78 Great Oscar Wilde One-Liners On Love, Life and Money

Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet, and playwright is perhaps the most quoted artist aside from Shakespeare. He even has a quote on quotes (‘Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.‘). It helps that he was incredibly witty, but it’s the honesty and truth that underlies the quotes that have made them stand the test of time. Here are some of his best:

The Self

1.     ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’
2.     ‘After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second glass, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.’
3.     ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’

4.     ‘The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.’

5.     ‘I can resist everything except temptation.’

6.     ‘To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.’

7.     ‘Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.’

8.     ‘I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.’
9.     ‘The only good thing to do with good advice is to pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.’
10.  ‘I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.’
11.  ‘The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.’


12.  ‘There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor.’
13.  ”Even you are not rich enough, to buy back your past. No man is.’

14.  ‘A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.’

15.  ‘Starvation, and not sin, is the parent of modern crime.’

16.  ‘The only thing that can console one for being poor is extravagance. The only thing that can console one for being rich is economy.’
17.  ‘Oh, I love London society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what society should be.’

18.  ‘Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.’
19.  ‘And, after all, what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.’

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

Men and Women

21.  ‘Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.’
22.  ‘The very essence of romance is uncertainty.’
23.  ‘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.’

24.  ‘Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.’
25.  ‘Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.’
26.  ‘Young men want to be faithful, and are not. Old men want to be faithless, and cannot.’

27.  ‘Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.’
28.  ‘To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.’

29.  ‘Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.’

30.  ‘A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.’
31.  ‘Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are.’

Other People

32.  ‘Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.’
33.  ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.’

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

35.  ‘There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.’
36.  ‘I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.’

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

38.  ‘Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.’

39.  ‘When people agree with me, I always feel that I must be wrong.’


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

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

42.  ‘Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success.’
43.  ‘A good friend will always stab you in the front.’

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

Growing Up

45.  ‘Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely if ever do they forgive them.’
46.  ‘I am not young enough to know everything.’
47.  ‘The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.’

48.  ‘Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.’
49.  ‘To lose one parent…may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness.’

50.  ‘What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us.’

51.  ‘All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.’
52.  ‘Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.’


53.  ‘The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.’

54.  ‘Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.’
55.  ‘Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.’

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

57.  ‘Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.’
58.  ‘The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.’

59.  ‘The fact is, that the public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.’

60.  ‘Patriotism is the vice of nations.’


61.  ‘Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.’

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

63.  ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’
64.  ‘Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.’

65.  ‘It is well for his peace that the saint goes to his martyrdom. He is spared the sight of the horror of his harvest.’

66.  ‘A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.’
67.  ‘It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.’

68.  ‘Truth, in the matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.’

69.  ‘Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.’


70.  ‘In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.’

71.  ‘Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.’
72.  ‘Everything in moderation, including moderation.’
73.  ‘An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.’

74.  ‘Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.’
75.  ‘The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster.’

76.  ‘Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography.’
77.  ‘Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.’

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


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