there are many sentences which go deep below the surface—none better remembered, perhaps, than the dictum, "The French Revolution, Fichte's Doctrine of Science, and Goethe's Wilhelm Meister ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. IV • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... laugh. The silliness of a thing doesn't matter if it makes you laugh. This is how they said it. The tall chap says to the little one, 'How's your dog, Joe?' and the little one answered, 'Oh, he died last week. He swallowed a tape-measure ...
— The Foolish Lovers • St. John G. Ervine

... certainty that they had forgotten all about him. Nan had settled herself by the fire and his uncle was bringing her a footstool, an elderly attention, Dick floutingly thought, very well suited to Aunt Anne, but pure silliness for a girl who flung herself about all over the place. At any rate, he wasn't wanted, and he did go to Cambridge and hunted up some of the fellows likely to talk sense; but no sooner had he settled within their circle of geniality than he found himself ...
— Old Crow • Alice Brown

... with ignorance, too often also with silliness—which is not the case with you," I added, with a smile. "Real, that is to say, conscious simplicity is not even recognised; and, when it becomes active, it appears to vulgar minds a danger that must be averted. The better to attack it, they disfigure it. It is this proud and ...
— The Choice of Life • Georgette Leblanc

... you learn to know Kate a little in my stories. It is not that I am fond of her and endow her with imagined virtues and graces; no one can fail to see how unaffected she is, or not notice her thoughtfulness and generosity and her delightful fun, which never has a trace of coarseness or silliness. It was very pleasant having her for one's companion, for she has an unusual power of winning people's confidence, and of knowing with surest instinct how to meet them on their own ground. It is the girl's being so genuinely sympathetic and interested which ...
— Deephaven and Selected Stories & Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... taken of it. Among the third and fourth year students there was a certain amount of going to and from the trains in couples; some carrying of heavy books up the hill by the sterner sex for their feminine schoolmates, and occasional bursts of silliness on the part of heedless and precocious girls, among whom was Huldah Meserve. She was friendly enough with Emma Jane and Rebecca, but grew less and less intimate as time went on. She was extremely pretty, with a profusion of auburn hair, and a few very tiny freckles, ...
— Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... being oppressed; and we always tried to make our progress more a pleasure than a toil. To hurry over the ground, abuse, and look ferocious at one's native companions, merely for the foolish vanity of boasting how quickly a distance was accomplished, is a combination of silliness with absurdity quite odious; while kindly consideration for the feelings of even blacks, the pleasure of observing scenery and everything new as one moves on at an ordinary pace, and the participation in the most delicious rest with our fellows, render travelling delightful. ...
— A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone's Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries • David Livingstone



Words linked to "Silliness" :   lightsomeness, folly, silly, frivolity, frivolousness, unwiseness, lightness, foolishness



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