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


Words are the wings of actions.


Words are the voice of the heart.


How forcible are right words!


A word spoken in due season, how good is it!


Words that weep, and tears that speak.


Words are but holy as the deeds they cover.


There are words which cut like steel.


Words without thoughts never to heaven go.


Words are women; deeds are men.

George Herbert.

Fair words gladden so many a heart.


Men who have much to say use the fewest words.

H. W. Shaw.

The artillery of words.


Words writ in waters.

George Chapman.

Words are but empty thanks.

Colley Cibber.

Words are mighty; words are living.

Adelaide A. Procter.

Words pay no debts, give her deeds.


But words once spoke can never be recall’d.

Wentworth Dillon.

Words sweet as honey from his lips distill’d.


Youth is too hasty with words.


These words are razors to my wounded heart.


Good words are better than bad strokes.


Syllables govern the world.

John Selden.

Words are but pictures of our thoughts.


A single word often betrays a great design.


He that hath knowledge spareth his words.


Enough words, little wisdom.


Soft words, with nothing in them, make a song.


Before employing a fine word, find a place for it.


A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off.


Some syllables are swords.

Henry Vaughan.

Words are the only things that last forever.


Your words bring daylight with them when you speak.

George Eliot.

All words are pegs to hang ideas on.

Henry Ward Beecher.

A word once vulgarized can never be rehabilitated.


Words are less needful to sorrow than to joy.

Helen Jackson.

Our words have wings, but fly not where we would.

George Eliot.

Words, however, are things.

Owen Meredith.

A single little word can strike him dead.


Men of few words are the best men.


The rabble also vent their rage in words.


  • My words are only words, and, moved
  • Upon the topmost froth of thought.
  • Tennyson.

    The world is content with words; few think of searching into the nature of things.


  • What you keep by you, you may change and mend;
  • But words once spoke can never be recall’d.
  • Roscommon.

    There is no calamity which right words will not begin to redress.


  • Immodest words admit of no defence,
  • For want of decency is want of sense.
  • Earl of Roscommon.

    The safest words are always those which bring us most directly to facts.

    Charles H. Parkhurst.

    And torture one poor word ten thousand ways.


  • Words of affection, howsoe’er express’d,
  • The latest spoken still are deem’d the best.
  • Joanna Baillie.

    Her words but wind, and all her tears but water.


    Words, like glass, darken whatever they do not help us to see.


    How many honest words have suffered corruption since Chaucer’s days!

    Thomas Middleton.

    Rich in fit epithets, blest in the lovely marriage of pure words.

    Anthony Brewer.

    His words, like so many nimble and airy servitors, trip about him at command.


    Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.


  • ’Tis a word that’s quickly spoken,
  • Which being restrained, a heart is broken.
  • Beaumont and Fletcher.

    In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold, alike fantastic if too new or old.


    Words are often seen hunting for an idea, but ideas are never seen hunting for words.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Words are like leaves; some wither every year, and every year a younger race succeed.


    Nothing is rarer than the use of a word in its exact meaning.


    Speaking words of endearment where words of comfort availed not.


  • What if my words
  • Were meant for deeds.
  • George Eliot.

    Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.


    Words are the motes of thought, and nothing more.


    Heaps of huge words uphoarded hideously, with horrid sound, though having little sense.


    On a single winged word hath hung the destiny of nations.

    Wendell Phillips.

    Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?


    When we desire to confine our words, we commonly say they are spoken under the rose.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.


    In words are seen the state of mind and character and disposition of the speaker.


    There is no point where art so nearly touches nature as when it appears in the form of words.

    J. G. Holland.

    And to bring in a new word by the head and shoulders, they leave out the old one.


    Words are men’s daughters, but God’s sons are things.

    Samuel Madden.

    Words become luminous when the poet’s finger has passed over them its phosphorescence.


  • We know not what we do
  • When we speak words.
  • Shelley.

    I am not so lost in lexicography as to forget that words are the daughters of earth, and that things are the sons of Heaven.


  • The words you’ve bandied are sufficient;
  • ’Tis deeds that I prefer to see.
  • Goethe.

    The smallest word has some unguarded spot, and danger lurks in i without a dot.

    O. W. Holmes.

    I was never so bethumped with words since first I called my brother’s father dad.


    Words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them.


  • One doth not know
  • How much an ill word may empoison liking.
  • Shakespeare.

    If you do not wish a man to da a thing, you had better get him to talk about it; for the more men talk, the more likely they are to do nothing else.


    Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.


  • Madam, you have bereft me of all words,
  • Only my blood speaks to you in my veins.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Unpack my heart with words,
  • And fall a-cursing, like a very drab.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Here are a few of the unpleasant’st words
  • That ever blotted paper!
  • Shakespeare.

    A blemish may be removed from a diamond by careful polishing, but evil words once spoken cannot be effaced.


  • Words are words; I never yet did hear,
  • That the bruis’d heart was pierced through the ear.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Words are things; and a small drop of ink,
  • Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
  • That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
  • Byron.

    It is with a word as with an arrow: the arrow once loosed does not return to the bow; nor a word to the lips.


    We should be as careful of our words as of our actions, and as far from speaking ill as from doing ill.


    For one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We ought to be careful indeed what we say.


    Like a beautiful flower full of color, but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly.


    The turn of a sentence has decided the fate of many a friendship, and, for aught that we know, the fate of many a kingdom.

    Jeremy Bentham.

    Kind words are benedictions. They are not only instruments of power, but of benevolence and courtesy; blessings both to the speaker and hearer of them.

    Frederick Saunders.

    Multitudes of words are neither an argument of clear ideas in the writer, nor a proper means of conveying clear notions to the reader.

    Adam Clarke.

    It is as easy to draw back a stone thrown with force from the hand, as to recall a word once spoken.


  • Apt words have power to ’suage
  • The tumors of a troubled mind;
  • And are as balm to fester’d wounds.
  • Milton.

  • Man usually believes, if only words he hears,
  • That also with them goes material for thinking.
  • Goethe.

    Words are good, but they are not the best. The best is not to be explained by words; the spirit in which we act is the great matter.


    In the mouths of many men soft words are like roses that soldiers put into the muzzles of their muskets on holidays.


    Men believe that their reason governs their words; but it often happens the words have power to react on reason.


    As it is the mark of great minds to say many things in a few words, so it is that of little minds to use many words to say nothing.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Words are as they are taken, and things are as they are used. There are even cursed blessings.

    Bishop Hall.

  • Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
  • Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
  • Pope.

    Thought in the mind may come forth gold or dross; when coined in words, we know its real worth.


    Words are often things also, and very precious, especially on the gravest occasions. Without “words,” and the truth of things that is in them, what were we?

    Leigh Hunt.

    Gentle words, quiet words, are after all, the most powerful words. They are more convincing, more compelling, more prevailing.

    Washington Gladden.

  • They say***
  • That, putting all his words together,
  • ’Tis three blue beans in one blue bladder.
  • Prior.

  • How long a time lies in one little word!
  • Four lagging winters and four wanton springs
  • End in a word: such is the breath of kings.
  • Shakespeare.

    They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps. They have lived long in the alms-basket of words!


    It would be well for us all, old and young, to remember that our words and actions, ay, and our thoughts also, are set upon never-stopping wheels, rolling on and on unto the pathway of eternity.

    M. M. Brewster.

    The last word should be the last word. It is like a finishing touch given to color; there is nothing more to add. But what precaution is needed in order not to put the last word first.


    Liquid, flowing words are the choicest and the best, if language is regarded as music. But when it is considered as a picture, then there are rough words which are very telling,—they make their mark.


  • ’Twas he that ranged the words at random flung,
  • Pierced the fair pearls and them together strung.
  • Firdousi.

    He used words as mere stepping-stones, upon which, with a free and youthful bound, his spirit crosses and recrosses the bright and rushing stream of thought.


  • There comes Emerson first, whose rich words, every one,
  • Are like gold nails in temples to hang trophies on.
  • Lowell.

    I hate anything that occupies more space than it is worth. I hate to see a load of bandboxes go along the street, and I hate to see a parcel of big words without anything in them.


    Sorrowful words become the sorrowful; angry words suit the passionate; light words a playful expression; serious words suit the grave.


    Words indeed are but the signs and counters of knowledge, and their currency should be strictly regulated by the capital which they represent.


  • Deep in my heart subsides the infrequent word,
  • And there dies slowly throbbing like a wounded bird.
  • Francis Thompson.

  • O! many a shaft, at random sent,
  • Finds mark the archer little meant!
  • And many a word, at random spoken,
  • May soothe or wound a heart that’s broken!
  • Scott.

  • But yesterday the word of Cæsar might
  • Have stood against the world; now lies he there,
  • And none so poor to do him reverence.
  • Shakespeare.

    “The last word” is the most dangerous of infernal machines; and husband and wife should no more fight to get it than they would struggle for the possession of a lighted bombshell.

    Douglas Jerrold.

  • They say, the tongues of dying men
  • Enforce attention, like deep harmony;
  • Where words are scarce, they’re seldom spent in vain;
  • For they breathe truth, that breathe their words in pain.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Windy attorneys to their client woes,
  • Airy succeeders of intestate joys,
  • Poor breathing orators of miseries!
  • Let them have scope: though what they do impart
  • Help nothing else, yet do they ease the heart.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Words, however, are things; and the man who accords
  • To his language the license to outrage his soul,
  • Is controll’d by the words he disdains to control.
  • Lord Lytton.

    Words are freeborn, and not the vassals of the gruff tryants of prose to do their bidding only. They have the same right to dance and sing as the dewdrops have to sparkle and the stars to shine.

    Abraham Coles.