C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Compliments are only lies in court clothes.

  • —Current among men
  • Like coin, the tinsel clink of compliment.
  • Tennyson.

    A compliment is usually accompanied with a bow, as if to beg pardon for paying it.

    J. C. and A. W. Hare.

    Deference is the most complicate, the most indirect, and the most elegant of all compliments.


    He who sports compliments, unless he takes good aim, may miss his mark, and be wounded by the recoil of his own weapon.


    When two people compliment each other with the choice of anything, each of them generally gets that which he likes least.


    A woman***always feels herself complimented by love, though it may be from a man incapable of winning her heart, or perhaps even her esteem.

    Abel Stevens.

  • Banish all compliments but single truth,
  • From every tongue, and every shepherd’s heart,
  • Let them use still persuading, but no art.
  • Beaumont and Fletcher.

    Though all compliments are lies, yet because they are known to be such, nobody depends on them, so there is no hurt in them; you return them in the same manner you receive them; yet it is best to make as few as one can.

    Lady Gethin.

  • Treachery oft lurks
  • In compliments. You have sent so many posts
  • Of undertakings, they outride performance;
  • And make me think your fair pretences aim
  • At some intended ill, which my prevention
  • Must strive to avert.
  • Nabb.

    Compliments and flattery oftenest excite my contempt by the pretension they imply; for who is he that assumes to flatter me? To compliment often implies an assumption of superiority in the complimenter. It is, in fact, a subtle detraction.


    Compliments of congratulation are always kindly taken, and cost nothing but pen, ink and paper. I consider them as draughts upon good breeding, where the exchange is always greatly in favor of the drawer.