Quotations about   defeat

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I could not live without Champagne. In victory I deserve it. In defeat I need it.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Comment to Odette Pol Roger (1946)

Frequently misattributed to Napoleon Bonaparte ("In victory you deserve champagne. In defeat you need it."); no citation of the quote has been fond prior to 1946. See here for more discussion.
Added on 13-Mar-19 | Last updated 13-Mar-19
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To me, bitterness is the under-arm odor of wishful weakness. It is the graceless acknowledgment of defeat.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Dust Tracks on a Road, ch. 16 (1942)
Added on 1-Nov-17 | Last updated 1-Nov-17
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No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
You Learn by Living, ch. 10 (1960)
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Added on 30-Oct-17 | Last updated 30-Oct-17
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It’s easy to do anything in victory. It’s in defeat that a man reveals himself.

Floyd Patterson (1935-2006) American professional boxer
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Gay Talese, Fame and Obscurity: Portraits (1970).
Added on 5-Sep-17 | Last updated 5-Sep-17
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Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Stride Toward Freedom, “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression” (1958)
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Added on 2-Sep-17 | Last updated 2-Sep-17
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Not in the clamor of the crowded street,
Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng,
But in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“The Poets,” Atlantic Monthly (Jul 1878)
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Added on 23-May-17 | Last updated 23-May-17
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When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
(Spurious)

Of recent coinage. See here for more discussion.
Added on 16-Aug-16 | Last updated 16-Aug-16
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If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.

Lewis - confidence - wist_info quote

Carl Lewis (b. 1961) American Olympic athlete
(Attributed)
Added on 16-Dec-15 | Last updated 16-Dec-15
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The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it — because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Tremendous Trifles, “The Red Angel” (1909)
Added on 29-Oct-14 | Last updated 29-Oct-14
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From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Comment to the Abbe du Pradt (1812)

Referring to the retreat from Moscow. See Paine.
Added on 21-Aug-14 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
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For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

Sun-Tzu (fl. 6th C. AD) Chinese general and philosopher [a.k.a. Sun Wu]
The Art of War, ch. 3

Alt. trans.:

  • "Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting"
  • "The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities .... It is best to win without fighting."
Added on 3-Dec-09 | Last updated 17-Jul-14
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When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“The War Prayer” (1904–1905)
Added on 14-Feb-08 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The greatest test of courage is to bear defeat without losing heart.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Declaration of Independence” (1876)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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