Quotes and Quotations

Memorable Quotes and quotations from Mark Twain

Mark Twain US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)


Mark Twain -
- Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Mark Twain -
- The holy passion of Friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

Mark Twain -
- Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Mark Twain -
- When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.

Mark Twain -
- When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain -
- Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

Mark Twain -
- I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.

Mark Twain -
- The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.

Mark Twain -
- Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.

Mark Twain -
- In Marseilles they make half the toilet soap we consume in America, but the Marseillaise only have a vague theoretical idea of its use, which they have obtained from books of travel.

Mark Twain -
- God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board

Mark Twain -
- Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

Mark Twain -
- Virtue has never been as respectable as money.

Mark Twain -
- "Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

Mark Twain -
- I did it partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again.

Mark Twain -
- Fleas can be taught nearly anything a congressman can.

Mark Twain -
- It could probably be show by facts and figures that there is no distinctively native American criminal class except Congress.

Mark Twain -
- Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please

Mark Twain -
- It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.

Mark Twain -
- In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.

Mark Twain -
- It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.

Mark Twain -
- Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

Mark Twain -
- We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Adam, the first great benefactor of the human race: he brought death into the world.

Mark Twain -
- There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.

Mark Twain - "Is Shakespeare Dead?"
- I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.

Mark Twain -
- When you cannot get a compliment any other way pay yourself one.

Mark Twain -
- Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain -
- All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence -- and then success is sure.

Mark Twain -
- I was born modest. Not all over, but in spots.

Mark Twain -
- Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

Mark Twain -
- Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Mark Twain - Following the Equator (1897)
- It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to get the news to you.

Mark Twain - inscription beneath his bust in the Hall of Fame
- Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

Mark Twain -
- It is easier to stay out than get out.

Mark Twain -
- Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

Mark Twain -
- Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Mark Twain -
- Of the delights of this world, man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.

Mark Twain -
- Great people are those who make others feel that they, too, can become great.

Mark Twain -
- Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.

Mark Twain -
- Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion.

Mark Twain - quoted in Mark Twain and I, Opie Read, 1940
- Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.

Mark Twain - Following the Equator
- The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it.

Mark Twain -
- Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.

Mark Twain -
- Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Mark Twain - in Christian Science
- The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

Mark Twain -
- When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain -
- When in doubt, tell the truth.

Mark Twain -
- Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds upon the heel that crushes it.

Mark Twain -
- Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

Mark Twain -
- There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Mark Twain -
- The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Mark Twain -
- Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.

Mark Twain -
- It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

Mark Twain -
- Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.

Mark Twain -
- Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Mark Twain -
- There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.

Mark Twain -
- Sacred cows make the best hamburger.

Mark Twain -
- It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.

Mark Twain -
- Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

Mark Twain -
- When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain - (attributed)
- A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger, chapter 10 (1916)
- [Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon?laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution?these can lift at a colossal humbug?push it a little?weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

Mark Twain - The Gorky Incident
- Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.

Mark Twain -
- Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Mark Twain -
- Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

Mark Twain -
- It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Mark Twain -
- Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.

Mark Twain - "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", Chapter 2
- He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it - namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.

Mark Twain -
- Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.

Mark Twain -
- When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain -
- I have never examined the subject of humor until now. I am surprised to find how much ground it covers. I have got its divisions and frontiers down on a piece of paper. I find it defined as a production of the brain, as the power of the brain to produce something humorous, and the capacity of percieving humor.

Mark Twain -
- All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"--a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.

Mark Twain -
- Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. (Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.)

Mark Twain -
- Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.

Mark Twain -
- Never tell the truth to those unworthy of it....

Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger
- Are you so unobservant that you do not yet realize that sanity and hapiness are an impossible combination?

Mark Twain -
- Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

Mark Twain - What Is Man? (1906)
- The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

Mark Twain -
- If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill always came together, who would escape hanging?

Mark Twain -
- It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.

Mark Twain -
- At the beginning of a great national change, the patriot is a scarce man: scorned, ridiculed and forgotten. When his cause succeeds, however, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

Mark Twain -
- Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain -
- Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven.

Mark Twain -
- My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.

Mark Twain -
- If we had less statemanship we could get along with fewer battleships.

Mark Twain -
- Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.

Mark Twain -
- Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

Mark Twain -
- Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.

Mark Twain -
- There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Mark Twain -
- Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

Mark Twain -
- Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.

Mark Twain - Notebook, 1935
- The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

Mark Twain -
- The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

Mark Twain -
- A man never reaches that dizzy height of wisdom that he can no longer be led by the nose.

Mark Twain -
- Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

Mark Twain - Notebooks (1935)
- What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.

Mark Twain -
- I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.

Mark Twain -
- Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges on the other side of his atlantic with his verb in his mouth.

Mark Twain -
- George Washington as a boy was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth - he could not even lie.

Mark Twain - Letter to Mrs Foote, Dec. 2, 1887
- All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

Mark Twain -
- There is nothing training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach. It can turn bad morals to good; it can destroy bad principles and recreate good ones; it can lift men to angelship.

Mark Twain -
- [He was] a solemn, unsmiling, sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.

Mark Twain -
- Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Mark Twain -
- This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.

Mark Twain -
- Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.

Mark Twain -
- Get your facts first and then you can distort them as much as you wish.

Mark Twain -
- Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

Mark Twain - "A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling"
- For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g
j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud
hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

Mark Twain -
- So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.

Mark Twain -
- October is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. Others are July, January, April, September, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.

Mark Twain -
- Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

Mark Twain -
- Those who say truth is stranger than fiction have wasted their time on poorly written fiction.

Mark Twain -
- "When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.

Mark Twain - Following the Equator (1897)
- There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.

Mark Twain -
- A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

Mark Twain -
- The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

Mark Twain -
- In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards

Mark Twain -
- The miracle, or the power, that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance under the prompting of a brave, determined spirit.

Mark Twain -
- In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.

Mark Twain -
- Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.

Mark Twain -
- Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

Mark Twain -
- The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

Mark Twain -
- Somewhere between the Angels and the French lies the rest of humanity.

Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.

Mark Twain -
- Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

Mark Twain -
- I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain -
- The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

Mark Twain -
- It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

Mark Twain -
- Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Mark Twain -
- Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.

Mark Twain - Following the Equator (1897)
- Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.

Mark Twain -
- If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be - a Christian.

Mark Twain - Notebook, 1935
- The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.

Mark Twain -
- Golf is a good walk, ruined.

Mark Twain -
- It is noble to teach oneself, it is still nobler to teach others.

Mark Twain - A Curious Dream (1872)
- Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.

Mark Twain -
- The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.

Mark Twain -
- Providence protects children and idiots. I know because I have tested it.

Mark Twain -
- Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Mark Twain - Notebooks (1935)
- Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.

Mark Twain -
- I have spent most of my time worrying about thigs that have never happened.

Mark Twain - What Is Man? (1906)
- The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

Mark Twain -
- I can live two months on a good compliment.

Mark Twain -
- In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.

Mark Twain -
- Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Mark Twain -
- Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principle one was that they escaped teething.

Mark Twain -
- The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Mark Twain -
- Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Mark Twain - Speech in NYC, Jan. 22, 1906
- The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong; he can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.

Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger, Chapter IX
- [Mankind] is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong, but no matter, the crowd follows it.

Mark Twain -
- I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.

Mark Twain -
- You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Mark Twain -
- Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.

Mark Twain -
- We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.

Mark Twain -
- Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre but they are more deadly in the long run.

Mark Twain -
- Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.

Mark Twain -
- It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake.

Mark Twain -
- How come we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.

Mark Twain -
- It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you.

Mark Twain -
- "One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.

Mark Twain - Mark Twain In Eruption
- Sane and intelligent human beings are like all other human beings, and carefully and cautiously and diligently conceal their private real opinions from the world and give out fictitious ones in their stead for general consumption.

Mark Twain - Following the Equator
- A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.

Mark Twain - New York Journal, June 2, 1897
- The report of my death was an exaggeration.

Mark Twain -
- I never could tell a lie that anybody would doubt, nor a truth that anybody would believe.

Mark Twain -
- Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.

Mark Twain -
- If you take a dog which is starving and feed him and make him prosperous, that dog will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a dog and a man.

Mark Twain -
- Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than on all other days of the year put together. This proves, by the numbers left in stock, that one Fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so.

Mark Twain -
- I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.

Mark Twain -
- All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.

Mark Twain - Speech in New York, Nov. 20, 1900
- A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

Mark Twain -
- I am prepared to meet anyone, but whether anyone is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

Mark Twain -
- Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Mark Twain -
- The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.

Mark Twain - Greatly Exaggerated
- The best coffee in Europe is Vienna coffee, compared to which all other coffee is fluid poverty.

Mark Twain -
- Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.

Mark Twain -
- If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Mark Twain - Wearing White Clothes speech, 1907
- I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.

Mark Twain -
- When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.

Mark Twain -
- I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.

Mark Twain -
- It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.

Mark Twain -
- A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.

Mark Twain - "Advice to Youth" Speech, 1882
- If a person offend you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures. Simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick.

Mark Twain -
- Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.

Mark Twain -
- Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.

Mark Twain -
- Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Mark Twain - Following the Equator (1897)
- It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.

Mark Twain -
- The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.

Mark Twain -
- I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.

Mark Twain -
- Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.

Mark Twain -
- Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of.

Mark Twain -
- Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

Mark Twain -
- A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Mark Twain -
- Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.

Mark Twain -
- When I was fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. When I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

Mark Twain -
- Carlyle said, "A lie cannot live"; it shows he did not know how to tell them.

Mark Twain -
- Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

Mark Twain -
- Man is the only animal that blushes -- or needs to.

Mark Twain -
- We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.

Mark Twain -
- The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.

Mark Twain -
- The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.

Mark Twain -
- Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Mark Twain -
- Golf is a good walk spoiled.

Mark Twain -
- Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

Mark Twain -
- We all live in the protection of certain cowardices which we call our principles.

Mark Twain -
- I never write Metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same money for cop.

Mark Twain -
- Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.

Mark Twain -
- In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.

Mark Twain -
- I did not attend his funeral, but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved it.

Mark Twain -
- There ought to be a room in every house to swear in.

Mark Twain -
- We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it--and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit on a hot stove lid again--and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.

Mark Twain -
- A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

Mark Twain - The Diaries of Adam and Eve
- How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.

Mark Twain -
- There are times when one would like to end the whole human race, and finish the farce.

Mark Twain -
- Golf is a good walk spoiled.

Mark Twain - Notebooks (1935)
- Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.

Mark Twain -
- If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Mark Twain -
- Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others.

Mark Twain -
- Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.