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Mark Twain quotes (138)
Familiarity breeds contempt. How accurate that is. The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it.
Mark Twain Category: Contempt
The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.
Mark Twain Category: Life
The secret source of humour itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humour in heaven.
Mark Twain Category: Humor
Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers within three years the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.
Mark Twain Category: Writing
Maybe its not as bad as it sounds.
Mark Twain Category: Music
I cannot keep from talking even at the risk of being instructive.
Mark Twain Category: Speak
Reader suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain Category: Congress
Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
Mark Twain Category: Smile
The principle of give and take is the principle of diplomacy - give one and take ten.
Mark Twain Category: Diploma
I am opposed to millionaires but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.
Mark Twain Category: Wealth
Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.
Mark Twain Category: Do
There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race and finish the farce.
Mark Twain Category: Housework
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want drink what you don't like and do what youd druther not.
Mark Twain Category: Health
It may be called the Master Passion the hunger for self-approval.
Mark Twain Category: Approval
The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cant read them.
Mark Twain Category: Book
Thrusting my nose firmly between his teeth I threw him heavily to the ground on top of me.
Mark Twain Category: Fight
It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race.
Mark Twain Category: Enough
The law of work does seem utterly unfair but there it is and nothing can change it; the higher the pay in enjoyment the worker gets out of it the higher shall be his pay in money also.
Mark Twain Category: Work
By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another mans I mean.
Mark Twain Category: Adversity
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
Mark Twain Category: Diet
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. Therefore in the Old Silurian Period the Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Mark Twain Category: River
You cant depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
Mark Twain Category: Depend
There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
Mark Twain Category: Optimism
Necessity is the mother of taking chances.
Mark Twain Category: Necessity
There are three kinds of lies: lies damned lies and statistics.
Mark Twain Category: Lever
There is no security in life only opportunity.
Mark Twain Category: Opportunity
It was wonderful to find America but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.
Mark Twain Category: Ambition
We are chameleons and our partialities and prejudices change place with an easy and blessed facility and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it.
Mark Twain Category: Change
Next to possessing genius ones self is the power of appreciating it in others.
Mark Twain Category: Genius
I respect a man who knows how to spell a word more than one way.
Mark Twain Category: Respect
Fortune knocks at every man's door once in a life but in a good many cases the man is in a neighboring saloon and does not hear her.
Mark Twain Category: Fortune
Warm summer sun shine kindly here; Warm southern wind blow softly here; Green sod above lie light lie light Good night dear heart good night good night.
Mark Twain Category: Death
Thunder is good thunder is impressive; but it is lightening that does the work.
Mark Twain Category: Thunder
It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.
Mark Twain Category: Canada
Be good and you will be lonesome.
Mark Twain Category: Good
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 Category: Grief
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
Mark Twain Category: Today
In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.
Mark Twain Category: Education
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 Category: Conservative
She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.
Mark Twain Category: Refined
Crank a man with a new idea until it succeeds.
Mark Twain Category: Idea
All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence and then success is sure.
Mark Twain Category: Confidence
I have had an aversion to good spelling for sixty years and more merely for the reason that when I was a boy there was not a thing I could do creditably except spell according to the book. It was a poor and mean distinction and I early learned to disenjoy it. I suppose that this is because the ability to spell correctly is a talent not an acquirement. There is some dignity about an acquirement because it is a product of your own labor. It is wages earned whereas to be able to do a thing merely by the grace of God and not by your own effort transfers the distinction to our heavenly home where possibly it is a matter of pride and satisfaction but it leaves you naked and bankrupt.
Mark Twain Category: Spell
I have criticized absent people so often and then discovered to my humiliation that I was talking with their relatives that I have grown superstitious about that sort of thing and dropped it.
Mark Twain Category: Absent
Few sinners are saved after the fiirst twenty minutes of a sermon.
Mark Twain Category: Serious
All kings is mostly rapscallions.
Mark Twain Category: Kindness
If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
Mark Twain Category: Truth
Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
Mark Twain Category: Love
We are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going and then go with the drove. We have two opinions: one private which we are afraid to express; and another one the one we use which we force ourselves to wear to please Mrs. Grundy until habit makes us comfortable in it and the custom of defending it presently makes us love it adore it and forget how pitifully we came by it. Look at it in politics.
Mark Twain Category: Conformity
In certain trying circumstances urgent circumstances desperate circumstances profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.
Mark Twain Category: Profanity
The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
Mark Twain Category: History
When angry count four; when very angry swear.
Mark Twain Category: Anger
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and blind can read.
Mark Twain Category: Deaf
Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out.
Mark Twain Category: Heaven
Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man - with his mouth.
Mark Twain Category: War
Travel is fatal to prejudice bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad wholesome charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth.
Mark Twain Category: Bigotry
Any emotion if it is sincere is involuntary.
Mark Twain Category: Emotion
Ive come loaded with statistics for Ive noticed that a man cant prove anything without statistics.
Mark Twain Category: Statistics
A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
Mark Twain Category: Bank
God made the Idiot for practice and then He made the School Board.
Mark Twain Category: Idiots
I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.
Mark Twain Category: Exercise
Without fools the rest of us could not succeed.
Mark Twain Category: Unsorted
The best way to cheer yourself is to cheer up somebody else.
Mark Twain Category: Happiness
Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isnt.
Mark Twain Category: Possibility
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 Category: Country
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
Mark Twain Category: Advertising
The right word may be effective but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
Mark Twain Category: Effect
Don't go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.
Mark Twain Category: Dogma
Indecency vulgarity obscenity these are strictly confined to man; he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing. They are not ashamed.
Mark Twain Category: Shame
The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are right.
Mark Twain Category: Friendship
When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat.
Mark Twain Category: Easy
Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense.
Mark Twain Category: Defense
Truth is more of a stranger than fiction but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
Mark Twain Category: Fiction
Golf is a good walk spoiled.
Mark Twain Category: Golf
Don't part with your allusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
Mark Twain Category: Gone
The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.
Mark Twain Category: Cowardice
The trouble isnt that there are too many fools but that the lightning isnt distributed right.
Mark Twain Category: Fool
Familiarity breeds contempt and children.
Mark Twain Category: Children
[He was] a solemn unsmiling sanctimonious old iceberg who looked like he was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity.
Mark Twain Category: Age
There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when youre busy interrupting.
Mark Twain Category: Conversation
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.
Mark Twain Category: Apparel
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain Category: Disappointment
The human race has one really effective weapon and that is laughter.
Mark Twain Category: Laugh
Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
Mark Twain Category: Opinion
Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse yet he has left it out of his heaven.
Mark Twain Category: Sex
The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion are adversaries some are insane.
Mark Twain Category: Adversary
When in doubt tell the truth.
Mark Twain Category: Doubt
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
Mark Twain Category: Forgive
When some men discharge an obligation you can hear the report for miles around.
Mark Twain Category: Debt
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight what counts is the size of the fight in the dog.
Mark Twain Category: Dog
When we remember we are all mad the mysteries of life disappear and life stands explained.
Mark Twain Category: Insanity
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
Mark Twain Category: Success
Its spring feveryou don't know quite what it is you want but it just fairly makes your heart ache you want it so.
Mark Twain Category: Spring
One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that the cat has only nine lives.
Mark Twain Category: Cat
It is my belief that nearly any invented quotation played with confidence stands a good chance to deceive.
Mark Twain Category: Quotations
Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion.
Mark Twain Category: False
The miracle or the power that elevates the few is to be found in their industry application and perseverance under the promptings of a brave determined spirit.
Mark Twain Category: Gravity
If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be a Christian.
Mark Twain Category: Christianity
Make it a point to do something every day that you don't want to do. This is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.
Mark Twain Category: Duty
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 Category: Funerals
If men bore children there would only be one born in each family.
Mark Twain Category: Baby
It is just like mans vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
Mark Twain Category: Animals
It takes your enemy and your friend working together to hurt you to the heart: the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.
Mark Twain Category: Injury
Religion consists of a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain.
Mark Twain Category: Religion
There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land Again after a cheerful careless voyage.
Mark Twain Category: Ship
Water taken in moderation cannot hurt anybody.
Mark Twain Category: Water
I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I cant find anybody who can tell me what they want.
Mark Twain Category: Teach
Always do right this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain Category: Astonish
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Mark Twain Category: Fact
We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and cant read.
Mark Twain Category: Jury
Denial aint just a river in Egypt.
Mark Twain Category: Denial
What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.
Mark Twain Category: Tax
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 Category: Bible
Honesty is the best policy when there is money in it.
Mark Twain Category: Honest
There is no such thing as the Queens English. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares!
Mark Twain Category: Immorality
Courage is resistance to fear mastery of fear not absence of fear.
Mark Twain Category: Courage
It is easier to stay out than get out.
Mark Twain Category: Out
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
Mark Twain Category: Fear
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
Mark Twain Category: Learn
It were not best that we should all think alike; it is the difference of opinion that makes horse races.
Mark Twain Category: Alike
Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
Mark Twain Category: Habit
We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we had ever invented human liberty.
Mark Twain Category: Invention
Haint we got all the fools in town on our side? And haint that a big enough majority in any town?
Mark Twain Category: Majority
I don't give a damn for a man who can spell a word only one way.
Mark Twain Category: Word
Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. Indeed my experiments have proven to me that he is the Unreasoning Animal... In truth man is incurably foolish. Simple things which other animals easily learn he is incapable of learning. Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox a goose a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately.
Mark Twain Category: Man
He is useless on top of the ground; he ought to be under it inspiring the cabbages.
Mark Twain Category: Top
Sacred cows make the best hamburger.
Mark Twain Category: Iconoclast
Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
Mark Twain Category: Breeding
I don't know of a single foreign product that enters this country untaxed except the answer to prayer.
Mark Twain Category: Praise
My first American ancestor gentlemen was an Indianan early Indian. Your ancestors skinned him alive and I am an orphan. All those Salem witches were ancestors of mine. Your people made it tropical for them.... The first slave brought into New England out of Africa was an ancestor of minefor I am a mixed breed an infinitely shaded and exquisite Mongrel.
Mark Twain Category: Race
There are two times in a mans life when he should not speculate: when he cant afford it and when he can.
Mark Twain Category: Money
To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.
Mark Twain Category: Promise
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
Mark Twain Category: Compliment
Behold the fool saith Put not all thine eggs in the one basket which is but a manner of saying Scatter your money and your attention; but the wise man saith Put all your eggs in the one basket and watch that basket!
Mark Twain Category: Egg
Adam was but human this explains it all. He did not want the apples for the apple's sake he wanted it only because it was forbidden.
Mark Twain Category: Adam
I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know.
Mark Twain Category: Answer
Man is the only animal that blushes or needs to.
Mark Twain Category: Blushing
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 Category: Better