Quotations about   slander

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If a man has reported to you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make any defense to what has been told you: but reply, The man did not know the rest of my faults, for he would not have mentioned these only.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
Enchiridion, 33 (c. AD 135) [tr. Long (1888)]
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Alt. trans.: "If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you, but answer, 'He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would have not mentioned these alone.'" [tr. Higginson (1948)]
Added on 12-Sep-18 | Last updated 12-Sep-18
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Even doubtful Accusations leave a Stain behind them.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #1395 (1732)
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Added on 6-Jun-17 | Last updated 6-Jun-17
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The slander of some people is as great a recommendation as the praise of others. For one is as much hated by the dissolute world, on the score of virtue, as by the good, on that of vice.

fielding-slander-recommendation-praise-wist_info-quote

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) English novelist, dramatist, satirist
The Temple Beau, Act 1, sc. 1 (1729)
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Added on 24-Jan-17 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
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A soft Tongue may strike hard.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Oct 1744)
Added on 18-Jan-17 | Last updated 18-Jan-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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To persevere in one’s duty and be silent is the best answer to calumny.

George Washington (1732-1799) American military leader, Founding Father, US President (1789-1797)
Letter to William Livingston (7 Dec 1779)
Added on 11-Jul-16 | Last updated 11-Jul-16
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Neglected, calumny soon expires; show that you are hurt, and you give it the appearance of truth.

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
The Annals (AD 109)
Added on 20-Jun-16 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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An evil-speaker differs from an evil-doer only in the want of opportunity.

[Maledicus a malefico non distat nisi occasione.]

Quintilian (39-90) Roman orator [Marcus Fabius Quintilianus]
De Institutione Oratorio, Book 12, ch. 9, l. 9
Added on 13-Jun-16 | Last updated 13-Jun-16
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I never yet heard man or woman much abused, that I was not inclined to think the better of them; and to transfer any suspicion or dislike to the person who appeared to take delight in pointing out the defects of a fellow-creature.

Jane Porter (1776-1850) English historical novelist and dramatist
Aphorisms of Sir Philip Sidney, Vol. 2, “Falsehood, Treachery, and Slander,” #19, Remark (1807)
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Added on 6-Jun-16 | Last updated 6-Jun-16
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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 best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words.

John Milton (1608-1674) English poet
An Apology for Smectymnuus (1642)
Added on 16-May-16 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Every life is its own excuse for being, and to deny or refute the untrue things that are said of you is an error in judgment. All wrong recoils upon the doer, and the man who makes wrong statements about others is himself to be pitied, not the man he vilifies. It is better to be lied about than to lie. At the last no one can harm us but ourselves.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
The Roycroft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams (1923)
Added on 25-Apr-16 | Last updated 25-Apr-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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Act uprightly, and despise Calumny; Dirt may stick to a Mud Wall, but not to polish’d Marble.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (1757)
Added on 4-Apr-16 | Last updated 4-Apr-16
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To think all you say, is but candor;
To say all you think, would be slander.

William Allingham (1824–1889) Irish poet, diarist
Blackberries Picked Off Many Bushes (1884)
Added on 14-Mar-16 | Last updated 14-Mar-16
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Besides, there are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) American novelist and dramatist
Penrod, ch. 10 (1914)
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Added on 25-Jan-16 | Last updated 25-Jan-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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Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot” (1734)
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Added on 10-Jun-15 | Last updated 10-Jun-15
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The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. This is the ordinary course in a free society. The response to the unreasoned is the rational; to the uninformed, the enlightened; to the straight-out lie, the simple truth.
.

Anthony Kennedy (b. 1936) US Supreme Court Justice
United States v. Alvarez, 567 U. S. ____, *16 (2012) [Plurality]
Added on 23-Apr-15 | Last updated 23-Apr-15
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No man ought to be hindered saying or writing what he pleases on the conduct of those who undertake the management of national affairs, in which all are concerned, and therefore have the right to inquire, and to publish their suspicions concerning them. For if you punish the slanderer, you deter the fair inquirer.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
Political Disquisitions, Book 1 “Of Government, briefly” (1774)
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Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
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I complained before a learned man that someone had accused me of corruption. He said, “Put him to shame by your good conduct.”

Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
The Maxims of Sa’di, 7 [tr. Nakosteen (1977)]
Added on 24-Sep-14 | Last updated 24-Sep-14
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Just deeds are the best answer to injurious words.

John Milton (1608-1674) English poet
Observations upon the Articles of Peace with the Irish Rebels (1649)
Added on 17-Sep-14 | Last updated 17-Sep-14
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Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Letter to Edwin M. Stanton (14 Jul 1864)
Added on 10-Sep-14 | Last updated 10-Sep-14
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Abuse is an indirect species of homage.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“Common Places” (22), Literary Examiner (Sep-Dec 1823)
Added on 3-Sep-14 | Last updated 3-Sep-14
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He that flings Dirt at another dirtieth himself most.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2107 (1732)
Added on 26-Aug-14 | Last updated 26-Aug-14
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Any man who attains a high place among you, from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that moment; for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens, although it militate directly against the character and conduct of a life, appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed. You will strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however fairly won and well deserved; but you will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions. Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the governed among you?

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
American Notes, ch. 18 (1842)
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Added on 19-Mar-14 | Last updated 19-Mar-14
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Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Othello, Act 3, sc. 3, l. 155-161 [Iago] (1604)
Added on 31-Jul-13 | Last updated 19-Jul-15
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Hurl your calumnies boldly; something is sure to stick.

[Audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret.]

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
De Augmentis Scientiarum [Advancement of Learning] (1605)
Added on 21-May-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
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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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