phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at



A list of quotationsPeople love to talk and when they say something memorable we call it a quotation.

Here's a select list of phrases which have entered the language that were first said by particular individuals - complete with details on how, when and why they originated.

A picture paints a thousand words - Frederick R. Barnard

A riddle wrapped up in an enigma - Winston Churchill

Absolute power corrupts absolutely - Lord Acton

Blood, sweat and tears - Winston Churchill

Bugger Bognor! - King George V

Cogito ergo sum - René Descartes 

Darling buds of May - William Shakespeare 

Et tu, Brute - William Shakespeare 

Excuse me while I kiss this guy - Jimi Hendrix

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears - William Shakespeare

From sea to shining sea - Katharine Lee Bates

Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration - Thomas Edison

History is bunk - Henry Ford

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child - William Shakespeare

I have nothing to offer but blood toil tears and sweat - Winston Churchill

I have nothing to declare but my genius - Oscar Wilde

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips - William Shakespeare

If music be the food of love, play on - William Shakespeare

Less is more - Robert Browning

Let not poor Nelly starve - King Charles II

Let's roll - Todd Beamer

Life's not all beer and skittles - Thomas Hughes

Like being savaged by a dead sheep - Dennis Healey 

Many a true word is spoken in jest - Geoffrey Chaucer

May you live in interesting times - Frederic Coudert 

Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water - William Shakespeare

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows - William Shakespeare

More light! - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

Nasty, brutish and short - Thomas Hobbes

Necessity is the mother of invention - Richard Franck

Never give a sucker an even break - W.C.Fields

No man is an island - John Donne

Nothing is certain but death and taxes - Daniel Defoe

One small step for man - Neil Armstrong

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely - Lord Acton

Say goodnight Gracie - George Burns

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em - William Shakespeare

Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men, have mediocrity thrust upon them - Joseph Heller

Spare the rod and spoil the child - Samuel Butler

Standing on the shoulders of giants - Robert Hooke

The best laid schemes of mice and men - Robert Burns

The female of the species is more deadly then the male - Rudyard Kipling

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive - Robert Louis Stevenson

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated - Mark Twain

Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things - Dan Quayle

We are a grandmother - Margaret Thatcher

We are not amused - Queen Victoria

You can lead a w**** to culture but you can't make her think - Dorothy Parker.

You've never had it so good - Harold Macmillan

See also, our collection of quotations from Lincoln, Einstein and Marilyn Monroe.

...and, of course, a list of quotations wouldn't be complete without a link to famous misquotations.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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