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quotations about flattery

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Flattery succeeds best on minds previously occupied by conceit.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Although a skillful flatterer is a most delightful companion if you have him all to yourself, his taste becomes very doubtful when he takes to complimenting other people.

CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby

The lie that flatters I abhor the most.


'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
That flattery's the food of fools;
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condescend to take a bit.

JONATHAN SWIFT, Cadenus and Vanessa

To ask advice is in nine cases out of ten to tout for flattery.

JOHN CHURTON COLLINS, Maxims and Reflections

Flattery is refined deception--it is the froth of language--it is the alcohol of social intercourse--it is the prescription of the subtle--and the nectar of fools.


Adroit observers will find that some who affect to dislike flattery, may yet be flattered indirectly, by a well seasoned abuse and ridicule of their rivals.


Were there no fools, there would be no flatterers.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

We must suit the flattery to the mind and taste of the recipient. We do not put essences into hogsheads, or porter into phials. Delicate minds may be disgusted by compliments that would please a grosser intellect, as some fine ladies, who would be shocked at the idea of a dram, will not refuse a liqueur. Some indeed there are, who profess to despise all flattery, but even these are, nevertheless, to be flattered, by being told that they do despise it.


We would seldom be deceived by flattery, did our own conceit not promote the delusion.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Flattery is often a traffic of mutual meanness, where, although both parties intend deception, neither are deceived; since words that cost little are exchanged for hopes that cost less. But we must be careful how we flatter fools too little, or wise men too much; for the flatterer must act the very reverse of the physician, and administer the strongest dose only to the weakest patient.


It is the folly of weak-minded people, to imagine they are what flattery or conceit represents them; and that it is useless for them to be what they are not, since they seem already to have acquired the reputation of it.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Some persons are insensible to flattering words, but who can resist the flattery of modest imitation?

ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

The most certain way to check flattery in others is to appear insensible of it.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

The encomium of one incapable of flattery is indeed flattering.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, Dec. 28, 1810

It is very easy to discern flattery in most people, but to discern its motives, requires an uncommon depth of penetration.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

The flattery of posterity is not worth much more than contemporary flattery, which is worth nothing.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Dead Men's Dialogue," Dreamtigers

Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when the dead have no longer need of them; but flatterers mar the soul of the living, and her eyes they blind.

EPICTETUS, Fragments

Were we not accustomed to flatter ourselves, the flattery of others would seldom deceive us.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up.

JOHN C. MAXWELL, Be a People Person

All men are susceptible of flattery: its reception is neither precarious nor doubtful, when once the proper channel of communication is explored.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool.


Crows pick out the eyes of the dead, when they are no longer of any use; but flatterers blind the eyes of the souls of the living.

GEORGES EDMOND HOWARD, Apothegms and Maxims for the Good Conduct of Life

Flattery is the lime to catch a human fly.

TAN KHENG YEANG, Reduced Reflections

At its best, flattery is truth well dressed, and it is best dressed with fine see-through fabrics. Honest flattery can caress a lover, cover up a gaffe, and muffle aggression.

WILLIS GOTH REGIER, In Praise of Flattery

Flattery is the sign of the Inn of which Duplicity is host.


Who flatters, is of all mankind the lowest.
Save him who courts the flattery.


We never slam the door on flattery, we nudge it shut like a man rejecting his mistress: if she nudges back, we're delighted – and if she breaks it down, we rejoice.


To be most effective, flattery is always best applied with a trowel.

ALAN BRADLEY, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

Excellent flatterers welcome attentive audiences; mighty potentates enjoy public praise. In the most pleasing situation, a flatterer would genuinely admire the flatteree, please that person, please other present company, be pleased to stagger rivals, and get something out of it: applause, promotion, a favor, reciprocal praise. Flattery is as social as a banquet.

WILLIS GOTH REGIER, In Praise of Flattery

Flattery is a sort of bad money to which our vanity gives currency.


Flattery is counterfeit, and like counterfeit money, it will eventually get you into trouble if you pass it to someone else.

DALE CARNEGIE, How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job

Flattery is like poison, but of all others requires the finest infusion.

GEORGES EDMOND HOWARD, Apothegms and Maxims for the Good Conduct of Life

In the best, the friendliest and simplest relations flattery or praise is necessary, just as grease is necessary to keep wheels turning.

LEO TOLSTOY, War and Peace

It is worth thought what kind of mind or condition or disposition is open to flattery; for poison would not be spread if the rats ate it not.


Flattery is sweet food to those who can swallow it.


Browse Flattery Quotes II

Read Eliza Lynn Linton's essay on Flattery

Read Henry F. Kletzing's essay on Flattery


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