Quotations about   gentleman

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A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

Oliver Herford (1863–1935) Anglo-American writer, artist and illustrator
(Attributed)

Widely attributed to Herford as early as 1915. Similar in construction to "A gentleman is a man who never gives offense unintentionally," "A gentleman is a person who never insults anyone unintentionally," etc., which go back to at least 1905, and in the late 1920s were attributed without citation to Oscar Wilde. See here for more discussion of the Wilde citation.

By possible coincidence, Herford was known at the time as the American Oscar Wilde.
Added on 2-Sep-20 | Last updated 2-Sep-20
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We’re poor little lambs who’ve lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We’re little black sheep who’ve gone astray,
Baa-aa-aa!
Gentlemen rankers out on a spree,
Damned from here to Eternity.
God ha’ mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“Gentlemen-Rankers,” (1892)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jun-17 | Last updated 12-Jun-17
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Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something which you have to be all the time. Which isn’t easy.

Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) Italian novelist and dramatist
The Pleasure of Honesty (1917) [tr. Murray]
Added on 30-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Apr-15 | Last updated 27-Apr-15
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If we are asked what is the most essential characteristic that underlies this word, the word itself will guide us to gentleness, to absence of such things as brow-beating, overbearing manners and fuss, and generally to consideration for other people.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, “Gentleman” (1912)
    (Source)
Added on 18-Dec-08 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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A gentleman seeks virtue; a small man seeks land. A gentleman seeks justice; a small man seeks favors.

Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher [Ku'ng Ch'iu / King Qiu, Ku'ng Fu-tzu / Kong Fuzi]
The Analects [Lun Yü], 4.11 (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse; tr. Leys (1997)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favours which he may receive." [tr. Legge (1930)]
  • "The gentleman [junzi] worries about the condition of his moral character, while the common man [xiaoren] worries about [whether he can hold on to] his land. The gentleman is conscious of [not breaking] the law, while the common man is conscious of what benefits he might reap [from the state]." [tr. Chin (2014)]
  • "The superior man seeks what is right; the inferior one, what is profitable." [Source]
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 5-Jul-20
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