1680s, "make ridiculous" (a sense now obsolete); c. 1700, "treat with contemptuous merriment, make sport of, deride," from ridicule (n.) or else from French ridiculer, from ridicule. Chapman, for a verb, used ridiculize. Related: Ridiculed; ridiculing.
1670s, "absurd thing, object of mockery or contempt;" 1680s, "words or actions meant to invoke ridicule or excite laughter at someone's expense," from French ridicule, noun use of adjective (15c.), or from Latin ridiculum "laughing matter, a joke, a jest," noun use of neuter of ridiculus "laughable, funny, absurd," from ridere "to laugh" (see risible).
"He who brings ridicule to bear against truth, finds in his hand a blade without a hilt." [Walter Savage Landor, "Imaginary Conversations"]
updated on August 16, 2021