Quotations about   gossip

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The absent are like children; they are helpless to defend themselves.

Charles Reade (1814-1884) English novelist and dramatist
Foul Play, ch. 44 (1869)
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Added on 12-Sep-17 | Last updated 12-Sep-17
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Secrets with girls, like loaded guns with boys,
Are never valued till they make a noise.

George Crabbe (1754-1832) English poet, writer, surgeon, clergyman
Tales of the Hall, “The Maid’s Story” (1819)
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Added on 7-Sep-17 | Last updated 7-Sep-17
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Thy friend has a friend, and thy friend’s friend has a friend; be discreet.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra 28b
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Noted as a common saying. The summary "be discreet" does not appear in the actual Talmud translations I found, but seems to be an explanation from early Christian reviews of the Talmud for when the verse is given as a stand-alone proverb.
Added on 20-Jul-17 | Last updated 20-Jul-17
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Lesson to the Indiscreet: They who say all they think, and tell all they know, put others on their guard and prevent themselves from being told anything of consequence.

Horace Walpole (1717-1797) English novelist, letter writer
A Note Book of Horace Walpole, “1781” (1927)
Added on 12-Apr-17 | Last updated 12-Apr-17
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God will judge us by our own thoughts and deeds, not by what others say about us.

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, ch. 39 “A Scheme of Escape” (1848)
Added on 16-Mar-17 | Last updated 16-Mar-17
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A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) American author [pseud. for Geoffrey Crayon]
“Rip Van Winkle,” The Sketch Book (1820)
Added on 15-Feb-17 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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The tongue is not steel, yet it cuts.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Jacula Prudentum (1651)
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Added on 8-Feb-17 | Last updated 8-Feb-17
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When we speak evil of others, we generally condemn ourselves.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], #1058 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 31-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
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The men who convey, and those who listen to calumnies, should, if I could have my way, all hang, the tale-bearers by their tongues, the listeners by their ears.

Plautus (b. c. 254 BC) Roman playright [Titus Macchius Plautus]
Pseudolus, 1.5
Added on 24-May-16 | Last updated 24-May-16
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Never does a man portray his own character more vividly than in his manner of portraying another’s.

Richter - portray his own character - wist_info quote

Jean-Paul Richter (1763-1825) German novelist, art historian, aesthetician [pseud. Jean-Paul]
Titan, “Twenty-Eighth Jubilee” (1800-03)
Added on 19-May-16 | Last updated 19-May-16
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He that lends an easy and credulous ear to calumny is either a man of very ill morals or has no more sense and understanding than a child.

Menander (c. 341 - c. 290 BC) Greek comedic dramatist
Fragment

Quoted in James Elmes, Classic Quotations: A Thought-Book (1863).
Added on 9-May-16 | Last updated 9-May-16
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Calumny is a monstrous vice: for, where parties indulge in it, there are always two that are actively engaged in doing wrong, and one who is subject to injury. The calumniator inflicts wrong by slandering the absent; he who gives credit to the calumny, before he has investigated the truth, is equally implicated. The person traduced is doubly injured — first by him who propagates, and secondly by him who credits the calumny.

Herodotus (c.484-c.420 BC) Greek historian
Histories, 7.10
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Added on 18-Apr-16 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
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Like the tiger, that seldom desists from pursuing man after having once preyed upon human flesh, the reader, who has once gratified his appetite with calumny, makes ever after, the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputation.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish poet, playwright, novelist
The Traveler; Or, A Prospect of Society (1764)
Added on 11-Apr-16 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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What Paul says about Peter tells us more about Paul than it does about Peter.

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch philosopher
(Attributed)
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Quoted by Erich Fromm, Psychoanalysis and Religion, 3 (1950).
Added on 14-Mar-16 | Last updated 14-Mar-16
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Every man hath in his own life sins enough, in his own mind trouble enough, in his own fortune evils enough, and in performance of his offices failings more than enough, to entertain his own inquiry; so that curiosity after the affairs of others cannot be without envy, and an evil mind. What is it to me, if my neighbour’s grandfather were a Syrian, or his grandmother illegitimate; or that another is indebted five thousand pounds, or whether his wife be expensive?

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living (1650)
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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Were there no hearers, there would be no backbiters.

George Herbert (1593-1633) Welsh priest, orator, poet.
Outlandish Proverbs, # 69 (1640)
Added on 13-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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Believe nothing against another but upon good Authority: Nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to others to conceal it.

Penn - rumors - wist_info

William Penn (1644-1718) English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, statesman
Some Fruits of Solitude, #145 (1693)
Added on 6-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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Commonly they whose tongue is their weapon, use their feet for defense.

Philip Sidney (1554-1586) English poet, courtier, scholar, and soldier
(Attributed)
Added on 6-Nov-15 | Last updated 6-Nov-15
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Who chatters to you will chatter about you.

Other Authors and Sources
Egyptian saying
Added on 23-Oct-15 | Last updated 23-Oct-15
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Let us believe neither half of the good people tell us of ourselves, nor half the evil they say of others.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
(Attributed)
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Added on 5-Jun-15 | Last updated 6-Jun-15
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“My dear young lady,” said the Professor, suddenly looking up with a very sharp expression at both of them, “there is one plan which no one has yet suggested and which is well worth trying.”

“What’s that?” said Susan.

“We might all try minding our own business,” said he. And that was the end of that conversation.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
Added on 28-Nov-14 | Last updated 28-Nov-14
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To make our idea of morality centre on forbidden acts is to defile the imagination and to introduce into our judgments of our fellow-men a secret element of gusto.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
“A Christmas Sermon,” Across the Plains, ch. 12 (1892)
Added on 1-Jan-14 | Last updated 1-Jan-14
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My wife should be as much free from suspicion of a crime as she is from a crime itself.

[Meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere.]

Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) Roman general and statesman [Gaius Julius Caesar]
In Suetonius, Life of Caesar

Popularly, "Caesar’s wife must be above reproach" or "beyond reproach."

Caesar was called to be a witness against Clodius, who was charge with having  defiled sacred rites and having an affair with Pompeia, Caesar's wife.  Caesar said he had investigated and found out nothing to prove the Pompeia's fidelity.  When asked why, then, he had divorced her, he gave this answer.

Alt. trans.: "I judge it necessary for my kin to be as free from suspicion as from the charge of wrongdoing."

Alt. trans.: "I wished my wife to be not so much as suspected." [in Plutarch, “Caesar,” Parallel Lives [tr. Dryden (1693)]].
Added on 3-Mar-11 | Last updated 28-Dec-16
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The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Speech, The Family of Man Award, The Protestant Council of New York (Oct 1969)

His last public speech.
Added on 3-Mar-09 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Hamlet Act 3, sc. 1, l. 139 [Hamlet] (1600)
Added on 22-Jan-09 | Last updated 26-May-16
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The widespread interest in gossip is inspired, not by a love of knowledge, but by malice: no one gossips about other people’s secret virtues, but only about their secret vices. Accordingly most gossip is untrue, but care is taken not to verify it. Our neighbour’s sins, like the consolations of religion, are so agreeable that we do not stop to scrutinize the evidence closely.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Aims of Education” (1929)
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Usually shortened to "No one gossips about other people's secret virtues."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 6-Nov-15
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