Wel·​ler·​ism | \ ˈwe-lə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce Wellerism (audio) \

Definition of Wellerism

: an expression of comparison comprising a usually well-known quotation followed by a facetious sequel (such as "'every one to his own taste,' said the old woman as she kissed the cow")

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Sam Weller, Mr. Pickwick's good-natured servant in Charles Dickens' The Pickwick PapersK, and his father were fond of following well-known sayings or phrases with humorous or punning conclusions. For example, in one incident in the book, Sam quips, "What the devil do you want with me, as the man said, w[h]en he see the ghost?" Neither Charles Dickens nor Sam Weller invented that type of word play, but Weller's tendency to use such witticisms had provoked people to start calling them "Wellerisms" by 1839, soon after the publication of the novel.

First Known Use of Wellerism

1838, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Wellerism

Sam Weller, witty servant of Mr. Pickwick in the story Pickwick Papers (1836–37) by Charles Dickens

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The first known use of Wellerism was in 1838

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Cite this Entry

“Wellerism.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Wellerism. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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