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  • By: Anna T. Litovkina
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

An anti-proverb is an innovative alteration or transformation of a traditional proverb. These deliberate proverb innovations are also known as alterations, mutations, parodies, transformations, variations, wisecracks, or fractured proverbs. The term anti-proverb was coined by Wolfgang Mieder (1982) and has been widely accepted by proverb scholars all over the world as a general label for such innovative alterations of and reactions to traditional proverbs. Anti-proverbs are frequently satirical, ironic, or humorous. This entry gives a definition of the anti-proverb, discusses its occurrence, and addresses topics emerging in anti-proverbs and different mechanisms of proverb variation.

The vast majority of anti-proverbs are the products of the playfulness of a solitary author; they do not catch on, and thus will be found in just one source. There are some ...

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