Oscar Wilde

Favourite Oscar Wilde Quotations

A quick compilation of some of the very best Oscar Wilde quotes:

(In no particuar order)

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

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

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

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

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made through disobedience and rebellion.”

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

“There are things that are right to say, but that may be said at the wrong time and to the wrong people.”

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

“The public is wonderfully tolerant; it forgives everything except genius.”

“Youth! There is nothing like it. It is absurd to talk of the ignorance of youth. The only people to whose opinions I listen now with any respect are persons much younger than myself. They seem in front of me. Life has revealed to them her latest wonder.”

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

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. Women have a more subtle instinct about things. What they like is to be a man’s last romance.”

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

“The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

“Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

“There are two ways of disliking art. One is to dislike it and the other to like it rationally.”

“If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”

“To have a capacity for a passion, and not to realise it is to make oneself incomplete and limited.”

“Those who see any difference between soul and body have neither.”

“Better to take pleasure in a rose than to put its root under a microscope.”

“We teach people how to remember we never teach them how to grow.”

“Comfort is the only thing our civilisation can give us.”

“The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.”

“There is no secret of life. Life’s aim, if it has one, is simply to be always looking for temptations. There are not nearly enough of them; I sometimes pass a whole day without coming across a single one. It is quite dreadful. It makes one so nervous about the future.”

“Nothing should be able to harm a man except himself. Nothing should be able to rob a man at all. What a man really has is what is in him. What is outside of him should be a matter of no importance.”

“There is no room for Love and Hate in the same soul. They cannot live together in that fair cavern house. Love is fed by the imagination, by which we become wiser than we know, better than we feel, nobler than we are: by which we can see Life as a whole: by which, and by which alone, we can understand others in their real as in their ideal relations. Only what is fine, and finely conceived, can feed Love. But anything will feed Hate.”

“Man — poor, awkward, reliable, necessary man belongs to a sex that has been rational for millions and millions of years. He can’t help himself; it is in his race. The history of women is very different. They have always been picturesque protests against the mere existence of common-sense; they saw its dangers from the first.”

“Now-a-days 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.”

“It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done.”

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

“I wonder who it was defined man as a rational animal. It was the most premature definition ever given. Man is many things, but he is not rational.”

“Nothing that actually occurs is of the smallest importance.”

“The English can’t stand a man who is always saying he is in the right, but they are very fond of a man who admits he has been in the wrong. It is one of the best things in them.”

“The aim of life is self-development. To realise one’s nature perfectly that is what each of us is here for.”

“There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor.”

“We are never more true to ourselves than when we are inconsistent.”

“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them. Sometimes they forgive them.”

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.”

“Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.”

“Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.”

“The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.”

“There is no such thing as a good influence. All influence is immoral from the scientific point of view.”

“One should always be a little improbable.”

“Nothing should be out of reach of hope. Life is hope.”

“All thought is immoral. Its very essence is destruction. If you think of anything you kill it; nothing survives being thought of.”

“The old believe everything: the middleaged suspect everything: the young know everything.”

“The soul is born old, but grows young. That is the comedy of life. The body is born young, and grows old. That is life’s tragedy.”

Oscar Wilde