A book of quotations... can never be complete.
~Robert M. Hamilton
Quotation, n.: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another. The words erroneously repeated.
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Most anthologists of quotations are like those who eat cherries or oysters: first picking the best ones and winding up by eating everything.
~Sebastien Roch Nicolas Chamfort, Maxims, 1825
Quotations will tell the full measure of meaning, if you have enough of them.
I am fully conscious of the fact, that aphorisms are like wandering Gypsies. They must always be published without guarantee of the authenticity.
What is all wisdom save a collection of platitudes? Take fifty of our current proverbial sayings - they are so trite, so threadbare, that we can hardly bring our lips to utter them. Nonetheless they embody the concentrated experience of the race.
It's such a pleasure to write down splendid words - almost as though one were inventing them.
I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Proverbs were bright shafts in the Greek and Latin quivers.
Collecting quotations is an insidious, even embarrassing habit, like ragpicking or hoarding rocks or trying on other people's laundry. I got into it originally while trying to break an addiction to candy. I kicked candy and now seem to be stuck with quotations, which are attacking my brain instead of my teeth.
~Robert Byrne, The Other 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, "Sources, References, and Notes," 1984
A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.
~Miguel de Cervantes
The art of quotation requires more delicacy in the practice than those conceive who can see nothing more in a quotation than an extract.
All maxims have their antagonist maxims; proverbs should be sold in pairs, a single one being but a half truth.
It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation, played with confidence, stands a good chance to deceive.
~Mark Twain, Following the Equator
Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations.
Always verify your quotations.
~Martin Joseph Routh, also sometimes quoted as "your references" or "your sources"
A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a witty person, but a pebble in the hands of a fool.
I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks, May 1849
A good aphorism is too hard for the tooth of time, and is not worn away with the centuries, although it serves as food for every speech.
It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.... The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.
~Winston Churchill, Roving Commission: My Early Life, 1930
Somewhere in the world there is an epigram for every dilemma.
~Hendrik Willem van Loon
Most collectors collect tangibles. As a quotation collector, I collect wisdom, life, invisible beauty, souls alive in ink.
The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages is preserved into perpetuity by a nation's proverbs, fables, folk sayings and quotations.
Quotes are nothing but inspiration for the uninspired.
Anthologies of aphorisms are usually arranged according to themes.... This is not the best method for the aphorism, because it often has several themes and interpretations.
The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
In spite of his practical ability, some of his experience had petrified into maxims and quotations.
I quote others only in order the better to express myself.
~Michel De Montaigne
Proverbs are mental gems gathered in the diamond districts of the mind.
~William R. Alger
A quotation at the right moment is like bread in a famine.
The hunter for aphorisms on human nature has to fish in muddy water, and he is even condemned to find much of his own mind.
~Francis H. Bradley
The only way to read a book of aphorisms without being bored is to open it at random and, having found something that interests you, close the book and meditate.
~Prince de Ligne
A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words, but cannot a few well-spoken words convey as many pictures?
I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.
An epigram is a gag that's played Carnegie Hall.
~Oscar Levant (Thanks, Garson O'Toole!)
People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.
~David H. Comins
The great writers of aphorisms read as if they had all known each other well.
Our live experiences, fixed in aphorisms, stiffen into cold epigram. Our heart's blood, as we write with it, turns to mere dull ink.
Aphorism, n.: Predigested wisdom.
He wrapped himself in quotations - as a beggar would enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.
One is more apt to become wise by doing fool things than by reading wise sayings.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted, than when we read it in the original author?
~Philip G. Hamerton
An aphorism is never exactly true.It is either a half-truth or a truth and a half.
~Karl Kraus, Sprüche und Widersprüche, 1909
Aphorism, n.: A concise, clever statement you don't think of until too late.
~James Alexander Thom
What are the proper proportions of a maxim? A minimum of sound to a maximum of sense.
The aphorism is cultivated only by those who have known fear in the midst of words, that fear of collapsing with all the words.
The aphorist sees in every truth a wise saying, and in every contradiction, two wise sayings.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
If, with the literate, I amImpelled to try an epigram,I never seek to take the credit;We all assume that Oscar said it.
~Dorothy Parker, referring to Oscar Wilde
A proper collection of quotations is the whole world digested.
The excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some rare or abstruse sentiment, as in the comprehension of some useful truth in few words.
Epigrams succeed where epics fail.
I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damned things.
The quoting of an aphorism, like the angry barking of a dog or the smell of overcooked broccoli, rarely indicates that something helpful is about to happen.
Life itself is a quotation.
~Jorge Luis Borges
Dialogue is not just quotation. It is grimaces, pauses, adjustments of blouse buttons, doodles on a napkin, and crossing of legs.
I have laboriously collected this cento out of diverse writers. I have wronged no authors but given every man his own.... Bees do little harm and damage no one in extracting honey; I can say of myself, whom have I injured? The matter is theirs most part, and yet mine.... it becomes something different in its new setting.
~Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy
Laying in bed this morning contemplating how amazing it would be if somehow Oscar Wilde and Mae West could twitter from the grave...
~Dita Von Teese
Unraveling proverbs is a suitable puzzle for an old man. I put pieces in order and build up a kind of Utopian castle.
Some for renown, on scraps of learning dote,And think they grow immortal as they quote.
~Edward Young, Love of Fame
The power of quotation is as dreadful a weapon as any which the human intellect can forge.
~John Jay Chapman
Few of the many wise apothegms which have been uttered have prevented a single foolish action.
~Thomas Babington Macaulay
In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak but for that you must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks, and those to whom they are addressed should be big and tall of stature.
It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.
~Franklin P. Jones
Let's have some new cliches.
A proverb is the wisdom of many and the wit of one.
~Lord John Russell
I'm discovering that everybody is a closet quotesmith. Just give them a chance.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
But as young men, when they knit and shape perfectly, do seldom grow to a further stature, so knowledge, while it is in aphorisms and observations, it is in growth; but when it once is comprehended in exact methods, it may, perchance, be further polished, and illustrate and accommodated for use and practice, but it increaseth no more in bulk and substance.
~Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning
What is an Epigram? a dwarfish whole,Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Precepts or maxims are of great weight; and a few useful ones at hand do more toward a happy life than whole volumes that we know not where to find.
It is the little writer rather than the great writer who seems never to quote, and the reason is that he is never really doing anything else.
When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.
I swim across a sea of quotes, splashing in the words and riding the waves of wisdom.
If you don't quote yourself, nobody else will. And you can quote me on that.
~Scott Ginsberg, www.hellomynameisscott.com
Classical quotation is a parole of literary men all over the world.
Epigram and truth are rarely commensurate. Truth has to get somewhat chiseled, as it were, before it will fit into an epigram.
In the dying world I come from quotation is a national vice. It used to be the classics, now it's lyric verse.
~Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One, 1948
The maxims of men disclose their hearts.
An aphorism is a single sentence that totally exhausts its subject.
Proverbs often contradict one another, as any reader soon discovers. The sagacity that advises us to look before we leap promptly warns us that if we hesitate we are lost; that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but out of sight, out of mind.
To me, novels are just quotations with a bunch of filler.
I have heard that nothing gives an Author so great Pleasure, as to find his Works respectfully quoted by other learned Authors.
~Benjamin Franklin, "Preface," Poor Richard Improved, wording verified by Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations
Patch grief with proverbs.
Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
But I have long thought that if you knew a column of advertisements by heart, you could achieve unexpected felicities with them. You can get a happy quotation anywhere if you have the eye.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
All of us encounter, at least once in our life, some individual who utters words that make us think forever. There are men whose phrases are oracles; who can condense in one sentence the secrets of life; who blurt out an aphorism that forms a character, or illustrates an existence.
Proverbs are always platitudes until you have personally experienced the truth of them.
Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.
One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people's throats and one always secretes too much jelly.
There are aphorisms that, like air planes, stay up only while they are in motion.
Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.
By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Someone might say of me that I have only made a bouquet of other people's flowers here, having supplied nothing of my own but the thread to bind them.
~Michel de Montaigne