"Chutzpah" classic definition (by Heywood Broun?) (1962)

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 13 12:41:50 UTC 2004

On Mon, 13 Dec 2004 Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:

> parents.  The evidence was clear, the crime had been of a most brutal nature, and
> the  parents were shown to have been models of loving care who had made great
> sacrifices for their son's sake. The jury quickly returned a verdict of
> "Guilty." The judge thereupon asked the defendant the usual question: "Have you
> anything to say for yourself before sentence is pronounced?" The young man
> asked  for mercy on the ground that he was an orphan.
> "That," said Heywood Broun, "is chutzpah."

This is a recasting of an old joke attested from Artemus Ward (1867) and
in Lincoln lore (1886).  In the specific "chutzpah" form Barry's citation
does improve upon the 1968 Leo Rosten anecdote I used in the Oxford
Dictionary of American Legal Quotations.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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