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What is a Cruel Wit?

 , updated on August 19, 2016
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.
~ Winston Churchill to Lady Astor or Bessie Braddock
A cruel wit is a tendency to deal out clever criticisms and hostile humor. It may be correlated with material success as a cruel wit is somewhat common amongst executives and other positions of authority.
In many cases, people who have a cruel wit view it as a bad habit. Wit, by definition, happens at high speed. As such, those with a cruel wit may find themselves saying things that they themselves find surprising or unfairly hostile. A cruel wit can be difficult to turn off and thus may damage personal relationships.
Overview: Cruel Wit
TypeOffice Politics
DefinitionA tendency to deal out clever criticisms and hostile humor.
ValuePotentially useful in an adversarial argument or debate.
May give certain people a fearsome leadership quality.
RisksOften viewed as a bad habit by those who have it due to factors such as damaged relationships.
Tends to generate enemies as people don't like being the subject of a joke.
Related ConceptsOffice Politics

Office Politics

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Abilene Paradox
Blame Shifting
Change Fatigue
Cold Logic
Cruel Wit
Devils Advocate
Difficult Behaviors
Failing Upwards
Fear Of Youth
Loaded Question
Loss Of Face
Malicious Compliance
Nudge Theory
Passive Aggressive
Petty Authority
Political Capital
Professional Life
Saving Face
Social Influence
Social Proof
Tit For Tat
Trained Incapacity
Yes People
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