absurdity

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n absurdity a ludicrous folly "the crowd laughed at the absurdity of the clown's behavior"
    • n absurdity a message whose content is at variance with reason
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Lee De Forest, the inventor of the radio tube, was tried for fraud in 1913. He was accused of tricking the public into buying stocks in his company, the Radio Telephone Company, by making "absurd and deliberately misleading" claims about the possibility of transmitting the human voice across the Atlantic Ocean.
    • Absurdity That which is absurd; an absurd action; a logical contradiction. "His travels were full of absurdities ."
    • Absurdity The quality of being absurd or inconsistent with obvious truth, reason, or sound judgment. "The absurdity of the actual idea of an infinite number."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n absurdity The state or quality of being absurd or inconsistent with obvious truth, reason, or sound judgment; want of rationality or common sense: as, the absurdity of superstition; absurdity of conduct.
    • n absurdity That which is absurd; an absurd action, statement, argument, custom, etc.: as, the absurdities of men; your explanation involves a gross absurdity.
    • n absurdity Synonyms Absurdness, silliness, unreasonableness, self-contradiction, preposterousness, inconsistency. See folly.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Absurdity the quality of being absurd: anything absurd
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Quotations

  • Voltaire
    Voltaire
    “As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “To reprove small faults within due vehemence, is as absurd as if a man should take a great hammer to kill a fly on his friend's forehead.”
  • Cardinal J. Newman
    Cardinal J. Newman
    “It is as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing.”
  • Søren Kierkegaard
    Søren Kierkegaard
    “How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.”
  • Marcel Proust
    Marcel%20Proust
    “The regularity of a habit is generally in proportion to its absurdity.”
  • Samuel Johnson
    Samuel%20Johnson
    “Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those who we cannot resemble.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. absurditas,: cf. F. absurdite,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. absurdusab, from, surdus, harsh-sounding, deaf.

Usage

In literature:

Think how absurd, Graevenitz!
"A German Pompadour" by Marie Hay
It was an absurd thing of wire and net, Rose's hat, and it had collapsed irreparably.
"The Creators" by May Sinclair
Pantheism in particular was odious to him, and he esteemed it to be the greatest of absurdities.
"My Recollections of Lord Byron" by Teresa Guiccioli
At first sight they appeared almost amusing and absurd.
"Antony Gray,--Gardener" by Leslie Moore
Many an old Italian doctor can tell of even stranger and more absurd precautions observed by the nuns of those days.
"Casa Braccio, Volumes 1 and 2 (of 2)" by F. Marion Crawford
Of course the outlook had been absurd, and Mrs. Grant had said so very plainly.
"To Love" by Margaret Peterson
It was absurd to be frightened.
"The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde
Flossy, you mustn't indulge in such an absurd freak another Sunday.
"The Chautauqua Girls At Home" by Pansy, AKA Isabella M. Alden
But this notion is radically absurd and contradictory.
"The Sense of Beauty" by George Santayana
Absurd, outrageous ideas crowded to my mind.
"The Blue Germ" by Martin Swayne
Very quickly he will discern the absurd unreality of that monstrous Idol, that ubiquitous Hegelian God.
"Visions and Revisions" by John Cowper Powys
We see the absurdity none the worse for it being presented through the transparent medium of the French writer.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847" by Various
If one of the family was bent on being absurd, it was as well that there should only be one of the servants to hear him.
"The Wooden Horse" by Hugh Walpole
Everywhere this patent obliqueness and absurd unreason.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
Absurdities of this kind are often associated with religious ideas, although the latter generally play a secondary part.
"The Sexual Question" by August Forel
Our street was absurdly short.
"The Harbor" by Ernest Poole
The withdrawal of the outlaws was the cue for absurd activity on the part of the train crew.
"The Law-Breakers" by Ridgwell Cullum
Crocker would not have seen the absurdity unless others had seen it also.
"Marion Fay" by Anthony Trollope
We laugh at this, and we deem it absurd and extravagant; but it is precisely what we see the world do in like circumstances.
"Confessions Of Con Cregan An Irish Gil Blas" by Charles James Lever
The absurdity of the suggestion was more than enough for its success.
"Maurice Tiernay Soldier of Fortune" by Charles James Lever
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In poetry:

"To buy two drinks to quench one thirst
Is utterly absurd;
Unless, of course, you're on a burst
Or jag (excuse the word).
"Another Fusion" by C J Dennis
For, as their nurses dandle them
They crow binomial theorem,
With views (it seems absurd to us)
On differential calculus.
"My Dream" by William Schwenck Gilbert
"Ha! ha!" she cried. "Upon my word!
Well, really - come, I never!
Oh, go along, it's too absurd!
My goodness! Did you ever?
"The Periwinkle Girl" by William Schwenck Gilbert
So, when his Mentors said, "Expound -
Why eat good children - why?"
Upon his Mentors he would round
With this absurd reply:
"The Two Ogres" by William Schwenck Gilbert
Quoth HUDIBRAS, Make that appear,
And I shall credit whatsoe'er
You tell me after on your word,
Howe'er unlikely, or absurd.
"Hudibras: Part 2 - Canto III" by Samuel Butler
"O little fairy PICKLEKIN,"
Old PETER answered with a grin,
"To hesitate would be absurd, -
Undoubtedly I choose the third."
"The Perils of Invisibility" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In news:

Several of their collaborations will be shown in a retrospective at Anthology Film Archives called Beyond the Absurd : Ronald Tavel and Andy Warhol.
C-SPAN's Balance of the Absurd .
Theater of the Absurd Jane Alexander chronicles her years of battling Congress on behalf of the N.E.A.
Theater of the Absurd Jane Alexander chronicles her years of battling Congress on behalf of the N.E.A.
True but absurd that Romney took this vow for Mormons to take over the US and the world.
Absurd but thought-provoking 'Bald Soprano'.
At the risk of being proven wrong like our former vice president, I think the right-wing insurgency in Oklahoma is in its last throes , as evidenced by the absurd political theatre of the Proclamation.
I think I've now read at least half a dozen mainstream media figures lamenting the absurd level of coverage that the mainstream media is giving to Sarah Palin's bus tour cum summer vacation cum presidential campaign tryout.
Out of that $30 toll , at least $6.60 would go to pay for an absurdly inefficient toll -collection apparatus.
'Well,' 'Absurd' add acidity to holiday treacle .
"Well," by Lisa Kron, directed by Christy Montour-Larson, and "Absurd Person Singular," by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Sabin Epstein.
I promised myself not to write about this, but then state Sen Joseph Vitale and the New Jersey Italian American Legislative Caucus took an absurdity show and gave it a seal of reality.
What an absurd, fantastical premise.
What's with the GOP's absurd fear of all things U.N.
Palin says ' absurd ' not to ponder presidential bid.
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In science:

The Galaxy’s stars are not distributed in this way! We used these absurd models to make the point that with the old data there was no way in which the lenses could be distributed through the Galaxy to achieve the required optical depth.
Dark Matter in Galaxies: Conference Summary
In some cases, n has to be absurdly large for the discrepancy to be significant.
Statistical tests for whether a given set of independent, identically distributed draws does not come from a specified probability density
In particular, we consider as especially absurd an idea to continue the dance for last two days after the lion hunting is already over.
LHC card games: bringing about retrocausality?
Can we persuade the chief on the empirical ground that his behavior is absurd? Dummett argues that we can not.
LHC card games: bringing about retrocausality?
Newton also maintained the ‘absurd’ ether idea for the material overlap of gravitating bodies, Faraday considered charged field-matter around a charge’s ‘center of force’, Maxwell initiated the displacement current in terms of continuously charged flows of matter, and Clifford speculated on inhomogeneous material space.
Were the ancient Greeks right that space is continuous material plenum?
The RHESSI software gives absurd values of low-energy spectral indices while fitting post-annealing data with the simulations of the pre-annealing response matrix.
Statistical Analysis of the Observable Data of Gamma-Ray Bursts
To quantify the level of specialization would be absurd, but Kriplean et al. (2008) develop a theoretical lens for uncovering valued work in Wikipedia through a content analysis of Wikipedia barnstars.
A Wikipedia Literature Review
Does this contradict the present belief of an accelerating Universe ? If one looks at Fig. 3 of the quoted reference, one clearly sees that the ”absurd” (in traditional terms) empty cosmos case is the culprit.
Speakable and unspeakable in cosmology: dark matter vs. gravitational self energies. Hubble's constant, the cosmological term and all that
We have to note that it is absurd that the device will make a decision at any step based on its whole life experience (because this is a huge amount of information).
Comparison between the two definitions of AI
Since the latter can be arbitrarily large, this could imply an output information rate higher than the bit-rate, which is absurd.
Output Filter Aware Optimization of the Noise Shaping Properties of {\Delta}{\Sigma} Modulators via Semi-Definite Programming
As an absurd example, the best fit straight line to a parabola on the interval [−1, 1] is horizontal, even though this is a terrible fit to the data.
A method for extracting maximum resolution power spectra from microwave sky maps
This is of course absurd, perhaps to the regret of the white water rafting industry.
Hydrodynamic Turbulence: a 19th Century Problem with a challenge for the 21st Century
In IQGC, quantum jump dynamics has nothing to do with the absurd condition given by eq.(3.3), so that the concept of decoherence is denounced.
Indeterministic Quantum Gravity and Cosmology XI. Quantum Measurement
The result of the ADN paper was that when the raw data of the SAK figure were taken to be thermodynamic quantities, plausible results (labeled STATIC) emerged for the static continuum edge, but the same technique yielded rather absurd quantities (labeled DYNAMIC) for the corresponding dynamic continuum edge.
On density and temperature-dependent ground-state and continuum effects in the equation of state for stellar interiors -- A Comment on the paper by S. Arndt, W. Dappen and A. Nayfonov 1998, ApJ 498, 349
The problem also directly affects DWF, making absurdly large numbers of slices necessary.
Summary Talk at Chiral '99
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