‘Just say the lines and don’t trip over the furniture’: Lines from new book of quotations

First published in News

THE fifth edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations was published today.

The compendium has been edited by former MP and panel show regular Gyles Brandreth and published by Oxford University Press.

He helped to assemble 5,000 of the sharpest, wittiest, and funniest lines written or recorded.

Topping the list for number of entries is Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde, with 92, followed by George Bernard Shaw with 55 and Noel Coward, with 53.

Mr Brandreth said: “These are the people whose lines, written or spoken, have stood the test of time. They are the all-time greats. Some are notable for their original humour, some for their pertinent wit and wry observation.

“What makes them eligible for the dictionary is that what they say raises a smile or a laugh and is memorable – and they manage it again and again. These are the most quotable and, in our book, the most quoted.”

He also picked his favourite quotes.

Top of his list is Jane Austen’s opening line in Pride and Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Related links

Among the list of one-liners from the 21st century is London Mayor Boris Johnson’s “My policy on cake is still pro having it and pro eating it!”.

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