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

  1. Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.
    —Dean Acheson, 1962

  2. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    —Lord Acton, 1887

  3. Man is by nature a political animal.
    —Aristotle, 4th century BC

  4. That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
    —Neil Armstrong, 1969

  5. 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

  6. Revenge is a kind of wild justice.
    —Francis Bacon, 1635

  7. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
    —Irving Berlin, 1942

  8. We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they.
    —Bernard of Chartres, 12th century

  9. In the beginning was the Word.
    —Bible (St John's Gospel)

  10. Politics is the art of the possible.
    —Otto von Bismarck, 1867

  11. And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England's mountains green?
    —William Blake, 1804–10

  12. C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre [It is magnificent, but it is not war].
    —Pierre Bosquet, 1854

  13. Reader, I married him.
    —Charlotte Brontë, 1847

  14. No coward soul is mine.
    —Emily Brontë, 1846

  15. 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

  16. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    —Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1850

  17. Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?
    —Robert Browning, 1855

  18. It's a great life if you don't weaken.
    —John Buchan, 1919

  19. It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph
    —Edmund Burke (attributed, not found in his writings)

  20. The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley.
    —Robert Burns, 1796

  21. I awoke one morning and found myself famous.
    —Lord Byron, 1824

  22. Veni, vidi, vici [I came, I saw, I conquered].
    —Julius Caesar, 1st century BC

  23. 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

  24. The three great elements of modern civilization, Gunpowder, Printing, and the Protestant Religion.
    —Thomas Carlyle, 1838

  25. The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.
    —Lewis Carroll, 1872

  26. 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

  27. Delenda est Carthago [Carthage must be destroyed].
    —Cato the Elder, 3rd century BC

  28. Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.
    —Edith Cavell, 1915

  29. Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.
    —Raymond Chandler, 1944

  30. Let not poor Nelly starve.
    —Charles II, 1685

  31. He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
    —Geoffrey Chaucer, 14th century

  32. The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.
    —Lord Chesterfield, on sex

  33. When men stop believing in God they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything.
    —G. K. Chesterton, 1936

  34. I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
    —Winston Churchill, 1940

  35. The sinews of war: unlimited money.
    —Cicero, 1st century BC

  36. War is nothing but the continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.
    —Karl von Clausewitz, 1832-4

  37. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree.
    —Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1816

  38. Music hath charms to sooth a savage breast.
    —William Congreve, 1697

  39. Mad dogs and Englishmen Go out in the midday sun.
    —Noël Coward, 1931

  40. Variety's the very spice of life.
    —William Cowper, 1785

  41. Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.
    —Stephen Decatur, 1816

  42. Honey, I just forgot to duck.
    —Jack Dempsey, 1926, having lost the World Heavyweight title

  43. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
    —Charles Dickens, 1859

  44. Is man an ape or an angel? Now I am on the side of the angels.
    —Benjamin Disraeli, 1864

  45. 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

  46. 'Excellent,' I cried. 'Elementary,' said he.
    —Arthur Conan Doyle; origin of the misquotation, 'Elementary, my dear Watson'.

  47. Great wits are sure to madness near allied.
    —John Dryden, 1681

  48. The times they are a-changin'.
    —Bob Dylan, 1964

  49. Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers.
    —Arthur Eddington, 1944

  50. Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety nine per cent perspiration.
    —Thomas Alva Edison, c.1903

  51. E=mc².
    —Albert Einstein, 1905 (usual form of his statement)

  52. April is the cruellest month.
    —T. S. Eliot, 1922

  53. 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

  54. 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

  55. There is no 'royal road' to geometry.
    —Euclid, 4th century BC

  56. Never give a sucker an even break.
    —W. C. Fields, 1941

  57. Shaken and not stirred.
    —Ian Fleming, 1958

  58. Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.
    —Henry Ford, 1909

  59. Only connect!...Only connect the prose and the passion.
    —E. M. Forster, 1910

  60. All that matters is love and work.
    —Sigmund Freud, attributed

  61. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by.
    —Robert Frost, 1916

  62. Nice work if you can get it, And you can get it if you try.
    —Ira Gershwin, 1937

  63. My English text is chaste, and all licentious passages are left in the obscurity of a learned language.
    —Edward Gibbon, 1796

  64. Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?
    —Duke of Gloucester, 1805

  65. A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it is written on.
    —Sam Goldwyn, 1974

  66. Give me liberty, or give me death!
    —Patrick Henry, 1775

  67. Clear your mind of cant.
    —Samuel Johnson, 1783

  68. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.
    —John Keats, 1818

  69. Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
    —John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961

  70. I have a dream.
    —Martin Luther King, 1963

  71. If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
    —Rudyard Kipling, 1910

  72. Gentlemen prefer blondes.
    —Anita Loos, 1925

  73. Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?
    —Christopher Marlowe, 1593

  74. Fame is the spur.
    —John Milton, 1638

  75. England expects that every man will do his duty.
    —Horatio Nelson, 1805

  76. The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.
    —Blaise Pascal, 1670

  77. Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
    —Alexander Pope, 1733

  78. He would, wouldn't he?
    —Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963

  79. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
    —Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933

  80. O what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive.
    —Sir Walter Scott, 1808

  81. Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results
    —Ernest Shackleton, 1916

  82. To be, or not to be: that is the question.
    —William Shakespeare, 1601

  83. Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.
    —George Bernard Shaw, 1903

  84. Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
    —Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819

  85. Am I no a bonny fighter?
    —Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886

  86. In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
    —Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1842

  87. The lady's not for turning.
    —Margaret Thatcher, 1980

  88. All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
    —Leo Tolstoy, 1875-7.

  89. Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
    —Mark Twain, 1897 (popular version)

  90. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes [I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts].
    —Virgil, 1st century BC

  91. 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)

  92. Publish and be damned.
    —Duke of Wellington, c.1825

  93. Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
    —Mae West

  94. To lose one parent...may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
    —Oscar Wilde, 1895

  95. A week is a long time in politics
    —Harold Wilson, c.1964

  96. Slice him where you like, a hellhound is always a hellhound.
    —P. G. Wodehouse, 1938

  97. They think it's all over—it is now
    —Kenneth Wolstenhome, closing moments of World Cup Final, 1966.

  98. A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.
    —Virginia Woolf, 1929

  99. Earth has not anything to show more fair.
    —William Wordsworth, 1807

  100. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
    —William Butler Yeats, 1899