- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
WIST currently holds 19,638 quotations by 3,058 authors. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
Author CloudAristotle • Asimov, Isaac • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterfield (Lord) • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Cicero, Marcus Tullius • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Homer • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Martial • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Sophocles • Tolkien, J.R.R. • Twain, Mark • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
Most Quoted Authors
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character courage death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history human nature humanity integrity liberty life love morality perspective politics power progress reality religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (10,022)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,678)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (6,260)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,641)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,970)
- “Tips for Teens,” Social Studies (1981) (4,826)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,636)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (4,631)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (4,253)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (4,151)
- Dead Poets Society (1989) on
- Walden, ch. 1 “Economy” (1854) on
- (Attributed) on
- Twelfth Night, Act 2, Sc. 5, l. 147ff [Malvolio] (1601) on
- “Caesar,” Lives [tr. Dryden (1693)] on
- Shakespeare Up-to-Date on
- First Principles, Pt. I “The Unknowable,” ch. 1 “Religion and Science”” (1862) on
- Hamlet, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 366ff [Rosencrantz] (c. 1600) on
- Letter to the Danbury Baptists (1 Jan 1802) on
- Letter to the Synod of the Reformed Church of North America (12 Jun 1832) on
Quotations about pleasantry
Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.
Politeness is a tacit agreement that people’s miserable defects, whether moral or intellectual, shall on either side be ignored and not made the subject of reproach; and since these defects are thus rendered somewhat less obtrusive, the result is mutually advantageous.
[Sie ist eine stillschweigende Übereinkunft, gegenseitig die moralisch und intellektuell elende Beschaffenheit von einander zu ignoriren und sie sich nicht vorzurücken; – wodurch diese, zu beiderseitigem Vorteil, etwas weniger leicht zutage kommt.]
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 1, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life [Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit],” “Counsels and Maxims [Paränesen und Maximen],” ch. C, § 36 (1851) [tr. Saunders (1890)]
Source (German). Alternate translation:
Politeness is a tacit agreement that we shall mutually ignore and refrain from reproaching one another's miserable defects, both moral and intellectual. In this way, they do not so readily come to light, to the advantage of both sides.
[tr. Payne (1974)]
Added on 16-Jun-22 | Last updated 16-Jun-22
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I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.
Groucho (in 1962) denied ever using the phrase (attributed to him as early as 1941). The earliest, somewhat dubious instance of it found is in 1936, attributed to comedian Hugh Hubert. More here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
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