Quotes and Quotations

Memorable Quotes and quotations from Voltaire

Voltaire French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)


Voltaire -
- If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Voltaire -
- I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

Voltaire -
- Regimen is superior to medicine.

Voltaire -
- It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

Voltaire -
- Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

Voltaire -
- I have lost the half of myself ? a soul for which mine was made.

Voltaire - Candide
- All is for the best in the best of all possible ways.

Voltaire -
- Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.

Voltaire -
- Love truth, and pardon error.

Voltaire -
- Prejudice is opinion without judgement.

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.

Voltaire - Candide
- [Optimism is] the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.

Voltaire -
- Canada: A few acres of snow.

Voltaire - Essay on Tolerance
- Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.

Voltaire -
- You despise books; you whose lives are absorbed in the vanities of ambition, the pursuit of pleasure or indolence; but remember that all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.

Voltaire -
- It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

Voltaire -
- Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

Voltaire - Candide, 1759
- Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.

Voltaire -
- The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman nor an Empire.

Voltaire -
- Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.

Voltaire -
- When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.

Voltaire -
- Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.

Voltaire -
- Since the whole affair had become one of religion, the vanquished were of course exterminated.

Voltaire -
- Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less in human beings of whom they know nothing.

Voltaire -
- It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

Voltaire -
- True greatness consists in the use of a powerful understanding to enlighten oneself and others.

Voltaire -
- All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.

Voltaire - Letter (1769)
- The man who leaves money to charity in his will is only giving away what no longer belongs to him.

Voltaire -
- Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

Voltaire -
- God created sex. Priests created marriage.

Voltaire -
- The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

Voltaire -
- Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

Voltaire -
- God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

Voltaire - Zadig
- It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

Voltaire -
- The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of the citizens to give to the other.

Voltaire - The Portable Voltaire
- In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one part of the citizens to give to the other.

Voltaire -
- Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

Voltaire -
- A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live.

Voltaire - when asked on his deathbed to forswear Satan.
- This is no time to make new enemies.

Voltaire -
- Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.

Voltaire -
- When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.

Voltaire -
- I believe that there never was a creator of a philosophical system who did not confess at the end of his life that he had wasted his time. It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men that the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas.

Voltaire -
- Common sense is not so common.

Voltaire -
- "Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

Voltaire -
- The history of human opinion is scarcely anything more than the history of human errors.

Voltaire -
- The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

Voltaire -
- It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Voltaire - on his deathbed in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan
- Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.

Voltaire -
- To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- England has forty-two religions and only two sauces.

Voltaire -
- Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Voltaire -
- Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.

Voltaire -
- Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

Voltaire -
- May God defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies.

Voltaire -
- He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.

Voltaire -
- Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.

Voltaire -
- The secret of being boring is to say everything.

Voltaire -
- God is always on the side of the big battalions.

Voltaire -
- When its a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.

Voltaire -
- Once the people begin to reason, all is lost.

Voltaire - Letter to Frederick, 1767
- As long as there are fools and rascals, there will be religions.

Voltaire -
- The public is a ferocious beast -- one must either chain it up or flee from it.

Voltaire -
- There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable.

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

Voltaire -
- The multitude of books is making us ignorant.

Voltaire -
- Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.

Voltaire -
- Anything too stupid to be said is sung.

Voltaire -
- We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.

Voltaire -
- God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

Voltaire -
- It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.

Voltaire -
- Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire - (Attributed); originated in "The Friends of Voltaire", 1906, by S. G. Tallentyre (Evelyn Beatrice Hall)
- I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Voltaire -
- It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge

Voltaire -
- Anything too stupid to be said is sung.

Voltaire -
- It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

Voltaire -
- If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

Voltaire -
- I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

Voltaire -
- To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.

Voltaire -
- There is an astonishing imagination, even in the science of mathematics... We repeat, there was far more imagination in the head of Archimedes than in that of Homer.

Voltaire -
- The superfluous is very necessary.

Voltaire -
- This poem will never reach its destination.

Voltaire -
- Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.

Voltaire -
- I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.

Voltaire -
- To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid; you must also be well-mannered.

Voltaire -
- I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.

Voltaire -
- Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.

Voltaire -
- Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.