- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 17,555 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America argument author beauty belief change character courage death education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history humanity integrity leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics poverty power religion science society success truth tyranny virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- * Visual quotes (graphics, memes) only
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (7,144)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (5,847)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (5,808)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (4,921)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,874)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (3,949)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (3,841)
- “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of… (3,691)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (3,144)
- “The Historian as Participant,” Daedalus… (3,133)
Most Quoted Authors
Author CloudAdams, John • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Goethe, Johann von • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • James, William • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Lyndon • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Seneca the Younger • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Stevenson, Adlai • Stevenson, Robert Louis • Twain, Mark • Watterson, Bill • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
- 23-Sep-20 - Molly Bawn (1878) | WIST on “Of the Standard of Taste” (1739).
- 21-Sep-20 - Shenandoah (1965) | WIST on (Attributed).
- 21-Sep-20 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Leviathan, Pt. I, ch. 13 (1651).
- 17-Sep-20 - The Devil's Disciple, Act 2 (1897) | WIST on Thus Spoke Zarathustra [Also Sprach Zarathustra], Part 2, “Of the Compassionate [Von den Mitleidigen]” (1892) [tr. Hollingdale (1961)].
- 17-Sep-20 - Tristam Shandy, 1.17 (1759-67) | WIST on Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 25 (1642) [ed. Symonds (1886)].
- 16-Sep-20 - Dave on “To Those Born Later [An die Nachgeborenen],” (1938) [tr. Horton (2008)].
The head of the fish is the first part to smell
Ἰχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται: ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπιστάτας φαύλους ἐχόντων
The head of a fish begins to stink first. Used of bad rulers, whose contagion poisons the rest of the people. The expression seems to derive from the language of common people.
[Piscis primum a capite foetet … Piscis a capite primum incipit putere. Dictum in malos principes, quorum contagione reliquum vulgus inficitur. Apparet ab idiotarum vulgo sumptum.]
Apostolius 9.18.12, Tilley F 304
From Erasmus, Adages, Book 4, ch. 2, #97 [tr. Drysdall], who cites Apostolius, who appears to have been the first to record the proverb. Alt. trans.:
- "Fish start to stink at the top: [this is a proverb] applied to people who have scoundrels for leaders." [tr. @sentantiq]
- "The fish always stinks from the head downwards: The freshness of a dead fish can be judged from the condition of its head. Thus, when the responsible part (as the leaders of a country, etc.) is rotten, the rest will soon follow. ἰχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται, a fish begins to stink from the head." -- Jennifer Speake, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2015) [Source]
Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 15-Jun-20