Oscar Wilde Quotes

Oscar Wilde was one of the most brilliant minds of his time. A playwright, poet, and novelist, Wilde’s words were sharp, witty, and full of insight. Wilde was a man ahead of his time, and his quotes reflect that. He had a unique way of looking at the world, and his words continue to inspire people today. Here are some of the best Oscar Wilde quotes to help you see the world in a new light.

  • Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… I can resist everything but temptation.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.

    Oscar Wilde
  • If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.

    Oscar Wilde
  • When good Americans die they go to Paris.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

    Oscar Wilde
  • If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In England, an inventor is regarded almost as a crazy man, and in too many instances, invention ends in disappointment and poverty. In America, an inventor is honoured, help is forthcoming, and the exercise of ingenuity, the application of science to the work of man, is there the shortest road to wealth.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.

    Oscar Wilde
  • 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.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and be more, and to do more.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.

    Oscar Wilde
  • True friends stab you in the front.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.

    Oscar Wilde
  • If there was less sympathy in the world, there would be less trouble in the world.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.

    Oscar Wilde
  • To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Technique is really personality. That is the reason why the artist cannot teach it, why the pupil cannot learn it, and why the aesthetic critic can understand it.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

    Oscar Wilde
  • To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Nothing, indeed, is more dangerous to the young artist than any conception of ideal beauty: he is constantly led by it either into weak prettiness or lifeless abstraction: whereas to touch the ideal at all, you must not strip it of vitality.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Art should never try to be popular. The public should try to make itself artistic.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is only by not paying one’s bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I suppose society is wonderfully delightful. To be in it is merely a bore. But to be out of it is simply a tragedy.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There should be a law that no ordinary newspaper should be allowed to write about art. The harm they do by their foolish and random writing it would be impossible to overestimate – not to the artist, but to the public, blinding them to all but harming the artist not at all.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I think it is perfectly natural for any artist to admire intensely and love a young man. It is an incident in the life of almost every artist.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I can resist everything except temptation.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

    Oscar Wilde
  • All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex and vital.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.

    Oscar Wilde
  • No better way is there to learn to love Nature than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Women are made to be loved, not understood.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Charity creates a multitude of sins.

    Oscar Wilde
  • What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

    Oscar Wilde
  • When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.

    Oscar Wilde
  • One can survive everything, nowadays, except death, and live down everything except a good reputation.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Everything popular is wrong.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is always the unreadable that occurs.

    Oscar Wilde
  • As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The Lady’s World’ should be made the recognized organ for the expression of women’s opinions on all subjects of literature, art and modern life, and yet it should be a magazine that men could read with pleasure.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There’s nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It’s a thing no married man knows anything about.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Writing bores me so.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I want my food dead. Not sick, not dying, dead.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A man can’t be too careful in the choice of his enemies.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Biography lends to death a new terror.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Romantic art deals with the exception and with the individual. Good people, belonging as they do to the normal, and so, commonplace type, are artistically uninteresting.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But… it is better to be good than to be ugly.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In married life three is company and two none.

    Oscar Wilde
  • One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Nothing is so aggravating than calmness.

    Oscar Wilde
  • London is too full of fogs and serious people. Whether the fogs produce the serious people, or whether the serious people produce the fogs, I don’t know.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The function of the artist is to invent, not to chronicle.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.

    Oscar Wilde
  • An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

    Oscar Wilde
  • When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Those whom the gods love grow young.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Hatred is blind, as well as love.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I see when men love women. They give them but a little of their lives. But women when they love give everything.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I have never given adoration to any body except myself.

    Oscar Wilde
  • If a work of art is rich and vital and complete, those who have artistic instincts will see its beauty, and those to whom ethics appeal more strongly than aesthetics will see its moral lesson. It will fill the cowardly with terror, and the unclean will see in it their own shame.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Alas, I am dying beyond my means.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In its primary aspect, a painting has no more spiritual message than an exquisite fragment of Venetian glass. The channels by which all noble and imaginative work in painting should touch the soul are not those of the truths of lives.

    Oscar Wilde
  • While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

    Oscar Wilde
  • He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world.

    Oscar Wilde
  • By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

    Oscar Wilde
  • You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In designing the scenery and costumes for any of Shakespeare’s plays, the first thing the artist has to settle is the best date for the drama. This should be determined by the general spirit of the play more than by any actual historical references which may occur in it.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There is no sin except stupidity.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

    Oscar Wilde
  • One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.

    Oscar Wilde
  • One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be.

    Oscar Wilde
  • No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.

    Oscar Wilde
  • If one could only teach the English how to talk, and the Irish how to listen, society here would be quite civilized.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In judging of a beautiful statue, the aesthetic faculty is absolutely and completely gratified by the splendid curves of those marble lips that are dumb to our complaint, the noble modelling of those limbs that are powerless to help us.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I have a dining room done in different shades of white, with white cushions embroidered in yellow silk: the effect is absolutely delightful and the room beautiful.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A critic should be taught to criticise a work of art without making any reference to the personality of the author.

    Oscar Wilde
  • It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

    Oscar Wilde
  • I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

    Oscar Wilde
  • In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.

    Oscar Wilde
  • If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

    Oscar Wilde
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

    Oscar Wilde
  • A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The world has grown suspicious of anything that looks like a happily married life.

    Oscar Wilde
  • There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no married man knows anything about.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.

    Oscar Wilde
  • 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.

    Oscar Wilde
  • The spirit of an age may be best expressed in the abstract ideal arts, for the spirit itself is abstract and ideal.

    Oscar Wilde
  • America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.

    Oscar Wilde

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