Evan Esar

American writer

Evan Esar (1899–1995) was an American humorist and author who wrote "Esar's Comic Dictionary" in 1943, "Humorous English" in 1961, and "20,000 Quips and Quotes" in 1968.


  • An epigram is the marriage of wit, and wisdom; a wisecrack, their divorce.
    • 20,000 Quips and Quotes (1968)
  • An alert copyreader on a newspaper couldn’t believe it when he read a reporter’s account of the theft of 2025 pigs. That’s a lot of pigs, he thought, and called the farmer to check the copy. “Is it true that you lost 2025 pigs?” he asked. “Yeth,” lisped the farmer. “Thanks,” returned the copyreader, and corrected the story to read “two sows and 25 pigs.”
    • Humorous English (1961), p213
  • It is the uncensored sense of humor of a people which is the ultimate therapy for man in society.
    • 20,000 Quips & Quotes, (1968), Introduction, xiii.
  • Many a man who falls in love with a dimple make the mistake of marrying the whole girl.
    • Esar's Comic Dictionary (1943)
  • Play: Work that you enjoy doing for nothing.
    • Esar's Comic Dictionary
  • Statistician: A man who believes figures don't lie, but admits that under analysis some of them won't stand up either.
    • Esar's Comic Dictionary
  • The history of humorous writing discloses everchanging trends. Our fast-paced modern living is too impatient for the lengthy light verse and the leisurely essays of our forefathers.
    • Humorous English, p266
  • The personal comparative is marked by epigrammatic self-satire. It implies that everyone thinks himself better than anyone else, but only the egoist says so.
    • Humorous English, p91
  • When Marilyn Monroe, the American Venus, visited England, one London correspondent wrote that she looked like a million dollars. Fortunately, he did not write that she looked like a million pounds.
    • Humorous English, p163
  • Where there is insight in citation, or wisdom winged with wit, especially from the world of letters, I have quoted liberally. For a good epigram not only makes a point, but a point to ponder. This book provides many such quotations that I have unearthed from the tomes of many writers.
    • 20,000 Quips & Quotes, Introduction, pviii
  • Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.
    • Esar's Comic Dictionary
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