Quotations about   trust

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That’s life: Trust and you’re betrayed; don’t trust and you betray yourself.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Knight of Shadows, ch. 3 (1990)
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Added on 20-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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“I am going to tell you something Benedict should have told you long ago,” I said. “Never trust a relative. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe.”

“You really mean that, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Yourself included?”

I smiled. “Of course it does not apply to me. I am the soul of honor, kindness, mercy, and goodness. Trust me in all things.”

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Guns of Avalon [Corwin to Dara] (1972)
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Added on 26-Jan-22 | Last updated 26-Jan-22
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The truly innosent are thoze who not only are guiltless themselfes, but who think others are.

[The truly innocent are those who not only are guiltless themselves, but who think others are.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Plum Pits” (1874)
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Added on 4-Jan-22 | Last updated 4-Jan-22
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Agatha looked up. “I guess. I just wonder how many other girls have to worry about whether or not it’s smart to really trust their … you know, the guys they –”

Lady Vitriox crossed her arms. “All of them,” she said flatly.

“But mine has an army!”

The old woman shook her head. “They all do, my Lady. It consists of other men.”

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (2020) [with Kaja Foglio]
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Added on 6-Dec-21 | Last updated 6-Dec-21
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Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos.

George W. Bush (b. 1946) US President (2001-09)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 2001)
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Added on 1-Nov-21 | Last updated 1-Nov-21
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“When it comes to strangers with guns,” I told her, “I think suspicion is more likely to keep you alive than trust.”

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) American writer
Parable of the Sower, ch. 11 (1993)
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Added on 29-Jul-21 | Last updated 29-Jul-21
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Women just can’t be trusted any more.

[Ἐπεὶ οὐκέτι πιστὰ γυναιξίν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 11, l. 456 (11.456) [Agamemnon] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 274]
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Agamemnon, who was slain on his homecoming by Clytemnestra, is giving Odysseus marital advice when the latter visits Hades. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "For ’tis no world to trust a woman now." [tr. Chapman (1616)]
  • "Remember still, women unfaithful are." [tr. Hobbes (1675)]
  • "For since of womankind so few are just, / Think all are false, nor even the faithful trust." [tr. Pope (1725)]
  • "For woman merits trust no more." [tr. Cowper (1792), l. 453]
  • "No more are women to be trusted now." [tr. Worsley (1861), st. 54]
  • "For that trust / Henceforth in women must never be plac'd." [tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 706ff]
  • "No trust in women!" [tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 455]
  • "For there is no more faith in woman." [tr. Butcher/Lang (1879) and Palmer (1891)]
  • "From now henceforth in women no troth or trust shall be." [tr. Morris (1887)]
  • "For after all this there is no trusting women." [tr. Butler (1898)]
  • "For no longer is there faith in women." [tr. Murray (1919)]
  • "There is no putting faith in women." [tr. Lawrence (1932)]
  • "Women, I tell you, are no longer to be trusted." [tr. Rieu (1946) and DCH Rieu (2002)]
  • "There is no trusting in women." [tr. Lattimore (1965)]
  • "No woman merits trust." [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
  • "The time for trusting women's gone forever!" [tr. Fagles (1996), l. 456]
  • "Women are no longer to be trusted." [tr. Verity (2016)]
  • "No more is there faith in women." [tr. Green (2018)]
  • "For there’s no trust / in women anymore." [tr. Johnston (2019), l. 577ff]
Added on 2-Jun-21 | Last updated 20-Dec-21
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We are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and most of us manage to remain greedy.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 9 (1966)
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Added on 13-May-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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POGO: I figgers, Porky, that every man’s heart is eventual in the right place.

PORKY PINE: An’ I figgers, Pogo, that if a man’s gonna be wrong ’bout somethin’, that is the best wrong thing to keep bein’ wrong about til forever.

Walt Kelly (1913-1973) American animator and cartoonist [Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr.]
The Incompleat Pogo, ch. 20 “A Tiger Burns Bright” (1953)
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Many sources paraphrase this as:
POGO: Eventual Porky, I figger ev'ry critter's heart's in the right place.

PORKY PINE: If you gotta be wrong 'bout somthin', that's 'bout the best thing they is to be wrong 'bout.
Added on 12-May-21 | Last updated 12-May-21
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His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, “You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Small Gods (1992)
Added on 12-Jan-21 | Last updated 12-Jan-21
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In God we trust. All others must bring data.

W Edwards Deming
W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) American management consultant, educator
(Misattributed)

Variants: "All others must have/provide data."

Frequently attributed to Deming, probably through Mary Walton, The Deming Management Method, ch. 20 (1986), though it is presented there without attribution: "'In God we trust. All others must bring data.' If there is a credo for statisticians, it is that."

The earliest appearance in print comes from Edwin R. Fisher, Effect of Smoking on Nonsmokers: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Tobacco of the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, Second Session (7 Sep 1978): "I should like to close by citing a well-recognized cliche in scientific circles. The cliche is, 'In God we trust, others must provide data.'"

For more discussion see here.
Added on 21-Jul-20 | Last updated 21-Jul-20
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It is not the idea as such which the censor attacks, whether it be heresy or radicalism or obscenity. He attacks the circulation of the idea among the classes which in his judgment are not to be trusted with the idea.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
Men of Destiny, ch. 8 “The Nature of the Battle Over Censorship,” sec. 2 (1927)
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Added on 3-Jul-20 | Last updated 3-Jul-20
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The only man for whom Hitler had “unqualified respect” was “Stalin the genius,” and while in the case of Stalin and the Russian regime we do not have (and presumably never will have) the rich documentary material that is available for Germany, we nevertheless know since Khrushchev’s speech before the Twentieth Party Congress that Stalin trusted only one man and that was Hitler.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 3, ch. 1, sec. 1 (1951)
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Added on 5-May-20 | Last updated 5-May-20
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There is no fellowship inviolate,
no faith is kept, when kingship is concerned.

[Nulla sancta societas
Nec fides regni est.]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Fragment 402-3 [tr. Miller]
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Quoted in Cicero, De Officiis, Book 1, ch. 8, sec. 26 (scaen. 404 Vahlen), speaking of Julius Caesar.

Alt. trans.:
  • "To kingship belongs neither sacred fellowship nor faith."
  • "No society is sacred, nor faith of empire." [tr. Johnson (1828)]
  • "There is no holy bond, and no fidelity / 'Twixt those who share a throne." [Source]
  • "Where the throne's shared, there cannot be good faith." [Source]
Added on 27-Feb-20 | Last updated 27-Feb-20
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“Praying for particular things,” said I, “always seems to me like advising God how to run the world. Wouldn’t it be wiser to assume that He knows best?”

“On the same principle,” said he, “I suppose you never ask a man next to you to pass the salt, because God knows best whether you ought to have salt or not. And I suppose you never take an umbrella, because God knows best whether you ought to be wet or dry.”

“That’s quite different,” I protested.

“I don’t see why,” said he. “The odd thing is that He should let us influence the course of events at all. But since He lets us do it in one way, I don’t see why He shouldn’t let us do it in the other.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
God in the Dock, Part 2, ch. 7 “Scraps,” #4 (1970)
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Because a body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody, ought not to be trusted by anybody.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
The Rights of Man (1791)
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In meditation we should not look for a “method” or “system,” but cultivate an “attitude,” and “outlook”: faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, and joy.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
Contemplative Prayer (1973)
Added on 5-Sep-19 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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Ambition makes more trusty slaves than need.

Ben Jonson (1572-1637) English playwright and poet
Sejanus, His Fall, Act 1, sc. 2 (1603)
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Added on 2-Aug-17 | Last updated 2-Aug-17
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Phryne Fisher had a taste for young and comely men, but she was not prone to trust them with anything but her body.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Cocaine Blues (1989)
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Added on 15-Jun-17 | Last updated 15-Jun-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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There are two kinds of fools: those who suspect nothing and those who suspect everything.

Charles-Joseph Lamoral, Prince de Ligne (1735-1814) Belgian military leader, noble, writer [Karl Fürst von Ligne, Charles-Joseph de Ligne]
Mes écarts, ou, ma tête en liberté
Added on 8-Feb-17 | Last updated 8-Feb-17
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A weak man wants az mutch watching as a bad one.

[A weak man wants as much watching as a bad.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Koarse Shot” (1874)
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Every civilization rests on a set of promises: moral promises about how to behave toward each other, physical promises about how to use our economic system. If the promises are broken too often, the civilization dies, no matter how rich it may be, or how mechanically clever. Hope and faith depend upon promises; if hope and faith go, everything goes.

Herbert Agar (1897-1980) American journalist and historian
(Attributed)
Added on 23-Nov-16 | Last updated 23-Nov-16
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All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Letter to William Eustis (22 Jun 1809)
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Added on 14-Nov-16 | Last updated 14-Nov-16
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Every boddy in this world wants watching, but none more than ourselves.

[Everybody in this world wants watching, but none more than ourselves.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Fus Impressions” (1874)
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That is what trust is, you know: if we never had secrets from our friends and loved ones, there would never be any need for them to trust us.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Orca [Kiera] (1996)
Added on 30-Jul-16 | Last updated 30-Jul-16
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Distrust and caution are the parents of security.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Jul 1733)
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When young, we trust ourselves too much, and we trust others too little when old. Rashness is the error of youth, timid caution of age.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #363 (1820)
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Riches are a trust. … Power is a trust. So also is genius or every degree of wisdom. … Talents are a trust, too; that is the condition of their increase. They must be put out to use, or they will ruin the steward.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (July 1831)
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Added on 16-Mar-16 | Last updated 16-Mar-16
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You must not tell lies because if you do you will find yourself unable to believe anything that is told to you.

Shaw - lies - wist_info

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism, and Fascism, ch. 74 (1928)
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Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round — we get afraid because we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’ Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mary Willis Shelburne (17 Jun 1963)

Discussing the closeness of death.
Added on 23-Sep-15 | Last updated 23-Sep-15
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One of the functions of intelligence is to take account of the dangers that come from trusting solely to intelligence.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) American writer, philosopher, historian, architect
The Transformations of Man, 7.1 (1956)
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Trust no friend without faults,
And love a maiden, but no angel.

[Trau keinem Freunde sonder Mängel,
Und leib’ ein Mädchen, kienem Engel.]

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramiturg, writer
Note in a Family Register (1778)

Alt. trans.: "Trust in no friend, rather forebear; / Love a sweet maid, no angel rare."
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COUNTESS: Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
All’s Well that Ends Well, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 73 (1602)
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If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting, too ….

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“If–” st. 1 (1910)
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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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Those who retire from the world on akount ov its sin and peskyness must not forgit that they hav got tew keep kompany with a person who wants just as much watching as ennyboddy else.

[Those who retire from the world on account of its sin and peskiness must not forget that they have got to keep company with a person who wants just as much watching as anybody else.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
On Ice: and Other Things, 60 (1868)
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Riches are a trust. …
Power is a trust. …
Talents are a trust too; that is the condition of their increase. They must be put out to use, or they will ruin the steward.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (21 Jul 1831)
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Trust him no further than you can throw him.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #5286 (1732)
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A Prince who will not undergo the Difficulty of Understanding must undergo the Danger of Trusting.

George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695) English politician and essayist
“Of Princes,” Political, Moral, and Miscellaneous Thoughts and Reflections (1750)
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Full text.

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He that’s cheated twice by the same Man is an Accomplice with the Cheater.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2281 (1732)
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For somehow this is tyranny’s disease, to trust no friends.

Aeschylus (525-456 BC) Greek dramatist (Æschylus)
Prometheus Bound, l. 224

Alternate translation: "In every tyrant's heart there springs in the end this poison, that he cannot trust a friend."
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Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Prudence,” Essays: First Series, ch. 7 (1841)
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The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
(Attributed)
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We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never decieved us.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Idler, #80 (27 Oct 1759)
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The vanity of being trusted with a secret is generally one of the chief motives to disclose it; for however absurd it may be thought to boast an honor by an act with shows that it was conferred without merit, yet most men seem rather inclined to confess the want of virtue than of importance, and more willingly show their influence, though at the expense of their probity, than glide through life with no other pleasure than the private consciousness of fidelity; which, while it is preserved, must be without praise, except from the single person who tries and knows it.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #13 (1 May 1750)
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