Josh Billings

Josh Billings

Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist born Henry Wheeler Shaw (20 April 181814 October 1885). He was perhaps the second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the second half of the 19th century after Mark Twain, although his reputation has not fared so well with later generations.

Shaw was born in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, and worked as a farmer, coal miner, explorer, and auctioneer before he began making a living as a journalist and writer in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1858. Under the pseudonym "Josh Billings" he wrote in an informal voice full of the slang of the day, with often eccentric phonetic spelling, dispensing wit and folksy common-sense wisdom. His books include "Farmers' Allminax", "Josh Billings' Sayings", "Everybody's Friend", and "Josh Billings' Trump Kards".

He toured, giving lectures of his writings, which were very popular with the audiences of the day.

Billings died in Monterey, California.

Attributed quotations

While the Squeaky Wheel analysis was used in different forms before Billings, his poem, "The Kicker" brought the idiom into common usage of American language. The term "kicker" at the time in the 1800s was another term for a complainer. The poem is:

:I hate to be a kicker,:I always long for peace, :But the wheel that does the squeaking,:Is the one that gets the grease.

*A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

*About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.

*As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.

*Don't take the bull by the horns, take him by the tail; then you can let go when you want to.

*Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt of, not swallowed.

*It is much easier to repent of sins that we have committed than to repent of those we intend to commit.

*It's not ignorance does so much damage; it's knowin' so derned much that ain't so.

*Laughing is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it principally in one spot.

*One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness.

*Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute.

*The best way to convince a fool that he is wrong is to let him have his own way.

*The time to pray is not when we are in a tight spot but just as soon as we get out of it.

*There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.

*Man is my brother, and I am nearer related to him through his vices than I am through his virtue.

* Friendship is liken earthenware, once broken it can be mended. Love is like a mirror, once broken that ends it.

* Occasions are rare; and those who know how to seize upon them are rarer.

* It strains a man's philosophy the worst kind to laugh when he gets beat.

* Don't have any more secrets than you can keep yourself.

* That, men of genius are like eagles, they live on what they kill, while men of talents are like crows, they live on what has been killed for them.

* Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.

* One legged chickens, I know, are the least apt to scratch a garden.

Internet Lingo

Josh Billings coined the term, "Just Joshing" or "Just Joshin", this soon hit the telegraph keyboards like wild fire and people started typing "J.J." to represent "Just Joshing". Billings also once stated in 1846 that "J.J. (Just Joshing) is the new J.K." (Just Kidding). These 19th-century abbreviations, originally used in telegraphy and typewritten memos, fell out of use in the early 20th century; however, J.K. has recently been revived as an Internet abbreviation. J.J. is occasionally seen in Internet chat; however, it is usually assumed to mean "Just Joking."

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Josh Billings — Josh Billings (* A …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Josh Billings (disambiguation) — Josh Billings may refer to:* Josh Billings (1818 1885), the pen name of American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw * Josh Billings (baseball) (1892 1981), professional baseball player …   Wikipedia

  • Josh Billings (baseball) — Infobox MLB retired name=Josh Billings position=Catcher birthdate=November 30, 1892 deathdate=death date and age|1981|12|30|1892|11|30 bats=Right throws=Right debutdate=September 9 debutyear=by|1913 debutteam=Cleveland Naps finaldate=June 16… …   Wikipedia

  • Josh Billings — stage name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Josh Billings — noun United States humorist who wrote about rural life (1818 1885) • Syn: ↑Shaw, ↑Henry Wheeler Shaw • Instance Hypernyms: ↑humorist, ↑humourist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Shaw, Henry Wheeler (Josh Billings) — (1818 1885)    Humorist, b. in Massachusetts. After working on steam boats and farming, he became an auctioneer, and settled at Poughkeepsie. Stripped of the fantastic spelling by which he first succeeded in catching the public attention, the… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Billings — heißen die Orte in Deutschland: Stadtteil von Fischbachtal im Odenwald, siehe Billings (Fischbachtal) in Kanada: Billings (Manitoba) Billings (Ontario) in den Vereinigten Staaten: Billings (Michigan) Billings (Missouri) Billings (Montana), die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Billings — may refer to:PlacesIn Canada: * Billings, OntarioIn Germany *Billings, HesseIn the United States: * Billings, Montana, the largest city with the name * Billings, Missouri * Billings, New York, a hamlet in LaGrange, New York * Billings, Oklahoma * …   Wikipedia

  • josh — (v.) to make fun of, to banter, 1845, American English, probably from the familiar version of the proper name JOSHUA (Cf. Joshua), but just which Joshua, or why, is long forgotten. Perhaps it was taken as a typical name of an old farmer. The word …   Etymology dictionary

  • Josh Billing RunAground — The Josh Billings RunAground is one of the oldest triathlon, second only to Eppie s Great Race in California. It has been held in Southern Berkshire County, Massachusetts since 1976. The race consists of a 27 mile bike ride, 5 mile canoe/kayak… …   Wikipedia

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