That of all days is the most completely wasted in which one did not once laugh.

[La plus perdue de toutes les journées est celle où l’on n’a pas ri.]

Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Maxims and Thoughts, ch. 1 (1796) [tr. Merwin (1984)]

Alt trans.:

  • "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
  • "The most lost of all days, is that in which we have not laughed."
  • "The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed."
  • "The most lost of all days is that in which one has not laughed."
  • "The most completely lost of all days is that on which one has not laughed."
  • "The most wasted day of all is that in which we have not laughed."

Often attributed to a more contemporary comedian (Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin). Also attributed to (or swiped / rediscovered by) Ben Burroughs, Grigori Alexandrov.

First seen in Mercure Français (18 Jul 1795): "Maximes détachées extraites des manuscrits de Champfort" (full text).

More history of the quotation here.

Added on 19-May-11 | Last updated 17-Jul-11
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1 Response to Maxims and Thoughts, ch. 1 (1796) [tr. Merwin (1984)]

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