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


Be not wise in your own conceits.


Be not righteous overmuch.


Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.


I am not in the roll of common men.


Wind puffs up empty bladders; opinion, fools.


The art of making much show with little substance.


Self-made men are most always apt to be a little too proud of the job.

H. W. Shaw.

The world knows only two, that’s Rome and I.

Ben Jonson.

Every man, however little, makes a figure in his own eyes.

Henry Home.

Conceit may puff a man up, but never prop him up.


Faith, that’s as well said as if I had said it myself.


Nature has sometimes made a fool, but a coxcomb is always of a man’s own making.


The certain way to be cheated is to fancy one’s self more cunning than others.


He who gives himself airs of importance exhibits the credentials of impotence.


The weakest spot in every man is where he thinks himself to be the wisest.


No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself.

Lord Greville.

The more any one speaks of himself, the less he likes to hear another talked of.


A man who is proud of small things shows that small things are great to him.

Madame de Girardin.

The miller imagines that the corn grows only to make his mill turn.


One whom the music of his own vain tongue doth ravish like enchanting harmony.


  • We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
  • Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so.
  • Pope.

    Strong conceit, like a new principle, carries all easily with it, when yet above common-sense.


    I say that conceit is just as natural a thing to human minds as a centre to a circle.


    Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.


    Man believes himself always greater than he is, and is esteemed less than he is worth.


  • A strong conceit is rich; so most men deem:
  • If not to be, ’tis comfort yet to seem.
  • Marston.

    The best of lessons, for a good many people, would be to listen at a keyhole. It is a pity for such that the practice is dishonorable.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Self-love is better than any gilding to make that seem gorgeous wherein ourselves be parties.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    The cuckoo drinks the celestial juice of the mango-tree, and is not proud; the frog drinks swamp-water, and quacks with conceit.


    Conceit and confidence are both of them cheats; the first always imposes on itself, the second frequently deceives others too.


    How wise are we in thought! how weak in practice! our very virtue, like our will, is nothing.


    Conceited people are never without a certain degree of harmless satisfaction wherewith to flavor the waters of life.

    Madame Deluzy.

    It is the admirer of himself, and not the admirer of virtue, that thinks himself superior to others.


    Men are found to be vainer on account of those qualities which they fondly believe they have than of those which they really have.


    A man—poet, prophet, or whatever he may be—readily persuades himself of his right to all the worship that is voluntarily tendered.


    We go and fancy that everybody is thinking of us. But he is not; he is like us—he is thinking of himself.

    Charles Reade.

    A man who is always well satisfied with himself is seldom so with others, and others as little pleased with him.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    One’s self-satisfaction is an untaxed kind of property, which it is very unpleasant to find depreciated.

    George Eliot.

    Those who differ most from the opinions of their fellow-men are the most confident of the truth of their own.


    Conceit is to nature what paint is to beauty; it is not only needless, but impairs what it would improve.


    Everything without tells the individual that he is nothing; everything within persuades him that he is everything.

    X. Doudan.

    I’ve never any pity for conceited people, because I think they carry their comfort about with them.

    George Eliot.

    There is scarcely any man, how much soever he may despise the character of a flatterer, but will condescend in the meanest manner to flatter himself.


    Conceited men often seem a harmless kind of men, who, by an overweening self-respect, relieve others from the duty of respecting them at all.


    None are so seldom found alone, and are so soon tired of their own company, as those coxcombs who are on the best terms with themselves.


    Conceit is the most contemptible and one of the most odious qualities in the world. It is vanity driven from all other shifts, and forced to appeal to itself for admiration.


    Every man deems that he has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest of all for him to bear; but they are so, because they are the very ones he needs.


    No wonder we are all more or less pleased with mediocrity, since it leaves us at rest, and gives the same comfortable feeling as when one associates with his equals.


    It is a fact which escapes no one, that, generally speaking, whoso is acquainted with his worth has but a little stock to cultivate acquaintance with.


  • Conceit, more rich in matter than in words,
  • Brags of his substance, not of ornament:
  • They are but beggars that can count their worth.
  • Shakespeare.

    An eagerness and zeal for dispute on every subject, and with every one, shows great self-sufficiency, that never-failing sign of great self-ignorance.

    Lord Chatham.

  • Drawn by conceit from reason’s plan
  • How vain is that poor creature man;
  • How pleas’d in ev’ry paltry elf
  • To prate about that thing himself.
  • Churchill.

    We judge of others for the most part by their good opinion of themselves; yet nothing gives such offense or creates so many enemies, as that extreme self-complacency or superciliousness of manner, which appears to set the opinion of every one else at defiance.


    Be very slow to believe that you are wiser than all others; it is a fatal but common error. Where one has been saved by a true estimation of another’s weakness, thousands have been destroyed by a false appreciation of their own strength.


  • This self-conceit is a most dangerous shelf
  • Where many have made shipwreck unawares;
  • He who doth trust too much unto himself
  • Can never fail to fall in many snares.
  • Earl of Stirling.

    All affectation and display proceed from the supposition of possessing something better than the rest of the world possesses. Nobody is vain in possessing two legs and two arms; because that is the precise quantity of either sort of limb which everybody possesses.

    Sydney Smith.

  • Whoe’er imagines prudence all his own,
  • Or deems that he hath powers to speak and judge
  • Such as none other hath, when they are known,
  • They are found shallow.
  • Sophocles.

    They say it was Liston’s firm belief, that he was a great and neglected tragic actor; they say that every one of us believes in his heart, or would like to have others believe, that he is something which he is not.


    A school of art or of anything else is to be looked on as a single individual, who keeps talking to himself for a hundred years, and feels an extreme satisfaction with his own circle of favorite ideas, be they ever so silly.


    Men educate each other in reason by contact or collision, and keep each other sane by the very conflict of their separate hobbies. Society as a whole is the deadly enemy of the particular crotchet of each, and solitude is almost the only condition in which the acorn of conceit can grow to the oak of perfect self-delusion.


    Nature descends down to infinite smallness. Great men have their parasites; and, if you take a large buzzing blue-bottle fly, and look at it in a microscope, you may see twenty or thirty little ugly insects crawling about it, which, doubtless, think their fly to be the bluest, grandest, merriest, most important animal in the universe, and are convinced the world would be at an end if it ceased to buzz.

    Sydney Smith.

    Conceit is just as natural a thing to human minds as a centre is to a circle. But 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. An arc in the movement of a large intellect does not differ sensibly from a straight line.


    But the conceit of one’s self and the conceit of one’s hobby are hardly more prolific of eccentricity than the conceit of one’s money. Avarice, the most hateful and wolfish of all the hard, cool, callous dispositions of selfishness, has its own peculiar caprices and crotchets. The ingenuities of its meanness defy all the calculations of reason, and reach the miraculous in subtlety.


    Success seems to be that which forms the distinction between confidence and conceit. Nelson, when young, was piqued at not being noticed in a certain paragraph of the newspapers, which detailed an action wherein he had assisted. “But never mind,” said he, “I will one day have a gazette of my own.”


    Talk about conceit as much as you like, it is to human character what salt is to the ocean; it keeps it sweet and renders it endurable. Say rather it is like the natural unguent of the sea-fowl’s plumage, which enables him to shed the rain that falls on him and the wave in which he dips. When one has had all his conceit taken out of him, when he has lost all his illusions, his feathers will soon soak through, and he will fly no more.