Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Paraprosdokians

Paraprosdokians

Groucho Marx, Dorothy Parker, & Winston Churchill were masters of the paraprosdokian, a one-liner that ends in a manner that causes the reader to reconsider the beginning. 

A classic example is Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

The word paraprosdokian comes from Greek. It’s a combination of para-, meaning against, & prosdokian, meaning expectation.

Here are a few anonymous ones:

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

War doesn’t determine who is right—only who is left.

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

The last thing I want to do is hurt  you, but it’s still on the list. 

And here are a few more from luminaries:

Winston Churchill — “If you are going through Hell, keep going.” 

And another from Winston Churchill — “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.”

Zsa Zsa Gabor —“He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce, I keep the house.”

Groucho Marx—”I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”

Albert Einstein—“The difference between stupidity & genius is that genius has its limits.”

Dorothy Parker — “If all the girls who went to Yale were laid end-to-end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”

Please leave a note in the comments with any other paraprosdokians you know, or with comments on the ones above.



4 comments:

  1. Haha! I've never heard the work paraprosdokians! And I thought I was educated. I do know some of these lines, but I never knew they had a name. Thanks for the education and the laughs!

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    1. Hey Anne - Thanks for coming by. Thanks, too, for tweeting into the universe for the underappreciated paraprosdokian.

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  2. Familiar with some, entertained by all. And I never knew they had a name!

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