Those who live not by law would be justified by Custom: but, as common practice is the worst teacher that ever was, so the truth and goodness of things is not to be estimated by the entertainment and acceptance they find in the world.
BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms
Just because you have become accustomed to a thing, does not make it right.
BRIAN HERBERT & KEVIN J. ANDERSON, Dune: House Atreides
Custom is second nature. Be accustomed to a bald head, sufficiently accustomed, and hair on it would seem monstrous.
ISAAC ASIMOV, Prelude to Foundation
Like those crabs which dress themselves with seaweed, we wear belief and custom.
CYRIL CONNOLLY, The Unquiet Grave
Custom is the law of one description of fools, and fashion of another; but the two parties often clash; for precedent is the legislator of the first, and novelty of the last. Custom, therefore, looks to things that are past, and fashions to things that are present, but both of them are somewhat purblind as to things that are to come.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
Habits and customs are a convenience devised for the support of timid natures who dare not allow their souls free play.
VIRGINIA WOOLF, The Common Reader
Custom, though never so ancient, without truth, is but an old error.
CYPRIAN, attributed, Day's Collacon
- That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
- Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
- That to the use of actions fair and good
- He likewise gives a frock or livery,
- That aptly is put on.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet
Be not too rash in the breaking of an inconvenient custom; as it was gotten, so leave it by degrees. Danger attends upon too sudden alterations; he that pulls down a bad building by the bulk, may be ruined by the fall; but he that takes it down brick by brick, may live to build a better.
F. QUARLES, attributed, Day's Collacon
Customs tell a man who he is, where he belongs, what he must do. Better illogical customs than none; men cannot live together without them.
ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, Citizen of the Galaxy
- Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone
- To rev'rence what is ancient, and can plead
- A course of long observance for its use,
- That even servitude, the worst of ills,
- Because deliver'd down from sire to son,
- Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing!
Man is made of the wholly common, and custom is his nurse; woe then to them who lay irreverent hands on his old house-furniture, the dear inheritance from his forefathers: For time consecrates, and what is gray with age becomes religion.
FRIEDRICH SCHILLER, The Death of Wallenstein
The customs and fashions of men change like leaves on the bough, some of which go and others come.
DANTE ALIGHIERI, Paradiso
Custom, madam, is the law of fools, but it shall never govern me.
JOHN VANBRUGH, The Provoked Husband
'Tis nothing when you are used to it.
JONATHAN SWIFT, Polite Conversation
Custom may lead a man into many errors; but it justifies none.
HENRY FIELDING, The Wedding-Day
Nice customs curtsy to great kings.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Henry V
Times change: it was once the custom to take a bath weekly and religion daily.
EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes
An ancient custom obtains force of nature.
- 'Tis base,
- And argues a low spirit, to be taught
- By customs, and to let the vulgar grow
- To our example.
ROBERT MEAD, The Combat of Love and Friendship
The customs and practices of life in society sweep us along.
MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE, The Complete Essays
There is no tyrant like custom, and no freedom where its edicts are not resisted.
BOVEE, attributed, Day's Collacon
Men do more things from custom than from reason.
FABARIA, attributed, Day's Collacon
Strange customs do not thrive in foreign soil.
FRIEDRICH SCHILLER, Demetrius
There are not unfrequently substantial reasons underneath for customs that appear to us absurd; and if I were ever again to find myself amongst strangers, I should be solicitous to examine before I condemned.
CHARLOTTE BRONTE, letter, Dec. 28, 1846
Habit or custom, like a complex mathematical scheme, flows from a point, insensibly becomes a line, and unhappily in that which is evil, it may become a curve.
R. ROBINSON, attributed, Laconics
- Man yields to custom, as he bows to fate,
- In all things ruledmind, body, and estate;
- In pain, in sickness, we for cure apply
- To them we know not, and we know not why.
GEORGE CRABBE, The Gentleman Farmer
Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it, of course.
LEMONY SNICKET, The Blank Book
Think how much better it is to criticize conventional customs if you yourself live up to them, scrupulously.
SINCLAIR LEWIS, Main Street
Custom governs the world: it is the tyrant of our feelings and our manners, and rules with a hand of a despot.
J. BARTLETT, attributed, Day's Collacon