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Oliver Wendell Holmes's Quotes

Oliver Wendell Holmes profile photo

Born: 1970-01-01
Profession: Writer
Nation: American
Biography of Oliver Wendell Holmes

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I don't generally feel anything until noon, then it's time for my nap.

Tags: Nap, Time, Until

Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.

Tags: Few, Flag, Willing

Controversy equalizes fools and wise men - and the fools know it.

Tags: Fools, Men, Wise

Even for practical purposes theory generally turns out the most important thing in the end.

Tags: End, Practical, Theory

Every calling is great when greatly pursued.

Tags: Calling, Great, Greatly

Why can't somebody give us a list of things that everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of things that everybody says and nobody thinks.

Tags: Another, Give, Why

It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.

Tags: Faith, Life, Living

Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense of smell than through any other channel.

Tags: Memories, Old, Sense

Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.

Tags: Good, Heavenly, Minded

The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.

Tags: Men, Religion, Women

Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.

Tags: Fall, Speak, Word

Stillness of person and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding.

Tags: Breeding, Good, Stillness

The Amen of nature is always a flower.

Tags: Amen, Flower, Nature

The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do with genius.

Tags: Genius, Often, Talent

Apology is only egotism wrong side out.

Tags: Apology, Side, Wrong

To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.

Tags: Old, Sometimes, Young

A person is always startled when he hears himself called old for the first time.

Tags: Himself, Old, Time

Love prefers twilight to daylight.

Tags: Daylight, Love, Twilight

Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.

Tags: Mad, Often, Stupidity

Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.

Tags: After, Light, Truth

Have the courage to act instead of react.

Tags: Act, Courage, React

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.

Tags: Knowledge, Speak, Wisdom

Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.

Tags: Bullied, Common, Sense

Don't be 'consistent' but be simple true.

Tags: Consistent, Simple, True

People who honestly mean to be true really contradict themselves much more rarely than those who try to be 'consistent'.

Tags: Mean, True, Try

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

Tags: Money, Put, Trust
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Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.

Tags: Good, Great, Life

I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.

Tags: Life, Passion, Time

Every idea is an incitement... Eloquence may set fire to reason.

Tags: Fire, May, Reason

The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.

Tags: Education, Facts, Learning

The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.

Tags: Great, Men, Nor

Wisdom is the abstract of the past, but beauty is the promise of the future.

Tags: Beauty, Future, Wisdom

A new untruth is better than an old truth.

Tags: Old, Truth

A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.

Tags: Often, Thought, Times

Don't you stay at home of evenings? Don't you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?

Tags: Home, Love, Stay

I won't accept anything less than the best a player's capable of doing... and he has the right to expect the best that I can do for him and the team!

Tags: Best, Him, Team

If I were dying my last words would be: Have faith and pursue the unknown end.

Tags: End, Faith, Words

It is very lonely sometimes, trying to play God.

Tags: God, Lonely, Trying

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

Tags: Language, Soul, Thoughts

Memory is a net: one that finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.

Tags: Fish, Memory, Water

The advice of the elders to young men is very apt to be as unreal as a list of the hundred best books.

Tags: Best, Men, Young

A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend.

Tags: Flies, Royal, Society

A great calamity is as old as the trilobites an hour after it has happened.

Tags: After, Great, Old

A woman never forgets her sex. She would rather talk with a man than an angel, any day.

Tags: Sex, Talk, Woman

Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have - Cincinnati sounds worse.

Tags: Comfort, Sounds, Worse

Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.

Tags: History, Library, Try

Every real thought on every real subject knocks the wind out of somebody or other.

Tags: Real, Thought, Wind

Fame usually comes to those who are thinking about something else.

Tags: Else, Fame, Thinking

Grow we must, if we outgrow all that loves us.

Tags: Grow, Loves, Outgrow

He has half the deed done who has made a beginning.

Tags: Beginning, Done, Half

I hate facts. I always say the chief end of man is to form general propositions - adding that no general proposition is worth a damn.

Tags: End, Hate, Science

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.

Tags: Another, Ideas, Mind

Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics out of the chips that were left.

Tags: Her, Nature, She

Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.

Tags: Remarkable, Wish

Rough work, iconoclasm, but the only way to get at truth.

Tags: Rough, Truth, Work

Science is a first-rate piece of furniture for a man's upper chamber, if he has common sense on the ground floor.

Tags: Common, Science, Sense

Simple people... are very quick to see the live facts which are going on about them.

Tags: Facts, Quick, Simple

Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise.

Tags: Friendship, Game, Sweet

The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn't worth a damn.

Tags: Soul, Whether, Worth

The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is effort.

Tags: Effort, Inevitable, Pass

The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what we think.

Tags: Aim, End, May

Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The Angel of Life winds them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives the key into the hand of the Angel of the Resurrection.

Tags: Hand, Life, Once

To be civilized is to be potentially master of all possible ideas, and that means that one has got beyond being shocked, although one preserves one's own moral aesthetic preferences.

Tags: Means, Moral, Possible

A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death ensued, the jury would be judges both of the facts and of the pun, and might, if the latter were of an aggravated character, return a verdict of justifiable homicide.

Tags: Both, Character, Death

Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

Tags: Home, Love, May

But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.

Tags: Breathing, Friendship, Rose

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.

Tags: Happiness, Love, Wedding

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.

Tags: Old, Wisdom, Young

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.

Tags: Die, Music, Time

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.

Tags: Great, Moving, Stand

The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.

Tags: Deal, Great, Kiss

Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.

Tags: Become, Friendship, Yourself

Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.

Tags: Friend, Friendship, Special

We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.

Tags: Grow, Old, Playing

Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.

Tags: Insanity, Mind, Often

Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life are in bad air.

Tags: Bad, Good, Life

To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor.

Tags: Against, Lie, Sometimes

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

Tags: Men, Old, Playing

Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.

Tags: Art, Life, Picture

Old age is fifteen years older than I am.

Tags: Age, Old, Older

If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought, not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.

Tags: Freedom, Hate, Thought

A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!

Tags: Die, Music, Win

Beware how you take away hope from another human being.

Tags: Away, Hope, Human

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.

Tags: Evening, Football, Truth

Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children.

Tags: Children, Done, Pretty

When in doubt, do it.

Tags: Doubt

A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve.

Tags: Cannot, May, Question

This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.

Tags: Justice, Law, Young

Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but force.

Tags: Between, Force, Kinds
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