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


Ennui was born one day of uniformity.


The curse of the great is ennui.


A scholar has no ennui.


A French word for an English malady.


I am wrapped in dismal thinking.


Ennui shortens life, and bereaves the day of its light.


Ennui is an expressive word invented in France.


Ennui is the rust of the mind born of idleness. It is unused tools that corrode.

Mme. de Girardin.

We are amused through the intellect, but it is the heart that saves us from ennui.

Madame Swetchine.

Ennui is the desire of activity without the fit means of gratifying the desire.


Ennui, the parent of expensive and ruinous vices.

Ninon de Lenclos.

That which renders life burdensome to us generally arises from the abuse of it.


I do pity unlearned gentlemen on a rainy day.

Lord Falkland.

Ennui is a growth of English root, though nameless in our language.


You cannot give me an instance of any man who is permitted to lay out his own time contriving not to have tedious hours.

Dr. Johnson.

It is only those who never think at all, or else who have accustomed themselves to brood invariably on abstract ideas, that ever feel ennui.


The gloomy and the resentful are always found among those who have nothing to do or who do nothing.

Dr. Johnson.

Social life is filled with doubts and vain aspirings; solitude, when the imagination is dethroned, is turned to weariness and ennui.

Miss L. E. Landon.

As the gout seems privileged to attack the bodies of the wealthy, so ennui seems to exert a similar prerogative over their minds.


Ennui, perhaps, has made more gamblers than avarice, more drunkards than thirst, and perhaps as many suicides as despair.


  • I am tired of looking on what is,
  • One might as well see beauty never more,
  • As look upon it with an empty eye.
  • I would this world were over. I am tired.
  • Bailey.

  • Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
  • Nor peace within nor calm around,
  • Nor that content surpassing wealth
  • The sage in meditation found.
  • Shelley.

  • For Ennui is a growth of English root,
  • Though nameless in our language:—we retort
  • The fact for words, and let the French translate
  • That awful Yawn which Sleep cannot abate.
  • Byron.

    I have also seen the world, and after long experience have discovered that ennui is our greatest enemy, and remunerative labor our most lasting friend.


    This ennui, for which we Saxons had no name,—this word of France, has got a terrific significance. It shortens life, and bereaves the day of its light.


    Ambition itself is not so reckless of human life as ennui; clemency is a favorite attribute of the former; but ennui has the taste of a cannibal.


    There is nothing so insupportable to man as to be in entire repose, without passion, occupation, amusement, or application. Then it is that he feels his own nothingness, isolation, insignificance, dependent nature, powerlessness, emptiness. Immediately there issue from his soul ennui, sadness, chagrin, vexation, despair.


    The victims of ennui paralyse all the grosser feelings by excess, and torpify all the finer by disuse and inactivity. Disgusted with this world, and indifferent about another, they at last lay violent hands upon themselves, and assume no small credit for the sang froid with which they meet death. But, alas! such beings can scarcely be said to die, for they have never truly lived.


  • They are mockery all—these skies, these skies,
  • Their untroubled depth of blue—
  • They are mockery all—those eyes, those eyes,
  • Which seem so warm and true;
  • Each tranquil star in the one that lies,
  • Each meteor glance that at random flies
  • The other’s lashes through!
  • They are mockery all, these flowers of spring,
  • Which her airs so softly woo—
  • And the love to which we would madly cling,
  • Ay, it is mockery too!
  • The winds are false which the perfume stir,
  • And the looks deceive to which we sue;
  • And love but leads to the sepulchre,
  • Which flowers spring to strew.
  • Hoffman.

    Ennui, wretchedness, melancholy, groans, and sighs are the offering which these unhappy Methodists make to a Deity, who has covered the earth with gay colors, and scented it with rich perfumes; and shown us, by the plan and order of His works, that He has given to man something better than a bare existence, and scattered over His creation a thousand superfluous joys, which are totally unnecessary to the mere support of life.

    Sydney Smith.