ridiculous


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from the sublime to the ridiculous

Fig. from something fine and uplifting to something ridiculous or mundane. After Mr. Jones had introduced my wife to his wife, he jokingly turned to introduce me and said, "From the sublime to the ridiculous." After the opera singer finished, the master of ceremonies introduced the comic juggler saying, "From the sublime to the ridiculous...."
See also: ridiculous, sublime

From the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step.

Prov. Something grand can easily become very funny. Bob, I don't think you should include a bowl of breakfast cereal in your still-life painting. From the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step. The production of Macbeth went from the sublime to the ridiculous when Lady Macbeth came onstage in an old army uniform.
See also: ridiculous, step, sublime

make someone look ridiculous

to make someone look foolish (not funny). This hat makes me look ridiculous. Please make me look good. Don't make me look ridiculous!
See also: look, make, ridiculous

from the sublime to the ridiculous

From the beautiful to the silly, from great to puny. For example, They played first Bach and then an ad jingle-from the sublime to the ridiculous. The reverse, from the ridiculous to the sublime, is used with the opposite meaning. Coined by Tom Paine in The Age of Reason (1794), in which he said the two are so closely related that it is but one step from one to the other, the phrase has been often repeated in either order.
See also: ridiculous, sublime
References in classic literature ?
You ridiculous boy," said Estella, "will you never take warning?
I think the most ridiculous sight in the world is a man on a bicycle, working away with his feet as hard as he possibly can, and believing that his horse is carrying him instead of, as anyone can see, he carrying the horse.
The poor girl was almost distracted: that quarter of the palace was all in an uproar; the servants ran for ladders; the monkey was seen by hundreds in the court, sitting upon the ridge of a building, holding me like a baby in one of his forepaws, and feeding me with the other, by cramming into my mouth some victuals he had squeezed out of the bag on one side of his chaps, and patting me when I would not eat; whereat many of the rabble below could not forbear laughing; neither do I think they justly ought to be blamed, for, without question, the sight was ridiculous enough to every body but myself.
So that the greatest advantage I derived from the study consisted in this, that, observing many things which, however extravagant and ridiculous to our apprehension, are yet by common consent received and approved by other great nations, I learned to entertain too decided a belief in regard to nothing of the truth of which I had been persuaded merely by example and custom; and thus I gradually extricated myself from many errors powerful enough to darken our natural intelligence, and incapacitate us in great measure from listening to reason.
he thought, without clearly defining who the villains and traitors were, but feeling it necessary to hate those traitors whoever they might be who were to blame for the false and ridiculous position in which he found himself.
Rodney was evidently so painfully conscious of the oddity of his appearance, and his very redness and the starts to which his body was liable gave such proof of his own discomfort, that there was something endearing in this ridiculous susceptibility, although most people would probably have echoed Denham's private exclamation, "Fancy marrying a creature like that
You said, according to him, that he would be one of those ridiculous clergymen who help to make the whole clergy ridiculous.
Those who assume a character which does not belong to them, only make themselves ridiculous.
A LION seeing a Poodle fell into laughter at the ridiculous spectacle.
sufficiently ridiculous for the amusement not only of his court but of
Art, culture--in the face of the iron facts of biology such things were ridiculous, the exponents of such things only the more ridiculous.
Rachel says you went to church last Sunday with your hat rigged out ridiculous with roses and buttercups.
Yes, he said; I know that they have a washed-out and ridiculous appearance.
For her part, she could not help thinking it was an encouragement to vice; but that she knew too much of the obstinacy of mankind to oppose any of their ridiculous humours.
One, the lower class, vulgar, stupid, and, above all, ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the one wife whom he has lawfully married; that a girl should be innocent, a woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one ought to bring up one's children, earn one's bread, and pay one's debts; and various similar absurdities.