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Best Oscar Wilde Quotes

These Oscar Wilde quotes and sayings reflect the thoughts and insights of the Irish playwright and poet. In the 1890s, Wilde was one of the most prominent playwrights in London.

He is perhaps best known for his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his play, “The Importance of Being Earnest. He was also a significant spokesperson and advocated for the Aesthetic movement in England, which promoted “art for art’s sake.”

Oscar Wilde continues to live on in his plays, novels, and fun quotations. Regarding those, we’ve assembled some of the best for your reading pleasure below. Enjoy.

Ten Best Oscar WildeQuotes

1.) Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

2.) The world is divided into two classes—those who believe the incredible and those who do the improbable.

3.) The world’s a stage, but the play is badly cast.

4.) The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

5.) Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.

Best Oscar Wilde Quotes.

6.) Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.

7.) Never judge anyone shortly because every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

8.) Everything in moderation, including moderation.

9.) Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.

10.) Everyone may not be good, but there’s always something good in everyone.

Good Oscar Wilde Quotations

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell the truth.

Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday and no tomorrow. (And) To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating – people who know absolutely everything and people who know absolutely nothing.

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything except what is worth knowing.

I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.

See Funny Insults and Comebacks.

Short Quotes by Oscar Wilde

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.

Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.

Those whom the gods love grow young.

I can believe anything, provided it is quite incredible.

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

Questions are never indiscreet; answers sometimes are.

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

Every woman is a rebel.

Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are.

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

Alas, I am dying beyond my means.

The man who can dominate a London dinner table can dominate the world.

It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.

Life is too short to learn German.

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh; otherwise, they’ll kill you.

I am not young enough to know everything.

She is a peacock in everything but beauty.

Inspirational Oscar Wilde Sayings

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.

Some things are more precious because they don’t last long.

I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions.

One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is that things are what they are and will be what they will be.

One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.

There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.

Interesting Quotes by Oscar Wilde

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if only one hides it.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older, they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them.

Beauty has as many meanings as man has moods. Beauty is the symbol of symbols. (And) Beauty reveals everything because it expresses nothing. When it shows us itself, it shows us the whole fiery-colored world.

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

If there was less sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world.

Indeed I have always been of the opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do.

Quotes on Life

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

Live life with no excuses and travel with no regret.

Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

They’ve promised that dreams can come true but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.

Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.

The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.

One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.

There are moments when one has to choose between living one’s own life, fully, entirely, or completely-or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world, in its hypocrisy, demands.

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.

We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden where the flowers are dead.

Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.

Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world’s original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, History would have been different.

Famous Oscar Wilde Quotes

It takes a great deal of courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it.

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.

Hearts are made to be broken.

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

Everything popular is wrong.

Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

I like men who have a future and women who have a past.

When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.

A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.

What art seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong.

Hatred is blind, as well as love.

Funny Oscar Wilde Quotes

Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

I can resist everything except temptation.

Hear no evil, speak no evil, and you won’t be invited to cocktail parties.

One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age—a woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.

As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.

To get back my youth, I would do anything in the world except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you place the blame.

Crying is for plain women. Pretty women go shopping.

The nicest feeling in the world is to do a good deed anonymously-and have somebody find out.

Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.

I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.

After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.

Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.

Motivational Oscar Wilde Insights

The answers are all out there; we just need to ask the right questions.

To define is to limit.

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world, there are only individuals.

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

Who, being loved, is poor?

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

A pessimist is somebody who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks.

Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.

Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us, and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.

Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.

Nowadays, most people die of a sort of creeping common sense and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.

On Love and Romance

Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.

There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.

Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.

The very essence of romance is uncertainty.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves. By each, let this be heard. Some do it with a bitter look. Some with a flattering word. The coward does it with a kiss. The brave man with a sword.

The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.

When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

Men always want to be a woman’s first love; women like to be a man’s last romance.

The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.

When a man has once loved a woman, he will do anything for her except continue to love her.

Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired, women because they are curious: both are disappointed.

A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.

Witty Quotes

As you’ll see in these Oscar Wilde quotes, the poet was all about being witty.

It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But it is better to be good than to be ugly.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

There is no sin except stupidity.

I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.

When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life. Now that I am old, I know that it is.

My own business always bores me to death; I prefer other people’s.

I am the only person in the world I should like to know thoroughly.

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.

There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.

You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.

The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.

I have nothing to declare except my genius.

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

On Education and Books

These Oscar Wilde quotes focus on education, learning, and books.

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

You can never be overdressed or overeducated.

I am too fond of reading books to care to write them.

Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are cultivated. For these, there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written.

With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things. Was there anything so real as words?

Quotes on Friendship

These Oscar Wilde quotes focus on friends and relationships.

Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.

It is a very dangerous thing to know one’s friends.

True friends stab you in the front.

A good friend will always stab you in the front.

He has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends.

If a friend of mine gave a feast and did not invite me to it, I should not mind a bit. But if a friend of mine had a sorrow and refused to allow me to share it, I should feel it most bitterly.

I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.

Between men and women, there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, and love, but no friendship.

An acquaintance that begins with a compliment is sure to develop into a real friendship.

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.

I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects.

Quotes to be Learned From

One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.

Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.

Arguments are to be avoided: they are always vulgar and often convincing.

Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.

In judging of a beautiful statue, the aesthetic faculty is absolutely and completely gratified by the splendid curves of those marble lips that are dumb to our complaint, the noble modelling of those limbs that are powerless to help us.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

Quotes about Art

Wilde’s positions as a leader of the Aesthetic movement in London make these Oscar Wilde quotes worthy of your review.

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.

All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.

Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.

It is through art, and through art only that we can realize our perfection.

There is nothing that art cannot express.

The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it’s dead for you.

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

Make some sacrifice for your art, and you will be repaid, but ask of art to sacrifice herself for you, and a bitter disappointment may come to you.

Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.

The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art.

There are moments when art attains almost to the dignity of manual labor.

The mere mechanical technique of acting can be taught, but the spirit that is to give life to lifeless forms must be born in a man. No dramatic college can teach its pupils to think or to feel. It is Nature who makes our artists for us, though it may be Art who taught them their right mode of expression.

Oscar Wilde’s Notable Quotes

You may have already heard or read bout these Oscar Wilde quotes.

I can never travel without my diary; one should always have something sensational to read on the train.

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.

To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.

I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.

To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?

By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

By Emma Hudson

Emma is a quote curator who loves French literature, the classics, and humor.


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