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


Fine manners are the mantle of fair minds.


There is a nobility in the world of manners.


Manners are the ornament of action.

Samuel Smiles.

Striking manners are bad manners.

Robert Hall.

Good manners are a part of good morals.


It is the manner which is better than all.

Sir P. Sidney.

A company attitude is rarely anybody’s best.

Miss Sedgwick.

It is a rule of manners to avoid exaggeration.


Manners, the final and perfect flower of noble character.

William Winter.

Manners are stronger than laws.

Alexander Carlile.

Better were it to be unborn than to be ill-bred.

Sir Walter Raleigh.

Better too much form than too little.


Good manners require space and time.


What’s female beauty but an air divine?


The mildest manners with the bravest mind.


Politeness goes far, yet costs nothing.

Samuel Smiles.

Intercourse with women is the element of good manners.


Manners form the great charm of women.


Men make laws; women make manners.


Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.


Serenity of manners is the zenith of beauty.

Fredrika Bremer.

The company of chaste women is the proper atmosphere of good manners.


Good breeding shows itself most where, to an ordinary eye, it appears the least.


A man’s own good breeding is the best security against other people’s ill manners.


To be good and disagreeable is high treason against the royalty of virtue.

Hannah More.

A man’s worth is estimated in this world according to his conduct.

La Bruyère.

Grace is to the body what good sense is to the mind.

La Rochefoucauld.

It is wonderful how much talent runs into manners.


Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold.


  • Fit for the mountains and the barb’rous caves,
  • Where manners ne’er were preach’d.
  • Shakespeare.

    Men are like wine,—not good before the lees of clownishness be settled.


    Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.


    Civility is but a desire to receive civility, and to be esteemed polite.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Fine manners need the support of fine manners in others.


    Virtue itself offends, when coupled with forbidding manners.

    Bishop Middleton.

    In manners, tranquillity is the supreme power.

    Madame de Maintenon.

    Nothing so much prevents our being natural as the desire of appearing so.

    La Rochefoucauld.

  • Manners with fortunes, humors turn with climes,
  • Tenets with books, and principles with times.
  • Pope.

    Unbecoming forwardness oftener proceeds from ignorance than impudence.

    Lord Greville.

    A well-bred man is always sociable and complaisant.


    Just as politeness imitates kindness, so does grace imitate modesty.


    Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals.

    Horace Mann.

  • A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
  • Will not affront me, and no other can.
  • Cowper.

    Air and manners are more expressive than words.

    S. Richardson.

    If fine manners are so admirable in men, how much more effective are they in women!

    Mme. Récamier.

    What once were vices, are now the manners of the day.


    Many young persons believe themselves natural when they are only impolite and coarse.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    It is gentle manners which prove so irresistible in women.

    Théophile Gautier.

    A man’s manners are a mirror, in which he shows his likeness to the intelligent observer.


    In the society of ladies, want of sense is not so unpardonable as want of manners.


    Few are qualified to shine in company; but it is in most men’s power to be agreeable.


    There is certainly something of exquisite kindness and thoughtful benevolence in that rarest of gifts,—fine breeding.


    All good conversation, manners, and action come from a spontaneity which forgets usages and makes the moment great.


    They ask Lucman, the fabulist, From whom did you learn manners? He answered: From the unmannerly.


    To be always thinking about your manners is not the way to make them good; because the very perfection of manners is not to think about yourself.


    As a man’s salutation, so is the total of his character; in nothing do we lay ourselves so open as in our manner of meeting and salutation.


    An imposing air should always be taken as an evidence of imposition. Dignity is often a veil between us and the truth of things.


    Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest persons uneasy, is the best bred in the company.


    There is a policy in manner. I have heard one, not inexperienced in the pursuit of fame, give it his earnest support, as being the surest passport to absolute and brilliant success.


  • Eye nature’s walks, shoot folly as it flies,
  • And catch the manners, living as they rise;
  • Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;
  • But vindicate the ways of God to man.
  • Pope.

    Nothing, except what flows from the heart, can render even external manners truly pleasing.


    The manner of a vulgar man has freedom without ease, and the manner of a gentleman has ease without freedom.


    Truth, justice, and reason lose all their force, and all their lustre, when they are not accompanied with agreeable manners.


    Good breeding consists in having no particular mark of any profession, but a general elegance of manners.

    Dr. Johnson.

    O form! How often dost thou with thy ease, thy habit, wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls to thy false seeming!


    The charm of fine manners is music and sculpture and picture to many who do not pretend to appreciation of these arts.


    A gentleman has ease without familiarity, is respectful without meanness, genteel without affectation, insinuating without seeming art.


    A well-bred carriage is difficult to imitate; for in strictness it is negative, and it implies a long-continued previous training.


    Real good-breeding is independent of the forms and refinements of what has assumed to itself the name of society.

    George MacDonald.

    Simplicity of manner is the last attainment. Men are very long afraid of being natural, from the dread of being taken for ordinary.


    One principal part of good breeding is to suit our behavior to the three several degrees of men: our superiors, our equals, and those below us.


    A man’s fortune is frequently decided by his first address. If pleasing, others at once conclude he has merit; but if ungraceful, they decide against him.


    Good breeding is the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them.


    There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world, either to get a good name, or to supply the want of it.


    Wisdom, valor, justice and learning cannot keep a man in countenance that is possessed of these excellences, if he wants that inferior art of life and behavior called good breeding.


    The person who screams, or uses the superlative degree, or converses with heat puts whole drawing-rooms to flight. If you wish to be loved, love measure.


    Nothing sharpens the arrow of sarcasm so keenly as the courtesy that polishes it; no reproach is like that we clothe with a smile, and present with a bow.


    What a rare gift, by the by, is that of manners! how difficult to define, how much more difficult to impart! Better for a man to possess them than wealth, beauty, or talent; they will more than supply all.


    The scholar without good breeding is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.


    As the sword of the best-tempered metal is most flexible, so the truly generous are most pliant and courteous in their behavior to their inferiors.

    Thomas Fuller.

    Prepare yourself for the world, as the athletes used to do for their exercises; oil your mind and your manners, to give them the necessary suppleness and flexibility; strength alone will not do.


    Nobody ought to have been able to resist her coaxing manner; and nobody had any business to try. Yet she never seemed to know it was her manner at all. That was the best of it.


    I really think next to the consciousness of doing a good action, that of doing a civil one is the most pleasing; and the epithet which I should covet the most next to that of Aristides, would be that of well-bred.


    Manners are the shadows of virtues; the momentary display of those qualities which our fellows-creatures love and respect. If we strive to become, then, what we strive to appear, manners may often be rendered useful guides to the performance of our duties.

    Sydney Smith.

    Manners are the root, laws only the trunk and branches. Manners are the archetypes of laws. Manners are laws in their infancy; laws are manners fully grown,—or, manners are children, which, when they grow up, become laws.

    Horace Mann.

    The manner of saying or of doing anything goes a great way in the value of the thing itself. It was well said of him that called a good office that was done harshly, and with an ill-will, a stony piece of bread; it is necessary for him that is hungry to receive it, but it almost chokes a man in the going down.


  • Defect of manners, want of government,
  • Pride, haughtiness, opinion, and disdain;
  • The least of which, haunting a nobleman,
  • Loseth men’s hearts, and leaves behind a stain
  • Upon the beauty of all parts besides;
  • Beguiling them of commendation.
  • Shakespeare.

    Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage, they form at last a rich varnish, with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned. If they are superficial, so are the dew-drops which give such a depth to the morning meadows.


    The distinguishing trait of people accustomed to good society is a calm, imperturbable quiet which pervades all their actions and habits, from the greatest to the least. They eat in quiet, move in quiet, live in quiet, and lose their wife, or even their money, in quiet; while low persons cannot take up either a spoon or an affront without making such an amazing noise about it.


    Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and color to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals; they supply them or they totally destroy them.