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Accurate and famous quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes about ideas, life, truth, love, age. Oliver Wendell Holmes is well-known American writer with many wise quotes. You can read the best of all time and enjoy Top 10 lists. Share the best Oliver Wendell Holmes sayings with your friends and family.


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


  2. Have the courage to act instead of react.


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


  4. The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it will contract.




  5. Beware how you take away hope from another human being.


  6. Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked.


  7. Man has will, but woman has her way.


  8. Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.


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


  10. Young men know the rules, but old men know the exceptions.


  11. Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness.


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

    • love

  13. A page of history is worth a pound of logic.


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


  15. Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.


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

    • wisdom

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

    • ideas

  18. It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth looking at.


  19. Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.


  20. Love prefers twilight to daylight.


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


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


  23. The Amen of nature is always a flower.


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


  25. How many people live on the reputation of the reputation they might have made!


  26. Apology is only egotism wrong side out.


  27. The mode in which the inevitable comes to pass is through effort.


  28. A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.

    • ideas

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


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



Top 10 quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Oliver Wendell Holmes image quotes

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About Oliver Wendell Holmes

Name Oliver Wendell Holmes
About Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894) was an American physician, poet, pr
Quotes 175 quotes
Nationality American
Profession Writer
Birthday August 29, 1809
Top topics ideas, life, truth, love, age

Where is Oliver Wendell Holmes from? Oliver Wendell Holmes is American who said awesome wise words. Well-known and respected in American society for wise sayings. The following quotations and images represent the American nature embed in Oliver Wendell Holmes's character.

What Oliver Wendell Holmes was famous for? Oliver Wendell Holmes is famous writer with many good quotes. Influential and well recognized writer all over the world. Browse a lot of Oliver Wendell Holmes books and reference books with quotes from Oliver Wendell Holmes on Amazon.


What are the best ideas quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes?


    Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.

    • ideas

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

    • ideas

    A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.

    • ideas

    A new and valid idea is worth more than a regiment and fewer men can furnish the former than command the latter.

    • ideas

    Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.

    • ideas

    There never was an idea started that woke up men out of their stupid indifference but its originator was spoken of as a crank.

    • ideas

More ideas quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best life quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes?


    It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth looking at.

    • life

    To live is to function. That is all there is in living.

    • 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.

    • life

    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.


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


More life quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best truth quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes?


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

    • truth

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

    • truth

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

    • truth

    A new untruth is better than an old truth.

    • truth

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

    • truth

More truth quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best love quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes?


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

    • love

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

    • love

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


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


    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?


More love quotes or go to table of contents


What are the best age quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes?


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


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

    • age

    Age, like distance lends a double charm.

    • age

    Old age is fifteen years older than I am.

    • age

More age quotes or go to table of contents


More quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Want some more good quotations by Oliver Wendell Holmes? Explore the rest of 175 sayings by Oliver Wendell Holmes.


It is very lonely sometimes, trying to play God.


Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all.


A good soldier, like a good horse, cannot be of a bad color.


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

  • truth



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


The greatest act of faith is when a man understands he is not God.

  • faith

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


People talk fundamentals and superlatives and then make some changes of detail.


Every calling is great when greatly pursued.


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


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


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

  • age

It cannot be helped, it is as it should be, that the law is behind the times.


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


It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV.


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

  • truth

Little-minded people's thoughts move in such small circles that five minutes conversation gives you an arc long enough to determine their whole curve.

  • conversation

What I call a good patient is one who, having found a good physician, sticks to him till he dies.


To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.


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


People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still and inquire, why wasn't it done the other way?


To live is to function. That is all there is in living.

  • life

Nothing is so commonplace has the wish to be remarkable.


Several years before birth, advertise for a couple of parents belonging to long-lived families.


Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sumbut you have to make the romance, and it will come to the question how much fire you have in your belly.


Good Americans when they die, go to Paris.


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


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


A child's education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.


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


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


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

  • age

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


I hate being placed on committees. They are always having meetings at which half are absent and the rest late.


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


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


The most foolish kind of a book is a kind of leaky boat on the sea of wisdom; some of the wisdom will get in anyhow.


Society is always trying in some way to grind us down to a single flat surface.


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


And Silence, like a poultice, comesTo heal the blows of sound.


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

  • success

Stillness and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding. Vulgar persons can't sit still, or at least must always work their limbs and features.


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


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

  • truth

I always say, as you know, that if my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them. Its my job.


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.


The freeman, casting with unpurchased hand the vote that shakes the turrets of the land.


Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of a thought except as it galloped past him.


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


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


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


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


Even the wisest woman you talk to is ignorant of something you may know, but an elegant woman never forgets her elegance.


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.


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.


And when you stick on conversation's burrs, don't strew your pathway with those dreadful urs.

  • conversation

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


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


Old books, you know well, are books of the world's youth, and new books are the fruits of its age.

  • reading

The older author is constantly rediscovering himself in the more or less fossilized productions of his earlier years.


Beauty is the index of a larger fact than wisdom.


When in doubt, do it.

  • doubt

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

  • grow

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water-bath is to the body.


Age, like distance lends a double charm.

  • age

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


A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.


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!


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


A new untruth is better than an old truth.

  • truth

Our brains our seventy year clocks, the angel of life winds them up once and for all, then closes the case, and gives the key into the hands of the angel of resurrection.


Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.

  • ideas

God's plan made a hopeful beginning. But man spoiled his chances by sinning. We trust that the story will end in God's glory. But, at present, the other side's winning.

  • sin

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


Unpretending mediocrity is good, and genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essentially common person is detestable. It spoils the grand neutrality of a commonplace character, as the rinsings of an unwashed wine-glass spoil a draught of fair water.

  • genius

But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree.


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?

  • corner

Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide --that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life --are alike forbidden.

  • language

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

  • wedding

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.


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.


The world has to learn that the actual pleasure derived from material things is of rather low quality on the whole and less even in quantity than it looks to those who have not tried it.


Old age is fifteen years older than I am.

  • age

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


... the hydrostatic paradox of controversy. Don't you know what that means? Well, I will tell you. You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way. And the fools know it.

  • argument

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

  • home

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

  • history

This is an inquisitive age, and if we insist on piling up beyond a certain height knowledge which is in itself mere trash and lumber to a man whose life is to be one long fight with death and disease, there will be some sharp questions asked by and by.


Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used till they are seasoned.


The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this Court sits.


People who make puns are like wanton boys that put coppers on the railroad tracks. They amuse themselves and other children, but their little trick may upset a freight train of conversation for the sake of a battered witticism.


If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it around. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't embrace trouble; that's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say: meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it, and had better be on speaking terms with it.


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

  • angel

In walking, the will and the muscles are so accustomed to working together and performing their task with so little expenditure of force that the intellect is left comparatively free.


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.


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.

  • life

Speak not too well of one who scarce will know himself transfigured in its roseate glow; Say kindly of him what is, chiefly, true, remembering always he belongs to you; Deal with him as a truant, if you will, But claim him, keep him, call him brother still!


Gentlemen, to the lady without whom I should never have survived for eighty, nor sixty, nor yet thirty years. Her smile has been my lyric, her understanding, the rhythm of the stanza. She has been the spring wherefrom I have drawn the power to write the words. She is the poem of my life.


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


I should like to see any kind of a man, distinguishable from a gorilla that some good and even pretty woman could not shape a husband out of.


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.

  • humor

It is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.


When twenty years ago a vague terror went over the earth and the word socialism began to be heard, I thought and still think that fear was translated into doctrines that had no proper place in the Constitution or the common law. Judges are apt to be naif, simple-minded men, and they need something of Mephistopheles. We too need education in the obviousto learn to transcend our own convictions and to leave room for much that we hold dear to be done away with short of revolution by the orderly change of law.


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


A question like the present should be disposed of without undue delay. But a State cannot be expected to move with the celerity of a private business man; it is enough if it proceeds, in the language of the English Chancery, with all deliberate speed.


O Damsel Dorothy! Dorothy Q. !Strange is the gift that I owe to you;Such a gift as never a kingSave to daughter or son might bring,All my tenure of heart and hand,All my title to house and land;Mother and sister and child and wifeAnd joy and sorrow and death and life!


It is by no means certain that our individual personality is the single inhabitant of these our corporeal frames... We all do things both awake and asleep which surprise us. Perhaps we have cotenants in this house we live in.


You commit a sin of omission if you do not utilize all the power that is within you. All men have claims on man, and to the man with special talents, this is a very special claim. It is required that a man take part in the actions and clashes of his time that the peril of being judged not to have lived at all.


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.

  • angel

Man is born a predestined idealist, for he is born to act. To act is to affirm the worth of an end, and to persist in affirming the worth of an end is to make an ideal.


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

  • enthusiasm

I firmly believe that if the whole material medical could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind, and all the worse for the sea.


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


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.


But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideasthat the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.


I do not think the United States would come to an end if we lost our power to declare an Act of Congress void. I do think the Union would be imperiled if we could not make that declaration as to the laws of the several States.


Men are idolaters and want something to look at and kiss and hug, or throw themselves down before; they always did, they always will; and if you don't make it out of wood, you must make it out of words.

  • authors

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


The general rule, at least, is that while property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking.


Our dead brothers still live for us and bid us think of life, not death--of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and glory of Spring. As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil, our trumpets, sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.



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When was Oliver Wendell Holmes birthday? Oliver Wendell Holmes was born on August 29, 1809.

Who is Oliver Wendell Holmes? Some facts about Oliver Wendell Holmes from biography. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894) was an American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Tab... Read more about Oliver Wendell Holmes on Wikipedia or watch videos with quotes from Oliver Wendell Holmes on YouTube. Browse a lot of books about Oliver Wendell Holmes on Amazon to get more reference.

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