Top 100 Quotes
Here are the top 100 quotes from the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, as selected by the Oxford Dictionary team.
100 classic quotes
- Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.
—Dean Acheson, 1962
- Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
—Lord Acton, 1887
- Man is by nature a political animal.
—Aristotle, 4th century BC
- That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
—Neil Armstrong, 1969
- It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
—Jane Austen, 1813
- Revenge is a kind of wild justice.
—Francis Bacon, 1635
- I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
—Irving Berlin, 1942
- We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they.
—Bernard of Chartres, 12th century
- In the beginning was the Word.
—Bible (St John's Gospel)
- Politics is the art of the possible.
—Otto von Bismarck, 1867
- And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
—William Blake, 1804–10
- C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre [It is magnificent, but it is not war].
—Pierre Bosquet, 1854
- Reader, I married him.
—Charlotte Brontë, 1847
- No coward soul is mine.
—Emily Brontë, 1846
- If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England.
—Rupert Brooke, 1914
- How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1850
- Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?
—Robert Browning, 1855
- It's a great life if you don't weaken.
—John Buchan, 1919
- It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph
—Edmund Burke (attributed, not found in his writings)
- The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley.
—Robert Burns, 1796
- I awoke one morning and found myself famous.
—Lord Byron, 1824
- Veni, vidi, vici [I came, I saw, I conquered].
—Julius Caesar, 1st century BC
- It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.
—Mrs Patrick Campbell, 1940
- The three great elements of modern civilization, Gunpowder, Printing, and the Protestant Religion.
—Thomas Carlyle, 1838
- The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.
—Lewis Carroll, 1872
- After forty a woman has to choose between losing her figure or her face. My advice is to keep your face, and stay sitting down.
—Barbara Cartland, 1993
- Delenda est Carthago [Carthage must be destroyed].
—Cato the Elder, 3rd century BC
- Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.
—Edith Cavell, 1915
- Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.
—Raymond Chandler, 1944
- Let not poor Nelly starve.
—Charles II, 1685
- He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
—Geoffrey Chaucer, 14th century
- The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.
—Lord Chesterfield, on sex
- When men stop believing in God they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.
—G. K. Chesterton, 1936
- I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
—Winston Churchill, 1940
- The sinews of war: unlimited money.
—Cicero, 1st century BC
- War is nothing but the continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.
—Karl von Clausewitz, 1832-4
- In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree.
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1816
- Music hath charms to sooth a savage breast.
—William Congreve, 1697
- Mad dogs and Englishmen Go out in the midday sun.
—Noël Coward, 1931
- Variety's the very spice of life.
—William Cowper, 1785
- Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
—Stephen Decatur, 1816
- Honey, I just forgot to duck.
—Jack Dempsey, 1926, having lost the World Heavyweight title
- It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
—Charles Dickens, 1859
- Is man an ape or an angel? Now I am on the side of the angels.
—Benjamin Disraeli, 1864
- Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
—John Donne, 1624
- 'Excellent,' I cried. 'Elementary,' said he.
—Arthur Conan Doyle; origin of the misquotation, 'Elementary, my dear Watson'.
- Great wits are sure to madness near allied.
—John Dryden, 1681
- The times they are a-changin'.
—Bob Dylan, 1964
- Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers.
—Arthur Eddington, 1944
- Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety nine per cent perspiration.
—Thomas Alva Edison, c.1903
—Albert Einstein, 1905 (usual form of his statement)
- April is the cruellest month.
—T. S. Eliot, 1922
- I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.
—Elizabeth I, 1588
- I'm glad we've been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.
—Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, 1940
- There is no 'royal road' to geometry.
—Euclid, 4th century BC
- Never give a sucker an even break.
—W. C. Fields, 1941
- Shaken and not stirred.
—Ian Fleming, 1958
- Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.
—Henry Ford, 1909
- Only connect!...Only connect the prose and the passion.
—E. M. Forster, 1910
- All that matters is love and work.
—Sigmund Freud, attributed
- Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by.
—Robert Frost, 1916
- Nice work if you can get it, And you can get it if you try.
—Ira Gershwin, 1937
- My English text is chaste, and all licentious passages are left in the obscurity of a learned language.
—Edward Gibbon, 1796
- Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?
—Duke of Gloucester, 1805
- A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it is written on.
—Sam Goldwyn, 1974
- Give me liberty, or give me death!
—Patrick Henry, 1775
- Clear your mind of cant.
—Samuel Johnson, 1783
- A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.
—John Keats, 1818
- Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
—John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961
- I have a dream.
—Martin Luther King, 1963
- If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
—Rudyard Kipling, 1910
- Gentlemen prefer blondes.
—Anita Loos, 1925
- Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?
—Christopher Marlowe, 1593
- Fame is the spur.
—John Milton, 1638
- England expects that every man will do his duty.
—Horatio Nelson, 1805
- The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.
—Blaise Pascal, 1670
- Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
—Alexander Pope, 1733
- He would, wouldn't he?
—Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963
- The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933
- O what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive.
—Sir Walter Scott, 1808
- Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results
—Ernest Shackleton, 1916
- To be, or not to be: that is the question.
—William Shakespeare, 1601
- Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.
—George Bernard Shaw, 1903
- Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
—Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819
- Am I no a bonny fighter?
—Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886
- In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1842
- The lady's not for turning.
—Margaret Thatcher, 1980
- All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
—Leo Tolstoy, 1875-7.
- Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
—Mark Twain, 1897 (popular version)
- Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes [I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts].
—Virgil, 1st century BC
- I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
—Voltaire (actually a later summary of his attitude rather than his own words)
- Publish and be damned.
—Duke of Wellington, c.1825
- Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
- To lose one parent...may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
—Oscar Wilde, 1895
- A week is a long time in politics
—Harold Wilson, c.1964
- Slice him where you like, a hellhound is always a hellhound.
—P. G. Wodehouse, 1938
- They think it's all over—it is now
—Kenneth Wolstenhome, closing moments of World Cup Final, 1966.
- A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
—Virginia Woolf, 1929
- Earth has not anything to show more fair.
—William Wordsworth, 1807
- Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
—William Butler Yeats, 1899