Comparisons are Odious

Comparisons are Odious


Literal meaning.



The earliest recorded use of this phrase appears to be by John Lydgate in his Debate between the horse, goose, and sheep, circa 1440:

"Odyous of olde been comparisonis, And of comparisonis engendyrd is haterede."

It was used by several authors later, notably Cervantes, Christopher Marlowe and John Donne.

In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare gives Dogberry the line 'comparisons are odorous'. It seems he was using this ironically, knowing it to be a misuse of what would have been a well known phrase by 1598/99 when the play was written.
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