Quotes and Quotations

Memorable Quotes and quotations from Voltaire

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


Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- God created sex. Priests created marriage.

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- Common sense is not so common.

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- This poem will never reach its destination.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- Love truth, and pardon error.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- Prejudice is opinion without judgement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- A witty saying proves nothing.

Voltaire -
- Regimen is superior to medicine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- Canada: A few acres of snow.

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

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

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

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

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

Voltaire -
- The superfluous is very necessary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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